My esteemed colleague Mr. Gorman says in response to someone crying about ABC’s scheduling of FlashForward’s return against the first night of the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament:

You can make lots of excuses for FlashForward, but CBS last night wasn’t much higher than it was last Thursday, and Fox and the CW ran all repeats. Nobody watched it because nobody wanted to watch it.

There’s more than meets the eye with the 18-49 numbers

Ultimately regardless of any analysis, Bill’s conclusion is correct — not enough people wanted to watch it.  Whatever the reasons, that is still true.   But was  the dismissive wave of the hand that the NCAAs didn’t have any impact overly dismissive?  It’s true there wasn’t much difference between CBS’s overall 18-49 this week versus last week, but the overall composition of those numbers this week was very different.  In the spirit of informing and enlightening…

Men Men Men Men

Get a load of CBS’s averages this week versus last week:

CBS 8pm-10pm Avgs 11-Mar 18-Mar Change
Overall 18-49 Rtg 3.5 3.8 9%
Men 18-49 Rtg 2.9 5.0 72%
Women 18-49 Rtg 4.0 2.7 -33%
Men 18-34 Rtg 1.5 4.5 200%
Women 18-34 Rtg 2.4 2.2 -8%


Ah, sports. They find the elusive males 18-34!

Now, just for grins, we’ll compare the 8p-9p hour on December 3rd (last FlashForward airing) to last night’s two hour averages.

Flash Forward 3-Dec 18-Mar Change
Overall 18-49 2.2 1.9 -14%
Men 18-49 1.9 1.5 -21%
Women 18-49 2.4 2.3 -4%
Men 18-34 1.7 1.4 -18%
Women 18-34 1.9 1.9 0%

So did the NCAA’s make any difference to FlashForward?  The above charts are by no means conclusive.  What we do know is that FlashForward showed its biggest decreases with men, and last night CBS had substantial week over week increases in men despite the overall rating changing by only 9%.    My personal conclusion is that the NCAA’s certainly took a toll.  Perhaps the difference between a 1.9 and a 2.1.

How much would that really matter?

Not even a little bit, really, at least in terms of the show’s renewal prospects.  But  there is more to the numbers than sometimes meets the eye and sometimes its worth digging beneath the overall 18-49 averages.

Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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