Monday, October 8, 2018

Renewology: Week Two Developments

Here's a look at what's new and what's changed in week two.

The ABC Wednesday Newbies
Single Parents68%0.960.770.69234%37%
A Million Little Things57%0.850.680.65228%32%

ABC's Wednesday newbies essentially flipped places in R% in week two, with Single Parents now looking like a more solid favorite and A Million Little Things now into the bubble category. Single Parents didn't do anything exceptional ratings-wise in week two; its own rating projection was virtually unchanged, but most of its gain was because the ABC targets took such a hit. (It would've gone up much less, to 61%ish, without the target change, just because there would be a little less uncertainty in its future ratings.)

Meanwhile, AMLT definitely dropped a lot more than expected, and it's looking clearer that this will fall more squarely in the bubble column rather than being a major win for the network. After a drop from 1.1 to 0.8, it's tempting to say that means it is inevitable it will continue collapsing to an eventual 0.5 or 0.4 and get the axe. But there's a reason Renewology does not assume anything new about its future trajectory; for every show like The Muppets that keeps collapsing into oblivion, there's another one like season one of Code Black, where the steep week two drop was simply an underachievement or a bad week, and the subsequent weeks provide a bit of a correction. So we project AMLT to keep getting weaker, but a show that went 1.1 -> 0.8 is not treated any differently than a show that went 0.9 -> 0.8. That (plus all the usual stuff about how the True formula is kind to 10:00 shows, and ABC dramas have low targets) is why AMLT hangs on here while others may have lost hope.

The CBS Comedy Newbies
The Neighborhood84%1.170.880.73121%42%
Murphy Brown66%0.860.800.73218%38%
Happy Together30%0.820.620.69122%43%

One of the biggest positive surprises of the season to date was The Neighborhood's strong start on Monday #2; I don't think it's a stretch to say this looked better than any of the CBS drama premieres. Should it have this much of a gap with its fellow Monday newbie Happy Together? Maybe things will change in future weeks, but for now I'm gonna say basically yes. You don't get a 1.3 because of a local programming lead-in; Neighborhood had to grow a lot from the local lead-in, and Happy Together then fell several tenths from Neighborhood. So there was a big gap in strength here.

Murphy Brown had a much better week two than expected; this is one where using the un-roundeds in the formula makes a difference, because it dropped even less (from 1.06 to 1.03) in un-rounded prelims vs. the 1.1 to 1.0 in rounded. So unlike Single Parents, it actually improved its own rating projection, but like Single Parents, it also got some help from the incompetence elsewhere on the network bringing down the target. If Murphy still had the preseason target, it would be a 57% rather than the 66% listed above.

The CBS Drama Mess
God Friended Me67%1.000.760.69117%46%
Magnum P.I.54%0.840.710.69218%48%
SEAL Team51%0.700.690.69121%44%

Just a quick follow-up to the S.W.A.T. vs. MacGyver talk from last week... as you heard here first, the delayed viewing picture is way different than you might think if you put a high premium on airing on Friday:
S.W.A.T.: 0.68 L+SD, 1.30 L+3
MacGyver: 0.67 L+SD, 0.97 L+3

Would S.W.A.T. really be doing MacGyver numbers or better on Friday? I'm not sure. But that's at least a peek into the reasoning behind these shows being close together. The Live+SD numbers are identical, but S.W.A.T. pulls significantly ahead after three days of DVRing. I'm just saying, there's a reason why the formula is so kind to 10:00 shows! (Another good example of this is Bull, which has suddenly become a much bigger DVR gainer on Monday at 10/9c than it ever was after NCIS.)

Also in CBS drama world, Magnum P.I. remained squarely on the bubble in week two. It's another show like Murphy where using un-roundeds (1.15 -> 0.94) creates a meaningfully different picture than roundeds (1.2 -> 0.9). If you know that it really dropped essentially two tenths rather than three tenths, that starts to look like a fairly expected drop, given the lead-in change from Young Sheldon to Happy Together. This performance was Truly stronger than fellow bubblers S.W.A.T. and SEAL Team, but since it's a newbie it is expected to keep getting weaker.

God Friended Me started even with last year's Wisdom of the Crowd in raw numbers, and invites the question: is being even in raw numbers with a year-ago flop actually OK? This might be a question that gets asked with a few other shows on the struggling ABC/CBS. (A Million Little Things vs. last year's Kevin (Probably) comes to mind, as does the ABC TGIF lineup.) The answer to that might be yes; GFM started as a two-thirds renewal favorite whereas Wisdom of the Crowd was 29% on Premiere Sunday last year. (It also might just serve to illustrate that there is not a huge difference ratings-wise between being 29% and 67%.) The one red flag for me on GFM was its first Live+3 number; growing 15% (from 1.30 to 1.49) is pretty bad. Maybe it really hurts the DVR numbers to start off of its scheduled time. We'll see what it looks like with less football help in a couple hours.

The Fox Bubble
The Resident49%0.880.830.84228%37%
The Cool Kids39%0.960.760.82229%48%
Lethal Weapon33%0.790.750.84232%44%
The Gifted17%0.700.670.84242%50%

The one show that really seemed to show some life in week one and then fall out of the mix in week two was The Gifted. Its drop was a legitimate full two tenths in un-rounded, and I don't think a 0.7 drama anchor is gonna make it over to New Fox. Lethal Weapon looked better by comparison, but it dropped several hundredths in un-rounded and also skewed a little closer to The Gifted, which held it back in True. (It was also hurt by being on that rare network where the targets actually went up.)

Star dropped semi-heavily and also saw the targets go up, but is still a pretty decent-sized favorite at least for now. Meanwhile, we have The Resident and The Cool Kids dropping south of 50% even with 1.0+ ratings in week two. I'm fine with The Resident being a toss-up because it is truly the kind of thing that I just have no idea if New Fox will want to support. I might be inclined to say Cool Kids is the more likely of the two simply because Last Man could need a companion going forward. I'm not sure it is reasonable to expect the average replacement to do any better than this show has so far.

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