'Revolution' Ratings vs. 'Smash' Ratings; The Trend Is Not 'Revolution's' Friend

Categories: Broadcast TV

Written By

May 8th, 2013


Following NBC's The Voice does wonders for a show's ratings. Unfortunately, every show can't follow The Voice, every episode, forever.

Last season, Smash followed The Voice, and did fine by NBC standards. This season, when it didn't air after The Voice, its ratings collapsed, and it was moved to Saturday to burn off its remaining episodes before cancellation.

This season, Revolution has followed The Voice on Monday for every single one of its episodes, and has done well by NBC standards.

However, its week to week ratings trend looks ominously like Smash's first season.

Wait until next season, indeed.

(click the graph for the full sized version)

  • Zhou

    Well for one thing Smash aired at midseason, February 2012. It did not start in September, like Revolution, which this graph implies.

  • Zhou

    It also started much higher, at around a 3.8. Not sure what shows ratings are actually being used here.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    “Those ratings for Smash are incorrect, please repost with an accurate graph if possible.’

    Whoops! Indeed, I copied the wrong row in the spreadsheet! Mistakes are always possible!

    Now fixed.

    The point of the post remains.

  • uofmguy423

    My guess is that Revolution will stay on Mondays with The Voice and Parenthood will stay on Tuesdays as well through next season. I can see them trying to launch something after The Biggest Loser’s initial premier if Revolution takes another hiatus. Why NBC would tinker with Mondays and Tuesdays that are an actual success would seem to be a bad decision.

  • Other than THAT Mrs. Lincoln how was the play?

    Shows like Revolution no longer work on network TV – these types of shows should be on cable networks like AMC, FX, SYFY, ect. Network viewers tend have very short attention spans and want the story wrapped up in 30-60 minutes or they are empty headed types that want to watch talent/singing shows which require little brain power. The rest want vapid tasteless sitcoms.

    To be honest while Im watching Revolution, I wont care when the axe falls. I only hope wrap the series up without leaving a cliffhanger. The characters are annoying, the plot holes are glaring and most of the episodes are filler with no substance.

  • Anna Bones Clarkwood

    I’d just like to point out that SMASH was only a Spring show, for BOTH seasons.

    SMASH viewers had to wait until Feb 5th in order to start watching their show again.

    That’s a long time for a 1st season spring replacement show, which didn’t have an idea what day/date it was going to air until fall was halfway over.

    Like RVN, SMASH is a huge serial. I bet a lot of viewers on the fence, for 1st season shows, that’s a lot of them, just weren’t invested in the show enough to seek it out. Casual Viewers probably had no idea it was back. It was on NBC (low viewers to see ads) & premiered b4 the Voice Premiere (largest viewers with like viewers).

    I know that that is a lot of Fan Excuse Bingo & honestly even if it did have a Fall premiere in it’s original slot, the ratings trend showed that it would have been canceled in any case, just maybe not a Sat burn off.

    The main point I’m trying to get here is that RVN, will be given a Fall air date. It also has a full season of fan investment. There is a gr8er chance that RVN can stabilize at some point.

    Also, we can’t forget to look at it’s C3 ratings nor the fact that the genre is completely different btwn Voice & RVN vs Voice & SMASH. Yes, ppl can like both, but the casual viewer, who’s already missed the opening 2 minutes of the Castle or H50 or cable, would be more willing to stick with SMASH than RVN. However, give RVN a different date, and there might be enough viewers who didn’t tune into the Voice, plus obvious some that do like both, that it can stabilize at an acceptable number.

    The argument that Broadway shows along with SciFi Network shows, are too niche for Network TV, has very solid points. This is probably the main reason that these shows don’t last long. There is enough of an audience that wants to watch them, but they are a picky bunch so they will leave the show if they don’t like it. Both shows have been heavily criticized.

  • jessica

    Bill Gorman plays his own game of Fan Excuse Bingo and wins.

    Maybe NBC will move The ProTools to 9pm so nothing can follow it. FOX occasionally did that smart move and let new shows lead into their karaoke competition show.

    What i don’t understand is how no broadcaster has noticed that when there is a 3 or 6 month gap in the middle of a season the latter episodes always have worse ratings, some times a little lower and some times a lot lower. It is very uncommon for the ratings to be about the same and so uncommon i can’t think of an example where such a break was beneficial to a show’s ratings. Nevertheless more and more shows have this done to it. All you need do is look at that poor resolution image from Bill to see that Revolution’s first-half-low is also it’s second-half-high.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    “All you need do is look at that poor resolution image from Bill”

    Having old eyes myself, I should make allowances for others to have them as well.

    You can now click on the chart image for the full sized version.

  • Anna Bones Clarkwood


    As far as long returns, not sure about broadcast but more and more cable shows are getting a larger viewership/demo from the previous seasons/half season finale to the current season’s premiere/mid season premiere.

    I do agree that it appears as if on Network TV, the opposite, aka what you said, is mostly true.

    BTW, what is “The ProTools”?

  • Hardline_Pro

    Revolution is probably only going to get 2 seasons. But, still better than a lot of NBC shows, lol.

  • EatMorePez

    Both this season and last season, I noticed that some people seem to think their favorite NBC show deserves to air after the Voice. And if it doesn’t, it’s the biggest injustice in the history of network television.

  • Ron H.

    GASP! A website that wants to get page views! What’s next? Amazon wanting us to order stuff from them? Hard to take critical comments here seriously when [a] by clicking on the article link you gave them a page view and [b] by making comments about said activity you not only increased the time spent on page stats but you also made the page view more relevant thanks to your commenting. Duh! Oh, yeah, REVOLUTION is a huge suck hole of a disappointment and is coming back next year for one reason only: it’s on NBC. As this post correctly notes, the downward rating spiral does not bode well for the series.

  • Wright

    Revolution is way better than Smash. This chart doesn’t prove anything. They are comparing 2 totally different shows.

  • jessica

    Bill, thank you for the improved quality of the chart image. When you get to typing so many numbers and making them as small as you did when the image was 500×341 it is hard to read for anyone’s eyes. Not impossible but certainly not conducive to actually reading anything more than the coloured points. At 987×675 it is quite easy to read the numbers.

  • Chris J

    @Anna Bones Clarkwood

    Great post!

    But I think Revolution will fare better than Smash next year regardless of where it’s placed on the schedule.

    1. As you said Revolution has a had a FULL year and a FULL season behind the Voice to gain an audience and a “fan base”.
    2. Post-apocolyptic dramas although niche have far more of a broad appeal than musicals (see Walking Dead).

    Looking at the DVR numbers it seems Revolution has amassed a huge fan base following the show the past year. So next year I doubt it will debut with a 0.9 like Smash did. Revolution will probably be down next year regardless where it’s scheduled, but it’s not Smash and its also not Lost. It’ll probably do average ratings, which will mean if NBC wants to keep it for more than just the next 2 seasons they retool it and slash the budget.

  • TheFrenchGuy

    I don’t think NBC will put Revolution away from The Voice it’s too risky. Maybe the Show will move to Tuesday at 9 with The Voice lead-in and Parenthood at 10. NBC will probably premiere a new drama on Monday at 10.

  • TVDude

    I think the more important thing to look at was how Smash did verses the rest of NBC’s schedule and how Revolution’s doing verses the rest of NBC’s schedule.

    Smash fell below the levels of SVU and The Office while Revolution is still NBC’s top scripted show. I do have to be careful after Grimm’s good numbers last week, but on an overall scale, Revolution is still NBC’s big one regardless if it has bad retention behind The Voice or not.

    Now if NBC were to move Revolution, would it also follow the fate of Smash? I don’t know but this is where Smash and Revolution might be different. While Revolution has anti-fans, it’s no where nearly as panned as Smash was. Also, while Smash was pushed into the spring, there’s a huge chance Revolution will air in the fall, which typically has higher ratings as the weather cools (compared to the spring’s decreasing ratings).

    So while there might be a pattern, I think the circumstances surrounding the shows are what is different. While NBC was desperate last season, I think they’re even more desperate now. The fact Revolution tied with Castle to win the 10pm hour last night suggest that after almost a full season of episodes, Revolution is still a show to compete with on Monday nights, and might even be the “show to beat” from ABC’s and CBS’s point of view. I couldn’t say that about Smash this time last year.

  • Fake Me Out

    NBC has to, IMHO, treat the post Voice slot like a greenhouse for new shows … give them the best chances to start and grow in a protected environment but eventually they have to harden it off and move the plant (show) outdoors (new slot) to make room for the next crop … and if they can’t survive the harsh outdoors (GoOn, TNN) blow them under and try again.

    I’m still watching and enjoying Revolution despite some plot point problems but, sadly, must agree with Bill that things look as bleak as a Friday night out in the Plains Nation for Revolutions future if they keep bleeding off viewers … take away the prop up from the Voice and things may get fugly fast.


  • Tommy Mickens

    Good comparison and I bet you’ll be right (unless they decide to keep Revolution after The Voice next year), but Bill you’re bored, huh? Why an random article like this when we’re all waiting renewals info?

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    “I think the more important thing to look at was how Smash did verses the rest of NBC’s schedule and how Revolution’s doing verses the rest of NBC’s schedule.”

    I agree. I considered doing a chart of their relative ratings instead of the absolute ratings, but decided against it for a variety of reasons.

    “Smash fell below the levels of SVU and The Office while Revolution is still NBC’s top scripted show.”

    A new Smash episode was never beaten (and only once tied) by a new L&O:SVU last season, but The Office beat Smash in all weeks from April on, and many prior weeks as well.

    It is indeed all relative, and where the ratings for NBC scripted shows will settle out next year is anybody’s guess.

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