10-2010: Chuck vs. The Ratings pt. Deux

(originally from here).

Calling All Statisticians! Calling All Statisticians!

Amy’s our resident ratings guru, but she’s on duty (and serving her country like it’s going out of style! We thank you, Amy). So please let me pinch-hit for her, present the data and give my best guess as to what it means to a layman.

So here’s the graph

Ratings Week of Oct. 18-22 (Thank you Thinkling!)

…with the ratings data for the week of Oct. 18-22 included (click to see an enlarged version), for the “coveted 18-49 demographic”. So what this shows first and foremost is that, relative to the other shows that we are concerned about, Chuckis very stable. If you ask “Is this good or is this bad?” this answer is still “Yes!”, emphatically, in fact, given the fact that Chuckreceived an order for 11 more episodes this season. Stability and predictability count for a lot in the business world. Clearly, Undercovers and Chase recovered some of their audience, but in any other year, I seriously doubt that last week’s data would make a difference (especially in the case of Undercovers, which still has to be considered a disappointment, given the hype and promotion it received).

It pretty much goes without saying that all these shows need better numbers to make advertisers happy. Of course, that’s like saying the sun will rise in the east tomorrow; it’s a given. The Event, I think, may have a chance to show it can survive for another season, but that depends on a continued starting an upwards trend. Oddly, that would work to Chuck‘s benefit, since NBC’s hope was that the show would be aided by its strong lead-in.

My closing comment is to say that I tend to discount most conjecture right now, including TVBTN. There is no way in which this can be considered just another year for NBC. Indeed, with its pending sale to Comcast, this is a year like no other and I, for one, see no obvious way to compare ratings to previous years or even to shows on other networks. Moreover, this is NOT the 20th century. All the networks are in the midst of a tidal wave of change, I think, that they don’t fully recognize and don’t completely believe is happening. ABC and CBS are looking over their shoulders too, I’m sure. At times, I fear more for NBC’s survival than I do for Chuck.

But since I can’t quite conceive of a world without NBC (or ABC and CBS, for that matter), that means I feel pretty good about Chuck’s chances for next season. They need shows with records they can point to, and NBC doesn’t have many of those in prime time.

– joe

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