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ABC "On The Bubble" No More

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April 8th, 2008

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NBC stole whatever thunder I might have had from an "on the bubble" analysis by announcing their new schedule earlier than ever before.

I figure I'd better look at the ABC shows up for renewal before they do the same thing! To the best of my knowledge, the ABC shows with an uncertain futures are According to Jim, Boston Legal, Brothers & Sisters, Eli Stone, Here Come the Newlyweds, Just for Laughs, Men in Trees, Miss Guided, Notes from the Underbelly, October Road, Samantha Who?, Oprah's Big Give, Ugly Betty and Women's Murder Club.

The following shows have been cancelled, although there may or may not have been an announcement: Big Shots, Carpoolers, Cashmere Mafia, Men in Trees, and Cavemen. The following shows have been announced as returning in Fall 2008: Samantha Who?, Ugly Betty, Brothers & Sisters, Dirty Sexy Money, Private Practice, Pushing Daisies.

UPDATE: Go here to see the 2008 Fall Schedule for ABC.

On to the analysis:

Selected ABC Shows Ranked by Season to Date Adults 18-49, and Season to Date Viewers

STD Adults 18-49 Rank

Show

STD Adults 18-49, Live+SD (000)

STD Viewers Rank

STD Viewers, Live+SD (000)

8

SAMANTHA WHO? (renewed) 5,730

9

12,092

9

BROTHERS & SISTERS (renewed) 5,548

11

10,211

10

OPRAH'S BIG GIVE (cancelled) 5,437

10

11,670

15

HERE COME THE NEWLYWEDS 4,340

21

7,919

16

BIG SHOTS (cancelled) 4,206

27

7,129

17

UGLY BETTY (renewed) 4,142

16

8,792

18

Supernanny (renewed) 3,932

26

7,269

19

DIRTY SEXY MONEY (renewed) 3,880

25

7,425

21

ELI STONE (renewed) 3,844

23

7,749

24

BOSTON LEGAL (remewed) 3,495

15

9,065

25

CAVEMEN (cancelled) 3,247

30

6,405

28

CASHMERE MAFIA (cancelled) 3,147

35

5,418

30

WIFE SWAP (renewed) 3,092

32

6,053

31

OCTOBER ROAD (cancelled) 2,821

41

4,779

33

NOTES FROM THE UNDERBELLY 2,653

40

4,833

34

WOMEN'S MURDER CLUB (cancelled) 2,630

18

8,401

36

CARPOOLERS (cancelled) 2,559

37

5,100

37

ACCORDING TO JIM 2,307

36

5,102

40

MEN IN TREES (cancelled) 2,131

34

5,742

43

JUST FOR LAUGHS 1,755

43

4,600

Guaranteed Return

  • Brothers & Sisters [edit: announced as already renewed]
  • Oprah's Big Give Assuming Ms. Winfrey wants it to return. 5/13 Update: Apparently, she did not! It's cancelled.

Likely Return

  • Samantha Who? [edit: announced as already renewed]
  • Here Come the Newlyweds

Toss Up

These shows did *worse* than Big Shots (already cancelled) in 18-49 but better than Dirty Sexy Money (already renewed). Confusing? Indeed.

  • Ugly Betty [edit: announced as already renewed]
  • Supernanny [edit: announced as already renewed]
  • Eli Stone Better in viewers than DSM, and just behind DSM in 18-49 adults. Also, has good DVR (Live+7) numbers. Update: Renewed

These two shows have above average viewership for ABC, but well below average 18-49 viewership.

  • Boston Legal Anecdotally, said to have great numbers with high income HH's. Update: Renewed
  • Women's Murder Club Only 31% of its viewers are in the 18-49 demo. Ouch. Update: Cancelled

Show Me The Money

  • According to Jim On ratings numbers alone, it should be gone, but reports are that its syndication prospects will likely save it.

Stick a Fork In Them, They're Done

  • Wife Swap [edit: announced as already renewed]
  • October Road, Update: Cancelled
  • Notes from the Underbelly, Update: Cancelled
  • Men In Trees [5/4 update: Producers have been told it has been cancelled]
  • Just For Laughs

There's Always A Special Rule For Somebody, Isn't There?

  • Miss Guided Nielsen's rule is that if an episode is designated a "special" then it doesn't accumulate its own season to date numbers. count in the network's weekly or season to date average ratings. Well, every single episode of Miss Guided was designated as a "special", so it doesn't appear in any have its own season to date aggregate numbers. It's almost as if ABC *knew* it wasn't going to do well before it aired and took it just to keep on the good side of director Ashton Kutcher. We've been Punk'd. Update: Cancelled.

Fans, what do you think will happen?

* owing to the vagaries of network show announcements or non announcements, this list may very well be incorrect. Comment with a link if you know better!

Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2008 Nielsen Media Research, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 
  • Judy

    ABC has not been fair with Men in Trees since the first season.
    The viewers Trees does have are very loyal and are struggling to keep this decent program on the air.
    I have no idea how ABC can expect Trees to develop a fan base high enough to get good ratings when they have bounced Trees around much like a little used ping pong ball.
    I wish ABC would give Trees half the chances they gave their other crappy shows. The network would surely have another hit on their hands.

  • Judy

    ABC has not been fair with Men in Trees since the first season.
    The viewers Trees does have are very loyal and are struggling to keep this decent program on the air.
    I have no idea how ABC can expect Trees to develop a fan base high enough to get good ratings when they have bounced Trees around much like a little used ping pong ball.
    I wish ABC would give Trees half the chances they gave their other crappy shows. The network would surely have another hit on their hands.

  • tamara

    I for one will boycott ABC if they drop Men in Trees.

  • tamara

    I for one will boycott ABC if they drop Men in Trees.

  • jay turney

    ABC is the most interesting network to follow because while I think these shows are, uh, below average, they at least had a strategy beyond reality shows or Moonves-alter ego sensitive cop/forensic cop/ military forensic cop, etc. But if, after all the hype for Cashmere – and I agree, Men in Trees did not get nearly the push in the print media the other women 18-49 targetted shows did – and the relentless Sex in the City lite shows, the absolute lack of scripted competition during the strike, they don't throw in the towel and try to appeal to at least a few evil males, I'd look for heads to roll, or Disney shareholders to contemplate some more boardroom cloak and dagger stuff. ABC's numbers, any way you slice it, are going in the wrong direction against overrated opponents. Funny, because ABC Family, with Gilmore Girls, Geeks, Wildfire, etc, has nice, consistent, not-terrible line-up, and judging from their advertising, we're not talking Bob the penis-enhancer, Girls gone wild, Geiko, Ditech white trash level, as say on supposedly higher-dollar Comedy Central and Spike.

  • jay turney

    ABC is the most interesting network to follow because while I think these shows are, uh, below average, they at least had a strategy beyond reality shows or Moonves-alter ego sensitive cop/forensic cop/ military forensic cop, etc. But if, after all the hype for Cashmere – and I agree, Men in Trees did not get nearly the push in the print media the other women 18-49 targetted shows did – and the relentless Sex in the City lite shows, the absolute lack of scripted competition during the strike, they don’t throw in the towel and try to appeal to at least a few evil males, I’d look for heads to roll, or Disney shareholders to contemplate some more boardroom cloak and dagger stuff. ABC’s numbers, any way you slice it, are going in the wrong direction against overrated opponents. Funny, because ABC Family, with Gilmore Girls, Geeks, Wildfire, etc, has nice, consistent, not-terrible line-up, and judging from their advertising, we’re not talking Bob the penis-enhancer, Girls gone wild, Geiko, Ditech white trash level, as say on supposedly higher-dollar Comedy Central and Spike.

  • Mary

    Believe it or not, up until a year and a half ago, we were a two-channel family. (We're Canadian.) We subscribed to cable only to get to see Men in Trees. If ABC dumps Men in Trees, we'll dump our cable. That will mean we'll be able to watch garbage (reality shows and violent shows) for free, rather than paying to watch it each month. We felt Men In Trees was worth the investment, but will seriously reconsider if ABC cancels it.

  • Mary

    Believe it or not, up until a year and a half ago, we were a two-channel family. (We’re Canadian.) We subscribed to cable only to get to see Men in Trees. If ABC dumps Men in Trees, we’ll dump our cable. That will mean we’ll be able to watch garbage (reality shows and violent shows) for free, rather than paying to watch it each month. We felt Men In Trees was worth the investment, but will seriously reconsider if ABC cancels it.

  • jay turney

    ABC is the most interesting network to follow because while I think these shows are, uh, below average, they at least had a strategy beyond reality shows or Moonves-alter ego sensitive cop/forensic cop/ military forensic cop, etc. But if, after all the hype for Cashmere – and I agree, Men in Trees did not get nearly the push in the print media the other women 18-49 targetted shows did – and the relentless Sex in the City lite shows,and the absolute lack of scripted competition during the strike, they don't throw in the towel and try to appeal to at least a few evil males, I'd look for heads to roll, or Disney shareholders to contemplate some more boardroom cloak and dagger stuff. ABC's numbers, any way you slice it, are going in the wrong direction against overrated opponents. Funny, because ABC Family, with Gilmore Girls, Geeks, Wildfire, etc, has nice, consistent, not-terrible line-up, and judging from their advertising, we're not talking Bob the penis-enhancer, Girls gone wild, Geiko, Ditech white trash level, as say on supposedly higher-dollar Comedy Central and Spike. Disney channel itself is wildly popular. Somebody up there just needs to make a good transition from tweens to adults pf both genders.

  • jay turney

    ABC is the most interesting network to follow because while I think these shows are, uh, below average, they at least had a strategy beyond reality shows or Moonves-alter ego sensitive cop/forensic cop/ military forensic cop, etc. But if, after all the hype for Cashmere – and I agree, Men in Trees did not get nearly the push in the print media the other women 18-49 targetted shows did – and the relentless Sex in the City lite shows,and the absolute lack of scripted competition during the strike, they don’t throw in the towel and try to appeal to at least a few evil males, I’d look for heads to roll, or Disney shareholders to contemplate some more boardroom cloak and dagger stuff. ABC’s numbers, any way you slice it, are going in the wrong direction against overrated opponents. Funny, because ABC Family, with Gilmore Girls, Geeks, Wildfire, etc, has nice, consistent, not-terrible line-up, and judging from their advertising, we’re not talking Bob the penis-enhancer, Girls gone wild, Geiko, Ditech white trash level, as say on supposedly higher-dollar Comedy Central and Spike. Disney channel itself is wildly popular. Somebody up there just needs to make a good transition from tweens to adults pf both genders.

  • TV-aholic

    Can you go into more detail about the Miss/Guided special “excemption”.

    I know that if a show airs out of its usual time slot, is a “Special” and doesn't count towards that series season average, but I have never heard of a special program not counting towards a Neworks weekly or season average.

    So does that mean that ABC's average was based on 21 hours, and not 22, for last week?

  • TV-aholic

    Can you go into more detail about the Miss/Guided special “excemption”.

    I know that if a show airs out of its usual time slot, is a “Special” and doesn’t count towards that series season average, but I have never heard of a special program not counting towards a Neworks weekly or season average.

    So does that mean that ABC’s average was based on 21 hours, and not 22, for last week?

  • Dou

    You do a great job with your ratings analysis, but left a few things out here. Brothers & Sisters, Ugly Betty and Boston Legal all have reruns factored into their ratings, while the other series do not. I wouldn't in any way consider either UB or BS bubble series; their originals do well, even if the repeats suck in the ratings. BL, on the other hand, has a declining, aging audience.

    As for Just For Laughs, it will be back. It's a Canadian series that already has a million episodes produced (minus the host scenes) and ABC is likely paying nickel per episode for it. It won't be on the fall schedule, but it's essentially timeslot filler. I could see it running again in the summer where it did decently.

    About the “special” designation – it does count in the network's weekly and season average, but not in the individual series average. It's common to have episodes airing on the holidays designated “specials” – it doesn't count for the series, but it does for the network. ABC's strategy with MissGuided is indeed bizarre.

    With ABC picking up Scrubs and maybe Old Christine (hey maybe that great show can actually get a full season at some point! What a novel idea!), you have to wonder where they're going to open up a comedy night. Tuesday is the only possibility I see.

  • Dou

    You do a great job with your ratings analysis, but left a few things out here. Brothers & Sisters, Ugly Betty and Boston Legal all have reruns factored into their ratings, while the other series do not. I wouldn’t in any way consider either UB or BS bubble series; their originals do well, even if the repeats suck in the ratings. BL, on the other hand, has a declining, aging audience.

    As for Just For Laughs, it will be back. It’s a Canadian series that already has a million episodes produced (minus the host scenes) and ABC is likely paying nickel per episode for it. It won’t be on the fall schedule, but it’s essentially timeslot filler. I could see it running again in the summer where it did decently.

    About the “special” designation – it does count in the network’s weekly and season average, but not in the individual series average. It’s common to have episodes airing on the holidays designated “specials” – it doesn’t count for the series, but it does for the network. ABC’s strategy with MissGuided is indeed bizarre.

    With ABC picking up Scrubs and maybe Old Christine (hey maybe that great show can actually get a full season at some point! What a novel idea!), you have to wonder where they’re going to open up a comedy night. Tuesday is the only possibility I see.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    Dou is correct, the weekly and s-t-d prime averages still do include the shows designated as special. The duration for last week was still 1320 minutes (22*60).

    In anything we have access to that ranks shows on a season-to-date, “special” is not factored in and in the case of the 18-49 season to date program ranking Miss Guided doesn't even exist as a line item.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    Dou is correct, the weekly and s-t-d prime averages still do include the shows designated as special. The duration for last week was still 1320 minutes (22*60).

    In anything we have access to that ranks shows on a season-to-date, “special” is not factored in and in the case of the 18-49 season to date program ranking Miss Guided doesn’t even exist as a line item.

  • Tom

    I have to agree. It's been one of my favorites. It's too bad it got lost in the shuffle. Unfortunately, that seems to happen more and more every season. Shows are getting moved, or even dumped, after the first episode these days and the jumble caused by the strike just made things worse. Let's face it. There are a lot of “classic” shows that had first season ratings that would have gotten them killed early by any of the networks today.

  • Tom

    I have to agree. It’s been one of my favorites. It’s too bad it got lost in the shuffle. Unfortunately, that seems to happen more and more every season. Shows are getting moved, or even dumped, after the first episode these days and the jumble caused by the strike just made things worse. Let’s face it. There are a lot of “classic” shows that had first season ratings that would have gotten them killed early by any of the networks today.

  • Tom

    Sorry. My previous post was in reply to Bryan and Stacy. Oops.

  • Tom

    Sorry. My previous post was in reply to Bryan and Stacy. Oops.

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