Monday, May 30, 2016

Spotted Summer 2016 Plans: The New Schedules Plus


Shaking up the summer routine a bit in 2016. Here are some details:

Schedules Plus Enhanced. The big new thing this summer is a significantly upgraded version of the old Schedules Plus posts, a look at each network's schedule over the last 15 years with numbers adjusted for the historical decline (A18-49+). These posts used to look at only fall schedules, but each post will now have four completely different versions for different parts of the regular season.

There are two big benefits to this new approach. 1) It actually includes midseason replacements within the tables! Since I don't have to manually explain most of the midseason stuff, these posts will probably be very light on text outside of the table. And 2) it makes the ratings more apples-to-apples within each part of the year. In the old version, shows that aired only in the fall would have a significant advantage since they didn't have to decline in the spring, but got compared against shows that had full seasons.

The four sections of each post are: fall (everything up until December 31), winter (January 1 to the start of Daylight Saving Time) and spring (the start of DST to the end of the regular season). I also left in the old version as the default, now called "full-fall"; it uses the fall schedules, but the actual numbers are the full-season ratings rather than just fall. So if it's too much of a number overload, you can just stick with the old version. In many cases, it is still a decent representation of the full season without getting too crowded.

Only one of these appears on the page at a time, and you can control which with buttons at the top and bottom of each post, as you can see on this miniature version:



Year8:008:309:009:3010:0010:30Avg
2013-14How I Met Your Mother2 Broke GirlsMike and MollyMomHostages111
18013411511164
157113
2014-152 Broke GirlsThe MillersScorpionNCIS: Los Angeles113
12010013595
110
2015-16SupergirlScorpionNCIS: Los Angeles109
11512290
AVERAGE:12712383111



The template automatically finds the most frequent occupant of each timeslot in each part of the year, and the ratings averages are for episodes just within that timeslot and within that time period. So these averages will generally not include previews/bonus episodes. Some repeats will squeeze into these tables, but only if they were the overwhelming most frequent occupant in that time period. (More specifically, repeats must occur at least three more times than the most frequent original to qualify for the table.) Even breaking the season into three parts, some occupants will be left out... especially when a network has an "early fall" and "late fall" schedule. I may try to note a few of these, but please make a note in the comments if you know of a noteworthy one that is left out.

A neat feature in the table portion is that you can now sort by two different columns: Year and the full nightly averages (Avg). All you have to do is click on "Year" or "Avg" at the top of the table. This allows you to arrange the table by the strongest and weakest lineups.

That's the tables. Onto the graphical representations! Each post will have two different types of charts. The first is a breakdown by hour within each time of year:


Whenever you switch the time of year, the "Chartify by hour" button will bring up a different chart for that section of the season. You can also click AVERAGE in the legend at the bottom of the chart, which will bring up a thicker line that represents the average of the three (or two) hours. So you can see which hour is bringing down or holding up the average. If it's too crowded, you can also click on any of the names in the legend to make those lines disappear/reappear.

And the second type of chart breaks the full nightly averages apart by time of year:


Again, you can click AVERAGE to bring up a grey line that represents the average of the three seasonal lines. This is not the same as the AVERAGE of the hours in the Full-Fall section, since this will include the midseason replacements. So the AVERAGE line in this table is probably the "best" representation of the true evolution of the network/night over time.

The Breakdown. The day before each new Schedules Plus post, there will be a post looking at how that network/night did in the just completed 2015-16 season. These are like the old Schedules Plus updates, but they will break the season down into parts a little more.

These are also replacing the "War of 18-49 Updates"; I will now be touching on the individual shows in these posts, and giving out a grade for each returning show. Unless there is a lot of nuance, I'll probably spend no more than a sentence or two explaining each individual grade, since they will have been largely covered earlier in the post. But the upside is that I'm now gonna do grades for shows in seasons 2-4 as well! I may start grading rookie seasons at some point but I don't have a fully-formed idea of how to do that now.

War of 18-49. The all-new War of 18-49 posts are continuing. The class of 2012-13 has not gotten many shows to four seasons, but throwing in a few cable shows, a few older shows and a bit of reality/summer, there should be enough to do one of these each week.

So the basic structure of each week will contain two The Breakdown/Schedules Plus blocks and one new War of 18-49 post. Since there are 30 Skeds Plus posts, this should be about 15 weeks, which will take us very close to the end of the summer. I also envision doing some Schedules Plus "roundup" posts, charting all the networks within each day of the week, or all the days of the week within each network. But that may end up getting bumped beyond this summer.

In addition, there will be some of the familiar one-off summer staples. We will do some A18-49+ theme updates, looking at this season's big-picture trends for the new shows/networks/genres/days/times. And the annual recap of all my Best Case/Worst Case predictions is also coming. Also expect some new entries in the Ultimate SpotVault collection, massive sortable tables with every single episode of an entire series run.

That's all I've got... for now. It's likely there will actually be another old favorite getting a refresh, but I don't want to get into it until I've knocked out some of this initial stuff first. Stay tuned. It all begins with the first Breakdown tomorrow!

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