Thursday, February 12, 2015

NBC 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

NBC ComediesTrueHeatA18-49y2ySkew%MaleCounted Eps
The Runaway #1
1Parks and Recreation1.39-8%1.30+15%51%40%3

NBC's comedy department is now much like two years ago, when a show in an announced final season (The Office) towered over everything else. The difference is that, even if Parks and Recreation has overachieved for much of this season, the whole NBC comedy totem pole keeps getting more and more pathetic.

The good news is that Parks will certainly keep NBC from the embarrassment of having every single comedy finish behind every single drama. But it's up to Undateable and One Big Happy to give the network something actually renewable.

NBC ComediesTrueHeatA18-49y2ySkew%MaleCounted Eps
The Newbies (and Almost Newbies)
2About a Boy1.07-9%0.85-44%37%36%4
3Marry Me0.94-22%0.7839%35%4
4Bad Judge0.90-26%0.7632%35%5
5A to Z0.88-17%0.5836%34%5

Another dubious potential distinction on NBC: it's mid-February, and the network is frighteningly close to having every single scripted returnee rate ahead of every single new series. If we could count About a Boy, the latest-premiering of NBC's returnees, as a newbie, they'd be there. So far, this has been about as bad as new classes get for a network.

NBC DramasTrueHeatA18-49y2ySkew%MaleCounted Eps
The Runaway #1
1The Blacklist2.36+3%2.43-15%33%43%3

The Thursday premiere of The Blacklist had raw numbers no better than a normal Monday episode, but the 2.57 was Truly the series' second-best episode of the season. I expected the promotion and Super Bowl two-parter would amount to more than other throwaway SB lead-outs like New Girl and get it closer to the True season high (my prediction was 2.7). But I would still be careful about some of the "Super Bowl made no impact" stuff I've seen in the media. Just getting to 2.4 in a much tougher slot may have been the Super Bowl impact. Going forward, we'll find out whether I overestimated the impact of the Super Bowl or whether I just overestimated The Blacklist itself. So far, there is little to indicate this won't remain the network's Truly strongest scripted show.

NBC DramasTrueHeatA18-49y2ySkew%MaleCounted Eps
The Other Renewals (and a Renew-Worthy Cancel)
2Chicago Fire1.89-5%1.62-11%32%36%5
3Chicago PD1.70+2%1.54-4%28%36%5
4Law and Order: SVU1.68-11%1.42-9%28%33%5

Before the season, I predicted Chicago PD would start the season with solid retention of Law and Order: SVU and end the season growing from SVU. Based on the early 2015 episodes, that's looking like a dead-on prophecy, but I may have gotten kinda lucky that Empire showed up in the 9:00 hour. An SVU that was having another improbably strong season for much of the fall has been hemorrhaging on a year-to-year basis since the new year, and Empire seems like the pretty obvious explanation. It can't end fast enough.

There was an interesting discussion in the comments a week or so ago about how it feels psychologically like Grimm is doing a lot worse y2y than it really is. The difference is all about consistency; the show would regularly dart all over the map from 1.2 to 1.6 last season, and it's been at a very consistent 1.2 or 1.3 this year. Perhaps we remember those 1.5 and 1.6 high points and forget that a lot of the episodes dipped into Grimm's current range. While the show's planned move to 8/7c didn't seem like very good treatment, the super-early renewal is probably more telling about the state of Grimm.

NBC DramasTrueHeatA18-49y2ySkew%MaleCounted Eps
The Newbies
7The Mysteries of Laura1.31-14%1.1821%32%5
9State of Affairs1.09-21%0.9830%39%4

There's no way to sugarcoat it: Allegiance not even getting to Laura's rolling average on premiere night is really pathetic. Next.

It still looks very possible that NBC will have to make some kind of crazy face-saving renewal. There are going to be a lot more shows in the mix by season's end, but the clubhouse leader at least right now somehow remains The Mysteries of Laura. Chances are it gets done in by something that hasn't premiered yet, and it's looked really bad in the last couple episodes. But for now, its chances are certainly still somewhere above 0%, and it's worth seeing if it can benefit from the departure of similarly old-skewing The Mentalist.

NBC UnscriptedTrueHeatA18-49y2ySkew%MaleCounted Eps
1The Voice Mon Fall2.66-24%2.76-17%36%38%5
2The Voice Tue Fall2.59-11%2.64-16%34%38%5
3Celebrity Apprentice1.87+1%1.9539%37%2
4Dateline Fri1.42-9%1.12-3%25%37%6
5The Biggest Loser1.28-9%1.13-36%35%35%6

Aside from Empire, the Celebrity Apprentice ratings are probably the surprise of the season for me. This goes far and away beyond The Biggest Loser's rejuvenation a couple years ago; that show was up 6% year-to-year and basically returned to the Plus it was getting two years previous. This is going to be up 25% from two years ago and the highest Plus in the history of the celebrity edition. The media hatred of Donald Trump will keep this story from getting any real attention. I'm hesitant to call it "sad" or "a shame" because I'm not a fan of the guy either. But from a brutally objective ratings standpoint, this is a great story. (Instead of lauds for Apprentice's ratings, there's ridicule of Trump's claims about the show being #1. Those claims should be ridiculed, obviously, but they're practically a strawman argument for anyone with a clue.)

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