Do TV Critics Have An Effect On New Show TV Ratings?

Categories: 1-Featured,TV Business

Written By

October 1st, 2010

There was lots of chatter recently about how the now cancelled ratings loser Lone Star was one of the critical favorites this fall a "critical darling".  Yet its ratings tanked from the start.

That brought up the question of how much do critics reviews influence the premiere ratings of new TV shows?

Based on a brief analysis, apparently not at all this Fall.

I took the premiere rating of each rookie scripted show (from premiere week or earlier) and compared it to the rest of the scripted shows on the same network (Relative Rating, the same as our Renew / Cancel Index), and then gathered the average Metacritic.com score (Critics) for the same shows.

A casual visual observation shows no clear trend, and the mathematics backs that up. There is effectively no correlation* between those two sets of numbers. Many things influenced TV ratings for the rookie premieres this fall, but apparently TV critic reviews were not one of them.

Show Net Relative Rating Critics
Raising Hope Fox 1.01 79
Lone Star Fox 0.43 73
The Event NBC 1.35 67
Nikita*** CW 1.00 66
Hawaii Five-0 CBS 1.13 65
The Defenders CBS 0.84 65
Better With You ABC 0.80 64
Undercovers NBC 0.79 63
Detroit 1-8-7 ABC 0.73 62
Mike & Molly CBS 1.13 61
The Whole Truth ABC 0.48 56
Hellcats*** CW 0.86 51
Running Wilde Fox 0.79 49
Chase NBC 0.86 48
Outsourced NBC 1.35 46
My Generation ABC 0.51 43
Outlaw** NBC 0.92 36
$#*! My Dad Says CBS 1.16 27

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Image from CBS employee Tweet after Lone Star cancellation.

*the correlation coefficient was -0.09

** premiered two weeks early

*** premiered three weeks early

Blue Bloods excluded because its Friday rating was so much lower than the rest of CBS ratings, yet for a Friday it did relatively well. Introducing some sort of 'Friday factor" seemed likely to cloud things.

 
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