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State of Broadcast Networks - A Look at the 2013/2014 Fall TV Numbers

Hey guys!

Here I am for a new article! However, because we've finished our first look at all the broadcast shows that are currently airing that are up for renewal (we'll revisit them in the future), today's article will be a bit different. Today I've decided to shut up a bit more than usual and simply present you with a bunch of statistics that I thought could be interesting. I will present three different sets of stats: first we'll see the ranking of shows per category (Drama or Comedy within Network X) in relative terms, then the overall ranking of shows in the broadcasts in absolute terms and then, finally, the performance of returning shows compared to their performance a year ago.

Before I start though, please bear in mind that although ratings are of huge importance when deciding on renewal, they are not the whole story. As I explain every week, there are other factors (such as syndication) involved, which is why it doesn't mean that just because show X is higher on the ranking here than show Y it will automatically have a higher chance of renewal. Having this clarified, let's now kick it off,

Ranking of Shows per Category,
Fall 2013
(Note: All the relative ratings are calculated using weighted averages that consider mostly the most recent airings)

ABC Comedy 2013/2014
1. Modern Family: 195%
2. The Middle: 120%
3. Super Fun Night: 100%
4. The Goldbergs: 90%
5. Last Man Standing: 90%
6. Back in the Game: 90%
7. Trophy Wife: 65%
8. The Neighbors: 60%
Still to Come: Suburgatory, Mixology

ABC Drama 2013/2014
1. Scandal: 160%
2. Grey's Anatomy: 135%
3. Agents of Shield: 120%
4. Castle: 110%
5. Once Upon a Time: 105%
6. Revenge: 80%
7. Nashville: 80%
8. Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: 45%
9. Betrayal: 40%
10. Lucky 7: 30%
Still to Come: Killer Women, The Assets, Ressurection, Mind Games

CBS Comedy 2013/2014
1. The Big Bang Theory: 190%
2. How I Met Your Mother: 110%
3. 2 Broke Girls: 95%
4. The Millers: 95%
5. Mike and Molly: 80%
6. Two and a Half Men: 80%
7. The Crazy Ones: 80%
8. Mom: 75%
9. We Are Men: 60%
Still to Come: Friends with Better Lives, Bad Teacher (unscheduled)

CBS Drama 2013/20141. NCIS: 160%
2. NCIS LA: 125%
3. Criminal Minds: 110%
4. Person of Interest: 105%
5. CSI: 105%
6. Hawaii Five-0: 90%
7. Elementary: 90%
8. The Mentalist: 85%
9. Blue Bloods: 85%
10. The Good Wife: 80%
11. Hostages: 60%
Still to Come: Intelligence, Reckless (Unscheduled)

CW Drama 2013/20141. The Vampire Diaries: 170%
2. Arrow: 155%
3. Supernatural: 155%
4. The Originals: 145%
5. Reign: 85%
6. The Tomorrow People: 85%
7. Hart of Dixie: 55%
8. The Carrie Diaries: 55%
9. Beauty and the Beast: 45%
10. Nikita: 30%
Still to Come: Star Crossed, The 100

FOX Comedy 2013/2014
1. New Girl: 140%
2. Brooklyn Nine-Nine: 115%
3. The Mindy Project: 100%
4. Dads: 100%
5. Raising Hope: 60%
Still to Come: Enlisted, Surviving Jack

Fox Drama 2013/2014
1. Sleepy Hollow: 135%
2. Bones: 100%
3. Almost Human: 95%
4. Glee: 60%
Still to Come: The Following, Rake

NBC Comedy 2013/2014
1. Parks and Recreation: 100%
2. Sean Saves the World: 100%
3. The Michael J.Fox Show: 90%
4. Welcome to the Family: 75%
Still to Come: Community, About a Boy, Growing Up Fisher, Undateable (Unscheduled)

NBC Drama 2013/2014
1. The Blacklist: 175%
2. Chicago Fire: 125%
3. Grimm: 95%
4. Law and Order SVU: 90%
5. Revolution: 80%
6. Parenthood: 70%
7. Dracula: 70%
8. Ironside: 60%
Still to Come: Chicago PD, Crisis, Believe, Hannibal, Crossbones (Unscheduled), The Night Shift (Unscheduled)

Nothing that is really surprising for anyone that follows ratings remotely close I would say. I think it's interesting that in almost all categories there is a clear leader that is very much ahead of the rest of the pack (Modern Family, Scandal, The Big Bang Theory, NCIS, New Girl, The Blacklist). Other than that, no big remarks here.

2013/2014 FALL
(Note: All averages are calculated using all airings from fall. As always, Friday airings are considered with a 20% factor.)

This is the kind of thing that I am usually more reluctant to give any meaning to because there are just so many apples and oranges comparisons. There are a few broad messages still somewhere in here though:
  • The Big Bang Theory clearly belongs in another Universe.
  • A lot of shows that have been called disappointments are still huge performers.
  • The Blacklist takes the crown both as the highest rated freshman show and as the highest rated drama, both of which are extremely impressive. It's also the only NBC show to crack the Top 15!
  •  Hawaii Five-0 and Grimm take the crowd for top Friday show, even though I am excluding Bones and I suspect that one will soon steal the crown from both of them.
  • The CW, as much as it has improved, is still very much in the bottom of things, with their highest rated show settling for #51 on the list. However, it is notable how many programs are now less than 0.5 away from them, something that would have been impossible a few years ago. Interestingly though, this is both a result of the others weakening as it is of the CW strenghtening.
Ranking of Returning Shows in terms of Year-Ago Performance,
Fall 2013
(Note: When I say a show is doing good or bad in this section,I mean exclusively in terms of comparisons with last year's numbers.A show can be down 50% and still be doing decently in terms of ratings just as a show can be even year to year and still be likely to be cancelled)

The Monsters
1. Scandal: +40%(!!)
2. Chicago Fire: +31%
3. Supernatural: +19%

These three shows are the ones that completely defy the logic of broadcast network performers, which on average tend go down more than 10% per year! You simply do not see this kind of behavior unless there are some extraordinary circumstances involved. Is that the case with these three? Scandal is without a doubt one of the biggest stories of the last TV years and is truly a monster in every sense of the word. As expected as this growth was due to the fact that its Spring was much higher rated than its fall, this is still a very impressive accomplishment. Chicago Fire is another huge gainer. Although many tend to undervalue this due to the voice exposure, I would argue that probably part of this growth is organic as well due to the fact that, much like Scandal, the show was also pulling numbers last spring that were much higher than its fall ones. I am not denying the existence of a voice-induced boost, but I think the numbers would still be higher than the ones it had last fall. Then we have Supernatural, a show which I don't think even it's most hardcore fans anticipated exploding like this. I don't even recall an instance in which a show in its 9th season grew ~20% year to year without any huge lead-in to attribute that to and after such a successful year for the show as it was its run on Wednesday last year.

The Ones Breaking the Trend
4. Law and Order: SVU: +6%
5. Castle: +5%
6. The Big Bang Theory: +2%
7. How I Met Your Mother: -3%
8. Blue Bloods: -4%
9. Bones: -5%

This group consists of shows that, for one reason or the other, are all having great seasons (don't fool yourself into thinking that the standard of having an awesome season is to inch up as much as the 3 shows from the first group did). Blue Bloods and, especially, SVU are probably not very representative here because their premiere numbers were much higher than anything they were pulling last year (especially for SVU, as it was also a double episode), but they are still having very decent seasons regardless. We also have a couple of rock-solid procedurals in Bones and Castle that I think are even more impressive than they look due to the adversities they are facing (move to Friday and lead-in collapse), we have a final season induced How I Met Your other and we have the biggest broadcast show getting even bigger with The Big Bang Theory!

The Average
10. NCIS: -9%
11. The Mindy Project: -12%
12. NCIS LA: -13%
13. Grimm: -13%
14. Arrow: -13%
15. Last Man Standing: -13%
16. The Middle: -13%
17. Grey's Anatomy: -14%
18. The Vampire Diaries: -15%
19. The Good Wife: -16%
20. The Mentalist: -16%

This is where we go from good to "we'll just have to take it" level. Some of these drops are fairly well explained by isolated instances though. Grimm, for instance, was inflated due to the Monday episodes it aired last summer earlier in the year. Grey's Anatomy and The Vampire Diaries were inflated last year due to cliffhangers from the previous season (the aftermath of the plane crash and Elena becoming a vampire), whereas Last Man Standing was also inflated in opening weeks when it was first paired with Malibu Country on Fridays. Even returning shows like Arrow and Mindy Project, which are sophmores, are still what we can consider healthy in terms of year to year trend, as the decline could be attributed to earlier than normal ratings in the opening weeks of Season 1. Bottom line: although shows from this group aren't spectacularly healthy returnees and most could do better, there are usually circumstances that justify the poorer than advisable performance; and it's not like the drops are that massive either.

The Already Ugly Drops
21. Modern Family: -19%
22. New Girl: -19%
23. CSI: -19%
24. Criminal Minds: -19%
25. Mike and Molly: -20%
26. Nashville: -21%
27. Hawaii Five-0: -21%
28. Elementary: -24%

Here it's where we get to a group in which it's already ugly and which there are little attenuating circumstances going for this show. I suppose one can argue that Elementary was inflated in the opening weeks last year and that it lost its high rated compatible lead-in this year and that H50 is showing the Friday move here (even though all my numbers are corrected with a Friday factor already), but other than that, it's mostly bad year to year performances anyway we look at it.

The Awful Cases
29. Nikita: -27%
30. 2 Broke Girls: -27%
31. Hart of Dixie: -29%
32. Parenthood: -29%
33. Parks and Recreation: -30%
34. Person of Interest: -30%
35. The Carrie Diaries: -31%
36. Once Upon a Time: -32%
37. Glee: -33%

There are the bad year to year performances from the group before and then there are the awful performances of the shows in this group. Falling more than 25% year to year is bad anyway we look at it. This being said, I wouldn't actually hold it against any show in this group other than Glee, 2 Broke Girls and, to a smaller extent, Once Upon a Time, because all the other shows have been moved to arguably worst timeslots this year (except for Nikita, which was moved to a lower viewing time of the year anyway). I do think that shows like Hart of Dixie, Parenthood, Parks of Recreation and Person of Interest should have held up a bit better than they did when moved, which means their numbers wouldn't probably look as dire as they look here if they hadn't been moved, but the fact still stands that these are some truly awful performances. Glee and 2 Broke Girls are just pulling awful year to year performances anywhere we look at it.

The Downright Terrible
38. Revenge: -38%
39. Two and a Half Men: -41%
40. The Neighbors: -43%
41. Raising Hope: -49%
42. Revolution: -52%
43. Beauty and the Beast: -56%

Finally, we have a group of 6 shows that are performing close to 50% below what they were doing last year. Except for Revenge though, these are also shows that all have been moved to what are much worst timeslots, which excuses the performances to some extent. As for Revenge (and OUAT while we're on it), this is sort of the opposite of Scandal in the sesnse that we all saw it coming afer the spring ratings last year, but this is still pretty awful regardless.

Well guys, that will be it for today! I hope you find some of these interesting to know. I will try to be back before the TV season resumes to take a look at each of the broacdaster's midseason plans. In the meantime, I am happy to hear from you in the comments below, as always! Happy New Year and thanks for reading!

Previous Articles:
State of NBC and CBS Comedies
State of ABC and FOX Comedies
State of FOX and NBC Dramas
State of CW Dramas
State of CBS Dramas
State of ABC Dramas
ABC Sundays
Renewals and Cancellations Decisions and TV Numbers 101 [FAQ]