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Ratings Analysis: 'Vampire Diaries' fans leave 'Reign,' 'Elementary' struggles and more
And what moves might ABC make with its comedies?
So, was Friday a busy enough TV news day for you?
You had NBC canceling "Welcome to the Family" and "Ironside" and setting a premiere for "Community" and "Chicago Fire: Cops."
That delayed my ability to do any analysis on ratings and I really wanted to.
I really wanted to look at a handful of numbers from this week, but specifically a couple impressive figures regarding The CW's "Reign" premiere.
So click through and let's get down to business.
*** Before I start looking at "Reign," let's quickly note that it was a really good Thursday for "The Vampire Diaries," adjusting up to 2.93 million viewers and a 1.3 rating among adults 18-49 in Finals Nationals. That tied with "Parks and Recreation" in the demo and comfortably thumped "Welcome to the Family" both in the demo and overall. That, kids, is why "Welcome to the Family" is dead. But why did "TVD" add nearly 500,000 viewers and a 0.2 in the key demo this week? Dunno. Anyway, let's go to "Reign."
*** First off, let's look at the basic numbers. "Reign" drew 1.98 million viewers and a 0.8 key demo rating. That's more than twice the viewers and more than twice the key demo ratings for "Beauty and the Beast" and twice the demo number for "Hart of Dixie," tying with "Tomorrow People," which we're considering a success so far. So. Yay! And The CW is being happy about the retention, since "Reign" is a really big reach for the network. But how big a reach did it turn out to be? Well, let's look. The CW's core demo is women 18-34 and "Vampire Diaries" did a 1.8 rating in that demo, better than "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland," "The Crazy Ones," "Two and a Half Men," "Elementary" and everything on NBC. "Reign" dropped to a 1.0. That's not such good retention anymore. Among men 18-34, the drop was steeper, percentage-wise, as "Vampire Diaries" drew a 0.9 rating (still better than "Elementary" and everything on NBC other than "Parks and Rec") and "Reign" did a 0.3 rating. While viewers 12-17 aren't especially relevant to anything, financially, but it is still funny if you want a sense of how big a brand sea-change "Reign" is: "Vampire Diaries" did a 1.1 rating among whatever people 12-17 are, while "Reign" fell to a 0.4 rating. Want an even funnier drop? Among girls 12-17, "Vampire Diaries" did a 1.7 rating (better than anything other than "Big Bang Theory") and then "Reign fell to a 0.6 rating. That's a goofy level of off-brandedness. "Reign" can celebrate this little tidbit: It beat "The Vampire Diaries" among adults 55+. SUCK IT, VAMPIRES. Anyway, though, you didn't have to be Hunky Nostradamus to see this coming.
*** Sticking with The CW for a second: I assume the network is waiting one more week to make sure that "Tomorrow People" is steady before picking up back-nines for that and "The Originals." I think "The Originals" could probably just count on its back-nine right now after drawing 2.22 million viewers and doing a 1.1 rating among adults 18-49 leading off Tuesday nights in a time period that has it going against "S.H.I.E.L.D." and "NCIS," two dramas that devour a lot of available viewing resources. The past couple "Originals" episodes have been really solid and it's got my DVR Season Pass. It's better at this stage of the game than "The Vampire Diaries" was after three episodes. And although "Tomorrow People"isn't doing a fantastic job of retaining, it still did a solid 2.15 million viewers and a 0.8 key demo rating. The CW has, by CW standards, done a really good job of solidifying the middle of its week. I suspect "Reign" is heading for a big fall next week and that'll force The CW to decide whether Thursday is more of a "Star-Crossed" or "The 100" night. I'd think "Star-Crossed" is the more compatible show, though probably not until January.
*** I think we're deep enough into the season that we can make this judgement: CBS' big "Person of Interest" move half-worked. At this time last year, "Vegas" was already down to 10.7 million viewers and a 1.5 key demo rating, but "Person of Interest" drew 12.69 million viewers and did a 2.2 key demo rating this week. "PoI" may be down from last season, but it's boosted the time period and it probably won't fall off a cliff in the weeks to come, plus it does OK with various DVR figures. If CBS' main and only goal was boosting Tuesdays? Win! Thursdays? Hmmm. Not so much. The strange thing is that while anybody could have predicted that "The Millers" or "Crazy Ones" might tank, jeopardizing the whole night, neither of those things has happened. It took "The Millers" only two weeks to level, even if that level is 5.5 million viewers and a 2.0 key demo rating below "Big Bang Theory." "Crazy Ones" hasn't been as successful, but CBS likes Robin Williams. So back-nines! But don't try pretending that you predicted "Two and a Half Men" would be down to 8.59 million viewers and a 2.1 key demo. CBS certainly couldn't have. For a show with two of the most expensive stars on TV? Yikes. But a bigger yikes? "Elementary" slipped to 8.52 million viewers and a 1.5 key demo rating this week. Let's be honest. Ratings are weird and I can't tell you why Elementary slipped from 9.06 million viewers and a 1.9 key demo last week to this. But while a 0.1 or 0.2 drop in the demo is just normal statistical hiccups, 0.4 feels less random. CBS is not panicking about "Elementary." It added over 4.9 million viewers and a 1.4 in the key demo in the first Live+7 figures. But if you accept that Thursdays are more valuable than Tuesdays, this tradeoff doesn't look so great.
*** Looking at ABC's comedies: "The Goldbergs" did a 1.6 in the key demo and drew 5.05 million viewers and "Trophy Wife" did 4.12 million and a 1.3 in the key demo. On Wednesday, with TV's second best comedy lead-in, "Super Fun Night" did 5.95 million viewers and a 2.1 in the key demo. Removing lead-ins from the equation, I think you can pretend that those three shows are basically identical at this point. What? You think "Super Fun Night" does better than 4.12 million and a 1.3 in the demo if you give it that "Goldbergs" lead-in? I'd be wildly skeptical. [If you want, you can also throw "Back in the Game" in here, with its 1.9 key demo and 6.35 million viewers coming out of a big "Toy Story" special.] ABC may love all of its children equally, but some of its children may require more love to survive. One or two more weeks of drops and ABC may have no choice but to try either "Goldbergs" or "Trophy Wife" after "Modern Family," just to see what might happen.
*** And yet as weak as 4.12 million viewers looks for a network comedy, that's more viewers than EVERY SINGLE COMEDY ON NBC AND FOX THIS WEEK. How does that even happen? "Dads," "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" and "New Girl" all came in between 3.42 million and 3.45 million, which would nestle them right in-between "Sean Saves the World" and "The Michael J. Fox Show" on NBC. Neither the combined averages for FOX's 4 Tuesday comedies, nor NBC's 4 Thursday comedies come close to equalling the 17.8 million viewers for "The Big Bang Theory."
*** FOX needed a Dodgers-Red Sox World Series. Oh well. A Red Sox-Cardinals World Series could be OK for ratings. FOX has no interest in a Tigers-Cardinals World Series. Go Sox.
*** Speaking of FOX: "Sleepy Hollow" went on its brief baseball hiatus with 7.59 million viewers and a 2.7 rating among adults 18-49 (plus some of the best DVR figures going). Now let's see where it is after baseball ends. [UPDATE: A comment below made me look this up: Last year, FOX didn't really have a new Monday drama to get postponed for baseball because... well... "The Mob Doctor." But two years ago? "Terra Nova" took only one week off for baseball. In its last week before baseball, "Terra Nova" averaged 7.965 million viewers and a 2.7 rating among adults 18-49. Are you as impressed as I am by how familiar those numbers are? Yeah. After one week off, "Terra Nova" returned with 6.4 million viewers and a 2.1 key demo rating. That sounds damning, but "Terra Nova" bounced back to just under 7.7 million and a 2.6 key demo rating the following week. And then began its slide toward cancellation.]
That's some analysis for now...