'Five-0' on Friday nights: some things to ponder

September 28th, 2013
By

Expectations were high but numbers not so much when CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0” made its fourth season debut in a new time slot (8 p.m. here, 9 p.m. Mainland) on a new night (Friday instead of Monday).

Despite a somewhat exciting episode, the introduction of a new crimefighter (SWAT captain Lou Grover, played by Chi McBride) and the customary high-flying action scenes and special effects (car chases, a helicopter soaring and nearly crashing inside Aloha Stadium, car bombings, etc.), “Hawaii Five-0” finished with a 1.5 rating in the 18 to 49 demographics, attracting 9.8 million live viewers, based on preliminary overnight Nielsen ratings. “Five-0” won the viewership, but its chief competitor in the time slot was ABC’s “Shark Tank,” which pulled a 1.9 rating in the coveted 18 to 49 demos despite fewer viewers at 6.75 million.

For “Five-0,” the performance was three-tenths below the 1.8  rating of 18 to 49 adults last year (on a Monday) and the under-10 million showing  did not live up to the expectations for the new night. Or did it?

“Five-0” precedes CBS’ “Blue Bloods” at 9 p.m. (10 p.m. Mainland), which helped the eye network win the night with its 1.7 rating for adults 18 to 49 and 11.39 million viewers. This also is the fourth season for “BB.”

There are some things to ponder about the new time and the new night.

The shuffle to Friday has led to co-promotion of the two “island” shows, Hawaii and Manhattan, and Tom Selleck’s starring role as  Police Commissioner Frank Reagan (Selleck was previously “Magnum P.I.” on the CBS roster) may help or hinder Alex McLoughlin’s new-generation Steve McGarrett.

Clearly, the bundling campaign may work —  or not — depending on your expectations and/or orientation.

When paired with “BB,” “H50” may suffer from script and story comparisons. Sure, they’re different procedurals with distinctively different pedigree, and the shortcomings of one may unravel when witnessed alongside the strengths of the other.

“H50” is heavily action-driven, with crashes and criminals, colliding with principals and principles, combined with aerial scenics of life in the tropics, day and night.  “BB” is fueled by family values and relationships, with friction between the core of the Reagan family police — the active and the retired — and the weekly perpetrators of crime.

In each show’s fourth season premiere on Sept. 27, the styles were noticeable.

McGarrett and crew huddle around their HQ computers or in moving vehicles, exchanging theories and barbs, with the vehicle pursuits and shootings characterizing and underlying the crimes. In this instance, terrorists take hostages, turn themselves in, make their escape and then momentarily elusive before their demise.

Enter SWAT captain Lou Grover (Chi McBride), an ally/colleague  of McG, but one with thorns and difference of attitude, so there’s needed tension and trauma somewhat. There’s also the lingering Wo Fat issue — who is he, what is his mission, what is his relationship with Mama McG, and whoa, does he share DNA with McG? — which are overflowing themes from seasons past, along with the tedious Kono Kalakaua-Adam Noshimuri romance now in jeopardy abroad and going nowhere all too slowly. Too many loose strings, fuzzy recurring figures and story arcs yet to be resolved.

“BB,” meanwhile, rotates on much more immediate and credible playout of the law, based on the prospectives of the layers of the Reagan family — police commissioner Frank (Selleck), assistant  prosecutor Erin (Bridget Moynahan), NYPD detective first grade Danny (Donnie Wahlberg), rookie police officer Jamie (Will Estes), father  and ex-commissioner Henry (Len Cariou), ER nurse Linda (Amy Carlson). One key recurring pattern: the Reagan clan talks shop and progress of cases with officers, kids and grandkids across the dinner table, with tidy resolution by the end credits. There are periodic story arcs, for sure, but generally speaking, it’s a clean slate by the next week.

To its credit, “HF0” should be a cozy fit for Friday, as its foray into TNT syndication helps galvanize a secondary audience. Its viewership this week among adults 25 to 54, not the key audience, was 2.2, but its headcount among viewers 55 and older are a significant 7.6. Perhaps if it skewers its efforts to the geezer-geriatric crowd, and downplay its 18 to 49 element, it will find its pace and place on Friday nights. And maybe it can build its foundation to reach or pass the 15.4 rating in the 55-plus of TV’s No. 1 drama on Tuesday night, CBS’ “NCIS.”

There’s still  unexplored power among the elders, after all. Ratings can be interpreted in more ways than one.

37 Responses to “'Five-0' on Friday nights: some things to ponder”

  1. theDman:

    I'll have to watch it on-line a bit later, but the day is a problem for me. I won't be staying home to watch it live that's for sure, and I wonder how many others are like me. Mondays were getting tough to find time to watch it, but Fridays are impossible.

    ...we still got the car chases going I see...


  2. hossana:

    This program is lonnnnnnnnng overdue for the JUNK PILE or simply TELEVISION'S GRAVEYARD!!!!!


  3. Pammie:

    The real winner for cbs has been Blue Bloods. Biggest demo and viewership for CBS. Tom Selleck screen presence is making the new McGarret look even worse.
    A 1.5 for H50 is a bad result. Specially because the competition was light. H50 was the only scripted drama at that time, FOX had a rerun and NBC Grimm has not returned yet. I expect H50 numbers to drop when real competition starts.
    No way to spin the numbers, Nothing but old Folks watching H50. And another problem for the show is that has been pulling awful ratings in its syndication run on TNT.
    It won't look pretty for H50 in a few weeks, NBC Grimm is a better show.


  4. AniMatsuri:

    At this point its all about building inventory for syndication.

    Since H50 is on TNT on Thursdays right now, it might help draw people to the current episodes on CBS.


  5. FansAreTooDefensive:

    H50 has been in syndication most of the summer and it has done miserably. It was given 2 slots on Thursday nights on TNT; 9 PM and 10 PM and failed. And TNT is paying $1.5 million per episode, one of the most expensive deals in syndication. I doubt they want to pay that much for a failing show.
    They even moved it to 10 PM and 11 PM . It did better this last Thursday so I guess if it improves things could change. But if it goes back down to oblivion, I think TNT won’t buy season 5 and H50′s run will end.

    Take a look at this prediction on TVbythenumbers:

    http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2013/09/29/bubble-watch-revolution-mom-dads-parenthood-hawaii-five-0-mindy-project-more-predicted-cancelled/205391/


  6. AniMatsuri:

    FATD: TNT aren't the only ones buying into the syndication package, just the ones paying the most. I still think if the ratings stay half way decent(breakeven) another renewal will be granted for a limited or full 5th season to pad out the package before the plug gets pulled.

    I've seen the predictions on TBTN. It's got a new writer who is just using one data point right now and assuming the rest of the ratings will be even or go down even more.


  7. FansAreTooDefensive:

    Ani, do you know who else bought episodes of H50? I would think for $1.5 million per episode TNT would INSIST on exclusive rights to the show. I don't know of course, but why should TNT fork out that much when other cable stations would get the same show for cheaper? That doesn't add up.

    I realize that H50 could go either way. if CBS could have its way, they would go on forever as they are making a steal in syndication.
    But since I have trouble believing that TNT would pay more for the same package that other cable shows get, I go back to TNT being the deciding factor in H50's fate.

    If I follow that train of thought then for that kind of money, I would think TNT would want the show to bring in great ratings for them, not middle of the road to low ratings.

    So I think TNT already bought the original 88 or so episodes and will be watching their own ratings and decide whether FOR THE PRICE are they are getting their money's worth.
    Based on that, not based on CBS's ratings, they will decide to buy or not buy more episodes. What they decide will decide the fate of H50. The say no to more episodes, CBS will cancel and if they say yes, CBS will renew. Simple as that. JMO


  8. AniMatsuri:

    FATD, TNT probably does have exclusive US cable rights at this time but I doubt that extends to regular broadcast syndication or other countries. That's reason why some shows with even worst ratings than H50 get renewed anyway.

    Plus, the networks are still run by a lot of touchy feely which is why even when the bean counters at TBTN predict cancelation a show will sometimes get another season anyway.


  9. Pammie:

    If you read Deadline or Spottedratings, you will see TNT is paying $2.5 million per episode. They are paying $1.5 million for Castle that it is getting better numbers for them. So I don't see why they would pay more for a show that it is giving them worse numbers. A media site reported how The Nanny on TNT had gotten better numbers than H50. And The Nanny is a pretty old show.
    I read that the more a show is aired on syndication, the less cable will pay for the episodes. TNT paid for the first cable airings. And because numbers are already weak, I think CBS won't be able to ask a lot for future syndication deals for h50 .


  10. FansAreTooDefensive:

    This is an old article (April, 2011) from when TNT bought H50 IN SEASON ONE and it looks like they are paying $2.4 million per episode. And look at what TNT thought of H50 back then. They really thought they were getting a great deal! It is pretty apparent they thought H50 was going to be a major hit, growing viewership like the CSIs and NCIS;and then it tanked down to 7-9 million by season 3 and never got better.

    They must feel they blew it now.

    http://www.adweek.com/news/television/hawaii-five-o-episodes-will-run-tnt-130647


  11. AniMatsuri:

    Like I said, touchy feely. If they had any real sense, TNT would have waited before rushing in just because a series one decent season. Ratings are starting go up for H50 on TNT, who's to say CBS can't sucker another syndication deal for a smaller price with more inventory in the can?

    The show isn't totally dead. Looks like in final adjustments that ratings went up for the episode on Friday.


  12. FansAreTooDefensive:

    Yes, it went up, but not significantly. Most shows, with occasional exceptions, drop after their premieres, so we need to see what happens over the fall. Then of course when Grimm starts there will be more competition.
    The only real competition H50 has until then is Shark Tank. Not much competition and it still beat H50.
    I saw no significant difference in this episode than in last season. Too much stuff going on. Cath gets kidnapped and found in 10 minutes. They released her as promised. Really?
    This is going to be an interesting year as far as trying to figure out H50's future.
    Glad Wayne gives a few of us a place to do that freely.


  13. Pammie:

    I think H50 will drop when Grimm comes back. Grimm is a good show with a good following. The problem is that if H50 got 1.6 with no real competition, how much drop can the show afford? No much.
    Now that all week ratings are out, h50 is the lowest CBS rated show in the whole week. The Good Wife got a 1.6 even after being delayed by sports.
    Yes, $2.5 million per episode is crazy considering TNT is getting better numbers with cheap shows as Supernatural or Charmed. Or Castle.
    TNT was supposed to start airing the show in 2014. Instead they started earlier. Wonder if this was a test for TNT to check number before buying more episodes.
    I think TNT rushed buying h50 and believed all CBS buzz saying H50 was going to be the new Lost . Remember media was talking high 5 demo numbers and over 20 million viewers back then, but that never happened. And after just 4 seasons the show has been dumped in the Friday Graveyard.
    What has happened with H50 may have put in danger any future syndication deals for any show in the first season. I can see cable wanting to see some numbers before paying big.


  14. FansAreTooDefensive:

    I agree, Pammie.


  15. FansAreTooDefensive:

    Oh, and H50 was dumped to Friday after 3 seasons, not 4, which I am sure was never expected by TNT and which is even more astounding..


  16. FansAreTooDefensive:

    And Grimm was rising in ratings last season; one of I believe only 2 shows in network TV that was doing that. I like Grimm a lot.


  17. AniMatsuri:

    The Monday replacement show Hostages didn't do much better than when H50 was there and is now the lowest rated CBS drama.


  18. Pammie:

    AniMstsuri
    Well to be fair , Hostages got only a 2.2 demo lead in yesterday, while in the same night last year H50 got a 2.9 demo lead in. So I doubt h50 would had done better than Hostages there.
    We wil have to wait how this week h50 does to see if it does better or worse than Hostages and the rest of this week cbs shows. We only have the Monday numbers so far so we need to wait for the whole week to see who is CBS biggest loser. LOL
    Although h50 will be having an easy spot for the next 3 episodes , until Grimm returns. Then we will see.


  19. Pammie:

    And I forgot to say that Hostages is against tough competition with Blacklist. It has a weak lead in and tough competition. Not an easy spot. I read it gained. 50% in DVR use.


  20. FansAreTooDefensive:

    And Hostages is a new drama. H50 should have an established following by now like Castle does. But Castle stays steady at 10+ million viewers year in and year out and is doing well in syndication. H50 has no real competition and is doing poorly in syndication.


  21. AniMatsuri:

    From what I hear, Castle wasn't doing that great when it 1st started its syndication run either. Also, who's to say Hostages wouldn't have gotten the same or worst ratings on Friday where most people go out instead of staying home to watch TV?


  22. FansAreTooDefensive:

    Do you have anything that shows how Castle did at first in syndication? What I do know is it has had a steady viewership on network TV of around 10+ million ever since at least the second season of H50 and if I remember correctly, Castle and H50 battled back and forth for their time slot in season one.

    Castle has started strong again this season.And they are up against very stiff competition in The Blacklist. Yet Castle maintains its steady viewership. This past Monday it had 10.88 million viewers.

    http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2013/10/01/monday-final-tv-ratings-the-voice-adjusted-up-the-blacklist-iheartradio-music-festival-adjusted-down/206231/

    Castle didn't cost what H50 cost when it was bought into syndication and I say that because of an article I read where they said H50's syndication deal was one of the most expensive ones there were.

    TNT will want great ratings for H50 with that kind of money.That haven't been getting that.

    Hostages was given the Monday time slot because it is a new drama that CBS had high hopes for. 90% of new shows get canceled in their first season. They have to have good ratings because they have to survive close to 4 years before they are up for syndication money.They depend on advertisement money and the advertisers won't pay well for low demo ratings. So CBS doesn't put their new dramas on Fridays. You can't compare an established show with a brand new one. An established show, like Castle, should have their faithful fan base already there when new seasons begin.
    CBS puts syndicated shows there to build episodes for syndication. But my guess is that if a show isn't cutting it in syndication, the cable station won't buy up new seasons of it, especially if the show is expensive for them.

    I am guessing here but if CBS loses the TNT deal for H50 the international market alone won't sustain it. They can't pay what TNT can pay and many countries may also drop out. Mexico dropped it and Oz has dropped it a couple of times.


  23. AniMatsuri:

    Blues Bloods started on Fridays. They tried to moving it and didn't do much better so it stays where it started.

    You pretty much explain why it wouldn't be surprising for H50 to get another season. The show is pretty much paid for up front. Even if TNT doesn't renew beyond whatever is the length of the contract, the rest is all gravy.


  24. FansAreTooDefensive:

    Interesting outlook, Ani.

    I see the reason H50 can make it through THIS season is because of the TNT money. I don't see how that means it is paid through next season. That would depend on if CBS is using up all of the syndication money it has gotten now hoping to get more for the following season.

    If TNT has already paid up for the 88 episodes necessary for syndication and that is why they already started it, then why do you think CBS can afford next season should TNT not buy new episodes?

    It could be that CBS is using all the money it can to raise promotion for H50 in the hopes of getting those ratings up on CBS and on TNT and then if that doesn't work, and they aren't going to get more money from TNT, they pull the plug on H50.

    H50 is one of the more expensive shows to film. It requires all the guest actors to be flown to Hawaii and provided hotel accommodations and for the EP and sometimes the writers to be flown over on a regular basis. It is not about good writing so they use explosions and expensive stunts to make up for poor writing. That takes money.

    They just filmed in Hong Kong. That takes massive amounts of money. Again, that is why I think they are using the syndication money now.

    Time will tell how it all works out.

    Blue Bloods since the end of last season began to rise in viewership. It is doing what it needs to do and will get syndication at the end of this season. H50 needs to do what Blue Bloods did but if the writing doesn't improve on H50, I just don't see that happening.

    When Grimm begins at the end of the month that will be interesting to see ratings wise, although to me NBC is foolish to start it so late.

    We are all speculating here. None of us knows the terms of the syndication contract or how that all works. We can only go by what we see in ratings.

    What I see is an expensive show whose ratings tied for second lowest of all CBS shows for its premiere episode. That can't be a positive sign no matter how you look at it.


  25. AniMatsuri:

    I do know Hollyweird people are similar to politicians in that they love spending other people's money. Also, there are state credits that off set some of the cost. As you noted, it doesn't seem like are scaling back any of their spending to make the show. Otherwise, they could have fired most of cast(just keep McGarrett and Chin-Ho) hire more locals at a much cheaper rate and save a lot of money right there.

    I think assuming TNT is the only source for syndication money in the future is assuming to much. If TNT declines after the initial contract is up, they could turn around sell the package(with the extra 5th season) to a competitor for 1/2 the price and still turn a profit as long as ratings stay half way decent this season.

    I only mentioned Blue Bloods since you said, "So CBS doesn't put their new dramas on Fridays."

    If a network/hollywierd likes a show, they'll keep finding ways to keep it on the air no matter what. They obviously like what the current producers and writers are doing since none of them have been fired/replaced after all this time. Drives the critics nuts, and this is why I love reading this blog.


  26. Wiseguy70005:

    Times and definitions change but I always understood "syndication" to be reruns broadcast by local stations at any time they wish. Network broadcasts of reruns seen at the same time over all or large areas of the country are still reruns but not syndication. Some networks (e.g. TVLand, Hallmark) even show different edited versions than the syndicated version.

    For example, Bones is seen in syndication on Chicago station WGN an a local station in my area. They show the same episodes but at different times about twice a week. TNT also shows reruns but not the same episodes and several more times a week than the syndication broadcasts.


  27. FansAreTooDefensive:

    They have fired writers. They just hired 2 new writers. And we don't know what has gone on behind the scenes so we don't know who has been let go. CBS may love certain shows but they are the #1 network so they don't make too many stupid decisions or decisions based on emotion, I wouldn't think.
    I understand that the state credits don't offset by any means the cost of fixing up all the destruction this show has wreaked on the island. CBS is paying through the nose to clean up their messes and I also understand that there are many Hawaiians who don't like what the show is doing to their state.

    They probably could sell the show to other stations for cheap, but it would have to be worth it to keep filming an expensive show.

    If ratings go down, like they have after every premiere, and they stay down, I can't see TNT or CBS continuing it.
    There is another factor also. I mentioned this last season but it may all come down to what new drama pilots are offered to CBS and if they like them they will make room for them and get rid of shows that are not doing well.

    So many factors involved and we have no idea what is really going on.
    It would be very naive of us to think CBS is going to be anything but upbeat about any of their shows until suddenly, they are canceled.

    So we won't know anything from them until the spring and maybe until May at the Upfronts.


  28. Wayne Harada:

    Great discussion, gang; clearly, changes are imminent, as the fourth season further unfolds.
    Sunset on the Beach is the feel-good potion for the launch, but guess the first rating period of the fall season -- the November sweeps -- will be some kind of barometer of where the show is, where it might go, and whether the script quality reflects upgrades/changes, or same-old, same-old.
    One certainty: Being under the 10 million viewership level for the opener must be frustrating and embarrassing, don'tcha think?


  29. FansAreTooDefensive:

    I do, Wayne! :-) Again, thank you and Ani and anyone else who comments here for the opportunity to discuss the pros and cons without the H50 police controlling what we say. Mahalo!


  30. AniMatsuri:

    Just checked the ratings again and if you factor in DVR viewing, that adds another 2.65 million viewers for a total of 12 million or so. Of course, that's just for bragging rights since advertisers could care less since given the option, a lot of people probably skip the ads or they no longer apply if the ad was time sensitive.


  31. FansAreTooDefensive:

    You are right, Ani. Tvbythenumbers tells us that the important DVR +3 numbers are the ones where people have skipped the ads and those numbers are "rarely made public." Plus often times those numbers are less than same day and so in the long run, they rarely affect anything.
    But like you said, the 3 day +DVR numbers that everyone is bragging about came out in a CBS press release purely for PR purposes.

    http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2010/10/17/network-jedi-mind-tricks-live7-ratings-and-your-favorite-show/68123/

    C+3 day commercial ratings: They determine how much the networks get paid for their advertising. They measure Live and DVR viewing of the average commercial minute during a show within 3 days of airdate. They are rarely available in public.

    Conclusions:

    Live+Same Day program ratings are very close to the C+3 commercial ratings for almost every show. In the majority of cases, Live+ Same Day ratings are above C+3 ratings.
    Since Live+Same Day program ratings already exceed C+3 ratings in most cases, the additional ratings/viewing added between Live+Same Day and Live+7 Day measurements adds no incremental advertising revenue.


  32. theDman:

    Out of curiosity, what ever happened to Lost and its syndication re-runs? I thought I recall hearing that was going to happen but did it?


  33. AniMatsuri:

    Dunno. Does availability of Lost on Hulu+ & Netflicks count?

    Problem with Lost is if its shown out of order it makes even less sense than it does already. That's why crime of the week shows and sitcoms usually end up as the type of shows that get syndicated at lot.


  34. FansAreTooDefensive:

    Got some interesting stuff to say about the TNT H50 ratings from this week but will save it for Wayne's next H50 article. I will say this; not looking good for H50 on TNT.


  35. AniMatsuri:

    Other than TNT are a bunch of suckers? ;)


  36. FansAreTooDefensive:

    HAHA Ani! :-) See you on the next article!


  37. Pammie:

    Oh poor TNT. Don't make fun of them. They got ripped off ! :-)
    They paid for a Ferrari and they got a Kia with a Flat Tire instead. LMAO