Season-to-Date Report Card for New Broadcast Network Shows
By Billie Gold, VP, director of buying/programming research at Carat -- Broadcasting & Cable, 10/19/2012 2:24:13 PM
However, the big picture story is still not a good one for the networks. ABC, CBS and Fox are all having a rough season so far with losses of 10-20% versus last year across the board in most demos. NBC is on the plus side, but it's mainly because they moved ratings powerhouse The Voice to the fall.
While we knew this season's crop of new shows wasn't destined to create enormous buzz, the size of these ratings drops overall is still surprising. Most returning shows are seeing declines and many of the new shows that got initial sampling have fallen in subsequent weeks as viewers begin to embrace their viewing patterns. C3 ratings (commercial minute viewing within three days of telecast) for the first week of the season showed bumps for many shows, but cumulatively there was no increase.
Given the generally lousy ratings performance of the their primetime schedules so far this season, the broadcast networks' PR departments have been in overdrive, touting how many people are watching their shows on a DVR. Indeed, many programs show impressive gains when live-plus-seven-day viewing is compared to the live-plus-same-day ratings typically reported by the press.
The problem is that live-plus-seven-day viewing is not really that important to advertisers. Most national television plans and buys are based on C3 ratings, so viewers who avoid the commercial minutes or watch after three days of the live telecast don't count toward our clients' communications goals.
For the week of Sept. 24 (premiere week), average regularly scheduled primetime programming among adults 18-49 rated 26% higher on live-plus-seven-day viewing versus live-plus-same-day. On C3, however, the lift was zero overall.
Some shows did get a meaningful C3 benefit. The C3 rating for NBC's Grimm was 28% higher versus live-plus-same-day, the best for any program that week, but well below the eye-popping 86% gain it got on live-plus-seven. The worst performing show, CBS' The Amazing Race, declined 19% on C3 (even though it had gained 20% on live-plus-seven).
While the verdict is still out on how many success stories there will be for new shows this season, the networks are trying to put on a positive front by giving a bunch of shows full-season or additional-episode orders out of the gate. Below is a snapshot on how the new fall crop of shows is doing.
The Neighbors: Wed. 8:30 p.m. Premiered behind Modern Family and did respectable numbers; however, when it moved into its regular time period, it fell below year-ago occupant Suburgatory. Down but not quite out.
Nashville: Wed. 10 p.m. Pretty good debut with about 9 million viewers and a 2.8 rating among adults 18-49 out of Modern Family. Still, it likely under-performed ABC's expectations given the vast promotion and good reviews behind it. Then in its second week, 18-49 ratings fell to a 2.0, a decline of 29%.
Last Resort: Thurs. 8 p.m. Good show but it's hard to have a new drama lead off a night and subsequently ratings have been lackluster. It doesn't help that it's against tough competition with The Big Bang Theory/Two and a Half Men and The X Factor. On the fence in terms of survival.
Malibu Country: Fri. 8:30 p.m. Debuts Nov. 2.
666 Park Avenue: Sun. 10 p.m. While it is a good fit for ABC's Sunday night, big losses in weeks two and three mean the show may not survive.
Partners: Mon. 8:30 p.m. Not working and a definite weak spot on a now-declining evening. Cancellation clock is ticking.
Vegas: Tues. 10 p.m. Similar to year-ago occupant Unforgettable (which is returning this summer). The "older set" loves it.
Elementary: Thurs. 10 p.m. Doing well behind sophomore hit Person of Interest and is looking like a "go" for a full season renewal.
Made in Jersey: Fri. 9 p.m. Canceled on Oct. 10, making it the first casualty of the new season.
Revolution: Mon. 10 p.m. Full-season renewal. Good adult 18-49 ratings.
Go On: Tues. 9 p.m. Full-season renewal despite declining ratings.
The New Normal: Tues. 9:30 p.m. Full-season renewal. Ratings are not that good but the network president says he's behind this show, adding that it gets a lot of DVR recording. Time will tell if this was a wise decision.
Animal Practice: Wed. 8 p.m. Despite heavy promotion and an early launch by NBC, ratings were not strong enough to anchor evening. Canceled on Oct. 18; season's second new-show casualty.
Guys With Kids: Wed. 8:30 p.m. Not a strong show and it had lack of lead-in support from Animal Practice. Will likely be cancelled.
Chicago Fire: Wed. 10 p.m. Brought in 6.6 million viewers and a 1.9 among adults 18-49 for debut. The lowest premiere ever for a Dick Wolf-produced drama. Then in its second week it fell to 5.8 million viewers and a 1.5 18-49 rating. Those numbers will not keep it on for a full season.
The Mob Doctor: Mon. 9 p.m. Any day now...Chop, chop!
Ben and Kate: Tues. 8:30 p.m. Six additional episodes ordered but show has been under-performing.
The Mindy Project: Tues. 9:30 p.m. Full-season renewal despite big drop-offs in adult 18-49 rating since its premiere.
Emily Owens, M.D.: Tues. 9 p.m. Debuted on Oct. 16 with 1.7 million viewers and a 0.5 18-49 rating.
Arrow: Wednesday 8 p.m. Strongest series-opener for the network since The Vampire Diaries in 2009. Sexy promotion obviously helped.
Beauty and the Beast: Thurs. 9 p.m. Respectable sampling out of The Vampire Diaries season-opener, similar to last season's Secret Circle.
Top-rated new show among households: Vegas, CBS (Close second: Elementary, CBS)
Top-rated new show among adults 18-49: Revolution (NBC)
Top-rated new comedy among HH's & Adults 18-49: Go On (NBC)
Top-rated show this season among HH's and A18-49: Sunday Night Football (NBC)
Top-rated comedy this season in nearly every demo: The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
Still going strong after 11 years: NCIS (CBS), which remains a powerhouse among older demos
Source: Nielsen Media Research
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