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Leading Does Not Mean Winning

When NBC said The Voice was returning for the Fall, I thought it was too quick of a turn-around. People would get so tired of it, especially since 1) seeing it in the spring and 2) with the X Factor also hitting on the same night. I thought that though it may get higher viewers, The Voice would most likely get the lesser key demographics.

But I was so, so wrong.

Today, TVbytheNumbers reported that for the 2nd week of the TV season, NBC….yes, NBC, is leading the key demographics by a good margin, (2.8 to FOX and CBS’s 2.4). Now obviously, this is just a start. We still got most of the fall and the entire spring ahead of us. Plus, this hurts a tad bit more since there have been no official cancellations (with networks probably hoping not to be the first ones to cancel a show). However, The Voice has really helped out…and so has CBS.

Last season, CBS decided it was time to move Chuck Lorre’s The Big Bang Theory against then-Dan Harmon’s Community at 8pm on Thursday. The move was obviously strategic to put to shame NBC’s former glory of “Must See TV Thursdays”. This led to this year moving Two and a Half Men to follow Big Bang Theory. Now, obviously, CBS Thursdays at the 8pm-9pm slot destroys everyone else (CBS usally cruises for winning the night). However, this left Mondays…well…by itself.

CBS Mondays are now looking at its former days. How I Met Your Mother still bring the key demos, but no longer the viewers as the repetitive story has tired out audiences. Mike and Molly, while loyal, isn’t much better than HIMYM. 2 Broke Girls, which was the smash-hit new comedy last year (in ratings and viewers) has dipped. However, its lead-in Partners, the new comedy series, has not helped at all with its very low (for CBS) 5.7 million viewers last week (but still had higher key demo ratings than Dancing with the Stars, Castle, and Hawaii Five-O). Once Partners gets cancelled, it’ll probably have Rules of Engagement take over and, while reliable, still won’t get CBS the Monday nights it once had.

Now, saying all that, CBS’s strategy still makes sense. They wanted their two star attractions of comedy to help drive a Thursday night lineup they’ve been weak in, thus helping Person of Interest, which helps Elementary. Plus, a show like Partners would seem to be liked by HIMYM fans over other shows. However, HIMYM fans are already lower, and should have probably used 2.5 Men or Big Bang Theory instead. If I had the CBS hate on, I would have gone on Mondays Big Bang Theory, Partners, HIMYM, and Mike and Molly. Then, Thursdays would be 2.5 Men followed by 2 Broke Girls. You could interchange them, but it would depend. Understandably, the 2.5 Men before Person of Interest brings the highest possible amount of people to flow into the 9pm slot. However, I think you can get solid numbers on both nights, rather than sacrificing your Monday.

But with all that said, we explain how The Voice has helped NBC.

With less people watching CBS, and with FOX’s X Factor not as attractive and Bones becoming tiring and The Mob Doctor just begging to be the first new show to be cancelled, only NBC and ABC have solid numbers going into the night on Mondays (ABC with viewers barely, but NBC dominates with ratings). The Voice takes up two hours on Monday, and the 10pm slot is taken by Revolution. The show hasn’t gotten great reviews, but it’s literally because of The Voice lead-up that helps keep NBC’s Monday victories.

Tuesdays, The Voice takes up only an hour, but it dominates any other show in that timeslot (in key ratings, but NCIS…barely). Although CBS usually wins this night, The Voice has pulled Go On to compare with New Girl. All in all, The Voice helped NBC jump two networks for one night, compared to their last place finishes on Tuesdays. Wednesdays and Thursdays are fairly weak, but NBC does win the Friday with Grimm and Dateline and Sunday slots with Sunday Night Football. So overall, Besides Friday and Saturday, The Voice has carried half the victories for NBC and helped us get higher ratings.

But the same could be said for many shows, including The X Factor and the NCISs. They all help their preceding and following shows, but The Voice is helping win nights NBC don’t usually win. Which explains why NBC is leading.

But this is not a formula that will win out.

What CBS does well is that it retains their audience for an entire year. NBC sprints well, but the Voice (like last year) will start to fall after The Battle Rounds going into the Top 12. That’s when you’ll see larger drops in Revolution, Go On, and The New Normal. Then, Mondays and Tuesdays start to slip away to CBS, and then FOX. That’s when they get ya.

I’m fairly comfident that NBC will finally get over the 4th place hump this year. Their shows aren’t all too bad, and they have decent midseason replacements in case things happen (Whitney, Next Caller, and Hannibal…what a combo with Grimm that would be…). And I’m really glad they’ve started out on the right foot. It shows that their strategy is working, as it should. NBC should celebrate. They can finally not have to cancel 3 shows before the middle of the TV season.

But they should be careful. I understand Wednesdays are tough…but Guys with Kids and Animal Practice will not…at all…get you there.

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