Wednesday, February 11, 2015

CBS True Power Rankings, February 2015

The True Power Rankings are back! These rankings dive into the strength of series based on the last one-third of results this season, rounded up (which helps weed out inflated early ratings), in the timeslot-adjusted metric True and in A18-49 ratings. Also included: how the show is trending vs. last season (y2y), how much of the show's total viewership falls within the 18-49 demo (Skew), and, new this year, how much of the 18-49 audience is male (%Male). These last three numbers cover what is available for the full season rather than just the last third of results, but generally the age/gender skews don't change a lot from week to week.

New for this round, a "momentum" metric called Heat. Check out this explanation.

These rankings include results through Sunday, February 8.

More February True Power Rankings: ABC | CBS | NBC | Fox | CW

CBS ComediesTrueHeatA18-49y2ySkew%MaleCounted Eps
The Renews
1The Big Bang Theory4.24-4%4.34-13%35%46%5
22 Broke Girls2.28+12%2.28-18%33%41%4
4Mike and Molly1.97+8%2.13-16%28%38%3

If asked which was hotter, Mom or the Monday 8/7c comedies, Mom seems like the choice. The show has had a couple new series highs since the beginning of the year, after all, and those things get a lot of media attention (even if they were each by just a tenth apiece).

However, 2 Broke Girls and Mike and Molly are just as hot or even hotter in the Heat metric. Is it real momentum or a formula derp? Usually this formula has done a pretty good job of not getting fooled by the CBS Monday surges in January, but they've been up more in True this time around. There may be some contributing factors that aren't that exciting to talk about; for example, 2 Broke Girls benefits a good deal in Heat because of that one random awful 1.6 rating in late November. And it seems possible Mike and Molly premiering in December was just a suboptimal arrangement, and a lot of its audience didn't catch on to its return till after the holidays. Still, these shows have quietly done good work in keeping CBS Monday on the map.

CBS ComediesTrueHeatA18-49y2ySkew%MaleCounted Eps
The Cancels
5Two and a Half Men1.92+3%2.24-5%30%48%5
6The McCarthys1.52+10%1.6028%46%4
7The Millers1.43-13%1.50-41%30%41%2

Another CBS comedy that did better late in the season was the oddly-scheduled The McCarthys, which always stayed quite close to the premiere number and actually perked up a bit in December leading into January. Though it was still at a clear cancel-worthy level even by the end, it seems like a bit of a waste to order the two extra episodes and then preempt three potential airings with four eps left. Shrug.

CBS DramasTrueHeatA18-49y2ySkew%MaleCounted Eps
The Elites
2Criminal Minds2.19+1%2.08-12%27%36%5

Though Scorpion's average is a touch inflated by the 2.51 True for the post-football episode, I'm still willing to put it in the elite category for now. It doesn't have positive Heat because it still hasn't gotten all the way back to the True scores it was posting in September and October. But the show seemed to be sagging fast in the last few episodes of 2014, so the fact that it has picked back up in January is good (even if the competition is more favorable). While the raw numbers resemble NCIS: New Orleans, the lead-in is smaller and less compatible, so I think it's a fair amount ahead of that show right now. The next step is to stay in this tier long-term, something Person of Interest couldn't do when it was heating up around this point in season one.

CBS DramasTrueHeatA18-49y2ySkew%MaleCounted Eps
The NCIS Spinoffs
4NCIS: New Orleans1.90-5%2.2418%42%5
5NCIS: Los Angeles1.73+2%1.68-35%23%42%5

NCIS: LA always graded a bit below the elite dramas when it was on Tuesday but above the bubble shows. It's come down a touch more on Monday, perhaps because the formula couldn't fully encapsulate its compatibility with NCIS. But it has maintained at least something of a lead on the next tier. Meanwhile, NCIS: New Orleans has assumed the LA-on-Tuesday mantle; it's sub-elite but definitely way above-bubble.

CBS DramasTrueHeatA18-49y2ySkew%MaleCounted Eps
The Syndication Factory
6Person of Interest1.59+1%1.56-23%21%46%5
7Blue Bloods1.58+1%1.36-8%14%41%5
9Madam Secretary1.58-0%1.6416%43%5
10Hawaii Five-01.58+3%1.44-13%17%42%5
13The Mentalist1.45+0%1.35-9%19%50%4
14The Good Wife1.43-7%1.35-7%17%40%4

Many of the fundamentals of the True formula have come from studying CBS procedurals, since there are a lot of them and they're generally expected to be a good "control group" that doesn't change much in strength. So I suppose it's a nice affirmation of the formula that almost none of them (including the dramas in the higher tiers) have any real momentum according to Heat. They're pretty much the same shows they were in the first batch of episodes. This batch is also frighteningly packed together for the most part. As a result, there's not much else to say from a ratings strength standpoint; costs and back-end revenues will figure in heavily.

One notable occurrence since the fall is that Elementary has recovered a fair amount from an epically disastrous stretch right after its return. Because the competition was much lighter, especially in January, it's not as big a deal in True as it looks in raw numbers. But the show that posted those 1.0 ratings in mid-November seems to be behind us for now, and Elementary now tends to grade out as a worthy member of this group. It's still a prime candidate to move to a lower-priority timeslot next season, but it's become less about riding out a huge disaster and more just because the shows in this tier shouldn't have a lot of good timeslots anyway.

The Friday shows (especially Hawaii Five-0) have also had a minor midseason resurgence, though once again it's a bigger deal in raw than in True due to the injection of Undercover Boss at 8/7c. I tend to look on H50 and Blue Bloods a bit more favorably than the scores above, partly for "bird in the hand" reasons and partly because I think the current formula undercounts Friday stuff a bit. Since many of these shows' fates are decided already (or at least seem decided), all that really means for practical purposes is that I'd take both of them in a Friday slot over something like Person of Interest.

On a network that has had plenty of unceremonious veteran drama cancellations, it will be interesting to see if this season's The Mentalist arrangement becomes more commonplace. It's likely to happen again regardless of how The Mentalist finishes the season, because the network seems to want to keep the lights on in areas like the large Wednesday 8/7c gap between Survivor seasons. But the last couple ratings for The Mentalist may play at least some role in how aggressively CBS pursues these "proper endings." I certainly wouldn't complain if it happened again with CSI, a show that has been much more important to CBS' history than The Mentalist was.

CBS UnscriptedTrueHeatA18-49y2ySkew%MaleCounted Eps
1Survivor Fall2.18-9%2.16-6%32%44%5
2Undercover Boss1.54-5%1.38-5%22%48%4
360 Minutes1.50-11%1.83-4%21%55%7
4The Amazing Race Fall1.31-11%1.15-42%25%42%4
548 Hours1.26+2%0.83-3%21%39%6

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