Monday, March 18, 2019

Renewology Week 25: Week Three Newbies and Man with a Plan

Here's a look at the big Renewology developments in week 25.

Whiskey Cavalier45%0.730.680.70321%38%
The Enemy Within39%0.770.720.77324%37%

Both of the week three newbies were textbook examples of a classic Renewology mantra: when week one tells one story, and week two appears to tell a very different story, often week three is a "correction" that tells a story somewhere in the middle. A week after its post-American Idol berth, Whiskey Cavalier dropped back to a tenth behind the level where it premiered. That looks bad, but it's still a teeny bit better than where the formula would expect a show to be after premiering at a 0.7. The Enemy Within was the flipside: by stabilizing with a 0.9 that was likely a high 0.9 since it adjusted down, it looks closer to but still a bit behind where we'd expect based on the 1.2 on premiere night.

While both shows are listed as underdogs right now, because week three is still relatively early, make no mistake: if they stay at their respective 0.6 and 0.9 from here on, they will inevitably become renewal favorites at least according to Renewology. Whiskey would be basically even in raw with the year-ago Designated Survivor, a show this formula continued to insist was a favorite (though it would've been a closer call with the current formula, which is harsher to ABC). And The Enemy Within would be even in raw with where the year-ago Good Girls settled in this timeslot. So if you're thinking these will be easy cancels, I say that will require them to keep slipping.

God Friended Me39%0.680.660.691615%45%
Man with a Plan37%0.720.730.79621%43%

Probably the most shocking mover of this week was the CBS comedy Man with a Plan, which had been a renewal favorite for over a month before suddenly plummeting to 37%... and it was even worse if it hadn't pulled off an adjustment to 0.8 in finals. Usually a move of this size means that in addition to having a bad week, that bad week also kicked a very good point out of the rolling average (in this case, the 1.0 from two weeks ago). If it hadn't gotten that adjustment, I think you could really make the case that these last two weeks have not looked any better than the previous occupant, Happy Together.

My guess is this will be the low point for MWAP, since it's really dragged down by the pre-DST 0.7 from the week before, but it's still looking like a pretty different show than the one that broke 1.0 three times in its first month. Probably it will find an equilibrium somewhere in the middle of these two identities, but this show has never exactly been a Renewology darling, and its DVR growth has been just as dire as ever this year. Just something to keep an eye on.

By the way, CBS has another show that has suddenly become a problem in recent weeks, but it gets less attention because its fate is already decided: the Sunday drama God Friended Me. It got renewed on the heels of maybe its best showings of the season, 0.9s in January that demolished year-ago occupant Wisdom of the Crowd. But it's looked very much like Wisdom in its last three telecasts (0.6 -> 0.7 -> 0.6). And like MWAP, the DVR interest is minimal. I said at the time that the renewal seemed generous, but at least at the time there was a case it was showing some promise. Now it isn't, and could prove a bit of a scheduling headache for the eye.

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