SAN DIEGO, November 11, 2012 – Eight weeks into the fall 2012 TV season, clear winners and losers have emerged.
There are just a few legitimate hits so far, and they are mainly drama series. There are also just a few early cancellations. The shrinking number of people watching prime time television overall combined with the growing number of viewers who time shift by using their DVR or other recorders means that network programmers are showing a little more patience than in past seasons. Also being factored in: online viewing, which is generally delayed viewing.
Adding in the time shifting viewers can raise a show’s ratings 20 to 30 percent. Dramas and shows popular with men benefit the most. When there’s a conflict, viewers will often watch an old favorite and leave the new show on the DVR, catching up with it later. This is why TV ratings by the Nielsen company now taken into account all viewers who see a show within the first three days of it airing.
The result: in certain cases, shows that would have been cancelled due to low ratings are being given a chance to finish out the season. Only two shows have been cancelled so far. At this time last year, four new shows were already off the air.
Let’s take a look at how the Class of Fall 2012 is doing.
Revolution, NBC: The highest rated new TV series and the breakout hit of the fall, with devoted “Lost”-style fans. Its audience increases 35 percent when DVR and online viewers are added. It benefits from The Voice as a lead in. It was the first show to get a full-season order after three episodes. Its ratings are increasing as word-of-mouth spread. The unusual dystopian sci-fi series appeals to the same viewers who didn’t miss a minute of Lost with its many mysterious threads to figure out.
Elementary, CBS: Getting ratings almost as good as Revolution is this crime show following a modern-day Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, with Watson transformed into a beautiful Asian woman (Lucy Liu). The Holmes character played by Jonny Lee Miller has more than a touch of Dr. House’s irascible nature, quirks, and personal demons, all on display, filing another void for fans. It’s a surprisingly involving show.
Vegas, CBS: This quasi-western set in early 1960s Las Vegas starring veteran actors Dennis Quaid and Michael Chikilis is also enjoying excellent ratings thanks in part to the head start it gets from following the two highest rated series on TV, NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles. Vegas is hanging on to a lot of the audience and that’s a real accomplishment.
The New Normal and Go On!, NBC: Although one of NBC’s new comedies tanked, two out of three isn’t bad. The family comedy from the producers of “Glee” and Matthew Perry’s new venture are doing well. Go On! is the top rated new comedy this fall among adult viewers 18 to 49 years old.
Arrow, CW: Its raw audience numbers are anything like the other hits, but it is a success for the CW, its most-watched show on the entire network of any kind old or new in three years. It has a lot of viewers in the ages advertisers like, 18-34. Bravo to the CW for picking up this engaging superhero drama. Chances are you aren’t watching this show, and it’s well worth your time.
The Mindy Project, Fox: This is the Fox network’s highest rated new show. While it has far fewer viewers than the top new dramas, it’s a big favorite with younger viewers just like Arrow. Fox doesn’t have much else to celebrate, so what the heck, why not order up a full season.
Made in Jersey, CBS: This legal drama was the first show of the 2012 fall season to be cancelled after only two episodes. It was one of the lowest-rating TV shows this fall.
Animal Practice, NBC: When a live monkey is a main character, your show is already in trouble. The show set in a veterinary office tanked from the get-go. I blame the bad kma it generated when NBC decided to air an entire preview episode during the 2012 London Summer Olympics when it seemingly didn’t have time to air enough of the actual competition. It aired only three episodes including the preview.
The Mob Doctor, Fox: This show’s ratings are about as low as Animal Practice, but it started just a few weeks ago. It’s still on the air but it’s on life support. Pull the plug, Fox.
Emily Owens, M.D., CW: The CW’s shows do not air on as many stations and it runs an abbreviated schedule compared to the other broadcast networks. A show is considered a hit with lower ratings than NBC or CBS would tolerate. Still, this is the lowest rated new show on the air. It didn’t help that it debuted against the second presidential debate. Ouch. Not even Meryl Streep’s daughter can save it. Don’t invest any more viewing time here.
HANGING IN THERE
Chicago Fire, NBC: The ratings for this new drama for Dick “Law & Order” Wolf are fair, and after everything Wolf has done for NBC he deserves a break and a full season pickup. It’s getting some help from its lead-in, The Voice, which should help it do well as the reality show comes down to the final the next few weeks. The real test will be at the end of the season without the reality show to help boost ratings.
The Neighbors, ABC: A “wacky” comedy about the aliens in the neighborhood gets a lot of help running right after Modern Family. It’s the weak link on ABC’s Tuesday night comedy lineup, but it will limp across the first season finish line. I wouldn’t get too attached just in case it doesn’t make it through the summer.
Beauty and the Beast, CW: Solid debut, not spectacular, but it was good enough for CW to keep the show around a full season.
Ben & Kate, Fox: This show’s ratings are modest to put it kindly. It’s a surprise Fox decided to order six more episodes, a little shy of a full season but it’s giving the show an extended tryout. Something must lead network programmers to believe it will gain an audience… eventually.
THE JURY’S OUT
Last Man Standing and Malibu Country, ABC: These comedies were two of last new series to debut just two weeks ago. They are coming in second place on Friday night and that’s an accomplishment. Any other night of the week they wouldn’t get a pass. The pair may last the season.
Nashville, ABC: Another new show debuting later in the season. The critics love this country music industry drama; the viewers, not so much yet. Given the rave reviews, ABC may try to let this show gain some traction.
666 Park Ave, ABC: This glossy soap drama features the wonderful Vanessa Williams, but Sunday nights can be tough during football season, which isn’t something you can record for later viewing. ABC wants this show to find an audience but it will have to be extremely patience, after the holidays and regular season.
The Last Resort, ABC: The third of three solidly produced, well-acted dramas getting good reviews that aren’t reflected in its audience. Its DVR viewership is very good however, and if more switch to watching live, it will help keep the military drama set aboard a submarine afloat.
Guys With Kids, NBC: Executive Producer Jimmy Fallon has a lot to worry about. It’s better than Animal Practice, but that’s about it. It’s a bit of a sacrificial lamb going up against the ABC comedy lineup on Wednesday. The bar is set pretty low. Its long-term fate is still up in the air.
Partners, CBS: CBS has stuck with slow-starting comedies before that have turned out to be long term hits. This show airs as part of the powerhouse Monday night comedy lineup. It’s from the production team who gave us Will & Grace, another show about gay and straight BFFs. CBS doesn’t have another comedy to look to, and the Monday ratings are good enough it can afford to be patient.
Fall 2012’s most popular new shows in order of their ratings:
Go On!, NBC
The Mindy Project, Fox
The New Normal, NBC
The Last Resort, ABC
666 Park Avenue, ABC
The Neighbors, ABC
Malibu Country, ABC
Last Man Standing, ABC
Ben & Kate, Fox
Chicago Fire, NBC
Guys with Kids, NBC
Beauty and the Beast, CW
Emily Owens MD, CW
Made in Jersey, CBS CANCELLED
Animal Practice, NBC CANCELLED
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. Read more Media Migraine in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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