Monday, June 16, 2014

A18-49+ Update: The New Shows in 2013-14

Here's a look at the new scripted series on the big four in 2013-14:

Total Flop Renew Solid Hit Big Hit
2013-14 41 18 10 10 5 1

Flop% Renew% Solid% Hit% BigHit%
2013-14 44% 24% 24% 12% 2%

Big Hits: The Blacklist (153)
Hits: The Millers (140), Sleepy Hollow (138), Resurrection (133), Agents of SHIELD (127)
Solid: Mom (111), The Crazy Ones (111), We Are Men (101), Almost Human (100), About a Boy (100)
Sub-solid renewals: The Goldbergs (89), Chicago PD (88), Brooklyn Nine-Nine (80)

Renews by network: ABC 3, CBS 2, NBC 3, Fox 2

After a shockingly light 2012-13 season in terms of new show volume, the total count swung way back up in 2013-14. 41 new shows inched past 2011-12's 40 for most new shows in the A18-49+ era. This helped produce some of the largest numbers we've seen in the various A18-49+ categories. 18 flops was the highest number since 2006-07, 10 solids tied the most in the A18-49+ era (with 2011-12), while it was the first five-hit season since there were six in that miracle 2004-05 year. The Blacklist was the first big hit since 2 Broke Girls two years ago, and the first drama big hit since Heroes seven years ago.

These stats are so ridiculous in large part because of the higher volume of new shows, but even the rate stats are pretty favorable. 44% flops is less than the 11-year average of 47%. 24% solids is well above the 17% average (and behind only 2004-05 (26%) and 2011-12 (25%)). Even if you throw out the three shows that barely hit the league average (including two-and-through We Are Men) the number drops to 17%, which is still average. And 12% hits ties 2009-10 for second-best behind 2004-05 (19%), well ahead of the 8% average.

But the real weirdness of the class of 2013-14 is this: even with what seemed like a relatively strong slate ratings-wise, the renewal axe was wielded quite liberally. The big four brought back just ten new shows out of the 41. Even with the most new shows of the era, this was behind the average number of renewals per season (10.5), and the lowest renewal rate of the last eleven years (24%). Almost everything that seemed like it should've been on the bubble or leaning renewal (specifically Friends with Better Lives, Almost Human and Growing Up Fisher) got canned. The only show with truly bubbly ratings to sneak through was Brooklyn Nine-Nine. And at an 80 A18-49+, it was the strongest "lowest-rated weeknight renewal" in the 11 seasons to date.

We don't know yet how this class will do on a long-term basis, but some of the top-rated shows like Sleepy Hollow and Resurrection feel pretty fragile moving forward. Maybe this will be a year like 2005-06, in which some of the unassuming season one performers like How I Met Your Mother, Bones and Criminal Minds end up being the bigger long-term players. I could see that happening with the likes of The Goldbergs and Chicago PD.

Career A18-49+ Update:

I also grade the classes based on how they pan out in Career A18-49+. Here's the update to that pursuit with 2013-14 numbers. The changes based on 2013-14 numbers are included in parentheses.

Total Utility Staple Tentpole Star Icon
2003-04 32 5 3 2 2 1
2004-05 31 10 8 7 4 1
2005-06 38 8 3 3 2 (+1) 0
2006-07 34 5 4 1 0 0
2007-08 27 3 2 1 1 0
2008-09 25 4 2 (+1) 0 0 0
2009-10 26 9 (+1) 4 (+1) 1 0 0
2010-11 34 3 (+1) 1 (+1) 0 0 0
2011-12 40 5 (+4) 0 0 0 0
2012-13 28 0 0 0 0 0
2013-14 41 0 0 0 0 0

The problem here is obvious: it's very unfair to the later classes because they haven't had as much time. But there's still some insight to be gleaned. For example, it's pretty clear that 2004-05 was an absolute beast of a year, and 2009-10 is going to comfortably outshine most of the previous classes, even with quite a few upgrades still to come.

To help with the inherent problem, I put every number that's "locked in" (that is, there's no chance to add to this number) in red. And here's a very quick note about what changed for each class in 2013-14 and what can change in 2014-15.

2003-04: The only drama left is the NCIS run for icon. Could happen next year, but it will need its biggest season yet (roughly a 164 A18-49+).

2004-05: American Dad! heads to cable, where I will continue to count its numbers toward the career total. It needs just 50 more points to become the fifth and final star of the class.

2005-06: Criminal Minds became the second star this year, joining How I Met Your Mother, but it needs three more seasons at a 125+ average to make an icon run. Bones needs 113 more points to become the third star of this class, so it probably comes up short without an additional renewal.

2006-07: Extinct.

2007-08: Another awesome The Big Bang Theory season leaves it just 198 points away from icon. Barring a shocking decline, it should get there next year.

2008-09: Castle became staple #2 this year. Parks and Rec is 35 points away from becoming staple #3, so it'll get there unless its final season goes to Friday and does sub-Raising Hope numbers. The surprising The Mentalist renewal gives it a shot at tentpoledom, but it still needs to accumulate 68 points next season.

2009-10: Community became the 9th and final utility player of this class, putting it second outright behind 2004-05. The Middle became staple #4 this year. The Good Wife needs a 77 next year to become staple #5, while Parenthood is now looking like a big long-shot (it needs an 88 in its final season).  NCIS: Los Angeles will become tentpole #2 next season, but Glee now looks very unlikely (it needs an 86 in its final season). Modern Family becomes a star next season.

2010-11: Bob's Burgers knocked this class up to three utility players, but a shockingly weak final season of Raising Hope left it a single point shy of the utility distinction. The Blue Bloods renewal ensures it will become the fourth and final utility player of the class next season. Mike and Molly became the first staple of this year, with Hawaii Five-0 still 81 points away (meaning likely two seasons).

2011-12: Almost as disappointing as Raising Hope was Suburgatory, whose surprise cancellation leaves it four points shy of utility. However, four other shows joined the club in season three, and two more (Revenge and Last Man Standing) should come next year, with Grimm rounding out a class of eight in two years (or a really exceptional one year). 2 Broke Girls will become a staple next season, and Scandal (needs 134) probably joins it. Once Upon a Time (needs 116) is also possible next season.

2012-13: Nothing is a total lock to become a utility player in season three. Chicago Fire needs 106 (had 108 last year), Elementary needs 101 (had 92 last year) and fast-bleeding The Following needs 82 (had 93 last year). If The Following totally melts down, this class may not even get to three utility players, which is the current low count in the A18-49+ era.

Here's the now updated A18-49+ New Shows post.


Spot said...

Any idea why the 2006-07 class is extinct? I'm guessing the writer's strike didn't help, but is there any other reason?

Spot said...

Amazing how last year The Following's 125 Plus had to the top spot and this year FIVE shows outrated that.

Spot said...

While I do think it was a good year for new shows, I do think you make it look better than it actually was. I think there is a lot of "solid" potential going around, but not quite much "hit" potential. Cases in point:
- Resurrection and Sleepy Hollow had too short seasons to be properly judged in the same pedigree as the others
- The Millers is only here because of TBBT, I cannot seriously take it as a hit show
- While The Blacklist is a hit on its own merits, I don't think it would qualify as a big hit without the voice (see: January episodes).

Even with these caveats, it was a good year but like you mentioned and I agree, it was mostly on other fronts. The Goldbergs is setting up quite well to long term potential and I think stuff like Agents of Shield, Chicago PD and Mom will also also stick around long term, in addition to the blacklist of course. Also, the cw had a great year!

Spot said...

I think the writer's strike is the biggest reason. Any hope of a "sophomore bounce" that helps grow/lock a show's audience in for an extended run was abbreviated. More established shows like Criminal Minds, HIMYM, Grey's Anatomy, etc. already had an audience while WGA-impacted Class of 2007-2008 essentially got a do-over with the 2008-2009 newbies. It meant that the networks' attention for those third-year juniors was minimal at best unless it gave them some prestige (30 Rock, Friday Night Lights).

Spot said...

Smash and Revolution never hit such plus ratings after the Voice though. And both of them had a stonger Voice lead in, and especially Smash, less episodes to fall. The Blacklist's January run still would count it as a hit. Seeing as Grey's Anatomy and Heroes are the only Big Hits in Plus during the era of rookie dramas, I'll take this even if the Voice pushed it there

Spot said...

There's the big wildcard of Scorpion. CBS had a sitcom at 9 since I Love Lucy in the '50s. That's 60 years of precedent thrown out for a rookie drama. It must have tested through the freakin' roof for that to happen. Blacklist and Castle will both have established shows as lead ins at least

Spot said...

That or the comedy pilots tested through the floor, a la the 2012 class where the #1 show was Partners and the #2 had to be thrown out, and the TNF deal made a difference somehow... Besides, they haven't been talking up ridiculously high testing, so at the very least it didn't test as well as POI.

Spot said...

I agree that the blacklist is a hit, I was only contesting the big hit thing, which I don't think it would do without the voice. It as a lot of merit but the voice certainly helps it.

Spot said...

It's a 60+ year precedent by a network there! It's about the same as putting something other than 60 Minutes at 7 on Sundays

Spot said...

I don't buy it because they had options there...
They could have kept Mike and Molly and Friends with Better Lives on Mondays or they could have sent LA to 9pm and Scorpion to 10p if they didn't trust Scorpion. The fact that they went 60 years out of their way to give Scorpion that timeslot does suggest ridiculous degree of confidence there

Spot said...

I disagree, I would give it higher. DWTS had a great spring season but the fall numbers were still down and Castle was even beating it at times. Besides, even lead-in out of the equation, the show is up in plus to its second biggest season yet and that's an amazing feat. I would give it at least a B+.

Spot said...

After this season, I think CBS didn't want to schedule another newbie against the strongest procedurals on rival networks. Scorpion is at least getting hammocked between two known, if mediocre, quantities and gets a higher HUT hour. Plus, putting it at 9:00 makes it easier to replace if it bombs with Mike & Molly and either The Odd Couple or The McCarthys.

Spot said...

Wow, only 2-3 utility players? Really shows how little staying power 2012-13 ended up having. And I'd call it particularly disappointing for Elementary. That show really deserves better ratings than it's getting.

Spot said...

Could be more than 3, but the only other candidates are Nashville and The Mindy Project.

Spot said...

Those two certainly would have to run longer than their straggling ratings suggest they can.

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