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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.
TERRA NOVA (FOX)
(Mondays at 8:00/7:00c)
The two-and-out failure of "Lone Star" gives an easy guide to what kind of numbers won't be tolerated by FOX this fall while the solid retention by "24" likewise will ballpark what's possible behind "House" in the Monday, 9:00/8:00c slot. Between those tentpoles are the middling numbers for "Lie to Me" and "The Chicago Code" - both of which were shuttered - so presumably the expectation is "Terra Nova" can and will do better in their place.
Here's how FOX has fared on Monday nights the past two seasons:*
|mondays in 2009-2011||time||viewers|
|House: Season 6||8:00 PM||12.30|
|House: Season 7||8:00 PM||9.86|
|24: Season 8||9:00 PM||9.10|
|Lie to Me: Season 2||9:00 PM||7.40|
|Lie to Me: Season 3||9:00 PM||5.91|
|The Chicago Code||9:00 PM||6.96|
|Lie to Me: Season 2**||8:00 PM||5.84|
|Lie to Me: Season 2**||9:00 PM||5.01|
|Lone Star||9:00 PM||3.93|
|The Good Guys**||9:00 PM||4.00|
* 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.
** denotes summer series added for additional perspective