[09/28/12 - 04:54 PM]
The 10 Things You Need to Know About the New Season, Part 5: 10 O'Clock Is Just as Successful as Any Other Time Period
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

1) Only 32% of broadcast network shows make it to a second season.
2) Shows that premiere in September have the best chance of survival.
3) Scripted and unscripted shows fail at the same rate.
4) Friday night is indeed the "death slot."
5) 10 o'clock is just as successful as any other time period.
6) 5% of shows that are announced don't even air.
7) 4% of broadcast series have changed networks.
8) New shows on average lose 14% of their audience by episode two.
9) Cable dramas are almost twice as likely to return as broadcast ones.
10) History is on the side of the majority of this fall's new shows.

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Welcome once again to "The 10 Things You Need to Know About the New Season," our recurring feature about, well... the 10 things you need to know about the new season. The goal of this venture is to address not only common questions people have about television but to also demystify (or potentially reaffirm) stigmas out there about certain networks, time periods, genres and so forth. It's been a few years so we'll revisit some of our previous research as well as dig into some new areas we haven't touched on before.

So with that in mind let us put on our journalistic caps and give you the cold, hard truth about what's potentially ahead for some of your favorite new and returning shows...

5. 10 o'clock is just as successful as any other time period.

Despite all the anecdotal drum beats that cable and DVRs are eating away at the 10 o'clock hour, here's the reality: of the 169 shows that have launched at 10:00/9:00c in the past 13 seasons (that's 1999-2000 through 2011-2012), 57 (or 34%) made it to a second season. That's actually better than any other time period, whether it's 8:00/7:00c (31%), 8:30/7:30c (32%), 9:00/8:00c (33%) or 9:30/8:30c (31%). Take a look:

7:00 PM0/0 (0%)0/0 (0%)0/0 (0%)1/1 (100%)0/0 (0%)0/1 (0%)0/2 (0%)1/4 (25%)
7:30 PM0/0 (0%)0/0 (0%)0/0 (0%)0/0 (0%)0/0 (0%)0/0 (0%)0/1 (0%)0/1 (0%)
8:00 PM15/47 (32%)11/35 (31%)8/36 (22%)21/65 (32%)3/15 (20%)8/14 (57%)2/8 (25%)68/220 (31%)
8:30 PM8/22 (36%)7/21 (33%)11/30 (37%)5/26 (19%)5/7 (71%)1/11 (9%)1/2 (50%)38/119 (32%)
9:00 PM16/54 (30%)10/23 (43%)26/75 (35%)11/32 (34%)2/20 (10%)12/30 (40%)7/23 (30%)84/257 (33%)
9:30 PM7/23 (30%)5/10 (50%)4/20 (20%)7/21 (33%)2/6 (0%)3/10 (30%)0/1 (0%)28/91 (31%)
10:00 PM23/78 (29%)15/37 (41%)0/0 (0%)19/54 (35%)0/0 (0%)0/0 (0%)0/0 (0%)57/169 (34%)
various*2/7 (29%)3/4 (75%)5/11 (45%)2/8 (25%)0/0 (0%)0/1 (0%)0/0 (0%)12/31 (39%)
total71/231 (31%)51/130 (39%)54/172 (31%)66/207 (32%)12/48 (25%)24/67 (36%)10/37 (27%)288/892 (32%)

* shows which aired in multiple time periods each week

Overall, virtually every time period - save for the rarely changed Sunday, 7:00/6:00c hour - falls within a few ticks of the usual 32% survival rate for new shows. The interesting facets then of course come from the networks themselves.

Among the notable trends: ABC does worse at 10:00/9:00c than any other network (29%), as well as within its own lineup; while FOX does significantly worse with its opening and closing half-hours (8:00/7:00c and 9:30/8:30c) than its middle ones (8:30/7:30c and 9:00/8:00c). And over on CBS, the Eye bats an impressive 50% at 9:30/8:30c with 9:00/8:00c (43%) and 10:00/9:00c (41%) also well above the normal.

All in all, don't believe the hype: 10 o'clock is just as viable as any time period, maybe even a little better.

PREVIOUSLY: Friday night is indeed the "death slot."

COMING MONDAY: What are the odds a new show just doesn't air at all?

  [september 2012]  

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