TV Club Power Rankings are The A.V. Club’s way of demystifying television ratings—while also claiming some of the authority of those ratings for ourselves. The power rankings formula pulls the numbers from TV’s most-trusted ratings source, Nielsen, and combines them with our own community and editorial metrics. It’s not a method of predicting what TV shows will be canceled or renewed, but it does demonstrate the series that have staying power in the eyes of The A.V. Club and its readers. This edition covers January 3-9, 2013.
Like a punchy Janie Haddad Tompkins standing in for an absent Laura Linney at the top of Masterpiece Classic, there’s something a little off about the TV Club Power Rankings this week—and it’s all PBS’ fault. Though the network was quick to shout “7.9 million viewers!” the morning after Downton Abbey’s third-season première, it has only reported the average Nielsen Household rating (the percentage of all Nielsen families with at least one television tuned in to a certain broadcast) for the broadcast—thus keeping it out of consideration for our power rankings, which depend on the advertiser-preferred adults 18 to 49 rating. Following in the steps of its very own Mr. Bates, the show has been denied justice.
Of course, those numbers remain nothing to sneeze at: The nearly 8 million people who turned out for the wedding of Mary and Matthew gives Downton Abbey a larger audience than several shows that made the top 10 this week—all of which air on the same competitive night on which most PBS affiliates program Masterpiece Classic. And though its average Household rating was a strong but modest 5.1 (a means of comparison: syndicated reruns of The Big Bang Theory, a show that draws a staggering number of eyeballs in first and second run, recently posted an average weekly Household rating of 7.4), local market-ratings went as high as 8.8 in Boston and 9.6 in Seattle. Must be the similarly grey climates of the Pacific Northwest and Yorkshire making Seattleites feel right at home in Downton.
The top 10 TV Club Power Rankings and notable tidbits on the ratings of other TV Club shows follow:
THE TOP 10
- The Big Bang Theory (19.3 million viewers, 6.1 18-49 rating, 119.3 TV Club Power Ranking)
- Person Of Interest (16.2 million viewers, 3.4 18-49 rating, 42.5 TV Club Power Ranking)
- Modern Family (12 million viewers, 4.7 18-49 rating, 41 TV Club Power Ranking)
- Bob’s Burgers (6.4 million viewers, 3.1 18-49 rating, 30.1 TV Club Power Ranking)
- The Simpsons (9 million viewers, 4.2 18-49 rating, 25 TV Club Power Ranking)
- Elementary (11.4 million viewers, 2.6 18-49 rating, 21.5 TV Club Power Ranking)
- American Dad (5.7 million viewers, 2.8 18-49 rating, 18.5 TV Club Power Ranking)
- Family Guy (7.2 million viewers, 3.6 18-49 rating, 18 TV Club Power Ranking)
- Once Upon A Time (9.1 million viewers, 3.1 18-49 rating, 17.9 TV Club Power Ranking)
- Revenge (7.1 million viewers, 2.4 18-49 rating, 17.6 TV Club Power Ranking)
BEYOND THE TOP 10
PREMIÈRES: Downton Abbey’s wasn’t the only high-profile debut of the week: Justified (3.6 million viewers, 1.3 18-49 rating, 11 TV Club Power Ranking) returned to FX on Tuesday, gaining one Patton Oswalt and a 30-percent larger share of the adults under 50 audience… ABC Family touted typically strong numbers among young female viewers for the homecoming of Bunheads (1.2 million viewers, .5 18-49 rating, 1.4 TV Club Power Ranking), but its general numbers shouldn’t be cause for alarm—as HitFix’s Alan Sepinwall reported from the Television Critics Association winter press tour, the fact that the network put up the money to put its stars and creator on stage in front of critics means it’s not eager to part with the latest series from Gilmore Girls’ Amy Sherman-Palladino… Cougar Town (2.2 million viewers, 1.1 18-49, 4 TV Club Power Ranking) didn’t launch the cul-de-sac into the stratosphere with its first bow on TBS—but it also didn’t scare away everyone looking for a Big Bang Theory rerun, either.
RISING: Tuesday nights could soon be looking as troublesome as Wednesday nights (and Thursday nights, and maybe Monday nights) for NBC—but there’s a bright spot for The Peacock in the form of the Braverman clan. Parenthood (5.3 million viewers, 1.9 18-49 rating, 8.2 TV Club Power Ranking) continues to win the 10 o’clock timeslot, posting gains that should make it difficult for the network to deny the drama a fifth season come fall scheduling time.
FALLING: From the Tuesday-night woes department: The first Go On (4.3 million viewers, 1.5 18-49 rating) to debut without the insulation of The Voice marked series lows for the Matthew Perry comedy. Maybe the group-therapy room should install spinning chairs.