ABC TV Show Rankings for 2010-11 season [week of 12/12/10 update]

Detroit 1-8-7Which ABC TV shows will be cancelled or renewed for the 2011-12 season? Modern Family remains the network’s highest-rated show and ABC often uses reruns to plug holes in their schedule. Will they overdo it? Grey’s Anatomy continues to be very popular but it has lost steam. Though aging, Desperate Housewives continues to be a solid player for ABC. Private Practice and Cougar Town are tied for fourth place in the all-important demo. Meanwhile, Castle, The Middle, and Brothers & Sisters are tied for sixth place.

Better with You is performing decently but consistently loses part of the lead-in audience from The Middle. Couldn’t another show do better? No Ordinary Family seems to have leveled off at a 1.9 rating and that’s far from a success. Detroit 1-8-7 continues to struggle. It doesn’t seem very likely that either will be back next season.

On the news/reality front, Skating with the Stars is a disaster and, when Nanny Jo leaves at the end of this season, ABC will have no need to try to keep Supernanny going.

Below is a list of the regular ABC TV shows and their 2010-11 season average ratings to date. It only incorporates the ratings for original episodes that have aired this season (no repeats). The data is sorted by the 18-49 demographic averages, the group that advertisers will pay the most to reach and, therefore, how the network measures success.

  Scripted TV Shows Average
viewers (millions)
18-49 demo
1 Modern Family 12.00 4.7  
2 Grey's Anatomy 11.90 4.4  
3 Desperate Housewives 12.22 3.9  
4 Private Practice 8.24 3.0  
4 Cougar Town 7.34 3.0  
6 Castle 10.52 2.6  
6 The Middle 8.74 2.6  
6 Brothers & Sisters 8.64 2.6  
9 Better With You 7.18 2.3  
10 No Ordinary Family 7.63 2.2  
11 Detroit 1-8-7 7.89 1.8  
12 My Generation (cancelled) 4.49 1.4  
13 The Whole Truth (cancelled) 4.39 1.2  
  News or Reality TV Shows Average
viewers (millions)
18-49 demo
1 Dancing With The Stars 20.61 4.3  
2 Dancing With The Stars results 17.85 3.7  
3 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition 8.17 2.2  
4 America's Funniest Home Videos 7.30 2.0  
5 20/20 5.55 1.6  
5 Primetime: What Would You Do 5.24 1.6  
7 Skating with the Stars 5.79 1.3  
8 Supernanny 4.45 1.1  

The closer a show is to the bottom of the list, the closer it is to being cancelled (if it hasn’t been cancelled already like The Whole Truth and My Generation). If it’s closer to the top of the list, it’s more likely to be renewed. Shows that are in the middle (“on the bubble”) can be a little tougher to call. Their future typically comes down to other factors like overall costs, contracts, who produces the show, and what new shows are on the horizon.

The list has been separated into two sections. Of the two, scripted programming is the most expensive. News and reality TV shows are less expensive to produce but the networks can’t program just news/reality (though they might like to since they are less of a financial risk).

It should be noted that Friday and Saturday nights are the least watched evenings of television so ratings for shows on those nights are lower. The networks understand this and take it into account. However, regardless of when a show is aired, its production costs remain the same. Ultimately, it must still be profitable enough for the network to keep ordering more episodes.

Nielsen doesn’t release the final Friday and Saturday night ratings until a few days later. The ratings with an “*” may change slightly once the final numbers are released.

Raw data: © The Nielsen Company via Media Week.

What do you think? Which shows do you think won’t survive to see a new season?

Canceled and renewed TV show

6 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Adam Decker says

    Castle and The Middle are good. It’s a shame they have such stiff competition from CBS at those times. Maybe better times would work better for them. The Whole Truth would have been better if the client was innocent in more than just one episode. I hope that the other episodes get released to DVD if possible. If not, it might not matter anyways. Well here’s hoping that The Middle and Castle are still on the schedule next season.

  2. Jeremy Rynek says

    Hard to say honestly. But definetly Skating with the stars. Stupid show. I would love Dancing with the satrs to just die, but thats not gonna happen. I hope Castle and Detriot 187 both survive. I watched the first season on cougar town but stopped a few weeks ago. It was just less than ok. But I enjoy the other sitcoms alot. I’m very surprised how much The middle has climbed up. It’s my 2nd favortie show on ABC just behind Castle. My mom loves Grey’s anatomy and private practice, but I don’t think their going anywhere anytime soon. It really sucks The whole truth was canceled.

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