Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Question, Sunday 2/2/14: Will New Girl and a New Comedy Find a New Audience After the Super Bowl?


Super Bowl Sunday, the biggest night of the TV year, is upon us again. This time, Fox has the big game, and they're doing something not seen in nine years - putting two half-hour programs after the enormous lead-in. Third-year comedy anchor New Girl is first up, then the somewhat promising newbie (and Golden Globe winner) Brooklyn Nine-Nine. They combine to make up one of the weakest lead-outs to ever go after the big game, and history says that this sampling won't have much long term impact. But one thing works in their favor here; the game will probably do even better than usual. Will New Girl and a new comedy find a new audience after the Super Bowl? That's The Question for Sunday, February 2, 2014.


New Girl/Brooklyn Nine-Nine Recently Recent Super Bowl Lead-Outs
1.6/1.6/1.9 (New Girl last three weeks)
1.5/1.4/1.9 (B99 last three weeks)
9.4 (Simpsons/American Dad, 2005, game 33.2)
16.5 (Grey's Anatomy, 2006, game 34.6)
10.0 (Criminal Minds, 2007, game 35.2)
12.9 (House, 2008, game 37.5)
11.0 (The Office, 2009, game 36.7)
16.2 (Undercover Boss, 2010, game 38.8)
11.1 (Glee, 2011, game 39.9)
16.3 (The Voice, 2012, game 40.5)
7.8 (Elementary, 2013, game 39.7)

Last year, I thought Elementary would be the weakest lead-out in recent history because the matchup wasn't amazing and the show itself was weak by Super Bowl lead-out standards. That turned out to be correct, but there was a very bizarre circumstance at play: the stadium power outage, which pushed Elementary's start time all the way to 11:11 (well over a half hour later than the vast majority of SB lead-outs). Would Elementary have still gone in the 9.0 range or less even without the outage, or did I get bailed out? The fun thing about something fluky like that is that everyone can claim they would've been right under normal circumstances.

In 2014, the lead-out is again weak. Elementary was barely a league average show, and New Girl and Brooklyn Nine-Nine are even weaker at a bit below league average. If this pair led out of last year's 49ers/Ravens matchup, I'd probably have been even a bit more bearish.

However... this game is going to be big. While last year I was skeptical about it breaking the all-time viewership record (and it didn't), this year it seems more likely than not that it happens. The biggest factor working in this game's favor is that the league's most iconic quarterback Peyton Manning is in it. His effect on NFL TV ratings during the regular season was very tangible; Sunday Night Football averaged a 10.0 in Broncos games and a 7.4 in non-Broncos games. He will not have that kind of effect percentage-wise here, because most football fans are gonna be watching anyway. But it's sure better to have Manning than not to have him, and the prospect of him hoisting an MVP trophy may keep even more people tuned in for the post-game. And this is the first Super Bowl in a cold-weather environment, which may drive some additional curiosity (though the forecast has gotten warmer and drier).

Something else to keep in mind is the rare dynamic of two separate programs airing. Compared to the one-hour numbers listed above, New Girl's rating will stack up better than it "should," because viewers only have a half hour to tune out. But the drop in the second program's rating will at least make up for that. The last time two separate shows aired after the game was 2005, when The Simpsons averaged an 11.3 and American Dad! a 7.5. I'm not sure if this is a steeper drop than single programs usually take in their second half-hour. My guess it's a little steeper, which would hurt the average for the hour a bit.

With the game somewhat stronger than last year and the shows somewhat weaker, as well as (presumably!) a normal start time, I'm coming back to my prediction from last year: the hour averages about a 9.0. I'm nicking the number a bit more because a second separate program will drop a few more ticks at the half than a one-hour New Girl would.

New Girl PLUS Brooklyn Nine-Nine Over/Under: 17.65.

THIS GAME CLOSES AT A SPECIAL TIME: SUNDAY (2/2) AT 6:00 PM ET. If editing your pick, please leave a separate comment.

29 comments:

Spot said...

A couple of useful links:
SpottedRatings: Super Bowls and Lead-Outs in A18-49
Wikipedia: List of Super Bowl lead-out programs, which includes start times


I'll go over. I think comedy is a good fit with the Super Bowl audience and I don't think New Girl is as divisive as something like Glee.

Spot said...

Over.

Spot said...

Under.
Lots of moving parts here. So I won't even try to find some scientific method to determine possible outcome. Instead, I'll take psychological route and go with under, because I like both shows. If it turns out to be over, nice. Very nice. And if it's under, at least I'll earn a point in the game.

Spot said...

This is the type of questions in which I really cannot even try to come up with a rationale. Under, just because I've been realizing that when in doubt, I should go Under.

Spot said...

UNDER.


New Girl will drive away the male viewers, and Brooklyn Nine Nine will go lower than Elementary last season.

Spot said...

I honestly have no idea. Super Bowl lead-outs are tricky to predict, but I'll just say under since all the cool kids are doing it.

Spot said...

Over!

Spot said...

Under.

Spot said...

Under. A lot of people will tune in for New Girl but then they'll find out its kind of a girly show and since its in its third season they won't really know whats happening.

Spot said...

It's not the right logic to make this call, but I'm basing my guess on how niche Fox's live-action sitcoms are generally. Had this happened two years ago when New Girl was red-hot, then the Super Bowl could have helped take it to the next level a la Grey's Anatomy.

Under.

Spot said...

I think Enlisted would have needed to show a bit more promise for FOX to go out of the way and schedule it on Thursdays. It's sad because it is indeed a good show, it deserved better. I think FOX is screwing up major time with this thing of moving Bones back to Mondays. I don't see it benefiting Bones all that much, it certainly doesn't benefit Almost Human, it hurts Enlisted and it minimizes Kitchen Nightmares potential numbers. The only show that can benefit is The Following but I don't think the gain is large enough for all the collateral damage. IMO, they should have just left Bones where it is leading into Enlisted, extended Almost Human's order which is doing ok on Mondays and replaced Rake with Kitchen Nightmares on Thursdays... It's not so hard to do.



Elsewhere, I am amazed and happy with how well H50 is doing. LMS is also quietly having one hell of a season. Sad that The Neighbors cannot follow. I also agree that the carrie diaries didn't do as bad as I thought it would, but it still cancelled I think.

Spot said...

Under

Spot said...

This is hard. Last time I went bullish on a big football lead-out, I scored. Last time I went bullish on a Super Bowl lead-out, however, I got burned. And I doubt it would've been THAT different even if there hadn't been the big pushback. And New Girl/Brooklyn 9-9 have that same "uninteresting to a national audience" feel that kinda haunted Elementary last year, so I think I have to bearish on this and go Under this time.

Spot said...

NG: 8.9
B 9-9:6.7


That's 15.6 total and under.

Spot said...

I will always wonder why CBS went with Elementary rather than 2BG/TBBT or PoI. Not the broad, young-skewing comedies or the action-packed conspiracy thriller, but the quirky cerebral sleuth hour, albeit with more sex and violence than usual at the outset.

Spot said...

Hoping I got here in time! Yup this is hard, and I won't even dare guess the individual ratings. Probably under, given all the reasons Spot mentioned above.

Spot said...

Agree on NG's niche-ness. It's a 3rd yr sitcom Fox! Since they were already betting on B99, they should have bet even harder and put it right after the Super Bowl. It's a freshman, recently got a Golden Globe and definitely more male-skewing. I hope its Tuesday airings still get a sliver of a benefit from this exposure.

Spot said...

CBS Studios don't own the other three shows you mentioned. That, very simply, is your answer. They went with the risky deep ball over the middle (trying to make Elementary an in-house syndication hit) instead of the high-percentage play (plugging in the megahit comedy block) and said pass fell woefully incomplete. Elementary may not even make it to syndication at all, and if it does then it's largely because of a terrible rookie class this season giving it the third season that in turn assures the fourth.

Spot said...

Elementary actually just got a syndication deal with WGN, for $3 million an episode.

$3 million-plus an episode
$3 million-plus an episode

Spot said...

The probabilities scream Under - terrible lead-out (one bubble show, one that would be a bubble show were it not a) halfway through a de facto 44-episode order and b) the pick of a very weak batch of comedies on the network), with a break halfway through to boot!

However. The biggest dynamic driving the lead-out ratings seems to be start time. Elementary did nothing whatsoever to disprove that one; The Voice and Undercover Boss went massive because they started so early. No way of knowing which way this one will go timing-wise - if the Seahawks can get long clock-chewing drives going then the finish time will move forward, if the Broncos move the ball quickly and/or cough it up to the ball-hawking Seahawks D then it'll take longer to get through the game.

The biggest factor is an unknown, so I will go against the grain and take a chance on Over.

Spot said...

Forgot about that, and find it borderline inexplicable! Well, that's the de facto 44-episode order this spring in the books, then.

Spot said...

Over. It's really a shot in the dark here for me. Who knows, this might be my first one right this year…

Spot said...

Do you have the M-F breakdowns of B-99 and NG (relative to the 42% average skew)?

Spot said...

Under. I think 9-9 will drop by around 2.0 from whatever New Girl does and I don't see NG throwing out a good enough number for them to total over.

Spot said...

The richest syndication deal in television history for a show that's pulled a 2.0 or higher 3 times in 14 episodes. Between this and PoI, CBS TV must be getting at least $5 million per episode from WGNA.


If I'm a studio not affiliated with a network (WB, Sony), I'd be worried. There are big buku bucks flying around betweeb broadcast, cable and internet syndication, and if the networks keep favoring their own shows so blatantly, third-parties might get squeezed out.

Spot said...

Not sure where the 3 million figure came from, but I read "in line with or a tad higher than that $1.1 million-$1.5 million per episode that POI commanded": http://www.deadline.com/2014/01/wgn-america-nabs-off-network-rights-to-cbs-drama-elementary/

Spot said...

POI's actually owned by WB, not CBS.

Spot said...

Yeah, and I should have remembered that, seeing as how that was part of the earlier conversation about Super Bowl picks.

Spot said...

You know what? I've been looking at the Deadline stories and they don't mention online or on-demand numbers. Maybe you could update your cable syndication deals post?

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