What last night’s numbers taught me about Cougar Town, Minute To Win it & Wipeout:

Looking at last night’s number a number of things are clear:

  • IDOL still is the death star as evident by how much everything did better as soon as it ended. Modern Family‘s 2.6 rerun rating was record-setting for the show last week (and for ABC, which typically doesn’t rerun well). I called last week’s numbers “CBS type rerun numbers”. Well this week, when not facing IDOL, MF got a 3.5 for a rerun. Seeing how the Two And A Half Men rerun numbers from Monday seemed astronomical at a 3.2, this is rather remarkable.
  • Cougar Town benefited as well, as it got a 2.7 –  higher than it did 2 weeks ago after a Modern Family original (2.4) – but that week it faced IDOL. I love CT, am am really gonna miss it, but I actually think ABC is doing it a major favor by taking it off when it would be facing IDOL every week. When it comes back, all its eps will air, but it will be facing new comedy BREAKING IN.
  • The other big beneficiary last night was Minute To Win It which went from a 1.8 at 8p vs Idol to a 3.1 at 9p and a time slot winning 3.4 at 9:30 (also had 10 million viewers). Clearly much of the IDOL/reality audience went there at 9p, plus Criminal Minds was a rerun, and Human Target has a very limited audience.

Next Wednesday is the last week IDOL is an hour on Wednesday (unless FOX makes it 2 hours and reschedules the Human Target finale for Friday at 8p – Frankly, I wouldn’t be shocked AT ALL if they did that, as it’s Feb sweeps. Plus they might try to blunt whatever impact the premiere of Mr. Sunshine might garner as people sample it.)

NBC currently has Chase slotted for next Wed at 9p. I would be beyond shocked if Chase isn’t pulled immediately and Minute To Win It slotted there. (Chase will finish its run on Sat).  Again, it’s sweeps and look at the numbers. UPDATE: Thurs 2/2 – 8p. NBC has indeed pulled Chase and replaced it with another MITWI. (Will FOX blink next?)

This also leads me to another thought about ABC and Wipeout. Wipeout came back to great numbers – a  3.8 and 3.7 the 2 weeks it didn’t face IDOL on Thursday. Then IDOL returned and while The Big Bang Theory predictably held up fine and Community surprisingly did even better than before, Wipeout was the biggest casualty. A 2.6 the first week and a 2.4 the next week (What will tonight bring?) Obviously another reality show is gonna be the biggest loser against IDOL (as last night’s MITWI numbers prove). But I think ABC isn’t using Wipeout to their advantage. Until DWTS returns, they don’t have many performers that can get a high 3 and over 10 million viewers.  Yes a 2.5 is way better than anything they have gotten all year Thu at 8p. But clearly this is a show that would do even better when not facing IDOL  MITWI normally got a 2.4 in the 8p hour with zero competition. Last night it got a 3.4 at 9:30. Wipeout is a stronger show ratings wise. It gets a 2.4 vs IDOL while MITWI gets a 1.7. I even thought ABC should have run a Wipeout rerun the last 2 weeks at 9p instead of GREYS reruns. I know GREYS reruns bring in more money, but isn’t it important to be competitive? Instead ABC runs a Wipeout rerun on Sat at 8p where they get a 1.2. Why waste a powerful asset like Wipeout on Sat? AFV reruns sound like the perfect Sat show. They went out of their way to greenlight a Winter edition, so why not get the biggest “bang for their buck” out of it.

If I were ABC, I’d be using Wipeout better to my advantage. What is the biggest hole on ABC right now? – Tuesdays. For sweeps (at least) I think their lineup would be infinitely stronger if they did this:

8p No Ordinary Family

9p Wipeout originals

10p V

There is actual flow to this night and it keeps their strongest performers on the night. I liken Glee to Idol, so I would keep Wipeout away from it and air it at 9. If ABC is worried that Wipeout is a family show Look at what MITWI did in the 9p hour – higher numbers than EVER…. by a lot. The competition for Wipeout at 9p isn’t as strong and considering that V gets a 2.0 avg out of an original NOF that garners a 1.8. it should do at least that, if not more at 10p and make them more competitive at 10pm.  SVU went up .5 last night from its last original ep with a strong lead in.  ABC’s 9p and 10p hours would be dramatically higher rated. 

(As much as I have really liked the last few eps of Detroit 1-8-7, the numbers aren’t cutting it. There are 5 eps left. They can schedule 3 of them in March before Body Of Proof premieres and maybe 2 on Sat)

I would remove those encores of Wipeout from Saturday and use them Thursdays at 8p. Even vs IDOL, Wipeout repeats well (on weeknights) and should get close to a 2, which is still far superior to anything ABC has aired Thursdays at 8p this Fall. Plus unlike Tuesday they have a strong 9-11p on Thursday.

Yes ABC has a number of issues, but they have a number of assets that can make them much more competitive. Last night’s numbers prove that.

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