Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Renewology Roundup: Analyzing the R% for MacGyver, SHIELD, Rosewood and more!


Eventually, these Renewology roundup posts will probably settle into some kind of consistent form. But in this post, I'm just gonna run through a few of the "weird" results that the Renewology formula has spit out in its first few weeks. Focusing on the oddities may not exactly be painting Renewology in the best light, obviously, but it's interesting to explore whether these things are flaws in the formula, or whether it knows something we don't know.

These numbers are through Monday, October 10. Some of this may be obsoleted shortly by last night's numbers, but I don't have a good estimate on them yet and wanted to get this post out.



MacGyver

RenewologyThis Week's True
#
DateR%ProjTargetCollapseResilientTrueSitchViewCompLILO
310/7/201639%1.001.080.711.301.14-0.04-0.17+0.17-0.080.04

The formula has been a huge seller on MacGyver since the beginning. Even on a historically huge premiere night, it was only in the 70's. After a somewhat steep week two drop, it went all the way to the bubble, and is noticeably below it even with a seemingly solid 1.1 in week three.

Clearly, this is a True formula thing, not a Renewology thing; even in a Friday lead-off role, it only has a Sitch of -0.04 points. Why so little credit for this timeslot? It's an interesting case where almost every change I made in the 2016-17 version of the True formula is conspiring against it:
  • The biggest factor is that the 8:00 hour is treated as inherently easier than in past versions. While overall live viewing appears to be much lower at 8:00 than in the other hours, the difference is much less stark in the adjusted, "True" version of viewing, because 8:00 is most favorable hour for same day DVRing. Some version of this has always been in the formula, but it was dialed up in 2016-17.
  • CBS Friday shows are also a victim of what I call the "skew multiplier," which makes younger-skewing shows more susceptible to depressed overall viewing and older-skewing shows less susceptible. This helps to account for how young-skewing shows collapse late in the season and on holidays, but it also means old-skewing shows are supposed to hold up a lot better in these situations. It results in CBS shows having a relatively modest "Friday factor."
  • Even the addition of lead-outs to the formula hurts MacGyver! Hawaii Five-0 is an above-average and very compatible lead-out, and that shaves off a few more hundredths as you can see in the table above.
Each of these things, individually, is worth less than a tenth of a point. Combined, though, they likely bring MacGyver down by nearly two tenths relative to the old formula! For the most part, I don't want to run away from this. The combination of things might be a bit too much in this case, but I obviously believe in all of them individually, or they wouldn't be there.

I also think it's a situation where the margin for error is deceptively low. Even on that premiere night, which made a lot of history, the formula projected MacGyver would end up with very close to the same True as Five-0 and Blue Bloods, if things played to form. Since then, things have clearly gone worse than "to form" for MacGyver. This last point was still above the projected CBS bubble, but Renewology still expects it to lose a little over 10% more from here. That would make it a lot weaker than Five-0 and Blue Bloods, and it should be a question mark if it's in that situation. If it can stabilize at this point, things will perk up.



Rosewood

RenewologyThis Week's True
#
DateR%ProjTargetCollapseResilientTrueSitchViewCompLILO
19/22/201623%0.760.910.530.980.85-0.15-0.01-0.05-0.06-0.03
29/29/201665%0.900.820.641.150.92-0.12-0.03-0.01-0.06-0.03
310/6/201656%0.920.890.691.140.92-0.02+0.07-0.00-0.06-0.02

The season's biggest week-to-week swing in R% was week two of Rosewood, which went from a seemingly dunzo premiere to a seemingly favorable second episode. It went up when the Renewology projection said it was supposed to go down, and the Fox target collapsed in week two, making for a ridiculous swing. Its increase to a 0.9 rating in week three seemingly should've brightened the picture even more, but True wasn't really buying that increase, and the target went way back up... so Rosewood actually declined in R% in week three, and is now more of a true bubble show.

I've said this a few times, and I'm not sure anybody ever really believed me, but it's playing out again for Rosewood in season two: this is a show that has a funny way of utterly destroying its perception with some awful points, and then later blending in a few that are not really that bad. It actually seems to be playing out about the same way that its points without Empire did in season one; it had a simply unforgivable start with fractional results in the winter, but it held all of that rating and then even ticked up to 1.0 after DST when it should've been dropping even more. Much like those winter fractionals, the 0.7 premiere didn't really pass the "smell test"; it had just gotten a 0.6 for a repeat a week before!

What does this funny behavior mean? It probably means that Rosewood has a super-casual audience that may just cycle in or out at any moment due to sampling error. That's not really a compliment. But if 0.8-0.9 becomes the norm, it's certainly plausible that it could be a part of the renewal picture. The problem is it could easily revert back to 0.7 (or lower?) again at any moment. Stay tuned.



Agents of SHIELD

RenewologyThis Week's True
#
DateR%ProjTargetCollapseResilientTrueSitchViewCompLILO
29/27/201688%1.140.850.811.461.18-0.28-0.22+0.10-0.13-0.02

Renewology has been super-optimistic on Agents of SHIELD in both of its opening results. A big part of this is its incompatibility with Dancing with the Stars, making for what the formula perceives to be one of the worst lead-in situations on TV. The argument that SHIELD has a rotten timeslot has been vindicated to some degree in delayed viewing numbers; the SHIELD premiere doubled in Live+7, and those gains were only in the 70-75% area most of the time when it had a strong Fresh Off the Boat lead-in last fall. We'll see if the True numbers dip with a The Real O'Neals lead-in, which should be closer to SHIELD skew-wise. But if it ends up being basically a Nashville-sized player with more favorable demographics, I would tend to like its chances... especially after what's happened with Notorious and Conviction.



Elementary / Madam Secretary (table below is Madam)

RenewologyThis Week's True
#
DateR%ProjTargetCollapseResilientTrueSitchViewCompLILO
110/2/201623%0.911.090.631.181.02+0.08+0.30-0.21+0.02-0.03

These shows are going to be lower than they "should" be all season, because their fates are not really/at all tied to first-run ratings. Not really much else to say. With Madam, I would completely ignore the R%. It's clearly the new version of The Good Wife, a show CBS was renewing in spite of first-run ratings even long before it had a syndication deal. Elementary's ineptitude might end up mattering because the syndication money will run out at some point, but clearly that is the key issue and Renewology doesn't have any way of knowing about that.



The Good Place

RenewologyThis Week's True
#
DateR%ProjTargetCollapseResilientTrueSitchViewCompLILO
19/19/201690%1.450.890.772.121.88+0.42-0.03+0.07+0.39-0.01
29/22/201678%1.160.890.651.671.30+0.10+0.05-0.01+0.05-0.00
39/29/201687%1.210.910.861.551.30-0.00+0.01+0.02-0.00-0.03
410/6/201689%1.220.900.881.551.29+0.11+0.10+0.01+0.02-0.03

The "oddity" with The Good Place was not so much its favorable view now, but how incredibly favorable it was after the post-Voice preview. The True formula was a bit too kind to the preview, probably, but not by that much; in fact, the R% has worked its way up to about where it was on the night of that preview. The projection is lower but there's also increased certainty that it will hold up from here.

And it's worth noting that Good Place gets a lot of help from being a comedy on a comedy-starved network; it'd be about 10% lower if it were a drama, but still in good shape. Since it is a comedy, it's getting hard to imagine NBC parting ways with it.



Blindspot

RenewologyThis Week's True
#
DateR%ProjTargetCollapseResilientTrueSitchViewCompLILO
410/5/201689%1.301.011.051.551.29+0.01+0.04-0.00-0.060.04

The formula has also loved Blindspot since its successful move to the 8/7c hour. It seems to have been correct to treat that premiere Wednesday performance like a second episode, rather than a premiere, because Blindspot has been quite resilient as the rest of the network has come down to its level. Still think this seems a little high, but it's an undeniable improvement on last year's bubbly The Mysteries of Laura.



Timeless

RenewologyThis Week's True
#
DateR%ProjTargetCollapseResilientTrueSitchViewCompLILO
110/3/201663%1.111.010.701.521.54+0.26-0.03+0.04+0.27-0.01
210/10/201639%0.951.020.641.251.17+0.23-0.06+0.07+0.22-0.01

After a rather optimistic view on the Timeless premiere, the R% "caught up" with the conventional wisdom at least to some degree with a big drop in week two. So why was it so much higher to begin with? The first answer is that it doesn't pay any attention to the timeslot history. Starting way lower than Revolution, The Blacklist and Blindspot is a bigger red flag for us than it is for the formula. And all those shows were easy renewals, so there's definitely a lot of cushion between them and the actual cancellation axe.

Another aspect of the timeslot history is the fact that Revolution and Blindspot collapsed in the second half of the season. But the formula doesn't use that; instead, it uses a generic post-premiere decline pattern. Had it followed that pattern to form, it would've ended up with low-1's after The Voice and still looked like a renewable show. In fact, it wouldn't have looked that different from what Blindspot became in the second half of last season, which was much weaker but still pretty deserving of the renewal.

Week two suggested that things are not playing out to that form for Timeless. Its preliminary 1.5 was not too irregular, though it still would've lost some R% ground because the competition, including Monday Night Football, was lighter week-to-week. The downward adjustment to 1.4 in finals was a big blow. That took it from maybe high-end-of-typical to a clearly steep decline, and really soured the perception of where its True will end up. Still, the formula has it more alive than the conventional wisdom; that second-half-of-Blindspot scenario is still in play, but fading.



 New Girl / Brooklyn Nine-Nine (table below is New Girl)

RenewologyThis Week's True
#
DateR%ProjTargetCollapseResilientTrueSitchViewCompLILO
310/4/201694%1.170.810.881.461.17-0.17+0.04+0.02-0.13-0.11

The comedy version of Agents of SHIELD has been Fox's Tuesday 8/7c hour, as the formula has been extremely high on New Girl and Brooklyn Nine-Nine throughout. This could be a case where the formula is underrating the Fox comedy department; after all, last year there were Grandfathered, and The Grinder, and Bordertown, and Cooper Barrett's Guide to severely depress the network's comedy average. This year, the comedy department average may look better simply due to lower volume, and it will be a while before we can properly account for that. 0.9/1.0 doesn't seem good, but this is a competitive timeslot, and a network where pretty much everything outside of Wednesday and animated anchors is in this range or lower. It just doesn't look like an hour that Fox can easily get rid of.



Thanks for reading! The full Renewology lineups by network, which will update on a daily basis, are coming soon.

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