Wednesday signaled the end of this year's Dead Pool, as final decisions were made on the only shows left to make decisions on: The Mob Doctor (canceled), Malibu Country (not canceled), and Emily Owens, M.D. (canceled). While we count and re-count every ballot you entered to figure out who won, we thought now would be a good time to take a look inside the numbers of this year's Dead Pool as well as the season's new shows.
Last year, we received just over 300 entries, which isn't bad considering this whole operation is run out of a cardboard box in an alley behind a Dunkin' Donuts. This year, our fantabulous team of engineers took the pencils and scratch paper out of my hand and made it much easier to enter the Dead Pool, and we were bombarded with more than 3,000 entries! Holy macaroni you guys really showed up for this one! I'm no professional success identifier, but I'd identify that as a success. A big round of applause for everyone who participated. Seriously, get your hand off your face and clap.
However, the major networks weren't nearly as fun as they were last year, because cancellations weren't as aplenty or as brutal as they were in 2011. That might be because there were fewer new shows to go around in the first place. In the fall of 2011, 27 new series fought for airtime in the fall season and eight were outright canceled (several more ran out their first seasons but never saw a second season, and a few more, like Allen Gregory and I Hate My Teenage Daughter were left to rot so their networks wouldn't face the shame of admitting failure). This fall, only 21 shows were birthed onto the schedule, and seven of them were offed (with more of them sure to be canceled in May). But 2011 had such spectacular flameouts! The Playboy Club, H8R (remember that?), Free Agents, Charlie's Angels, How to Be a Gentleman, and Man Up were disasters, good for eight points or more. This year? Only Animal Practice (+8 points) and Made in Jersey (+11 points) were must-haves for your entries.
So let's take a look at the distribution your picks for this year's Dead Pool in only way we know how to show you... with a PIE CHART!
What's particularly interesting is how wrong so many of us were in making our picks this year, which just goes to show how nuts network executives are. Last year the most popular picks were The Playboy Club, Charlie's Angels, H8R, Free Agents, and How to Be a Gentleman. We just knew they would stink and get canceled, and they did. This year, the top three picks by you and I were Guys With Kids, The Neighbors, and Malibu Country, and even though they all suffer varying degrees of stinkiness, guess what? They all received orders for more episodes.
We also showed a lot more confidence in dramas than we did comedies, with eight of the bottom 10 picks on the serious side. Only Go On, which had the firepower of Matthew Perry and had already been posting good numbers when the Dead Pool started, and The New Normal, which has Ryan Murphy's name attached to it, landed in the bottom bunch. The three most popular picks were comedies as well, but how quickly we forget that comedies, particularly multi-camera comedies like Guys With Kids and Malibu Country, are a lot cheaper to make and don't need as much of a return to stay on the air.
Scores were lower this year because networks were more hesitant to pull the trigger and blow the brains out of struggling shows. I mean The Mob Doctor hung around for eight episodes! The Playboy Club was canceled after three episodes, and its third episode notched a 1.2 rating in the adult demo. The Mob Doctor drew a 1.0 in its third episode, and yes it still went on to air five more. In 2011, shows that were canceled before their initial 13-episode run averaged 4.65 episodes aired. In 2012, the same shows lasted longer, with 5.85 episodes aired. Why? There are a million different possible answers, but my first inclination is to say that networks were more patient this year because they've accepted the fact that alternative forms of television consumption (online viewing, DVR time-shifting, etc.) exist, and they're looking for better ways to monetize them. That and there were fewer programs waiting in the wings to fill any gaps left by canceled shows.
The Dead Pool is a fun little exercise to see who can foretell doom the best, but it's also a way to see how general expectations for the season are met or shattered. What did you learn from participating in the Dead Pool this year?