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Stats Spotlight - Various Shows - How The Networks Compare

(Check out my website, www.seriesmonitor.com)

It's three more sleeps until the two remaining networks, ABC and CBS, begin their fall line-up, so I thought I'd fire off some interesting statistics to compare the two big players with the two smaller ones, just to see how they add up

Firstly, lets look at the shows each network is airing.

In total, CBS is airing 21 different shows this fall, not including Saturdays. From these 21 series, just four are new this season (Partners, Vegas, Elementary, and Made in Jersey). The 17 returning shows have aired a total of 119 seasons, excluding this coming season. This number is boosted quite substantially by Survivor and The Amazing Race, which have aired 25 and 21 previous seasons respectively

ABC, on the other hand, is airing 17 shows in primetime, excluding Saturdays this season, with four shows (The Neighbors, Last ResortNashville, 666 Park Avenue) new this season and Primetime: What Would You Do? and 20/20, both of which air on Fridays. The total seasons that the returning shows have had adds up to 48, with the largest contributor to that total by far, being Dancing With The Stars, with 16 seasons prior to this season.

If you did a little division, you could work out that the average series length of the shows this season, equates to 5.6 seasons for CBS, for ABC, it's exactly half that, at 2.8. So arguably, CBS has the more experienced lineup

Now lets throw two cats among the pigeons, namely FOX and NBC.

FOX has aired 62 previous seasons of its 13 returning shows, but it adds 3 new shows to its lineup this season (The Mob Doctor, Ben & Kate, and The Mindy Project) bringing the total to 19. Bear in mind that FOX airs local programming from 9-10pm each night. The returning show with by far the highest number of previous seasons is The Simpsons, with 23.

NBC is airing 17 shows this season, excluding Saturdays, Rock Center with Brian Williams, Dateline NBC, and Sunday Night Football, which air on Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays respectively. NBC has the most new shows this season with 6 (Revolution, Go On, The New Normal, Animal Practice, Guys with Kids, and Chicago Fire). The total number of previous seasons aired by the 17 returning shows is 46, which is almost identical to ABC. The returning show with the most previous seasons is  Bear in mind that some of these shows, and others, have already started airing, and some do not start this season until late October, so the numbers for NBC can vary depending on how you calculate them.

With some more division, you can conclude that the average series length of the shows this season is 4.7 for FOX, and 2.7 for NBC.

Let's stick that data into a table, ranked in order of the average length of the shows this season:

Network Total Shows Returning Shows New Shows Longest Running Show Total Returning Show Seasons Season Length Average
CBS 21 17 4 Survivor (25) 119 5.6
FOX 19 16 3 The Simpsons (23) 62 4.7
ABC 17 13 4 DWTS (16) 48 2.8
NBC 17 11 6 Law and Order: SVU (13) 46 2.7

I'm sure a lot of you were thinking - as I was, that CBS and ABC are way out in front, but when you look at the table, all the networks are actually surprisingly similar. Of course, it's the quality of the shows and the ratings that set the networks apart, but on face value, in this format, there's not a lot between the "Big four" as they are commonly referred to. 

In other news, Glee aired the second episode of its fourth season last night. It pulled in a 2.9 18/49 rating, and 7.46 million viewers. That rating was down on last weeks premiere (3.1) but the audience was up 50,000, from 7.41 million viewers last week. So Glee held pretty firm. The X Factor, its lead-in, had a big increase on last weeks 3.1 18/49 rating, and 8.28 million viewers, pulling in a 3.5 rating, and 10.15 million viewers this week. This would have definitely helped Glee with its good numbers this week

I hoped you found the above data of some interest. As usual, comprehensive statistics for many shows are on my website, www.seriesmonitor.com. I'm more than happy to answer any questions you may have

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