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‘Chuck’ Still Struggling To Keep Audience

‘Fringe,’ ‘Supernatural’ not faring much better among genre shows

In a world where genre programming just can’t die on television, audiences continue to flee as if shows like “Chuck” or “Fringe” are going to give them the super flu.

Three genre shows were among the networks’ top losers so far this season when comparing audiences to last year. “Chuck” on NBC was second behind only fellow network show “Sing-Off,” losing 29 percent of its audience since moving to Friday. “Fringe,” another Friday show — but this time for Fox — was right up there as well, reporting a 26 percent audience drop from the year before.

“Chuck,” of course, can blame some of its loss on its new night. For nearly its entire life, “Chuck” was a Monday staple for NBC, but Fridays aren’t exactly cozy territory for the network. In fact, there’s really no night that is considered a good night for NBC these days, but Fridays most of all.

The show is getting upstaged significantly by its lead-out, “Grimm,” which is nearly doubling the audience brought in by “Chuck” and may actually be suffering from the weak lead-in. If “Chuck” wasn’t already in a previously announced final season, it might be there anyway with numbers like that.

“Fringe,” however, has less of an excuse. It was on Fridays last year, but part of the numbers this season is being compared to also were for Thursdays when “Fringe” attracted a significantly larger audience. Because those numbers are still in play, audience decreases are probably much more dramatic than they should be.

If only Friday numbers were compared, “Fringe” would still be experiencing an audience loss, but it would be closer to 13 percent — half the decrease when including Thursday’s numbers.

Those two shows aren’t alone. “Supernatural” has been struggling big time, not just with a move to Fridays, but now with the loss of its “Smallville” lead-in. Numbers are down more than 20 percent, and it’s losing 8 percent of its “Nikita” lead-in.

All the other shows on the network schedule so far are new shows like “Grimm,” “Terra Nova” and “Once Upon a Time.” The only other returning show is “Vampire Diaries,” and its audience has stabilized a bit. It has lost 6 percent of its audience from last year, but has had the best audience retention for returning shows on The CW. The next smallest audience loss is “90210” with a 15 percent drop. No The CW show has an audience gain so far this year.

Among the shows that have aired at least a couple episodes, “Fringe” is the most stable. It has an Audience Loyalty Index of 95.2, meaning that of all the people who have tuned in to watch at least one episode of “Fringe,” more than 95 percent of them are coming back to watch it each and every week. “Vampire Diaries” is staying strong as well with an ALI of 89.3.

Even “Terra Nova,” which should have experienced a bit of an audience drop-off as a new show, is holding steady. Of all the people who have tuned in to see Fox’s new dinosaur drama, nearly 88 percent of them are back each and every week.

The same can’t be said for the new The CW show “Secret Circle.” Although it’s currently the network’s second-highest-rated series behind “Vampire Diaries,” it is only retaining about 75 percent of its total audience each week. It’s also losing 22 percent of its “Vampire Diaries” lead-in.

The audience, however, appears to be remaining stable. It had a big premiere, thanks to a massive holdover from “Vampire Diaries,” but has since settled in the 1.4 household rating range.

For more on television’s overall largest gainers and losers heading into November sweeps, check out our original story at our sister site, Inside Blip.

Top Network Genre Shows, through Oct. 29 — [Audience Loyalty Index rating]

1.   Once Upon a Time (ABC)    7.4/11    [100.0]
2.   Terra Nova (Fox)    5.5/8    [87.6]
3.   Grimm (NBC)    4.1/7    [100.0]
4.   Chuck (NBC)    2.2/4    [100.0]
5.   Fringe (Fox)    2.0/3    [95.2]
6.   Vampire Diaries (CW)    1.8/3    [89.3]
7.   Secret Circle (CW)    1.4/2    [75.2]
8.   Supernatural (CW)    1.1/2    [93.1]

Fast Nationals usually provide a snapshot of what Americans are watching by pulling numbers from the top urban markets that include both live viewing and same-day timeshifted viewing. A rating point generally represents more than 1.1 million households while the share indicates the percentage of televisions turned on that was tuned to the specific program. These numbers typically shift when final ratings are issued.

Data collected from The Nielsen Co., as distributed by Zap2it. GenreNexus tracks non-news, non-event programming, and figures for this story reflect airing of new episodes only. For more information on the Audience Loyalty Index, click here.

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