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Welcome to The Futon's Ratings Survival Guide, our annual 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.
THE SECRET CIRCLE (The CW)
(Thursdays at 9:00/8:00c)
"The Vampire Diaries" will mark its third season with a different companion in as many years: season one was paired with "Supernatural," which moved to Friday nights the following season; season two was joined by "Nikita," which likewise will shift to Friday nights this season; and now season three sees it accompanied by newcomer "The Secret Circle". The audiences for "Supernatural" and "Nikita" then will give us the framework of acceptable numbers for The CW.
Here's how The CW has fared on Thursday nights the past two seasons:*
|thursdays in 2009-2011||time||viewers|
|The Vampire Diaries: Season 1||8:00 PM||3.67|
|The Vampire Diaries: Season 2||8:00 PM||3.15|
|Supernatural: Season 5||9:00 PM||2.67|
|Nikita: Season 1||9:00 PM||2.44|
* 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 in its regular time period. A caveat here though: while ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC's target demographic is adults 18-49, The CW's is actually women 18-34. Since that data isn't readily available, we're left with adults 18-49 as the closet approximation.
COMING MONDAY: CBS's "2 Broke Girls" and NBC's "The Playboy Club."