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Ratings analysis catch-up: 'Super Fun Night,' 'Vampire Diaries' and more
Plus thoughts on NBC and CBS comedies, 'Glee,' 'Ironside' and more
I meant to do ratings analysis on Thursday afternoon, but things got busy. Then I meant to do ratings analysis on Friday afternoon, but news kept breaking left and right.
However, since I got started on analysis for both days, I might as well flesh things out and do a three-day look at the Final numbers.
In this jumbled installment, I compare "Super Fun Night" to its post-"Modern Family" predecessors, I reflect on Thursday comedy challenges for NBC and CBS, plus I speculate on what "Glee" could draw for next week's Cory Monteith tribute.
Click through for all the bulletpoints...
*** In Wednesday Finals, "Super Fun Night" stuck with a 3.2 rating among adults 18-49 and over 8.2 million viewers. I wanted to glance at some other post-"Modern Family" premieres. [These are all Fast Nationals, so they're all probably boosted a hair by "MF" overrun.] "How To Live With Your Parents Blah Blah Blah" drew over 8.3 million viewers and did a 2.9 in the key demo last April. In a one-off airing last fall with a much bigger audience, "The Neighbors" drew nearly 9.3 million viewers and did a 3.3 key demo. In its time period premiere there last fall, "Suburgatory" drew only 7.6 million viewers and a 2.8 key demo rating (again, with a much larger lead-in). "Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23" drew under 7 million viewers and a 2.9 key demo rating in April of 2012 and in April of 2011, "Happy Endings" drew nearly 7.3 million viewers and a 2.7 key demo rating. The second season premiere of "Cougar Town" drew over 8.3 million viewers and a 3.3 key demo rating in September of 2010. ["Cougar Town" drew over 11.4 million viewers and did a 4.3 key demo rating airing after the "Modern Family" pilot. That's just a reminder if anybody ever tells you that people were scared away from "Cougar Town" by its name. They were not.]
*** What should we take from that? "Modern Family" is not a great lead-in, obviously. Shows that air after it get cancelled left and right. HOWEVER, there's a very real, albeit finite, audience that's willing to sample a new comedy after "Modern Family" and it's between 7 and 8.3 million viewers and it's between a 2.8 and a 3.3 in the key demo. From "Happy Endings" to "Don't Trust..." to "How To Live...," every single one of those shows would still be on TV today if they'd held up with anywhere even close to what they premiered with. The exact same thing is true of "Super Fun Night."
*** Remember how last week I said that "Revolution" was a solid success for NBC and NBC needed more solid success like that? With a 1.8 key demo rating and 6.8 million viewers? That's right in line with what NBC wanted. Then the DVR Live+3 bump took "Revolution" to a 2.6 key demo rating, which also looks just fine. But there isn't really room for much dropping and "Revolution" went to a 1.6 key demo rating and under 5.5 million viewers this week. There's no danger here yet, but there's concern.
*** NBC's bigger Wednesday concern is, of course, "Ironside," which premiered to a respectable 6.81 million viewers and a not-respectable 1.3 rating among adults 18-49. If NBC wanted numbers like that, it could have just kept airing "Harry's Law" forever. NBC does not want numbers like that and if that's what "Ironside" premiered with, it could be flirting with a 1.0 by next week. Even on NBC, that doesn't fly. For the thousandth time: If NBC is going to fail in Wednesday drama hour, it might as well move "SVU" to 10 p.m. and watch that show get stronger, with or without a lead-in.
*** It was hard not to be positive about NBC after Monday and Tuesday. And it's hard not to be less positive about NBC after Wednesday and Thursday. The great thing about "Welcome to the Family" premiering with a 1.1 key demo rating and 2.99 million viewers is that it makes the 4.43 million viewers and 1.4 key demo rating for "Sean Saves the World" look good for NBC. After all, "Sean" was a self-starter! Or something. Otherwise, you can't really make anything about either of those numbers look good, nor about the 3.14 million and 1.2 key demo rating for "Parks and Recreation." By these standards the 5.35 million viewers and 1.7 key demo rating for "The Michael J. Fox Show" feels like a success. Similarly, by established Thursday 10 p.m. standards, NBC is probably cool with the 4.17 million viewers and 1.5 key demo rating, but that's not the same as jumping up and down. Nobody is jumping up and down.
*** CBS isn't jumping up and down. "Big Bang Theory" remains a Live+Same Day powerhouse and it gets a huge DVR bump every week. And by most standards a sampling of 13.09 million viewers and a 3.3 key demo rating would be fantastic. For CBS? It's wait-and-see time. Maybe that holds up well and "The Millers" is a solid player, but if it doesn't, "The Crazy Ones" is vulnerable and, with a 2.4 key demo rating and 9.34 million viewers, "Two and a Half Men" is on life-support. Yes, any other network would kill for those numbers. NBC would be pleased with half those numbers. But "Two and a Half Men" is aging and expensive. HOWEVER, and I want to end this with good news for CBS, I personally think it's a good sign that "Elementary" still did a 2.0 key down rating and drew 9.38 million viewers despite a steep drop for "Men." "Elementary" did a 2.1 in the key demo last week and then rose to a 3.2 with Live+3. So screwing with the "Elementary" lead-in by moving "Person of Interest" to Tuesdays may not have been a success, but it hasn't killed "Elementary."
*** With 2.59 million viewers and a 1.2 key demo rating, that was not an especially good "Vampire Diaries" premiere, though as The CW points out, it was up from May's finale in viewers and most demos. "The Vampire Diaries" also beat NBC's comedies among adults 18-34 and women 18-34, which is more embarrassing for NBC than exciting for The CW, I'd wager. "The Originals" was up a tick in Finals with 2.21 million viewers and a 1.0 key demo rating. That's below the premiere numbers for both "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Secret Circle," though both shows premiered after more robust "Vampire Diaries" numbers. "The Originals" will have to stand on its own from here on out and The CW will cross its fingers that "Reign" can do anywhere near that retention.
*** Next week's Cory Monteith tribute is a benchmark episode for "Glee." Either the struggling musical dramedy is about to get a major bump, if only for a week, or this could get increasingly ugly. For reference next week, "Glee" drew only 4.42 million viewers and a 1.6 key demo rating in its second airing, down from last week and not keeping pace with the 7.13 million viewers and 2.0 key demo rating for "The X Factor," which remains steady. How high would y'all guess "Glee" can go next week? Can it rise about a 2.0 in the demo? Higher? Can it get to 7 or 8 million viewers? Higher? I'm going high on one of those and low on the other. I'd gonna predict a 2.4 in the key demo and 6.8 million viewers, which would constitute a statistically relevant uptick, without counting as a cultural phenomenon. I think there's at least a 15 percent chance that "Glee" does something shocking and doubles its ratings, but we'll see.
*** Finally? Fridays are boring. I need FOX to actually move "Bones" there or for "Dracula" to premiere absurdly strongly. I need something wacky to happen on Fridays so that I don't feel like I'm getting up at 7:45 for nothing. The only thing that feels notable is "The Neighbors" seemingly finding its level with 4.2 million viewers and a 1.0 key demo rating, basically identical with last week. If you're ABC, is that enough? If one or two more weeks pass and it becomes clear that "Trophy Wife" is about to bomb out on Tuesdays, is there any point in trying it out after "Last Man Standing"? I have no answer. I'm just musing.
OK! There. All caught up.