Fingers Crossed: How Much Do Week Two Ratings Matter?

Categories: 1-Featured,Featured,TV Ratings

Written By

September 27th, 2010

Many fans of rookies shows that had their series premieres last week are likely keeping their fingers crossed over their upcoming ratings results in week two.

How much do those second week ratings matter?

Based on last year's results, the answers are not so simple.

Here's a list of the 2009-10 rookie shows that premiered in week 1 of the season* and their adults 18-49 ratings for both week 1 and week 2 of the season.

Show Net Week 1 Week 2 Change Fate
Brothers FOX 1.1 0.8 -27% Cancelled
Eastwick ABC 3.0 2.3 -23% Cancelled
the forgotten ABC 2.6 2.0 -23% Cancelled
Cougar Town ABC 4.4 3.8 -14% Renewed
The Cleveland Show FOX 4.9 4.4 -10% Renewed
Modern Family ABC 4.2 3.8 -10% Renewed
Mercy NBC 2.3 2.1 -9% Cancelled
FlashForward ABC 4.0 3.7 -8% Cancelled
NCIS: Los Angeles CBS 4.4 4.1 -7% Renewed
Accidentally On Purpose CBS 3.3 3.1 -6% Cancelled
The Good Wife CBS 3.1 3.2 3% Renewed

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While I'd love to be able to look at that list and come up with a simple rule. there isn't one that I can see that covers the outcomes very well.

Here's what I can come up with from the limited data from last year:

  • Drops of more than 20% from week 1 to week 2 are a negative indicator no matter what your week 1 ratings were. (Brothers, Eastwick, the forgotten)
  • For shows with below average week 1 ratings (relative to network peers), holding steady or nearly steady, isn't a positive indicator. (Mercy)
  • An increase in week 2 could be a positive indicator. (Good Wife).
  • If you start with above average ratings relative to network peers a small drop (<20%) on the second week doesn't reliably indicate anything (FlashForward, Accidentally On Purpose) on one hand, and (Cougar Town, Cleveland Show, Modern Family, NCIS:LA) on the other.

We do weekly renewal / cancellation projections based on every show's relative ratings in our Renew / Cancel Index posts available late every Tuesday.

*that leaves out plenty of shows that premiered before and after week one like Glee, Community, The Middle, Three Rivers, Vampire Diaries, Melrose Place & Trauma.

 
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