Friday, February 13, 2015

CW 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

The CWTrueHeatA18-49y2ySkew%MaleCounted Eps
The Fall Anchors
1The Flash1.40-6%1.3848%59%4
3The Vampire Diaries0.84+1%0.76-31%61%33%5

Biggest series in CW A18-49+ history seems pretty much in the bag now for The Flash. This show is now clearly aspiring to a couple other milestones: biggest available netlet newbie (Enterprise's 79 in 2001-02) and biggest available netlet scripted season (Smallville's 87 in 2002-03). The former seems fairly likely; it'd probably have to average below a 1.2 to blow it. The latter will be tougher; it appears to need at least a 1.4 average going forward.

These are the only three shows I would bet strongly on returning to lead-off roles for the CW next season. The Vampire Diaries isn't trending well on a year-to-year basis, but it's still a pretty clear third-place show on the network strength-wise, even while having to deal with the likely detrimental Grey's Anatomy.

A quick word about Arrow's Heat: when I first set these tables up last week, Arrow looked even more ridiculous at +25%. The current number comes the week after the show's series high crossover with The Flash left the rolling average and went into the pool of previous episodes. So it's generating +14% even without The Flash crossover, a good indication of just how scorching the show is right now.

The CWTrueHeatA18-49y2ySkew%MaleCounted Eps
The Other Fall-Worthy Pieces
4The Originals0.68+2%0.65-36%59%37%4
6Whose Line Is It Anyway?0.62-2%0.55+8%45%52%2
7Jane the Virgin0.55+13%0.5349%29%4

Arrow's recent heat is great for the network, but it's mostly extra credit from a scheduling perspective; the show would be locked into its current position without it. The real game-changing story in the CW's last couple months has been the rise of Jane the Virgin, which seems to be even more precipitous in the younger female demos. I'm not saying the show will become the CW's Scandal, but it has the same kind of feel as that show's very early episodes; that is, things were legitimately touch-and-go at the time it got its first episode extension. Now, armed with Golden Globes and increasingly worthy ratings, the show has become the heavy favorite among the CDub's lower-tier shows to stay in a high-priority timeslot. It would probably take either a ratings collapse, an awesome new class, or great numbers from iZombie to prevent this from happening, and I'm not even sure one of those would be enough.

Meanwhile, Supernatural continues to get absolutely killed by the True formula in a timeslot with an awesome lead-in and pretty soft competition. It's a little disconcerting because it feels like a show that is probably less impacted by external factors than the average series, but this will be put to the test when the show moves to Wednesday in March. Arrow actually isn't doing much worse than The Flash as a lead-in at this point, but SPN will probably be expected to drop a bit due to more competition.

The CWTrueHeatA18-49y2ySkew%MaleCounted Eps
The ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
8Hart of Dixie0.51-5%0.40+5%46%30%2
9The 1000.51-2%0.50-13%42%52%4
11Masters of Illusion0.47+15%0.35+7%45%n/a2
12America's Next Top Model0.47+1%0.38-14%45%26%6

Some of these shows have gotten renewed. The renewals are not necessarily egregious, but the sheer volume of shows almost certainly marks a legit step toward a year-round, lower-repeat schedule. Barring an epic collapse in the second tier or a developmental disaster, none of these shows should probably be in the mix for one of the "big eight" timeslots (that is, Monday through Thursday in the fall).

Will have to do some hand-wringing in the off-season about how to count my Best Case/Worst Case prediction for Hart of Dixie. Normally I would throw it out, because I would have gone a lot higher if I'd known it had local programming as a lead-in every week; all indications are that is a much stronger option than what I perceived to be its lead-in (0.3 ratings from Masters of Illusion). But in this case it would feel kinda slimy to throw it out entirely, because it still would've been a huge miss. I can't imagine having predicted it to do any more than a 0.3 every Friday week, with maybe an extra tenth for the Monday preview. The fact that it's actually running ahead of its early-season Monday results from last season is very surprising to me. So the show should be at the top of this tier and deserves real renewal consideration in my opinion. It hasn't really ventured into "dumb cancellation" territory yet, though a few more 0.5's on a Friday may legitimately put it there.

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