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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.
HART OF DIXIE (The CW)
(Mondays at 9:00/8:00c)
The CW's diminishing returns on Monday nights sparked the netlet to send "90210" to Tuesdays while "Gossip Girl" gets pushed up to the lead-off spot. Newcomer "Hart of Dixie" then is tasked with holding onto a significant portion of said audience as the Monday, 9:00/8:00c hour has maintained near perfection retention of its 8:00/7:00c lead-in the past two seasons.
Here's how The CW has fared on Monday nights the past two seasons:*
|mondays in 2009-2011||time||viewers|
|One Tree Hill: Season 7||8:00 PM||2.32|
|Gossip Girl: Season 3||9:00 PM||2.03|
|Life Unexpected: Season 1||9:00 PM||2.09|
|Life Unexpected: Season 1||8:00 PM||1.96|
|Gossip Girl: Season 4||9:00 PM||1.67|
|90210: Season 3||8:00 PM||1.79|
* 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. A caveat here though: while ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC's target demographic is adults 18-49, The CW's is actually women 18-34. Since that data isn't readily available, we're left with adults 18-49 as the closet approximation.