Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Walking Dead (nearly) conquers all

Illustration for article titled The Walking Dead (nearly) conquers all

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 November 29 through December 4, 2012; Nielsen data for December 5 was unavailable at publication time.


A television show’s Nielsen ratings provide an incomplete picture. Sure, millions of people watched a half hour of The Big Bang Theory, but how good was that episode? And, more importantly, what did The A.V. Club community think of it? The TV Club Power Rankings offer an additional perspective on the television landscape, one where A.V. Club critics and readers have just as much say as the Nielsen family next door. Each week, we’ll look at Nielsen’s overnight ratings for shows regularly covered by The A.V. Club—focusing on total viewership and the advertiser-favored rating among adults under 50—and combine them with numbers culled from TV Club reviews (an episode’s editorial and community grade). Shows that make it into the top 20 of our weekly “What We Watched” chart also receive an added bonus, which is how 30 Rock and Boardwalk Empire can challenge the stalwarts of CBS for power-rankings supremacy.

That TV landscape mentioned above is shifting—after all, a cable drama about a zombie apocalypse just gave a ratings drubbing to some of the most popular series on the dial. The TV Club Power Rankings aim to reflect such shifts.

1. The Big Bang Theory (17.3 million viewers, 5.5 18-49 rating, 95.9  TV Club Power Ranking)
2. The Walking Dead (10.5 million viewers, 5.4 18-49 rating, 85.3 TV Club Power Ranking)
3. How I Met Your Mother (8.3 million viewers, 3.1 18-49 rating, 35.4 TV Club Power Ranking)
4. Person Of Interest (14.4 million viewers, 2.9 18-49 rating, 34.1 TV Club Power Ranking)
5. Boardwalk Empire (2.7 million viewers, 0.9 18-49 rating, 27.3 TV Club Power Ranking)
6. 30 Rock (3.6 million viewers, 1.3 18-49 rating, 18.5 TV Club Power Ranking)
7. Regular Show (2.7 million viewers, .7 18-49 rating, 18 TV Club Power Ranking)
8. Parks And Recreation (3 million viewers, 1.4 18-49 rating, 17.6 TV Club Power Ranking)
9. Once Upon A Time (9.1 million viewers, 3.1 18-49 rating, 16.6 TV Club Power Ranking)
10. 2 Broke Girls (10.2 million viewers, 3.5 18-49 rating, 16.2 TV Club Power Ranking)

Rank Show Comments
2 The Walking Dead
The midseason finale of The Walking Dead didn’t just beat most of the competition on Sunday night—it made television history, boosting the show to the top of the fall charts among adults 18-49, a first for a cable series. (Still, it wasn’t enough to overpower The Big Bang Theory.)
7 Regular Show
The staff of The Park dashed all the way into the top 10 with a Christmas special that made Alasdair Wilkins’ belly shake like a bowl full of jelly—and the same goes for the readers, who gave it an “A-.”
15 Sons Of Anarchy
Among Tuesday-night shows in the regular TV Club rotation, the Sons Of Anarchy finale fell short only to a pair of NBC series: Go On beat SAMCRO in the “demo” (2.5 versus 2.4), while more viewers chose Bravermans over bikers in the 10 o’clock hour; Parenthood boasted approximately 200,000 more viewers than Sons.
22 Homeland
The show built on Dexter’s lead-in to its largest viewership to date (2.2 million), but the divisiveness of “Broken Hearts” and a 1.0 18-49 rating keeps Homeland out of the running.
30 The Mindy Project
The retooling of Mindy’s OB/GYN practice can’t arrive soon enough: This week the show matched a series low in the under 50 bracket, grabbing only 1.3 percent of viewers in that Nielsen demographic.