Friday, February 04, 2011
We do weekly TV ratings blogs every Sunday, but I don't go in depth on what really is working and what isn't. So I have decided to tell you today how the ratings game works using many examples. First, if a show has a good percentage of its audience inside the 18-49 proportion, it will always be looked at. Why? Because there is more of a chance that a person in the 18-49 year range will be watching the ad during that show. For example, this Wednesday's Cougar Town did a 3.9 overall household rating (6.51 million). That may not sound like it is a big hit, but its 18-49 rating was good at a 2.7 rating. The 18-49 proportion to its overall rating is about 69%, which is very good and what network executives aim for and the advertisers want. Generally, I think anything about 45% or more in the 18-49 range is acceptable. So looking at this past Wednesday's third special airing of Blue Bloods on CBS, it did a good 7.1 household rating, but its 18-49 rating was only a 1.6. That is only about 22% in the 18-49 proportion. That is not good. Sure, its overall numbers may be good but that doesn't pay the bills. This rating might be "acceptable" for a Friday or Saturday, where ratings are lower, but on a weeknight (Sun-Thurs), this is not acceptable. Even on a Friday it would be borderline, as we saw similar series like this canceled over the years (Close to Home, Women's Murder Club).
Next, if you skew old but still do an acceptable 18-49 rating, then you'll be fine as well. A perfect example of this is NCIS. The series does over 20 million viewers, but its overall 18-49 rating is still decent. This past Tuesday, NCIS did a mammoth 13.2 HH rating. The 18-49 rating was a great 4.6 as well. However, that only comes out to about 35% in the 18-49 proportion. While that is low, it still matters that its overall 18-49 rating was good. So in some cases like this, the skew doesn't matter since its overall 18-49 rating is high. However, while its overall 18-49 rating is fine, the competing Glee on Fox skews much younger and does a slightly better 18-49 rating, but advertisers pay much more for Glee than NCIS because of the skew. This season, Glee is netting $272,694 for a 30-second ad, while NCIS is much lower at $150,708 despite being the most watched scripted series. Then there is the case where you may skew inside the 18-49 range, but your overall 18-49 rating is low. Last night's Perfect Couples is a prime example. It only did a prelim 1.9 household rating and a prelim 1.4 18-49 rating. Ouch. But that is nearly 74% in the 18-49 proportion. In this case it doesn't matter, since the overall 18-49 rating is very low. The ideal case is a show that skews 18-49 and still has a good overall 18-49 rating. Some good examples are Modern Family, Cougar Town, American Idol, How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory and Grey's Anatomy.
Another factor I want to cover is retention. Yes, it is important but with same day DVR thru 3am being added to the ratings, it really doesn't tell you the retention because people are watching the shows at a different time. The only way to "truly" measure retention is by the actual live ratings, since it is not counting the added same day DVR thru 3am. Many of the big hit shows add over a point to their 18-49 rating because of the same day DVR added, thus this really messes up the retention rate. One show that is heavily DVRed is the CBS Monday comedy How I Met Your Mother. Looking at its last new episode on Jan. 17, it did a 3.9 18-49 rating. Take away any DVR for that night thru 3am, and it comes out to a 2.7. So 1.2 was added that very same night thru 3am. They watched it at 9pm or 2am, or anytime between 8:30pm-3am. The show following the comedy on the CBS schedule at 8:30pm is Rules of Engagement. It is not as heavily DVRed as Mother, so the retention rate gets messed up all the time. Rules on Jan. 17 did a 3.3 18-49 rating, so it "lost" 0.6 from its lead-in. But did it really? Taking away any DVR from that night, Rules comes out to a 2.6 18-49 rating, only losing a tenth from Mother's live rating. So it isn't bad at all, as the retention rate is actually 96% there and not 85% when same day DVR is factored in. So why would retention rates matter when same day DVR thru 3am is being added to the ratings? It would only matter if you are seeing the actual live ratings, because people can watch these shows anytime now until 3am and have the ratings counted.
Next is how to track a new show. The NBC drama Harry's Law premiered on Jan. 17 and it has been consistent through its first three airings (yes, it has faced a repeat or two for all of its airings so far, but still consistent). The 18-49 track for the first three episodes are 2.2, 2.1, and 2.1. That is not much of a drop at all, which is good. The overall 18-49 rating is decent for 10pm these days, too. However, like Blue Bloods it skews terribly old. It may be doing around 11 million, but less than 30% of its audience is in the 18-49 proportion, so it is less likely the ads are being watched in the demo. It is still early to determine the status of Harry's Law, as the next four weeks will be key as both Castle and Hawaii Five-0 are all-new these four weeks. If it can maintain the 2.0-2.2 average, then NBC will for sure bring it back despite the old skew. Anything lower might be Friday material because it has a good overall audience still. The CBS drama The Good Wife does a similar skew currently. It started off higher last year in the 18-49 rating than Harry, though, but right now it is doing a 2.2 18-49 rating. It will be interesting to see if CBS moves it to another night (Friday?) next season as the overall 18-49 rating has dipped this season. The only thing that might prevent CBS from moving it is that its their only drama that is critically acclaimed and wins awards. Harry's Law still has plenty more to do before it can be in the same league as The Good Wife.
One other thing I want to note is repeat airings. Why do serialized shows get repeat airings? Because the ad money is the same as it would be for a new episode. This is why Grey's Anatomy, which doesn't repeat well but gets a lot of ad money, is repeated. Sure it is good to be competitive once in a while and remove the repeat for something that does better in the ratings, but ultimately ad money would win. I am sure when ABC preempted a scheduled Grey's repeat for the Barbara Walters special with Oprah on Dec. 8 it didn't generate as much as a Grey's Anatomy episode would have done. So, yes, this is why you see some repeats of shows that don't repeat well. It's all about ad money.
I think that's about it. I was looking through the web and not many people understand how to look at TV ratings these days. There is one great blog I came upon on my search and it uses much more stats to back things up than I just did. Take a look at this read from the Spotted blog from December 2009. That is just one of many blog articles that was well "spot on," so you might want to read some of the other blogs (like this one) during that time frame. I hope you learned something today and remember...it's all about ad money and the 18-49 demo (preferably skewing in that demo). See you on Sunday for our normal ratings report, like usual.
It's Friday, so it is time for "Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows" for the coming week. This is where we list what sitcom stars are appearing on talk shows for the coming week, the stars are both current and past sitcom stars (but we won't cover movie stars like Tom Hanks or John Travolta, since they won't be talking about their past sitcoms likely), so this is for all sitcom fans of all eras!
For the week of Feb. 7-11, 2010, we have many current sitcom stars and past sitcom stars on TV talk shows! So get your DVR's (or whatever you use) ready! Ready? Here is all what you need to know for the coming week!
Monday, February 7, 2011
- Martin Lawrence (Martin) - Watch Martin on Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
- Sarah Chalke (Mad Love/Scrubs) - Catch Sarah on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
- Jason Biggs (Mad Love) - Watch Jason also on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
- Matthew Perry (Mr. Sunshine/Friends) - Watch Matthew on LIVE! with Regis & Kelly, so check your listings.
- Allison Janney (Mr. Sunshine) - Watch Allison on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so you'll have to check listings for time and station.
- Jessica Walter (Retired at 35/Arrested Development/Three's a Crowd) - Catch Jessica on The Joy Behar Show at 9pm on HLN.
- Matthew Perry (Mr. Sunshine/Friends) - See Matthew as he visits The Ellen DeGeneres Show in the daytime (check listings) and then in late night on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 12am.
- Kevin Nealon (Weeds) - Catch Kevin on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at 12:37am on NBC.
- Ed Helms (The Office) - Catch Ed on NBC's TODAY show sometime between 7-9am then a few hours later on The View at 11am ET/10am CT-PT on ABC.
- Martin Lawrence (Martin) - Watch Martin on LIVE! with Regis & Kelly on your local affiliate.
- Ty Burell (Modern Family/Back to You) - Watch the funnyman on ABC's The View at 11am ET/10am CT-PT then later on Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
- Matt LeBlanc (Episodes/Friends/Joey) - Matt visits The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on NBC at 11:35pm.
- Carl Reiner (The Dick Van Dyke Show) - Watch the TV legend on Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on CBS at 12:37am.
- Mario Lopez (Saved by the Bell) - It's all right because you can watch Mario on OWN's The Gayle King Show at 10am.
- Kevin Nealon (Weeds) - Watch Kevin on TODAY sometine between 7-11am on NBC.
- Roseanne Barr (Roseanne) - Catch Roseanne on The Mo'nique Show on BET at 11pm.
- Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory/Roseanne) - Watch Johnny on the Rachel Ray Show so check your local listings.
- Aziz Ansari (Parks and Recreation/Scrubs) - Catch Aziz on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at 12:37am on NBC.
- Ed Helms (The Office) - Ed appears on Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
- Jason Biggs (Mad Love) - See Jason on Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS promoting his upcoming sitcom.
- Lisa Kudrow (Friends/The Comeback) - Watch Lisa on The Gayle King Show on OWN at 10am.
New on DVD/Blu-ray (February/March)
02/07 - Sabrina, the Teenage Witch - Sabrina Down Under
02/07 - So Little Time - Volume 1 - School's Cool - Boy Crazy
02/07 - So Little Time - Volume 2 - About a Family - Hangin' Out
02/07 - 227 - The Complete First Season (Mill Creek)
02/07 - Vice Principals - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
02/14 - Beavis and Butt-Head - The Complete Collection
02/14 - Grace and Frankie - Season Two
02/28 - Fuller House - The Complete First Season
03/03 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - Now... In Living Color! (Blu-ray)
03/07 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Second Season
03/07 - Mama's Family - Mama's Favorites
03/07 - That '70s Show - The Complete Series - Flashback Edition (Blu-ray)
03/07 - What I Like About You - The Complete Second Season
03/07 - You Me Her - Season One
03/14 - Newhart - The Final (Eighth) Season
03/14 - Unbrekable Kimmy Schmidt - Season Two
03/21 - Master of None - Season One
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest
Sitcoms Airing Tonight
Thursday, March 30
The Big Bang Theory - "The Collaboration Fluctuation" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Leonard, Penny and Raj adjust to their new living arrangement, and Sheldon takes an interest in Amy’s work.
The Great Indoors - "Cubicles" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Jack can’t concentrate because of the millennials’ distracting juvenile behavior, Brooke installs cubicles in the bullpen.
Mom - "Black Mold and an Old Hot Dog" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Christy helps Jill adjust to being a new foster mother, and Bonnie has trouble convincing tenants that she’s a good building manager.
Life in Pieces - "Sleepover Dream Light Haze" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When Matt and Colleen take a strong sleep aid, they start experiencing crazy sleepwalking adventures. Also, Greg gets upset when Jen reveals she had a sex dream about a member of the family; Tim regrets missing a slumber party when he was a kid so he insists on helping Sophia make it through a friend’s sleepover; and John installs a motion-sensor light in the yard that flashes repeatedly, keeping them up at night. Fortune Feimster returns as Colleen’s roommate, Dougie, and J.B. Smoove returns as John and Joan’s neighbor, Darryl.
Superstore - "Seasonal Help" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Much to Amy's (America Ferrera) dismay, Glenn (Mark McKinney) hires Amy's husband, Adam (guest star Ryan Gaul), for some extra help, exposing her in ways in which she is not prepared. Frustrated with the lazy, noncommittal temps, Jonah (Ben Feldman) and Garrett (Colton Dunn) start an employee draft to place bets on who will quit first while Glenn tries to find the perfect person to play Santa at the store for Christmas.
Powerless - "I'ma Friend You" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Emily (Vanessa Hudgens) learns that Jackie (Christina Kirk) is in need of some extra cash, she can't help but try and do what she can to help her out. Meanwhile, Van (Alan Tudyk) is on a witch hunt and has his eyes set on Teddy (Danny Pudi), Ron (Ron Funches) and Wendy (Jennie Pierson).
Thursday, March 30
- Matthew Perry (The Odd Couple/Go On/Mr. Sunshine/Friends) - Catch Matthew on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC. He will also be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am and the AOL Build Show at 4pm.
- Louis C.K. (Louie/Lucky Louie) - Louie appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
- Regina King (227) - Regina stops by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
- Marisa Tomei (A Different World) - Marissa is a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
- Christine Baranski (Cybill/Happy Family/Welcome to New York) - Christine appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
- Kristen Schaal (The Last Man on Earth/Bob's Burgers/Flight of the Conchords) - Kristen visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
- Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation) - Adam drops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
- Brooklyn Decker (Grace and Frankie/Friends with Better Lives) - Brooklyn is a guest on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
- Wanda Sykes (The New Adventures of Old Christine/Wanda at Large) - Wanda appears on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
- Christian Slater (Breaking In) - Christian guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
- Kristen Bell (The Good Place) - Kristen is a guest on a repeat of The Real, so check your listings.
- Alec Baldwin (30 Rock) and Lisa Kudrow (Friends/The Comeback) - Alec and Lisa talk about The Baby Boss on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
- Katey Sagal (Superior Donuts/Married with Children/8 Simple Rules) - Katey discusses her new book Grace Notes: My Recollections on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am. She will also be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
- Zach Braff (Scrubs) - Zach will be on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
- Craig Ferguson (The Drew Carey Show) - Craig is a guest on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.