[09/21/10 - 12:31 AM]
The Futon's Ratings Survival Guide: "Detroit 187" and "No Ordinary Family" (ABC)
By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)

Please note: As a courtesy, please do not reproduce these comments to newsgroups, forums or other online places. Links only please.

Welcome to our Ratings Survival Guide, a handy new feature which takes each new fall series on the broadcast networks and tells you the numbers it will need to survive for a second season. In general, a show's success isn't so much where it lands on the weekly ratings chart but rather how it performs in two key categories:

1. How much of its lead-in audience it retains. If a show averages 10 million viewers that's a good thing. But if the show that airs before it is averaging 30 million viewers, that's not a good thing. Why? Because 20 of those 30 million viewers decided to turn off that particular channel when the next show came on.

2. How it performs year-to-year in its time period. A new show is usually in its time period because the network thinks it can do better than it did in that slot last year. In other words, do worse than the show that was canceled after three weeks last fall then you too probably are not long for this world.

As you'll see, together these measurements paint a clear picture on how a particular show is doing. So without further ado, let's begin.

(Tuesdays at 8:00/7:00c & 10:00/9:00c)

With "Lost" having signed off, ABC is back to the drawing board on Tuesday nights - a development made all the more problematic by the perpetual downturn of "Dancing With the Stars" as of late. Looking at the 8:00/7:00c hour in the past two years, only "V" and "Dancing" have managed to crack a 2.0 rating among adults 18-49 - the former of which went on to post significant declines for the back half of its freshman season. Littered on the roadside then are the likes of "According to Jim," "Scrubs," "Opportunity Knocks" and "Homeland Security USA," all of which didn't survive beyond said runs ("Shark Tank" would move to Fridays before being picked up for season two). That leaves a fairly obvious hurdle for "No Ordinary Family" to clear to be considered remotely successful.

As for "Detroit 187," ABC hasn't had much luck in the 10:00/9:00c hour as of late. Even "V," which followed "Lost" in the spring, retained a not exactly shouting from the rooftops 65% of "Lost's" lead-in. Other efforts like "Eli Stone" (56%), "Cupid" (57%) and "The Forgotten" (57%) performed even worse after "Dancing With the Stars." So then it's on "Detroit" to hold at least 60% of "Dancing's" lead-in to be considered viable going forward.

Here's how ABC has fared on Tuesday nights the past two seasons (viewers are in millions, adults 18-49 is the percentage of said viewers in the demographic; all are based on fast national data, using only first-run episodes):

tuesdays in 2008-2010timeviewers
adults 18-49
Lost: Season 69:00 PM9.87
Dancing With the Stars 7 Results**9:00 PM17.14
V: Season 18:00 PM10.74
Dancing With the Stars 8 Results**9:00 PM14.93
Dancing With the Stars 9 Results**9:00 PM14.63
Dancing With the Stars 10 Results**8:00 PM12.84
V: Season 110:00 PM5.95
Scrubs: Season 89:00 PM5.06
Primetime: What Would You Do?10:00 PM6.47
Eli Stone**10:00 PM7.34
Cupid**10:00 PM5.78
The Forgotten10:00 PM6.62
Homeland Security USA8:00 PM5.83
Opportunity Knocks8:00 PM5.93
Shark Tank: Season 18:00 PM5.58
Scrubs: Season 99:00 PM3.86
Scrubs: Season 98:00 PM3.58
Better Off Ted: Season 29:30 PM2.99
According to Jim: Season 8**8:00 PM3.70
Better Off Ted: Season 28:30 PM2.59

** includes only first-run airings in the specified time period

COMING TOMORROW: ABC's "Better With You" and "The Whole Truth," CBS's "The Defenders" and NBC's "Undercovers" & "Law & Order: Los Angeles"

  [september 2010]  


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