Room at the Top: A Handful of New Series Break Through

Latest C3 data plots broadcast’s Haves and Have-Nots

It’s getting mighty crowded at the bottom of the broadcast barrel, as nearly two-thirds of the new network series are delivering less than a 2.0 rating in the dollar demo.

According to Nielsen C3 ratings for the first six weeks of the 2013-14 season (the most up-to-date figures available, given the three weeks required to process the data), no fewer than 15 of the 23 freshman series are now averaging south of a 2.0 in the all-important 18-49 demo. The currency against which nearly all ratings guarantees are made, C3 offers a blend of average live commercial ratings and three days of time-shifted deliveries.

Among the newbies failing to hit above broadcast’s ever-shifting Mendoza Line are five NBC series (Dracula, The Michael J. Fox Show, Sean Saves the World, Ironside, Welcome to the Family); five ABC shows (Back in the Game, Trophy Wife, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, Betrayal, Lucky 7); three Fox entries (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Dads, MasterChef Junior); and the CBS offerings We Are Men and Hostages.

Of the aforementioned shows, five officially have been canceled and another five may as well be. Limited series Betrayal, Dracula, Hostages and Once Upon a Time almost certainly will not be renewed at the end of their respective runs, while Sean Saves the World earlier this month was given the kiss of death that is the incomplete back-nine order. (NBC ordered just enough new installments of the flailing Sean Hayes vehicle to keep its Thursday 9 p.m. time slot warm for likely successor About a Boy.)

Discounting encore presentations and shows that air on low-ebb HUT level Saturdays, 37 broadcast series (eight new and 29 returning) are averaging better than a 2.0 in the demo, while the split among the nether half is 15-25.

On the flip side, the shows that are performing well are keeping the lights on at the networks. Eleven series are averaging a C3 rating of 3.0 or better, of which three (NBC’s The Blacklist, ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Fox’s Sleepy Hollow) are new to the schedule. Including the unstoppable phenomenon that is Sunday Night Football (7.8), three shows are trending above a 4.0. CBS’ The Big Bang Theory is averaging a 4.9 C3 rating, while NBC’s The Voice is pulling down a 4.1.

As is generally the case, the final C3 numbers are statistically consistent with the live-same-day deliveries that are generated the day after any given airdate. Among the top 30 broadcast series, the application of C3 improves on the original L+SD data by a mere one-tenth of a ratings point.

NBC remains in first place in the 18-49 demo, averaging a 2.9 rating upon application of C3, up two-tenths of a point from its live-same-day 2.7. Thanks in large part to the 4.3 rating it averaged over the course of October’s six-game World Series, Fox is No. 2 in the dollar demo (2.5, up from a L+SD 2.3). Through Nov. 3, the Fall Classic accounted for 48 percent of Fox’s overall GRPs, per MoffettNathanson Research. (Here’s how important live sports are to network TV: Sunday Night Football and the Football in America pre-game show account for 42 percent of NBC’s fall GRPs.)

Bringing up the rear are CBS and ABC, both of which are averaging a 2.0 C3 rating in the 18-49 demo. That said, as CBS writes most of its guarantees against its adults 25-54 deliveries, the older demo is far more relevant. Season-to-date, CBS is averaging a 3.1 rating in that target demo.

For a comprehensive look at how the top 30 broadcast series are faring in C3 and live-plus-same-day deliveries, please refer to the chart below:

PROGRAM                                     C3 RATING          L+SD                  DIFF.

Sunday Night Football  (NBC)             7.8                   7.7                   +0.1
The Big Bang Theory (CBS)                4.9                   5.2                    -0.3
The Voice (NBC)                                4.1                   4.3                    -0.2
Scandal (ABC)                                   3.6                   3.2                   +0.4
Modern Family (ABC)                         3.6                   3.8                    -0.2
The Blacklist (NBC)**                        3.5                   3.2                   +0.3
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC)**          3.3                   3.0                   +0.3
Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)                       3.2                   2.9                   +0.3
NCIS (CBS)                                       3.2                   3.2                     ––
How I Met Your Mother (CBS)            3.1                   3.2                    -0.1
Sleepy Hollow (Fox)**                       3.1                   3.0                   +0.1
The Millers (CBS)**                           2.9                   2.9                     ––
The Simpsons (Fox)                           2.8                   2.8                     ––
Family Guy (Fox)                               2.8                   2.5                   +0.3
Criminal Minds (CBS)                         2.8                   2.7                   +0.1
The Crazy Ones (CBS)**                    2.7                  2.6                    +0.1
NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS)                    2.7                  2.7                      ––
2 Broke Girls (CBS)                            2.6                  2.6                      ––
Two and a Half Men (CBS)                  2.5                  2.4                    +0.1
Chicago Fire (NBC)                             2.5                  2.4                    +0.1
Once Upon a Time (ABC)                    2.5                  2.4                    +0.1
New Girl (Fox)                                   2.4                  2.1                    +0.3
Castle (ABC)                                      2.4                  2.1                    +0.3
Super Fun Night (ABC)**                   2.4                 2.3                    +0.1
American Dad (Fox)                           2.3                  2.0                    +0.3
Elementary (CBS)                              2.3                 1.9                     +0.4
Person of Interest (CBS)                    2.3                  2.2                    +0.1
The Middle (ABC)                               2.2                  2.3                     -0.1
60 Minutes (CBS)                              2.2                  2.3                     -0.1
Survivor (CBS)                                  2.2                  2.5                     -0.3

AVERAGE                                        3.0                  2.9                   +0.1

**Denotes new series