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Welcome to our Ratings Survival Guide, a handy new feature which takes each new fall series on the broadcast networks and tells you the numbers it will need to survive for a second season. In general, a show's success isn't so much where it lands on the weekly ratings chart but rather how it performs in two key categories:
1. How much of its lead-in audience it retains. If a show averages 10 million viewers that's a good thing. But if the show that airs before it is averaging 30 million viewers, that's not a good thing. Why? Because 20 of those 30 million viewers decided to turn off that particular channel when the next show came on.
2. How it performs year-to-year in its time period. A new show is usually in its time period because the network thinks it can do better than it did in that slot last year. In other words, do worse than the show that was canceled after three weeks last fall then you too probably are not long for this world.
As you'll see, together these measurements paint a clear picture on how a particular show is doing. So without further ado, let's begin.
MY GENERATION (ABC)
(Thursdays at 8:00/7:00c)
ABC's lead-off spot on Thursday nights has produced a wide array of failures in recent years as last season alone produced both "FlashForward" and "The Deep End," the latter of which certainly is the minimum expectation for "My Generation." "Ugly Betty" - before heading to Fridays, then Wednesdays last season - has actually been the Alphabet's top performer in the Thursday, 8:00/7:00c slot the past two years. Should "Generation" hit that bar, there's definitely a solid chance the network will stick with it, but fall below and it could be another one-season wonder.
Here's how ABC has fared on Thursday nights the past two seasons (viewers are in millions, adults 18-49 is the percentage of said viewers in the demographic; all are based on fast national data, using only first-run episodes):
|thursdays in 2008-2010||time||viewers|
|Grey's Anatomy: Season 5||9:00 PM||15.45|
|Grey's Anatomy: Season 6||9:00 PM||12.75|
|Private Practice: Season 2||10:00 PM||10.01|
|Private Practice: Season 3**||10:00 PM||9.19|
|Life on Mars||10:00 PM||8.57|
|Ugly Betty: Season 3||8:00 PM||7.74|
|Samantha Who? - Season 2||8:30 PM||5.23|
|In the Motherhood||8:00 PM||5.20|
|The Deep End||8:00 PM||5.33|
** includes only first-run, in-season airings in the specified time period
COMING TOMORROW: CBS's "Blue Bloods" and FOX's "The Good Guys."