I don't claim to have psychic powers, but I'm more than willing to take a stab at predicting the future of the 2007-2008 broadcast season by looking backwards at the 2006-2007 season.
Let's take a look at the final 18-49 viewership ranking for shows in the 2006-2007 season compared with their ranking after the 3rd week of the season (which was Oct 2-8, 2006).
|18-49 STD Rank on 5/27/07||Show||Network||18-49 STD Rank on 10/8/06|
|6||NBC SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL||NBC||5|
|10||DANCING WITH THE STARS||ABC||13|
|11||SURVIVOR: COOK ISLANDS||CBS||8|
|13||DANCING W/THE STARS-MON||ABC|
|16||DANCING W/STARS RESULTS||ABC|
|19||DANCING W/STARS RESULT-TU||ABC|
|20||EXTREME MAKEOVER:HOME ED.||ABC||10|
Several things jump out at me:
1. Except for 24, which was an established hit show with a traditional mid-season start date, no scripted show that wasn't in the top 20 by the 3rd week of the season made it there, and 7 of the second 10 fell off the list by the end of the season.
2. Primarily because of the double-night juggernaut of American Idol, almost no shows moved up in position after the third week that were already on the list. Exceptions being House and Heroes, last seasons biggest new series hit.
(1) for scripted shows, if you're not in the STD top 20 by the 3rd week, it's unlikely you're going to get there, either by moving up or being introduced mid-season, and (2) unless American Idol stumbles, your STD position on week 3 is falling by the end of season.
3. Six of the seven shows that made the STD top 20 after not having been in the list on week 3 were reality/non-scripted shows.
Mid-season reality shows do stand a chance of cracking the STD top 20.
Let's shift to fortunetelling the current season. Where will the current Season to Date 18-49 top 20 be at the end of the season in May?
|18-49 STD Rank on 10/14/07||Show||Network||Estimated 18-49 STD Rank May 2008|
|5||NBC SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL||NBC||5|
|7||DANCING W/THE STARS-MON||ABC||9|
|11||LAW AND ORDER:SVU||NBC||16|
|12||BROTHERS & SISTERS||ABC||18|
|16||TWO AND A HALF MEN||CBS||>20|
|17||SUNDAY NIGHT NFL PRE-KICK||NBC||>20|
|18||EXTREME MAKEOVER:HOME ED.||ABC||>20|
However, if the screenwriters strike happens and it lasts more than a month, I'd see the top 20 being almost exclusively reality and sports by the end of the season.
I come back to this list at the end of the season to keep myself honest. Think you can do better? That's what the comments are for!
Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2007 Nielsen Media Research, Inc. All Rights Reserved.