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Welcome to The Futon's Ratings Survival Guide, our annual 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.
THE X FACTOR (FOX)
(Wednesdays & Thursdays at 8:00/7:00c)
Will Simon Cowell dethrone "American Idol?" A fun question for the pundits but even a respectable fraction of "Idol's" audience will be considered a runaway success. Considering FOX has tried fall editions of "So You Think You Can Dance" and "Hell's Kitchen" in recent years, both to agreeable returns, it's probably not a huge leap to say "X Factor" will fare even better.
Here's how FOX has fared on Wednesday and Thursday nights the past two seasons:*
|wednesdays in 2009-2011||time||viewers|
|American Idol: Season 10||8:00 PM||23.45|
|American Idol: Season 9||8:00 PM||21.48|
|Glee: Season 1||9:00 PM||7.25|
|Hell's Kitchen: Season 8||9:00 PM||6.20|
|Breaking In: Season 1||9:30 PM||8.06|
|So You Think You Can Dance: Season 6||8:00 PM||6.26|
|So You Think You Can Dance: Season 7**||8:00 PM||6.32|
|Human Target: Season 1||8:00 PM||7.70|
|So You Think You Can Dance: Season 8**||8:00 PM||6.23|
|Masterchef: Season 1**||8:00 PM||5.06|
|Human Target: Season 2||8:00 PM||5.92|
|Buried Treasure**||8:00 PM||3.47|
|thursdays in 2009-2011||time||viewers|
|American Idol: Season 10||8:00 PM||21.54|
|Bones: Season 6||9:00 PM||10.89|
|Kitchen Nightmares: Season 2||9:00 PM||7.78|
|Bones: Season 5||8:00 PM||9.82|
|Bones: Season 6||8:00 PM||9.25|
|So You Think You Can Dance: Season 7**||9:00 PM||6.58|
|Fringe: Season 2||9:00 PM||6.36|
|So You Think You Can Dance: Season 8**||8:00 PM||6.15|
|Fringe: Season 3||9:00 PM||5.21|
|Past Life||9:00 PM||4.40|
* 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 in its regular time period.
** denotes summer series added for additional perspective
COMING TOMORROW: ABC's "Charlie's Angels," CBS's "Person of Interest" and NBC's "Whitney" & "Prime Suspect."