Friday, May 30, 2014

Spotted Ratings, Thursday 5/29/14

  • Just in case NBC needed some more good news this summer, they got it from a rather shockingly decent start out of Thursday sitcom Undateable (1.3 at 9:00, 1.3 at 9:30). It fully retained its Hollywood Game Night lead-in (1.3 at 8:30, 1.2 overall) and outrated most of the comedies NBC put on Thursday in the regular season. I really thought this was a burn-off, and NBC seemed to think so too given it's slated to double-pump against the NBA Finals for the next two or three Thursdays. They may be kicking themselves for that scheduling at this point. If it's too late to jerk it elsewhere, maybe they can just waste one original at a time in the short-term?
  • NBC also saw Last Comic Standing (1.6) hold up nicely, down just a tenth in week two.
  • Fox also held up well on the last pre-NBA Finals Thursday with Hell's Kitchen (1.6) and Gang Related (1.0), which actually adjusted up to exceed last week's premiere.

War of 18-49 Update, Shark Tank (2013-14)

Let's take a look at the 2013-14 season (the fifth overall) of Shark Tank on ABC.

Spotted Ratings, Wednesday 5/28/14

  • Fox's return of So You Think You Can Dance (1.6) was down a somewhat reasonable 16% year-to-year against almost entirely repeat competition. It may end up being the week's top Fox series, having inched past MasterChef and 24: Live Another Day already. It will hope to hold up better post-premiere than most SYTYCD seasons, and it may have a chance with no competition of note arriving until Big Brother premieres in late June.
  • Other quick hits:
    • NBC got OK mileage out of a Last Comic Standing repeat (1.1) and an Edward Snowden interview (1.3);
    • ABC officially transferred The Goldbergs repeats to Wednesday. So far, it seems like a good fit with a 1.1 at 8:30 (fully retaining The Middle's 1.1) and a 1.2 at 9:30 (down from Modern Family's 1.4). Week two of Motive (0.9) was even;
    • And the CW's The 100 (0.6) took advantage of the lighter competition, following an Arrow repeat (0.3) with the same rating it usually posted after Arrow originals.

Spotted Ratings, Tuesday 5/27/14

  • The summer season was in need of some good news, and NBC was happy to provide it with another very strong premiere for America's Got Talent (3.0). It nearly matched last year's post-The Voice premiere (3.1) and was noticeably above it in total viewers. That helped new drama The Night Shift (1.6), even with barely 50% retention, to inch past NBC's biggest drama premiere of last summer (Camp, 1.5).
  • Even opposite a strong NBC, ABC had a pretty good night with the return of Extreme Weight Loss (1.3), which was a tick above last year's premiere. And Celebrity Wife Swap (1.2) jumped to a new season high with its most compatible lead-in yet.
  • Then... there was Fox, and the trainwreck we all knew was coming. It started with episode two of Riot (0.6), which was actually a tenth above the post-Glee premiere from two weeks ago. But dating show I Wanna Marry Harry (0.4) dropped huge from the measly 0.7 posted after American Idol last week. Networks usually do away with these "affront to humanity" kinds of shows pretty quickly unless the ratings are outstanding. Since this one's in the complete opposite direction, don't expect it to stick around for long.

Spotted Ratings, Monday 5/26/14

  • Even Gordon Ramsay isn't fixing Fox's problems right now. The return of MasterChef managed just a 1.5 demo rating, which is pretty shockingly low considering the summer 2013 season never even went below a 2.0. This is not that far from what fellow Ramsay show Hell's Kitchen has done of late, but Fox surely wanted better. And 24: Live Another Day (1.5) also took yet another hit in week four.
  • While the holiday may have hurt the overall landscape a bit, MasterChef still lost to shows on other networks that it was handily outrating last summer, like week two of ABC's The Bachelorette (1.6) and the two-hour return of NBC's American Ninja Warrior (1.6). Ninja Warrior was down just a tenth from last year's premiere, while The Bachelorette was just a tenth behind week two of last season.

Spotted Ratings, Memorial Weekend Roundup 5/23-5/25/14

  • The return of Primetime: What Would You Do? (1.3) continued ABC's Friday unscripted momentum, matching last year's May Friday premiere (and vastly outrating its brief return on Tuesdays in December).
  • NBC's one primetime NHL playoff game prior to the finals (0.8) didn't go very well; it was well below the pre-Finals game from this night a year ago (1.1). But that was still enough to win Saturday, and it doubled up the debut of Fox's Saturday night MLB coverage (0.4).
  • Sunday, as always, was the most viewer-depressed night of the holiday weekend, with a PUT miles below all Sundays from the regular season. That sent the burn-off returns of Believe (0.7) and Crisis (0.7) down by 30% apiece. Fox's Coca-Cola 600 was down 16% from last year.

SpotVault - So You Think You Can Dance (Fox) - Summer 2014 Ratings

So You Think You Can Dance
Wednesdays, 8/7c, Fox

SpotVault - The Night Shift (NBC) - Summer 2014 Ratings

The Night Shift
Tuesdays, 10/9c, NBC

SpotVault - America's Got Talent (NBC) - Summer 2014 Ratings

America's Got Talent
Tuesdays, 8/7c, NBC

SpotVault - Extreme Weight Loss (ABC) - Summer 2014 Ratings

Extreme Weight Loss
Tuesdays, 8/7c, ABC

SpotVault - MasterChef (Fox) - Summer 2014 Ratings

Mondays, 8/7c, Fox

SpotVault - American Ninja Warrior (NBC) - Summer 2014 Ratings

American Ninja Warrior
Mondays, 9/8c, NBC

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Question, Wednesday 5/28/14: Can SYTYCD Dance Around Fox's Problems?

Was gonna do a MasterChef question on Monday but didn't get to it because of the holiday. To make up for it, here's one on the last (and likely least) of Fox's veteran reality staples. The return of So You Think You Can Dance is arguably more interesting anyway, since it's a long-running franchise that's been in serious danger in recent years. Also, it tends to drop much more over the course of the season, like most music shows, so starting with a good sampling is crucial.

Dance premiered last season at 1.9 in the regular season, then hit 2.3 the next night after American Idol. But at this point, I'm not even sure it'll beat the 1.4 from the 2013 finale. The prelim 1.4 premiere for MasterChef (even if a bit deflated by Memorial Day) illustrated how deeply Fox's network-wide struggle runs, and it's been extra-brutal for music shows. But Dance may not bomb simply because the show has so staggeringly little competition; NBC recently pulled what would've been the only competing original, the World Music Awards, so it's all repeats from 8 to 10 on the Big Three.

Over/Under: 1.45.

War of 18-49 Update, The Voice (Spring 2014)

Let's take a look at the spring 2014 season (the sixth overall) of The Voice on NBC.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Question, Tuesday 5/27/14: Will Got Talent and The Night Shift Get Ratings?

Tonight NBC unveils what will likely be one of the summer's top three-hour primetime lineups. Two hours of America's Got Talent are the main reason for that; that show would make for a top summer lineup even with a test pattern at 10/9c. However, NBC will get at least a little more than that out of new medical drama The Night Shift. Though it was not originally earmarked for the summer, this timeslot and a decent promo push make it feel like less of a burn-off than NBC's other scripted premieres this week. And it feels like a better match with the older-skewing Got Talent audience than, say, Gang Related with Hell's Kitchen. Some of those viewers may passively stick around for this.

Got Talent premiered to a 3.1 last season, and an average-ish drop to upper-2's seems like a reasonable expectation. I think The Night Shift will appeal enough to the Got Talent crowd to hit roughly the same number as NBC's post-Got Talent drama premiere from last summer, Camp (1.5 on 7/10/13).

America's Got Talent PLUS The Night Shift Over/Under: 4.25.

The War of 18-49, The Walking Dead


Scheduling history: The Walking Dead's short first season aired on Sundays at 10/9c. It was quickly evident this show was enough of a force that it should be leading into another primetime program, so it moved to 9/8c for season two and has been there ever since.

See (who saw) how it all began: It's easy to forget now that the series premiere ratings for The Walking Dead were themselves quite an amazing accomplishment, even at a fraction of what would be achieved in future seasons. It launched on Halloween in 2010 with 5.345 million viewers and a 2.7 demo rating, which already made it one of the very biggest series on cable. It dropped only a bit to a 2.5 rating in week two, stayed roughly steady for a couple weeks, then perked up to new highs (2.8 and 3.0) in each of season one's last two episodes.

The best of times: Had I written this post in season one, this space would keep getting rewritten with every new Walking Dead season. The ratings just keep going up, to the point that it now blows away all other entertainment series on broadcast or cable. The series high is an 8.7 demo, achieved for the season five fall premiere on 10/12/14. Broadcast TV produced its biggest new drama hit in at least a decade with Empire, and it still only barely averaged two thirds of what The Walking Dead did! But the show's fall 2016 return (8.35) was almost inarguably even more impressive; in historical-adjusted numbers, it topped even the Friends finale, which has been the standard bearer for these things.

The worst of times: The Walking Dead quickly left its early ratings in the dust; nothing in any subsequent season has even gotten down to the high point of season one or two. The series low is a 2.4 demo, set on 11/21/10, week four of the six-episode first season.

Then vs. now: If American Idol was the great TV ratings anomaly of the aughts, The Walking Dead should go down as the great TV ratings anomaly of this decade. It's had the same kind of seasonal uplifting of its network that Idol did; AMC almost always finishes in the top three basic cable networks in weeks when Dead is on, sometimes #1, and often drops into the 20's when it's off. Quantifying exactly how big an anomaly is tough. Its story is all the more impressive because it happened on basic cable, but looking at A18-49+ numbers may actually inflate it a bit at this point since its numbers (plus lead-out aftershow Talking Dead) don't get counted in the 'league average.' Even if we did that, though, it's still be the biggest entertainment series of the last decade-plus after  historical adjustments: even bigger than Idol in its prime!

On a yearly basis, The Walking Dead shattered some significant ceiling. In season one, it pulled ratings the broadcasters would be happy to have (which was relatively new for basic cable). In season two, it just about matched NCIS for top drama on all TV. Season three was the show's most impressive bump, surging from amazing cable story to amazing-for-anyone, and it only widened the gap vs. the entertainment field in season four.  There's really only one thing left for Dead to do, and that's regularly beat the top non-entertainment series (NBC's Sunday Night Football) on a same-day basis. The Walking Dead has beaten some of the weaker games head-to-head in the last few seasons. Though SNF still reigned with its 7.65 average in 2014-15, it was not by much. Does Dead have enough juice left to pull it off in the future? It looks like it may have missed the boat, as SNF has pulled further ahead in the last two years as Dead's declines have accelerated.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

1Fall 2010Sunday 10:002.652.43.0detail
2Fall 2011Sunday 9:003.41+29%3.13.8detail
Winter 20123.903.54.7
3Fall 20125.32+56%4.95.8detail
Winter 20135.78+48%5.46.4
4Fall 20136.62+24%5.78.2detail
Winter 20146.92+20%6.38.2
5Fall 20147.46+13%7.08.7detailA
Winter 20157.31+6%6.28.2
6Fall 20156.72-10%6.27.4detailA-
Winter 20166.33-13%5.86.9
7Fall 20165.62-16%4.98.4detailB+
Winter 20175.09-20%4.75.7
8Fall 20173.76-33%3.35.0detail
Winter 20183.03-40%2.63.6
9Fall 20182.05-46%1.82.5detail
Winter 20191.72-43%1.52.0

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

1Fall 201010494118106118
2Fall 2011144131161161148
Winter 2012165146198178198
3Fall 2012253233274274258
Winter 2013274257304290304
4Fall 2013351300435435323
Winter 2014367335433433425
5Fall 2014443413514514451
Winter 2015435370485475485
6Fall 2015462424510510482
Winter 2016434400475464475
7Fall 2016459400682682416
Winter 2017416385467467442
8Fall 2017344299459459307
Winter Spring 2018277240332332311
9Fall 2018216189262262206
Winter 2019181156210210196


The War of 18-49 chronicles the ratings history of veteran primetime series. For more, see the Index.

Monday, May 26, 2014

The War of 18-49, MasterChef


Scheduling history: Though fellow Gordon Ramsay staple Hell's Kitchen and spin-off MasterChef Junior have each pulled heavy regular season duty, MasterChef proper has remained a summer-only fixture. But Fox has moved it around quite a bit. It launched after Hell's on Tuesday in season one, then moved to two-hour episodes on Wednesday. Seasons two and three regularly aired on both Monday and Tuesday, season four was back to the two-hour Wednesday setup, season five made yet another move to Monday, and season six returned to Wednesday.

See (who saw) how it all began: MasterChef opened with a solid 5.75 million viewers and a 2.7 demo rating on July 27, 2010, almost fully retaining its lead-in from Hell's Kitchen (6.40m/2.9). MasterChef dropped a tick to 2.6 for weeks two and three as Hell's was perking up for its last two episodes (3.2 and 3.3). Then Hell's went away and MasterChef was left to fend for itself on Wednesday, where it mostly pulled low 2's.

The best of times: MasterChef's first four seasons have had remarkably consistent raw averages, which is always a good thing in an era of 10% yearly collective decline. And the road to those averages when compared with Hell's Kitchen paints an even more promising tale. After struggling on its own in early season two, it perked up when Hell's returned in the mid-summer, culminating in a series high 2.9 for the second half of its finale on 8/16/11. By season three, it was basically matching Hell's when the two were paired. In season four, it was on its own night and actually got better ratings than the original Ramsay series.

The worst of times: Though MasterChef was a highly legitimate anchor series in 2013, it may not have been quite ready for that role when it first led off in 2010 and 2011. Most of the series' lowest historical-adjusted numbers came in its lead-off episodes in late season one and early season two. Airing on Friday in 2015-16, the Junior edition dropped as low as a 0.7 several times in spring 2018 and 2019, while the mothership hit several 0.7's in 2019 as well.

Then vs. now: As American Idol's collapse began, MasterChef was one of the only brands on Fox moving in the right direction. Until season five, each season grew year-to-year in Plus, and the spin-off MasterChef Junior has been just as strong as the mothership in recent regular seasons. Even in season six, taking its biggest decline yet, MasterChef was the best thing Fox had going for it on the summer schedule, so there's no reason to believe the end is in sight. Fox aired another Junior edition to great-for-Friday numbers in fall 2015.

MasterChef (2010-21)

1Summer 2010Wednesday 8:002.27
2Summer 2011Mon 8:00, Mon 9:002.20-3%1.82.4detail
Tue 8:00, Tue 9:002.23
3Summer 2012Monday 9:002.47+12%2.22.7detail
Tuesday 9:002.36+6%2.02.8
4Summer 2013Wednesday 9:002.27-8%2.02.6detail
5Summer 2014Monday 8:001.88-17%1.52.1detailC
6Summer 2015Wednesday 8:001.46-23%1.21.7detailC-
7Summer 2016Wed 8:00, Wed 9:001.25-15%1.01.5detailC+
8Summer 20171.08-13%0.91.4detailB
9Summer 20180.99-8%0.91.2detailB
10Summer 2019Wed 8:00, Thu 8:000.77-23%0.70.9detailC
11Summer 2021Wednesday 8:000.58

1Summer 201081solid(sum)0.52
2Summer 201187solid(sum)0.56+7%71947194
3Summer 2012104hit(sum)0.67+21%9311497110
4Summer 2013108big hit(sum)0.69+3%95123100114
5Summer 2014100hit(sum)0.64-7%8011180106
6Summer 201587solid(sum)0.56-13%711017189
7Summer 201686solid(sum)0.55-1%6910379103
8Summer 201789solid(sum)0.57+4%701148698
9Summer 201891hit(sum)0.59+3%7910789103
10Summer 201981solid(sum)0.52-11%70968986
11Summer 202189solid(sum)0.58

MasterChef Junior

Adults 18-49 info by season:

1Fall 2013Friday 8:001.40
2Fall 2014Tuesday 8:001.66+18%1.51.8detail
3Winter 20151.68
42015-16Friday 8:001.24-25%0.91.5detailB+
5Spring 2017Thursday 8:001.03-17%0.81.3detailB
6Spring 2018Friday 8:000.79-23%0.70.9detailB-
7Spring 2019Tuesday 8:000.74-7%0.70.8detailB-
8Spring 2022Thursday 8:000.37

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

1Fall 201374solid(Fri)0.38
2Fall 201499marginal0.50+33%89107107101
3Winter 2015100solid0.51
5Spring 201784marginal0.43-1%6910410482
6Spring 201872solid(Fri)0.37-14%61858579
7Spring 201978marginal0.40+8%73848383
8Spring 202273marginal0.37

The War of 18-49 chronicles the ratings history of veteran primetime series. For more, see the Index.

Spotted Summer 2014 Plans

Yet another regular season is in the books! For those new to the program, this blog always keeps the lights on but transforms quite a bit during the off-season. Nothing below will be all that new to the long-timers, but you may want to give it a read if you've discovered me in the last year. Here are some details about what'll be going on this summer:

Sunday, May 25, 2014

SpotVault - 2013-14 Index

This is a sortable list of series and ratings averages for the 2013-14 season, including every series that has a page in the SpotVault or War of 18-49. For the first time, it is also a filterable list, meaning you can boil the table down to just one network, one category of programming or only new shows. (The striped formatting looks kinda ugly when filtered, but hopefully that is worth the added functionality.)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Spotted Ratings, Thursday 5/22/14

  • It's only the first day of the summer season, and Fox already has three disastrous series premiere ratings under its belt. While Gang Related (0.9) did better than the two unscripted series Fox premiered on the last couple Tuesdays, that's not much of a bar to clear, and it didn't clear it by that much. It tumbled by 40% from Hell's Kitchen (1.5) and went well behind the failed post-Hell's Kitchen launch from last year (Does Someone Have to Go?, 1.3). The network will probably be patient with this show, since they're likely to have an even more pressing issue on Tuesday, but this is not what they wanted. 
  • NBC had much better news with the return of Last Comic Standing (1.7), back after taking the last three summers off. The show's last season in 2010 premiered at 2.0 and ultimately averaged a 1.74, making this a relatively promising hold across four years.
  • ABC's Black Box dropped three tenths in its first airing with no Grey's Anatomy lead-in. And the CW's mini-series Labyrinth wasn't exactly an eye-popper, but it quietly did better than most repeats would.
  • Programming note: as usual for this blog, most daily posts during the summer will not go up until finals are released. Unless there's a particularly notable data point, don't expect the noon-ish prelims update. (The noon-ish posts will remain for much of next week, since there are a lot of premieres, but then die down beyond that.) I'll put up a few more details on other summer plans early next week.

The Question Results, 2013-14 FINAL

Congrats to War Is the H-Word, who took The Question Season 2 Championship by narrowly holding off Season 1 champ Billie_Dawn. And ABC hater held on in a crowded multi-way race for the last spot on the podium. The prize, as always, is... huge bragging rights!!!!!

As for the last few games of the season, all I can say is that if you fared poorly, take some solace that you are very much not alone, and the summer season provides a clean slate for all. (Again, there should be in the general vicinity of a dozen games from yesterday through August.)

A huge thanks to all who participated, from the one-timers to the elite few who played all 62. I hope this is as fun and challenging an experience as it is from my end!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Question, Thursday 5/22/14: Will a Big Gang of Viewers Watch Gang Related?

The summer begins! As last year, a "mini-season" of roughly a dozen Questions will be sprinkled over the next three months, starting today.

New drama Gang Related was announced alongside 24 at the 2013 upfront as part of Fox's big push into year-round programming. Much has gone wrong at the network since then, but this series should have a reasonably decent mid-to-upper-1's lead-in from Hell's Kitchen, and the competition is pretty favorable; there are zero dramas, and the only big four originals are the return of usually marginal Last Comic Standing and a Bad Teacher burn-off.

However, I just don't see this gritty concept attracting much of its own attention, especially since the reviews are so lukewarm. Throw in the general Fox malaise of late and it'd be happy to go well above a one. The lead-in and light competition should keep it from being another Riot or I Wanna Marry Harry, but I'm not feeling legitimate "success" either.

Over/Under: 1.15.

Spotted Ratings, Wednesday 5/21/14

  • It's been a season of many embarrassments for American Idol, but the finale (2.6) brought a little redemption. (Provided you don't think it's an embarrassment that people are raving over an Idol finale rating in the mid-2's.) At least on a percentage basis, this was pretty much a vintage Idol finale spike, up by 24% from last week's final performance Wednesday and by over 50% from the deflated Tuesday performance finale. It was 28% behind last season's finale, which is one of the show's better recent year-to-year points, but last year's finale faced piles of competition (including The Big Bang Theory and the series finale of The Office).
  • After finals factored in the last 13 minutes, Survivor (2.6) adjusted up to tie Idol in the reality duel. Being even week-to-week would normally be a bit disappointing, but this show typically hasn't generated much additional finale interest in recent seasons. Its audience is its audience, start to finish. This was a single tenth below last spring's finale (and tied with the fall one).
  • Opposite the big reality duel, it was Modern Family (3.7) emerging as the runaway #1 program, spiking week-to-week for its wedding finale. A finals uptick made it even year-to-year, and the one-hour The Middle adjusted up to narrowly exceed last year's finale. The network launched season two of Motive (0.9) at 10/9c. It was down nearly a third from last year's series premiere but basically in line with what it did in the last two thirds of the season. Even with ABC comedy Wednesday going into repeats next week, its lead-ins probably won't be that much worse than Mixology (1.3).
  • Even with no CBS procedurals in play, NBC got no real finale heat out of Revolution (1.1), Law and Order: SVU (1.6) and Chicago PD (1.6). And the CW's The 100 (0.5) held on pretty well with usual lead-in Arrow departing.

SpotVault - The Bachelorette (ABC) - Summer 2014 Ratings

The Bachelorette
Mondays, 8/7c, ABC

SpotVault - I Wanna Marry Harry (Fox) - Summer 2014 Ratings

I Wanna Marry Harry
Tuesdays, 9/8c, Fox

SpotVault - Riot (Fox) - Summer 2014 Ratings

Tuesdays, 8/7c, Fox

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Question, Wednesday 5/21/14: Can American Idol Survive the Survivor Finale?

The end of another season has arrived, and the final Wednesday of 2013-14 brings a second straight finale duel that we've never seen before. American Idol and Survivor have regularly faced each other for the last four years, but because of Survivor's special Sunday finales, they've never actually had dueling finales until tonight. CBS may only be doing this because the Olympics pushed Survivor to a later start date than usual. But if it fares better than recent Sunday finales, CBS may think about making Wednesday finales the norm. Meanwhile, American Idol wraps up the season that officially made it Just Another Show, and it'll hope to garner more finale interest than the music show finales on Tuesday. Can American Idol survive the Survivor finale? That's The Question for Wednesday, May 21, 2014.

Spotted Ratings, Tuesday 5/20/14

  • A head-to-head duel between two big music-themed finales was bound to limit casual finale tune-in somewhat. But it's extra-disappointing that it seems to have eliminated it entirely. The Voice (3.3) and Dancing with the Stars (2.4) didn't adjust up, so they actually ended up below their combined deliveries from Monday's performance finales. Both were down from last spring's finales, with The Voice at a whooping -25%. We may well see one of these shows blink and move its finale again next season. (Perhaps NBC will launch The Voice the day after the Super Bowl and wrap up earlier.)
  • Opposite Voice (1.9) and DWTS (1.7) recap specials, Fox had a rough Tuesday performance finale from American Idol (1.7), which has always done poorly on this night since the show started regularly airing on Wednesday/Thursday. And summer newbie I Wanna Marry Harry (0.7) was soundly rejected from there. To make matters worse for Fox, next Tuesday we'll see Harry team up with Riot (which premiered to 0.5 last week).
  • With literally every single scripted option on the big four sitting out, the stage was set for the season finale of Supernatural (1.1) as a great counter-programming option. It zoomed to its biggest number since January and edged last season's finale (1.0). Even the repeat at 8/7c (0.5) did good business.
  • CBS went abnormally low with a Judge Judy special (0.9) and a two-hour Academy of Country Music (0.9) special, but the ACM special may have stolen at least a viewer or two from the ABC/NBC finales.

The True Top 25, Week Ending 5/18/14 (2013-14 Week 34)

In the last full week of the regular season, The Big Bang Theory had one last domination of the standings. A significant finale spike in one of its lowest-viewed slots of the season produced a True season high. NCIS won top drama in finale week, with its 8/7c slot grading a bit tougher than that of Criminal Minds (the top drama raw rating). Usual suspects Agents of SHIELD, The Blacklist and The Millers were the new shows on the list in the final week.

Spotted Ratings, Monday 5/19/14

  • ABC wrapped up a strong season of Dancing with the Stars (2.6) dead even with last year's performance finale (2.6), but that was of surprisingly little help to the season premiere of The Bachelorette (2.0). Usually being up a tick year-to-year is a good thing, but last year it had no DWTS lead-in and faced The Voice for the full two hours, so this is a somewhat disappointing start.
  • The performance finale of The Voice (3.2) was up two ticks week-to-week and was roughly 15% behind last year's Monday finale in mid-June. But it helped get the pilot of variety series The Maya Rudolph Show (2.1) pretty well-sampled (though it had a big preliminary 2.4 -> 1.9 drop at the half). It was no The Blacklist, but this may be enough to get it some kind of order for a lower-priority tryout.
  • Fox had a struggle against the stronger reality series, as the season finale of Bones (1.6) and 24: Live Another Day (1.7) were each down.

Spotted Ratings, Sunday 5/18/14

  • ABC stomped everyone on the season's last Sunday with the Billboard Music Awards (3.5), which were even year-to-year in the demo and up over 10% in viewership (10.74 million vs. 9.5 million).
  • Finale night for the regular lineups on CBS and Fox produced no noticeable week-to-week changes except for a sizable increase from The Mentalist (1.5). That left it just 12% below last year's finale while most of the other CBS/Fox finales were down at least 20%. And NBC may have been better off just running out the Believe and Crisis string, as they got nothing out of a 7/6c Coldplay special (0.4) and an encore Saturday Night Live special (0.8).

Spotted Ratings, Saturday 5/17/14

Spotted Ratings, Friday 5/16/14

  • Bumped to the 8/7c hour for the first time all season, Shark Tank (1.7) tied a season low, but this was still noticeably above the 1.3 for last year's finale night 8/7c original. Bumping Tank was a two-hour tribute to Barbara Walters (1.6), which did about the same number as recent 20/20 results, and a little worse than Shark Tank at 9/8c.
  • CBS wrapped up its drama lineup last week, and the dramas still airing on the season's final Friday had mixed results. NBC's Grimm (1.3) was unable to benefit, but Hannibal (0.9) was up. And the Hart of Dixie finale (0.4) actually held on to its outright best result since the Friday move.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Question, Tuesday 5/20/14: Will Dancing and The Voice Drown Each Other Out?

The last two days of the 2013-14 regular season will feature TV's two biggest head-to-head reality "rivalries" with dueling finales. What makes this kinda interesting is that while these two pairs always battle each other for most/all of their normally-scheduled seasons, they've actually never had overlapping season finales. It starts tonight with two hours of Dancing with the Stars vs. The Voice. Their finales always avoid each other in the fall because the seasons are of different length, and in the spring because NBC's never positioned a Voice season to close right at the end of the regular season... until now. Will Dancing and The Voice drown each other out? That's The Question for Tuesday, May 20, 2014.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Question, Monday 5/19/14: Will An Earlier Premiere Make The Bachelorette Ratings Rosier?

In the last couple years, those pesky Bachelor/ette series have somehow found yet another shot of momentum. The Bachelorette had a solid summer 2012 season. Then The Bachelor grew in 2013 and dropped less than the league average in 2014, even against the Olympics.

There's been only one recent exception to this trend: last summer's The Bachelorette, down 18%. I don't know why for sure, but a big part of it may have been the scheduling. ABC usually gives it a great situation, premiering it directly after the Monday finale of Dancing with the Stars, but they used that slot to preview drama Motive last year. The Bachelorette crashed to a 1.9 premiere on its own the next week (down 27% year-to-year).

This year, its 90-minute premiere is back in the post-DWTS slot, and given the health of the last couple Bachelor seasons, the ratings should be able to rebound. I don't think it quite gets back to its 2.6 premiere from two years ago, or to The Bachelor's 2.7 premiere in January; neither of those faced The Voice at all, and this one at least deals with 30 minutes of it. But it may well be closer to those than to the 1.9 from last summer.

Over/Under: 2.35.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Spotted Ratings, Thursday 5/15/14

  • Finales and no NFL Draft meant bounce-backs for the CBS comedies. The Big Bang Theory (4.9) got back over a full point week-to-week and actually went past last year's finale (4.8) after finals, while The Millers (2.3) also got four tenths back. Even Bad Teacher (1.4) inched up, despite a repeat Two and a Half Men lead-in (1.8) at 9/8c. However, Elementary (1.4) really limped to the finish with a new low at 10/9c opposite little competition.
  • Fox continued the surprisingly solid penultimate week of American Idol (2.0), and Hell's Kitchen (1.7) also grew.
  • ABC had a relatively modest end to Sandra Oh's run on Grey's Anatomy (2.6), though a finals uptick at least put it ahead of last week's delivery. NBC's conclusion of Rosemary's Baby (1.0) went a tenth below Sunday's premiere rating. And a downward adjustment sank Reign (0.4) to just its third 0.4.

Spotted Ratings, Sunday 5/11/14

  • It was never gonna be The Sound of Music Live!, but NBC's latest "event" was not even remotely eventful. The remake of Rosemary's Baby (1.1) didn't even noticeably outrate the usual combo of cancelled Believe and Crisis, which has gotta be a big disappointment for NBC. That means its conclusion on Thursday probably won't improve on the network's anemic Thursday levels, either.
  • ABC's split-season treatment for the Sunday dramas has quietly been a significant success this spring, and it ended with Once Upon a Time (two hours at 2.3) actually matching last year's finale, while Revenge (1.4) adjusted down to finish 18% behind. For Once, that means it will cut a 30%+ year-to-year deficit from the fall all the way to about 20% by season's end.
  • After a strong Sunday a week ago, Fox saw The Simpsons (1.6) give back its LEGO spike from last week and Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (1.1) fall off a cliff.

Spotted Ratings, Saturday 5/10/14

  • ABC's annual primetime NBA game was down just a tenth from last year's edition. It dominated Fox's NASCAR, down a bit more steeply from a 1.6 on this Saturday last year.

Spotted Ratings, Friday 5/9/14

  • A week after its biggest Friday of the season, Shark Tank (1.9) came back to earth with a traditional repeat (1.0) leading in at 8/7c.
  • Finale night on CBS saw Hawaii Five-0 (1.3) inch off of last week's low, but Unforgettable (0.8) and Blue Bloods (1.4) were down.
  • The CW was on the upswing with Whose Line Is It Anyway? (0.5) and recently renewed Hart of Dixie (0.3). This combo beat Fox's badly rejected encore of the two-hour 24: Live Another Day premiere (0.3).

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Spotted Ratings, Wednesday 5/14/14

  • Almost everything on Wednesday wrapped up the season's penultimate sweeps week even or up:
    • After a couple really soft weeks, ABC finally got three-tenth rallies from The Middle (1.9), the final Suburgatory (1.6) and the beginning of Modern Family's wedding two-parter (3.1);
    • CBS' Survivor (2.6) adjusted up to a new season high, while the season finale of Criminal Minds (2.7) had its best rating since early February (and just a tenth below last year's finale).
    • Even American Idol (2.1) perked up a bit, so maybe people actually cared about it being the 500th episode.
    • And Arrow (0.9) got a finals uptick, bringing it to even with last year's finale.

2014 Fall Matchups

Here's a lineup of every fall 2014 timeslot (except Saturdays) and some really quick reactions to how the matchups look. 

2014 Upfront Answers, The CW

Last week, I asked "Upfront Questions" to preview each network's fall 2014 schedule. With the schedule now official, here are the "Upfront Answers"!

CW's upfront previews: True Power Rankings | Upfront Questions

Other Upfront Answers: NBC | Fox | ABC | CBS | CW

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Spotted Ratings, Tuesday 5/13/14

  • How do you give a new series launch the least possible media coverage? Premiere it during upfront week. How do you give it the least possible lead-in support? Put it after Glee. Throw in the show's total lack of inherent appeal and you get a 0.5 rating for the premiere of summer improv comedy show Riot. The only silver lining is that it might be able to get some "momentum" since its lead-in will improve with American Idol's performance finale next week. Arguably even more egregious was Glee dive-bombing to 0.6 in its penultimate season finale. Fox is still figuring out the "right" number of episodes for Glee's final season, but that number is pretty clearly zero. If you're keeping score at home, this was seventy percent below last year's finale (2.0).
  • Most of the shows on other networks are eyeing week-to-week increases in their season finales.
    • CBS seemed to fare best with NCIS (2.6), the final Tuesday edition of NCIS: Los Angeles (2.5) and Person of Interest (1.9) all up by multiple ticks;
    • The last two About a Boy episodes (1.6/1.5) each improved their slots after last week's terrible numbers;
    • ABC's Agents of SHIELD got it usual adjustment and thus inched up week-to-week, while the comedies were each up two;
    • And the CW lost some steam in finals due to a New York city pre-emption but still had a nice two-tenth rebound for The Originals.

2014 Upfront Answers, CBS

Last week, I asked "Upfront Questions" to preview each network's fall 2014 schedule. With the schedule now official, here are the "Upfront Answers"!

CBS' upfront previews: True Power Rankings | Upfront Questions

Other Upfront Answers: NBC | Fox | ABC | CBS | CW

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

2014 Upfront Answers, ABC

Last week, I asked "Upfront Questions" to preview each network's fall 2014 schedule. With the schedule now official, here are the "Upfront Answers"!

ABC's upfront previews: True Power Rankings | Upfront Questions

Other Upfront Answers: NBC | Fox | ABC | CBS | CW

Spotted Ratings, Monday 5/12/14

  • The second week of 24: Live Another Day (2.0) was down a significant 23% week-to-week. This behavior is more reminiscent of a new show than a typical season of 24, so there was clearly a significant dose of nostalgia at play in last week's number. Fox would probably still be fine if it settles close to this.
  • Dancing with the Stars (2.2) bounced much of the way back from its badly off night against 24 last week. And Castle (2.1) brought much more of a finale jump to the 10/9c hour than The Blacklist (2.6), whose finale actually hit the show's lowest post-Voice number yet.
  • CBS also fared pretty well, possibly benefiting from 24 coming back to earth; Friends with Better Lives (1.6) was even despite a repeat 2 Broke Girls lead-in (1.3), while Mike and Molly (2.0) rebounded noticeably.

SpotVault - Louie (FX) - Summer 2014 Ratings

Mondays, 10/9c, FX

SpotVault - Playing House (USA) - Summer 2014 Ratings

Playing House
Tuesdays, 10/9c, USA

SpotVault - 24: Live Another Day (Fox) - 2013-14 Ratings

24: Live Another Day
Mondays, 9/8c, Fox

Monday, May 12, 2014

2014 Upfront Answers, Fox

Last week, I asked "Upfront Questions" to preview each network's fall 2014 schedule. With the schedule now official, here are the "Upfront Answers"!

Fox's upfront previews: True Power Rankings | Upfront Questions

Other Upfront Answers: NBC | Fox | ABC | CBS | CW

Sunday, May 11, 2014

2014 Upfront Answers, NBC

Last week, I asked "Upfront Questions" to preview each network's fall 2014 schedule. With the schedule now official, here are the "Upfront Answers"!

NBC's upfront previews: True Power Rankings | Upfront Questions

Other Upfront Answers: NBC | Fox | ABC | CBS | CW

Friday, May 9, 2014

Spotted Ratings, Thursday 5/8/14


  • The NFL Draft (4.6 on ESPN, 1.1 on NFL Network) obliterated records and took its usual surprisingly large chunk of ratings juice away from The Big Bang Theory (3.8). The good news is it didn't hurt the rest of CBS that much on a week-to-week basis (perhaps since they already took their huge drops last week). But it meant no week three miracle for Bad Teacher (1.3), still well behind lead-in Two and a Half Men (2.1) as well as The Crazy Ones' usual deliveries.
  • Some finals help meant ABC's dramas ended up about as resilient as usual on Draft night,with Grey's Anatomy (2.5) giving back just a single tenth of the Isaiah Washington bounce last week. Black Box (1.2) was also down a tenth in week three.
  • NBC continued its mix of random stuff to wrap up the season on Thursday. The American Comedy Awards (1.0) leading out of an original Hollywood Game Night (0.9) were a much weaker combo than last week's iHeartRadio awards show.
  • For the True scores, the ESPN Draft rating (4.6) is applied as cable competition for the networks. This causes some irregularities, as I can't account for how the show broke down across the half-hours. But it at least somewhat helps off-set the noticeable week-to-week PUT growth.

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