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'Hellcats' Most Successful Show Against Last Year So Far

PLUS: 'Running Wilde' far below audiences from 2009-10

There is no magic formula in determining what shows networks are going to renew and what shows networks are going to cancel.

But knowing some variables help a lot, especially when you start scratching your head trying to figure out why NBC cancelled "Outlaw" for instance, but decided to give "The Event" a full-season pickup. Believe it or not, there is a lot of method to the networks' madness, and one of those methods was just explored by Inside Blip in a new survey of shows as we head into the first week of November sweeps.

How a show fares against competition is one thing, and how a stable a show's audience is doesn't hurt either. But a primary factor that plays into the decision of television shows' fates are how well they are doing compared to programming in that same timeslot the year before.

If you ever seen a ratings press release from a network, you see it all the time: How the ratings were in key advertising demographics, how they were against competitors ... and how those numbers were year over year.

Inside Blip surveyed the shows that have aired so far this season, and compared its overnight numbers to the overnight averages in the timeslot the year before. What we got was a possible picture of shows that are truly on the bubble, that might surprise us, and those that might actually be safer than imagined.

"Hellcats" not only is the best new show performing better against its year-over-year timeslot for The CW, but it's the strongest of all the shows. Granted, "Hellcats" is averaging only a 1.5 rating/2 share in Fast National overnight ratings from The Nielsen Co. -- the lowest of all the shows in the top 15 -- but the show is averaging double the audience The CW got last year with "Fly Girls," "High Society" and "The Beautiful Life." Those shows managed a 0.8/1 last year, the lowest of all the timeslots on the schedule.

NBC's "Outlaw" also made the list. However, this particular entry was the series premiere when it debuted Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET, which was 66 percent better than "Minute To Win It," "Sing-Off" and "Mercy" last year. However, "Outlaw's" replacement on Wednesday, "Undercovers," has fared much worse, and is only 5 percent better than NBC's programming the year before.

"Outlaw" ended after it moved to Fridays and performed 11 percent worse than the "Jay Leno Show."

Speaking of "Jay Leno," NBC pulled that show at mid-season, returning Jay Leno himself back to his late-night perch, after low-ratings created affiliate pressure to make a change. However, NBC has not fared much better this year. In fact, only "Law & Order: Los Angeles" is bringing in a larger audience than Leno, while the new show "Chase" is sitting even with the 10 p.m. timeslot on Mondays. "Parenthood" on Tuesdays is down more than 12 percent while "The Apprentice" on Thursdays is off nearly 24 percent.

Among the shows with the worst performance against its timeslot, only one of the top five shows -- Lone Star on Fox -- has been cancelled. However, it's No. 5 behind four shows on Fox and NBC that look to be safe for now.

However, not everything on the list is as it seems. Despite huge gains in audience this year, "Glee" comes in at No. 11. But those timeslots are compared against the spring, which Fox airs a number of episodes of its high-rated "American Idol."

As you look through our best and worst lists, remember that while it's one of the primary factors networks use to determine the fate of a show, timeslot performance year-over-year is hardly the only factor, and there are really no scientific ways to predict what shows will make it and what won't.

The following charts show the percentage growth each show has had over its timeslot compared to the year before. Inside Blip used average overnight numbers in both cases to present a comparable set of data.

Top 15 Best Performing Timeslot Shows, Through Oct. 27 -- [Average Rating]

1. Hellcats (CW), Wed. @ 9    +87.50%      [1.5/2]
2. Dancing With the Stars (ABC), Tues. @ 9    +67.74% [10.4/16]
3. Outlaw (NBC), Wed. @ 8    +65.85% [6.8/12]
4. Survivor (CBS), Wed. @ 8    +56.82% [6.9/12]
5. Modern Family (ABC), Wed. @ 9    +48.00% [7.4/12]
6. The Event (NBC), Mon. @ 9    +46.88%      [4.7/7]
7. Dancing With the Stars (ABC), Tues. @ 8    +44.44% [7.8/12]
8. Blue Bloods (CBS), Fri. @ 10    +42.86% [7.0/13]
9. Dancing With the Stars (ABC), Mon. @ 9    +37.76% [13.5/20]
10. Detroit 1-8-7 (ABC), Tues. @ 10    +35.71% [5.7/10]
11. CSI: New York (CBS), Fri. @ 9    +26.53%      [6.2/11]
12. Law & Order: Los Angeles (NBC), Wed. @ 10    +24.44% [5.6/10]
13. Family Guy (Fox), Sun. @ 9    +23.08% [4.8/7]
14. Dancing With the Stars (ABC), Mon. @ 8    +20.39% [12.4/19]
15. The Middle (ABC), Wed. @ 8    +18.18% [5.2/9]

Top 15 Worst Performing Timeslot Shows, Through Oct. 27 -- [Average Rating]

1. Running Wilde (Fox), Tues. @ 9:30    -67.50%      [2.6/4]
2. School Pride (NBC), Fri. @ 8    -55.81% [1.9/4]
3. Hell's Kitchen (Fox), Wed. @ 9    -55.06% [4.0/6]
4. Raising Hope (Fox), Tues. @ 9    -51.25% [3.9/6]
5. Lone Star (Fox), Mon. @ 9    -50.98% [2.5/4]
6. Hell's Kitchen (Fox), Wed. @ 8    -40.98%      [3.6/6]
7. Lie To Me (Fox), Mon. @ 9    -35.29% [3.3/5]
8. My Generation (ABC), Thurs. @ 8    -31.82% [3.0/6]
9. Biggest Loser (NBC), Tues. @ 9    -23.73% [4.5/7]
10. The Apprentice (NBC), Thur. @ 10    -23.53% [2.6/4]
11. Glee (Fox), Tues. @ 8    -22.47%      [6.9/11]
12. Mike & Molly (CBS), Mon. @ 9:30    -19.54% [7.0/10]
13. The Defenders (CBS), Wed. @ 10    -18.75% [6.5/12]
14. Medium (CBS), Fri. @ 8    -18.37% [4.0/8]
15. Biggest Loser (NBC), Tues. @ 8    -18.00% [4.1/7]

Fast Nationals usually provide a snapshot of what Americans are watching by pulling numbers from the top urban markets that include both live viewing and same-day timeshifted viewing. A rating point generally represents more than 1.1 million households while the share indicates the percentage of televisions turned on that was tuned to the specific program. These numbers typically shift when final ratings are issued.

Data collected from The Nielsen Co., as distributed by Zap2it. BlipNetwork tracks non-news, non-event programming, and figures for this story reflect airing of new episodes only. For more information on the Audience Loyalty Index, click here.

About the Author

Michael Hinman is the founder and editor-in-chief for Airlock Alpha and the entire GenreNexus. He owns Nexus Media Group Inc., the parent corporation of the GenreNexus and is a veteran print journalist. He lives in Tampa, Fla.
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Jay Leno  Ratings  The CW 

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