March 2, 2012

The Sked: PROMO WATCH — Update through March 1

>The most recent Promo Watch numbers are based on prime time broadcast network programming between February 16 and March 1, with about 16 hours of programming sampled for each network over that period.  (Click “read more” to see the latest chart.)

ABCGCB continues to be the top ABC priority as it heads toward Sunday night’s premiere.  On-air promotion has been heavy, averaging 38 seconds per hour over the last two weeks.  Over the past week, the on-air promo commitment to GCB has been 46 seconds per hour, nearing saturation levels.  As we have seen with NBC’s Awake, heavy promotion does not guarantee a high premiere rating.  A compatible lead-in and an easy to communicate premise helps, and GCB has both of those things going for it.  Check back later today for a forecast of GCB‘s premiere ratings.  Promotion for Missing (starring Ashley Judd) has picked up to 20 seconds per hour over the past two weeks (and up to 25 seconds per hour over the past week).  Scandal (starring Kerry Washington) premieres later and has fallen down to 8 seconds per hour over the past two weeks (and an almost non-existent 2 seconds per hour the past week).  It will be interesting to see if the creative approach for Scandal has been re-tooled when promos start airing again in heavier rotation.  

NBCAwake averaged 44 seconds per hour over the past two weeks (peaking at 46 seconds per hour this past week leading up to Thursday’s premiere).  The 1.9 Adult 18-49 rating the debut received Thursday at 10 pm is surely a disappointment.  Yes, it built on its Up All Night lead-in, it was in first place in the time period (if you exclude cable and forget it faced repeats on ABC and CBS), it improved on the performance of The Firm, and it slightly beat Prime Suspect‘s premiere (by all of one tenth of a rating point).  But these are “world’s tallest midget” comparisons.  Amazing that some television writers actually picked up on that spin.  The promos were given every opportunity to run, and the audience either was confused or simply didn’t care. Next up is Fashion Star, which has averaged 19 seconds per hour over the past two weeks (and 18 seconds over the most recent week).  Look for its allocation to zoom as Awake levels come back down to Earth.  
CBSPerson of Interest stays in the top spot with 23 seconds over the past two weeks.  Even the repeat episode that aired Thursday received heavy support (19 seconds over the past week).  Undercover Boss has received substantial support, 19 seconds per hour over the past two weeks and 21 seconds over the past week (actually making it the #1 priority this week only), emphasizing an emotional sell and a teary Popeye’s Chicken CEO understanding the pain of Americans.  CBS is hoping Boss can bounce back from last week’s 1.9 rating (which featured a rather cold, unemotional CEO, by the way) after the very promising 2.4 rated premiere.  Amid scripted series repeats, Survivor and Amazing Race stand out with original episodes and have also received 18 seconds per hour each.      

FOX.  The heat has started to be turned up on Touch starring Kiefer Sutherland, 19 seconds per hour over the past two weeks but up to 23 seconds per hour over the past week.  While not a full commitment when compared to the other networks, Touch is clearly FOX’s priority.  Bob’s Burgers clocks in at 11 seconds per hour (over both the past two weeks and the past week), while the network has eased off the gas for Breaking In (10 seconds per hour over the past two weeks and a barely noticeable 6 seconds per hour the past week). Not shown on the chart, Q’Viva (Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony scour the world for young talent) premieres Saturday for a short run.  The show has averaged 3 seconds per hour the past two weeks and 7 seconds per hour the past week (with a few spots in American Idol, for Ms. Lopez’s benefit).     

                          PROMO WATCH

                    Top Priorities by Network
              On-Air Promo Seconds per Hour Sampled
               Past Two Weeks (Feb 19-Mar 1, 2011)
      ABC                          CBS
     GCB                38        Person of Interest 23
     Missing            20        Undercover Boss    19
     Oscars             15        Amazing Race       18
     Revenge            10        Survivor           18
                                  Hawaii Five-O      13

     NBC                          FOX
     Awake              44        Touch              19
     Smash              20        Alcatraz           14
     Fashion Star       19        Bob’s Burgers      11
     SVU                10        Breaking In        10
     The Voice          10       


About the Author

Mitch Metcalf
MITCH METCALF has been tracking every US film release of over 500 screens (over 2300 movies and counting) since the storied weekend of May 20, 1994, when Maverick and Beverly Hills Cop 3 inspired countless aficionados to devote their lives to the art of cinema. Prior to that, he studied Politics and Economics at Princeton in order to prepare for his dream of working in television. He has been Head of West Coast Research at ABC, then moved to NBC in 2000 and became Head of Scheduling for 11 years.