Posted by : yankeesrj12 Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The numbers are in.  After months of heavy promotion, Cougar Town premiered to 2.182 million viewers and a 1.1 in the 18-49 demographic.  There are a number of questions being asked, so take a look below to see my thoughts on how Cougar Town performed.

First: What was the retention from its lead in, The Big Bang Theory (repeat)?
Retention was 58% among total viewers and 61% in the demographic.  While its not great retention, it seems a bit unfair to compare Cougar Town to the number one show in all of cable last night.

Let's compare its retention to the other three TBS series that have debuted behind The Big Bang Theory, and then it becomes more fair.

Men at Work (Thursday) - 85% total viewers, 93% demographic
Sullivan and Son (Thursday) - 89% total viewers, 91% demographic
The Wedding Band (Saturday) - 50% total viewers, 56% demographic

It should be noted that Men at Work and Sullivan and Son had smaller lead ins from The Big Bang Theory, essentially making higher retention easier (1.4/1.1, respectively).

Another important aspect of retention is the type of comedy.  The Big Bang Theory, Men at Work, and Sullivan and Son were all likely to comparably do well: they're multi-camera comedies.  Cougar Town is a single-camera comedy with a completely different feel to it.  How often have we seen a multi-camera comedy and single-camera comedy work well together?

Second: How do the ratings for Cougar Town compare to that of the ratings on ABC?
It was expected by everyone that the ratings would be down from its run on ABC.  A move from broadcast to cable was unlikely to cause a jump in the numbers.  The only instance I can remember where a move from broadcast to cable resulted in larger numbers was The Game (CW to BET).  Anyway.

Season three premiere:
4.88 million viewers, 1.8 demographic

Season three finale:
3.42 million viewers, 1.2 demographic

Series low:
3.22 million viewers, 1.0 demographic

Those are the need to know ratings for Cougar Town comparisons for its move from ABC to TBS.  You may compare the ratings to any benchmark you wish.  Me personally, I think the season three finale is the fairest, since most were unlikely to return to the move on TBS.

Third: How do the ratings for Cougar Town compare to that of the most recent TBS premieres?
I'll list the season premiere numbers only, as its the best comparison for this question.  Later on in the season (maybe episode ten?) I will update the numbers to see if the tracks are similar to each other.

Men at Work - 2.648 million viewers, 1.4 demographic
Sullivan and Son - 2.034 million viewers, 1.0 demographic
The Wedding Band - 1.845 million viewers, 0.8 demographic

This puts Cougar Town right in the middle of most recent TBS premieres.  It outranks The Wedding Band and Sullivan and Son, so that is positive news.

One important item to note: Both Men at Work and Sullivan and Son had two episode premieres, in which each second episode was lower than the first.  If you're that curious in episode two ratings, they slipped two tenths in each instance.

Certainly Cougar Town should have done better given the promotional push, but it could have been worse too.  The following weeks will be very important for Cougar Town.  If it stabilizes around a 0.8 demographic, it should be able to secure a fifth season renewal.  Anything lower than that is not good news for the ABC import.  It's also possible for growth, but I'll be realistic here.

Scale of 1-10 (10 being the best): 5, right in the middle.

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