TVS October-in-Review: Broadcast network power rankings

Because I love lists and various compiled features, I figured one thing I could start doing here at TVS is looking back at the end of every month. This new feature will include the once-dead, now-alive-in-a-new-form broadcast network power rankings, series power rankings (I can’t not, I just want to do them so badly) and a discussion of some of the big stories from the month. And maybe some other stuff. I can neither confirm nor deny that I’m doing this because I’m super excited for the end of the year so I can do multiple features just like this one.

Anyway, let’s get to it, shall we?

Broadcast Power Rankings for October

I unfortunately had to abandon the BPR after a few weeks because there wasn’t enough happening on a week-to-week basis to justify writing them up every Monday, so I’m going to try to work that same format into a monthly check-in with the five “major” networks. This gives me more material to work with, but also doesn’t create a law of diminishing returns where you, the reader, don’t get too bored by the features here at TVS. Thus, let’s check in with the big five after the first full month of the 2010-11 season.

1. CBS — It’s far from shocking that CBS takes the cake, as the Eyeball had won every week of the new season as of October 26, and surely pulled out the victory this past week as well. Every one of its new series seems to be doing well enough, particularly the DVR’ed to-death Hawaii Five-0 and Mike and Molly, which though under some scrutiny, is at least being talked about (which you can’t always say about CBS sitcoms). America’s network deserves some docked points for the continuing madness that is Charlie Sheen, but I’m not sure what else they can do apart from firing the lead actor on television’s biggest comedy, which would be a complete destruction of Two and a Half Men. It sounds great in theory, but it wouldn’t really work. It’s hard to really say anything about CBS because it just is what it is, the series get big numbers, the internet is generally ambivalent, it’s a fun cycle.

2. ABC — ABC hasn’t had the best luck with its new series, as My Generation took a quick fall back in September and The Whole Truth was ran off the schedule just last week. Moreover, the new series it has decided to keep around — Better With You, No Ordinary Family and Detroit 187 — are still pulling in middling ratings and a general “meh” from critics. All three are far from bad in the My Generation-way, but I’m not sure there’s an audience there for any of them that’s really worth keeping them around (more on this in a bit).

However, ABC deserves some props for Modern Family‘s increased success in season two, sustaining ratings for Castle and unfortunately, moving forward with the Charlie’s Angels reboot. In theory, it sounds like another horrible reboot idea, but of all of them, Angels feels like a series that could work in a modern setting (hell, it did with the movie series) and the female empowerment themes seem to fit perfectly into ABC’s brand mantra. I know the network would like to have more men watching with Lost gone, but these days, it might just be better to appeal to the audience that’s already there.

3. The CW — As I said when I did these for those few weeks back in September, the CW is always operating on a curved scale, but for the most part, things are going well this season. Both Hellcats and Nikita are doing well in the ratings and seem to be well-received, particularly for CW series. It’s been a while since the network had a successful new series slate, even with their tiny schedule, but I don’t see too many people complaining about the new offerings from the C-dub this year.

Moreover, Friday nights are an overwhelming success for the CW, as both Smallville and Supernatural have been beating series from the bigger networks and both are experiencing some solid creative streaks as well (last week’s Smallville not withstanding). Finally, if you check out the network’s developmental slate, there’s some interesting stuff in there, including the Josh Schwartz-Stephanie Savage-Michelle Trachtenberg project, even if feels like Veronica Mars.

4. NBC — It’s super easy to give the Peacock the shaft and make fun of them for their low-rated programs (all except Undercovers have been given full-season orders!) and stupid decisions (still no Parks and Rec), but as I’ll discuss in a moment, it could be much worse. The Event has dipped considerably since its big premiere and none of the other new series is really holding water, but the 30 Rock live episode was a success and Halloween/Shrek brought more eyes to the Thursday night comedies.

Outsourced still sucks, though.

5. FOX — It’s funny, I originally had FOX in second until I realized that the long-time ratings champion has had some major issues this fall. Lone Star was a mess, obviously. But it’s much more than that. Running Wilde is dead, The Good Guys is getting murdered on Fridays by the CW series, House is down considerably and the only real bright spots on the scripted schedule are Bones and Glee (the primary reason I had it higher before).

But most importantly, FOX’s airing of the MLB playoffs are getting smacked around weekly by NBC and ESPN’s NFL games, proving once and for all that no one in America under 55 really cares about baseball anymore — particularly in comparison with football.

The good news is that winter brings American Idol and the newly-minted Chicago Code (formally Ride-Along), which looks fantastic. Human Target also debuts later this month, and FOX would be smart to nurse it to success since 24 fans are going to be looking for something, anything to watch.


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