Introducing TV.com's Network Power Rankings, Where NBC Is Unsurprisingly Starting Things Off in Last Place

How do we compare television networks? Do we just look at Nielsen ratings? Social media buzz charts? Corporate profit? There’s no one great answer.

Well, until now. Welcome to TV.com’s Network Power Rankings, as compiled by yours truly. My rankings involve an unbelievably advanced algorithm that considers ratings (Nielsen overnights and the DVR numbers), business matters (pilot orders, scheduling, hiring and firing), buzz (social media, goodwill, “viral” moments), and quality (good shows and episodes). So, like most power rankings, these include both objective and subjective analysis. But unlike most power rankings, these are 100 percent correct.

Another key point: I’m going to try to consider as many networks as possible in my analysis. However, while you won’t see HBO top the list every week, you also typically won’t see QVC or Outdoor Network on here (however, if there's an Outdoor Network Today’s Special Value on QVC, watch out). You’re going to be familiar with most of the names you see ranked, but I’m going to strive to mix in some less scripted-centric networks along the way.

And of course, we encourage you to produce your own network power rankings in the comments. It's a safe bet that the debate will get more and more interesting (and heated) as we near the Upfronts in May.

This first batch is based on much of January plus the first week of February, whereas future rankings will be tallied on a bi-monthly basis. Strap yourself in, queue up the song that amps you up the most (for me it’s Don Johnson’s “Heartbeat”) and enjoy the inaugural round...



1. CBS


Having the Super Bowl helps. The ratings didn’t top those of the last few years and the blackout proved how worthless the network's talking heads are. But, 108.4 million people is a big number. The Big Bang Theory is still doing great on Thursdays, Elementary is thriving (not to mention a pretty good show), and the network is still winning in the ratings with total viewers (even with TBBT and NCIS repeats). The Shawn Ryan Beverly Hills Cop pilot is moving forward, as is Hart Hanson’s Backstrom adaptation. Those feel like new CBS hits to me. The renewal of How I Met Your Mother for another year is unfortunate, but at least it’s the final season! Probably. Hopefully. (Full disclosure: TV.com is owned by CBS Interactive, a subsidiary of CBS.)



2. Showtime


The ratings for Shameless (up 22 percent), Californication (up 21 percent) and House of Lies (up 10 percent) were so good in January that all three series were renewed for future seasons. Those numbers are also indicative of Showtime’s overall growth, which has been in-process over the last 18 months. The network is riding such a high right now that it can afford to make big moves like bringing Dexter back in the summer instead of the fall and using both it and Homeland to launch upcoming new shows Ray Donovan and Masters of Sex. All the awards love (at the Golden Globes and SAGs) for Homeland certainly doesn’t hurt, and neither does buying a script from Skyfall duo John Logan and Sam Mendes.



3. Fox


I was so ready to write a “Fox is in trouble” story. Yet, here we are just a few weeks into another season of American Idol and the show is back on top. It’s kind of terrible, but hey, ratings! The Following grew in its second week and people seem to like it, so we have to give the network props for its decision to hold the Kevin Williamson show until the midseason. New Girl is having a big month creatively and with DVR numbers, its ratings are fine. Glee is still big on social media and having a nice season as well. Letting Fringe conclude its story was a nice thing to do. Canceling Ben and Kate was not.

Dammit.



4. FX


It’s weird to me that American Horror Story’s second season had significantly lower ratings than the first, but year two was most certainly an improvement creatively. The good news is that in both ratings and quality, The Americans started off strong (though dropped big—like 39 percent big—in week two) and Justified is doing well in its fourth season. Archer and Legit make a nice comedy block. In fact, the Americans-Justified-Archer trio might be the best on TV right now. The return of Anger Management is an unfortunate stain. Network president John Landgraf didn’t shy away from the “Is TV too violent?” discussion at the Television Critics’ Association press tour, which is what makes him one of the best leaders in the business. The decision to split the network into two (FX, centered on drama, and FXX, centered on comedy) is a curious but fascinating choice that I can’t wait to see play out.



5. TBS


Maybe the first surprise. Have you seen those syndicated Big Bang Theory numbers? TBS paid $1.5 million for each episode and at this point you have to imagine that they feel like they got a great deal. Check this: Two weeks ago, a 10pm Saturday airing wound up the 14th-highest rated show on cable that week. How is that even possible? Also, the first handful of episodes of Cougar Town’s fourth season have been so swag.



6. HBO


Girls and Enlightened are not ratings powerhouses, even by HBO standards. But! Enlightened is doing better in a non-horrible timeslot this season and more importantly, both shows are very, very good right now. Girls and Game Change’s big wins at the Golden Globes and the latter’s victories at the SAG awards bring even more awards prestige to the network that thrives on awards prestige. Development-wise: More Girls; more Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner shows; Kevin Dunn, Michelle Monaghan, and Wood Harris in the Matthew McConaughey/Woody Harrelson drama True Detective; and all kinds of cool people joining a Mike Judge comedy pilot makes for a nice string of moves. We probably don’t need another Tom Hanks-Steven Spielberg World War II miniseries, though. Come on, that’s just awards bait.



7. ABC


Like always, the Alphabet network had a weird month. Jimmy Kimmel Live’s move to 11:35pm has gone fairly well. The Sunday-afternoon NBA coverage brings in a lot of social media buzz. Modern Family, Grey’s Anatomy, The Middle, and Suburgatory are regularly ranked in the top 25-30 for live ratings and Scandal, which is on fire right now, pulls big numbers with DVR factored in. However, ABC also axed Don’t Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 this month (the network didn’t have a choice but still, ouch). Did you see some of the pilot scripts Paul Lee ordered? Betrayal! Venice! The Returned! Plus the upcoming premiere of Zero Hour. Haha. Ha. Ha.



8. USA


Suits and White Collar are back, and the former is doing quite well in a tough Thursday-night time period. With The Rock’s return, Raw’s ratings and social media buzz are on the upswing, and like TBS, USA Network is buoyed by great numbers for a syndicated show. In this case, it’s NCIS—two episodes recently made it into the cable top 25. And though it’s a little older news, the network has a World War II-set sci-fi script going to pilot, which signals that USA could be moving away from the clear Character-based procedurals we’ve seen lately. The latest press for the upcoming Graceland backs that up.



9. PBS


Have you seen those Downton Abbey ratings? Over 11 million people watched the Season 3 premiere (across multiple airings, to be fair) and even against the Super Bowl the show garnered 6.6 million viewers and destroyed everything else in primetime. Although the show isn’t owned by PBS, those ratings are pretty staggering—and the reviews for this season have been quite a bit better as well.



10. The CW


I love The CW more than most people, so they’re at least making it into the inaugural rankings. Still, things are a little bleak over there. The stink of Gossip Girl is still odorizing the network’s new Monday-night series, The Carrie Diaries. It’s pretty good and the ratings have been, well, CW Monday-like. Arrow and The Vampire Diaries are chugging along—and doing fine when DVR ratings are considered—and it was kind of a big deal when both The Vampire Diaries and Supernatural made into the top 10 of the primary social buzz rankings a few weeks back. With those four shows plus Hart of Dixie and Nikita, The CW actually has a half-dozen completely watchable series on its schedule right now. I’m not sure that’s ever happened before. The news that the network is still trying to make The Selection work is promising, while the The Originals spin-off seems less so. Still, things are happening!



11. NBC


I’m still laughing about Do No Harm’s record-breakingly sucky ratings. The best part? Watching the pilot was even funnier. But NBC apparently didn't see the humor in the situation, as it axed the Jekyll-and-Hyde medical drama after two episodes. I guess the Thursday-at-10pm time period is one they're just going to have to ride out. No The Voice and no Revolution right now to boost the network's overall numbers. Unsurprisingly, Deception, which is dumb but entertaining, is flailing. Bringing back Gillian Michaels didn’t resuscitate The Biggest Loser. Christina Applegate is quitting the currently-on-hiatus Up All Night, which is already in dire straits and will probably end up canceled. NBC shows aren’t lighting up the DVR or social buzz rankings, though Community's return might help with that (the Season 4 premiere did fine in the ratings, but critics and fans haven't been too kind). And despite the overhaul, Smash returned to dramatically lower numbers than it achieved in its Season 1 finale and that were unbelievably, hilariously lower than the turnout for last year's Season 1 premiere. Pretty much the only consolation is a pair of Tina Fey-related bonuses for an entertaining Golden Globes telecast (shout out to my girl Amy P., too) and one hell of a final run of 30 Rock.

The good news is that NBC has a boatload of pilots in the works, many of them from talented people (Jason Katims, Alfonso Cuaron, Bill Lawrence, Carlton Cuse, Leslye Headland). The bad news is that the network's development slate also includes a romantic comedy pilot called Girlfriend in a Coma from Law & Order’s Dick Wolf, and a modern-day take on Alice in Wonderland from CSI’s Anthony Zuiker. Because it’s not a real pilot season unless NBC picks up something that makes you chortle audibly. And all of that, my friends, puts the Peacock squarely in last place.


What do you think of our first round of network power rankings? What would you have done differently?


Comments (151)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
Community is the best comedy in television. That alone should have meant not having NBC in the last place. #SixSeasonsAndAMovie
Reply
Flag
CBS has Person of Interest. That right there makes it the best Network.
2
Reply
Flag
1) CBS
I loved The Good Wife, Elementary and the only 2 reality show that I still consider worth watching are Amazing Race and Survivor. Vegas has a great cast though very weak story line, I still watch it. These are all on CBS. However only The Good wife is in my top 10 favorite show.

2) AMC
The Walking Dead is my current fav show. Breaking Bad and Mad Man are MUST watch when they are on. These shows are on AMC

3)SHOWTIME
Dexter, Homeland,Shameless are all must watch. House of Lies has great cast ! These are on SHOWTIME.

4)FX

I am BIG fan of justified,Sons of Anarchy and currently The Americans is getting me hooked so FX is good too !

5) CW
BIG fan of Nikita and The Carrie Diaries is surprisingly good.

6) HBO
HBO still have boardwalk empire and Games of throne. Girls and Enlightened are watchable.

7) ABC
Scandal still keep me going back but still not really happy they cancelled Last Resort !

8) Netflix
Just because House of Cards was simply awesome !

Just realized I do not watch anything from NBC. I was going to watch Do not Harm but they cancelled it before I could so...
More+
1
Reply
Flag
What about AMC? I'd put them in the same league as FX and Showtime. These three have easily surpassed HBO as far as quality television goes.
Reply
Flag
NBC suck in general. They cancel everything. When they get a really good show, they cancel it. No one tuned in to the premier of Do No Harm, because whats the point of getting invested in a show on the crappy network like NBC, only to have it cancelled - Which it has been.
1
Reply
Flag
I think CBS is the most powerful network in the US with shows like TBBT and especially the NCIS franchise. But maybe they need to renew their offer because they have a lot of "old" shows and this kind of success is not eternal (even if for NCIS I have some doubts!)
Reply
Flag
May we eventually discuss MTV, please?
Reply
Flag
Where did AMC land with The Walking Dead?
Reply
Flag
Of all the 4 big network channels, i don't see why NBC gets so much hate for TRYING. CBS puts out the same cop show and generic comedies all the time and everyones fine with it. At least NBC tries to bring different kinds of shows, even if they fail. All the shows you complain about failing wouldn't even be broadcast on other channels so you should be happy that they even gave them a chance. With the thursday night comedies, SVU,Chicago Fire, Revolution, Grimm, and Go On its the network I find myself watching the most, followed by Fox and Comedy Central.


And why is TBS so far up the list? It's trying original programming which is great, but theres not a lot.
2
Reply
Flag
No disclosure for Showtime also being owned by this site's parent company? I still think their ratings bump was due partly to just having a free weekend during premieres.

No disclosure for The CW being half-owned by this site's parent company? If nothing else, just to apologize for how awful The CW is? Also, I don't understand networks' reliance on DVR ratings, those are worthless ratings details for advertisers because DVR viewers time-shift over the ads, so those viewers are essentially taking without giving back from the network's POV.

Ha ha, NBC sucks worse than The CW. Seriously though, no it doesn't, don't lie. Ok, it does because it spends so much more and aims higher, but overall on a level playing field, no it doesn't.

Yeah, CBS is easily numero uno even without the Super Bowl, its schedule is tight as a drum and delivers consistently. My runners-up would be USA, FX (although their star is in risk thanks to the upcoming bisection), and ABC.
Reply
Flag
Don't understand how a network like CBS can exist in this day and age with its slews of NCISs and CSIs and Elementarys, TBBTs. But then, it takes all sorts to make up the world, and I guess it's powerful for the geriatric community, maybe.

CBS and CW should be tied for last.
Reply
Flag
CBS is number one in the key 18-49 demographic with regular programming and now even higher with the Super Bowl, the idea that CBS is for old people is a very outdated viewpoint. Procedurals are just popular across the board right now, as are broad-appeal sitcoms - the network's key to both is variety of theme but not of quality.
1
Reply
Flag
That was an actual official viewpoint? That only geriatric people watch CBS? lol. lmao. The last time I watched CBS was when they had Charlie on 2 and a half men. Before that was Gary unmarried which was decent and I think King of Queens was theirs? Since then it's as though the channel doesn't exist for me. And I didn't mean geriatric as in old people really, but more like "old-thinking" people, if that makes sense. People who are geriatric "on the inside."

And I wasn't bashing procedurals. I love procedurals, just not NCIS (how many ever spinoffs of that exist), and not CSI (how many ever spinoffs of that exist) and not Elementary, really. My brain isn't able to conceive of real people actually liking Elementary, and I think CBS is probably run by Skynet.

Robotic entertainment created by Terminators for Terminators.

It's the most formulaic thing under the sun - it's like the words "plot twist" "suspense" "drama" don't exist.
Reply
Flag
The world's love of The Big Bang Theory will forever wrinkle my brain.....along with Two and a Half Men before it.
HBO after the last 15 years will forever be my favourite network. The Wire, GoT and Sopranos beat all comers.
1
Reply
Flag
"year two was most certainly an improvement creatively."

I don't know if you're trying to be funny or if you're an idiot. The second season of AHS was God-awful.
2
Reply
Flag
Season 2 of AHS was some of the best tv ever imo. It was much better then season 1 (liked season 1 but no where close to season 2) in my opinion--more complex & creative, better stories & filming/lighting/editing, scarier, groundbreaking.....
2
Reply
Flag
Maybe you're the idiot, because clearly you don't understand the meaning of "creative" or "improvement". Or "God" or "awful". I don't think it's even subjective that season two was way more creative. The thing was freaking insanely creative! That's a friggin' fact! Even if you didn't like it.
2
Reply
Flag
Creativity isn't subjective? It's cute that you creatively used stupidity to prove that you're an idiot.
Reply
Flag
Dude, I think you really need to calm down and think before you type. Understand what you're trying to say before you say it. Otherwise it's just confusion, and it's frustrating when people have to deal with these types of communicative road blocks.

"Creative" - Relating to or involving the imagination or original ideas, esp. in the production of an artistic work.

Check your Websters and see what it says, because you clearly aren't understanding the meaning of the word.
I think what you're trying to say is that AHS:A wasn't "cohesive". Yeah?

I'm sorry for calling you an idiot - English maybe isn't your first language, and that's not your fault. You're trying though, so keep working at it and someday you'll be fully literate. Thumbs up! Maybe try some penpal websites, get some fluent people to lingo with - once you keep practicing, you'll get the hang of it in no time!
1
Reply
Flag
Staff
I'm not particularly funny, so I must be an idiot. But S2 of AHS was 100 percent a creative improvement over S1.
3
Reply
Flag
Your opinion. Season two was very polarizing as any series that completely changed its tone and story would be. Some people loved the darker take, some people missed season one. I loved season one but would definitely say that season two was the stronger, more focused season. It doesn't hurt that it had a real ending either.
2
Reply
Flag
Really? Is it my opinion? Thanks for pointing that out.

And that you could possibly pretend that season 2 is more focused is hilarious. Even if you liked it more than season one, you cannot say that it was more focused at all. Every single character had at least one storyline going in season 2, many of which meandered or were left unattended for episodes at a time. Season 1 was a singular story about a family moving into a new house. More focused? That's precisely the funniest thing I read about season 2.
Reply
Flag
This is "cohesiveness" you're talking about, not "creativity". Two very different things. One doesn't imply the other.
Reply
Flag
HBO number 6? For a paying program? WAKE UP HBO....I am just glad I got rid of HBO
Reply
Flag
NBC also made the mistake of passing on Mockingbird Lane (after airing the pilot in a bad timeslot). It seems the network just doesn't know what it's audience is.
1
Reply
Flag
Staff
I think they made the mistake of giving it to Bryan Fuller and then getting back a Bryan Fuller-style show and saying, "what the hell is this?" They knew what they were getting themselves into. Just dumb business.
2
Reply
Flag
It was fine as a one-off Halloween special but it never would have made it as a series.
1
Reply
Flag
NBC made the mistake of MAKING Mockingbird Lane. What a shitty, shitty pilot that was.
Reply
Flag
I'm actually looking forward to the results of the Netflix experiment. It would be nice to get rid of the whole "wait a week for a new episode" thing and be able to binge on full seasons at a time without needing to avoid the internet for spoilers. It would definitely give me more time during the week to live my life, as well.
1
Reply
Flag
I'm with Cory here and love most shows on The CW. I mean I LOVE TVD, SPN, Arrow and Nikita but I will NEVER forgive them for cancelling TSC unless they realize their mistake and bring it back.
3
Reply
Flag
Their mistake of cancelling a show that couldn't even pull a 0.5 behind their highest rated program?
Reply
Flag
Cory, you think too much. I voted for CBS because that's the network I watch the most. But for me NBC would be a close 2nd. I still have Thursday night favorites and I'm addicted to SVU.
Reply
Flag
Staff
I tend to do that.
1
Reply
Flag
I know voting for NBC is stupid to say the least....but I have a very strong connection to the network... It was NBC that brought me into the world of TV. Beginning with The Office, then 30 rock, then Parks and Rec. and Community.... All next to perfect shows (except for The Office season 6+....also with Parenthood, SNL, and AGT, it doesnt hurt
1
Reply
Flag
You missed ABC Family, which is doing great lately.
3
Reply
Flag
Staff
They will definitely be in the mix in the coming rankings. Considered them.
2
Reply
Flag
Showtime is way to high other than the Borgias and Big C they have nothing in all reality the premium channels should not be in this list Cinemax has nothing to offer but skin with no story, HBO is over rated big time!! even Spartacus can't carry Starz into this list granted Spartacus has violence sex nudity blood gore but it has a story but once again not enough !!
out of the major networks it goes a tie for number 1 with CBS and ABC followed by the CW, FOX and NBC
as for basic cable number 1 goes to ABC Family (they should be on you list, PRETTY LITTLE LIARS, LYING GAME, BUNHEADS, SWITCHED AT BIRTH , AND SECRET LIFE fox and nbc would die for these)2 goes to BBCA 3 goes to TNT 4 SYFY 5 USA and the rest are just too close CARTOON, AMC A&E FX DISNEY NICK HISTORY ETC
of their course their is ESPN, SPEED, NHL, NFL, NBA,MLB NETWORKS AND LOCAL SPORTS really no need to rank them!! so overall CBS and ABC tie followed by ABCF,CW,BBCA,FOX,TNT,SYFY,USA NBC
Reply
Flag
Maybe you should watch the Cinemax shows or "Spartacus" before making a very generalized criticism that clearly displays you have never seen any of the shows you are critiqueing. The newest, "Banshee", has a better story going than most Dramas currently airing. "Hunted" doesn't fit your criticism at all - story was the most intersting part of the whole show and skin was never a part of that project- nor does "Strike Back". All three have very compelling stories. And to say "Spartacus" doesn't have a story is just ridiculous and false. The Drama of Spartacus is what has made it the #1 Starz offering. You don't get the ratings they get if its just sex. You can love the childrens shows but don't knock something you haven't seen. Make a real criticism of something that actually applies to one of these programs don't just sing in the chorus.
Reply
Flag
I have tried Banshee it was very boring, Hunted simply sucks !! plus dude I watch Spartacus whether the story is true or not their is a story it is far from ridiculous as for Strike Back again that does fit my assessment sorry Strike Back is not that good period!! plus I never said sex or nudity equals ratings what I did say that is wasn't enough to be on the list for top network plus dude I watch shows before I criticize I tried True Blood hated it, Girls is just horrible Enlighten I did not like HOMELAND IS SO BORING I do watch BIG C and the Borgias excellent and all those shows on ABCF that I listed are not for children if you watched you would know that but it obvious that you don't!! should I go on, no I will stop here think I prove my point !!
Reply
Flag
You should probably disclose that Showtime is a wholly-owned subsidiary of CBS, as well. Other than that, decent list. I would probably move FX and USA up some.
2
Reply
Flag
They also own this website.
Reply
Flag
Staff
Probably. That might be the case, but everything I said is still true. CBS and Showtime are both on big rolls.
Reply
Flag
NBC at this point is a complete train wreck. Just shut the thing down. Open a new network or something, I don't know how they are going to salvage that network. But something drastic needs to be done.

For me, Showtime wins purely for their fantastic programming, Shameless being my personal favourite show this year. HBO and FX are close seconds and out of the non cable networks, ABC and CBS probably tie. I'm equal between the two in how many shows I watch. Of course I voted CBS winner on the poll because they destroy all the other networks with their viewers and ratings.

P.s. Fox is WAY to high.
1
Reply
Flag
I agree NBC is terrible, but by shutting it down, we would lose Community and Parks and Rec.....two shows i dont want to give up
Reply
Flag
I think Fox is way to high on the list. What do they have? And if you say New Girl and Mindy, they have nothing. They are running from sub par drama to sub par drama. If they renew The Following it isn't because it is any good. It will be because of Kevin Bacon and a short season. But as for the rest, nada. They come up with great ideas for shows. But they lack in execution.


For me it is the cable networks. FX minus whatever SOA is turning into and the mediocre AHS has Justified and some of the best comedies on TV minus Anger Management.

USA, Psych for me is still the best show on TV. Then you have White Collar and Suits. I am interesting in seeing their new shows.

TNT, Southland, right up there with The Shield as the best cop show ever on TV. And I think Falling Skies still has potential.

NBC, is horrible. All they have is Fallon, Community and Parks and Rec and that is it. If I was Fallon. I would be shopping myself to Fox. They are going to treat him like Conan and are not going to let him run the same show at 2330.

CBS if it aint broke don't fix it. It is Average tv, aside from POI for the average viewer which is why they get the numbers that they do. I wish they took more risks with their comedies. And I wish they would just can some of their dumber stuff.

ABC has Castle and some solid comedies. But at going the way NBC is going. They treated Last Resort horribly. Cancelled B in 23 for no reason. Treat Happy Endings crappy. I do like Suburgatory though it is slipping in quality and for some reason I like the Neighbors.

HBO has GOT and that is about it.

However what isn't on here and should be. BBC America. It has Dr. Who, it will have Luther. It has Ripper Street and Copper and I see them introducing more quality shows, because that is what they do. I would like to see a comedy from them.
More+
3
Reply
Flag
Staff
Fox would be a lot lower if it weren't for Idol. Its ratings aren't what they used to be, but they are still pretty great. The hype has died down, but Glee's ratings are also still solid -- and the show is good this year. New Girl is probably the best network comedy right now. The Following is doing well. Those are things to celebrate.
Reply
Flag
Showtime is my fav, although they should lose points for really long credit sequences. Homeland, Dexter, Hung, Nurse Jackie, Californication, The Big C, all way too long
Reply
Flag
Except "Hung" was HBO and canceled over two years ago.
1
Reply
Flag
It was HBO - my bad
Reply
Flag
I actually thought it was a funny show and liked the character of Ray Drecker. Jane Adams and Thomas Jane's characters actually resembled financially struggling adults. The show looked too much like real life (like Showtime's "Shameless") and people seem to like their sitcom characters to not have to worry about actually making a living which is why these shows have struggled.
Reply
Flag
I also enjoyed the show, just not that loooong credit sequence.
Flag
Haha Suck it NBC, you'd think they'd eventually learn. TBS above HBO?
1
Reply
Flag
AMC????
4
Reply
Flag
If we're choosing based on how many shows I watch on each network, then Showtime wins it for me because of Shameless, Dexter, Homeland, House of Lies, Californication and Episodes. Followed closeley by FX (AHS, SOA, Always Sunny, The Americans) and The CW (SPN, Arrow, TVD and Nikita).

All I watch on CBS is HIMYM and TBBT
1
Reply
Flag
I'd have mentioned the fact that CBS may also be willing to try something else than their usual procedural stuff, and are using the very smart idea of launching a mini-serie with an end-date with Under the Dome. I don't know how that'll pan out, but kudos for trying! That settles them in their #1 spot.
Also, I don't know about the other ABC's pilots but I can tell you that the French tvshow "The Returned" is based on is pretty damn amazing, much more than what the description sounds like. I don't know what ABC will make of it, but if it's half as good as Les Revenants, it's already better than most of what's on TV.
1
Reply
Flag
Really hope Under the Dome will be awesome.
Reply
Flag
The same things were said about the killing and prime suspect before they got a network spin
1
Reply
Flag
I have a bad feeling that The Returned will be too good for network TV, like Last Resort was. I wish HBO or AMC etc had snagged the rights for the US version.
1
Reply
Flag
It's sadly very likely :-/ At least, whoever's really interested might be able to watch the French show, whereas we'll all be missing a Last Resort 2nd season.
Reply
Flag
No mention of Person of Interest? I'm very disappointed in you Cory. I really don't like the fact that this show keeps getting the cold shoulder on this site. What does the show have to do to deserve being mentioned and promoted around here?
2
Reply
Flag
Staff
I chose to highlight Elementary since I wrote this right after the Super Bowl, but sure, POI is doing really well. I don't particularly care about it, but it does get reviewed on the reg. That's more than we can say for a lot of shows that I think are much, much better.
1
Reply
Flag
Why don't you review the other shows you think are much better? Who picks what shows are reviewed and is this a limit to the number of shows that can be reviewed?
Thanks for the Nikita review a week or so ago....why not more reviews on other shows....
1
Reply
Flag
Staff
I don't really decide!
Reply
Flag
Sorry about that post, Cory. It’s terrible, and I feel terrible about it.
I don’t like that that Person of Interest wasn’t mentioned, but I didn’t want to attack you, I’m not angry or upset or anything like that, but unfortunately that post made me look like an angry douchebag. Again, sorry.
I actually like the article, I like that you considered a few different factors, not just ratings. I’m looking forward to future rankings.
Don Johnson is one of my favorite actors, but I had no idea he used to sing. I keep hearing that Johnson is singing about looking for a “hobby” in that song.
1
Reply
Flag
Staff
Oh, no worries at all. I didn't take any offense to it whatsoever.
Reply
Flag
It DOES get promoted. It's one of the few series that gets a weekly review.
2
Reply
Flag
Yes, but what about Thurday's What to Watch articles? For some reason it's rarely mentioned in those? Or this article, where pretty much all hit CBS shows were mentioned but this one, like it didn't exist or the network was uncomfortable airing it or something.
Reply
Flag
I dunno. Still sounds like a whine from someone who has a chip on their shoulder. "Yes, but"? Do you realize how many good shows, CBS or otherwise, don't get the weekly reviews? Instead of a couple of lines of What to Watch, PoI gets a weekly article with a link from the top section of the home page. And of course, Bear got his own recognition when last year's character contest and Top 100 happened, as did the dynamic duo. Characterizing that as "cold shoulder" just doesn't stand up to the evidence.
1
Reply
Flag
I don't think it is a "whine" but an expression of frustration that it wasn't included as part of the reason for the dominance of CBS over other networks.

Regardless, why aren't more shows reviewed? I'm sure some will bash me since this site and it's followers (lol) hate NCIS but what about reviewing NCIS and it's spin off? What about reviewing Archer, The League, Criminal Minds, Vegas, and so many other shows. I would say maybe only "newish" shows get reviewed but TBBT gets reviewed (happy about that).
1
Flag
True, NBC does suck. After all, they cancelled Awake, completely screwed up Conan/Leno, and are currently in the process of replacing their (unfortunately low rated) brilliant sitcoms with more bland sitcoms (in the vein of Whitney and Animal Practice). But to put them above TBS's grating "very funny" ads? What good television show has TBS come up with on its own and not imported from another network?
2
Reply
Flag
I'd cry nepotism, but the ratings, as flawed as they may be, reflect CBS as the most-watched network. I mean, for pete's sake, even in the middle of summer, an NCIS rerun is still the highest-rated scripted show on TV.
3
Reply
Flag
Staff
I wish it wasn't the case. I don't watch too much CBS. But facts are facts.
Reply
Flag
I just don't get the hype in CBS. Honestly I haven't watched a show on CBS sense Everybody Loves Raymond. I find the comedies generic and cheesy and the drama’s predictable and redundant. ABC pissed me off by cancelling don’t Trust the B so there's zero shows for them as well. I'd say the top networks are HBO AMC FOX and Showtime. Fox at least usually gives shows time to breath and is a bit innovative for a network station and NBC just is all over the place. I like Sunny in Philadelphia for FX but it's currently off air.
4
Reply
Flag
Here's why: for everyone like you who doesn't get it, there's at least one like me who does. I usually watch (and enjoy) CSI, CSI NY, Criminal Minds, NCIS, NCIS Los Angeles, Hawaii Five-0, The Mentalist, Blue Bloods, Person of Interest, and Elementary. The cool kids can sneer at the formula nature of it or roll their eyes at "another procedural", but we're still watching.
3
Reply
Flag
I think that's just sad. CSI CSI NY NCIS NICIS Los Angeles and Hawaii Five - O all feel like the same show to me with different casts and settings and slightly different storylines but otherwise redundant. Whereas shows like Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad, Fringe (RIP) etc at least push the envelope at trying something different. I don’t have a huge problem with Criminal Minds or Person of interest though I don’t watch them. Don't even get me started on the CBS comedies.
4
Reply
Flag
I watch all the shows you mentioned, except I'm years behind on CSI. Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad, act are among my favorite shows but there aren't enough episodes. I also love NCIS, NCIS:LA and the Mentalist. I even like Blue Bloods and (gasp) Rookie Blues. There are SO many shows that are good and don't get reviewed.

There are similarities in all procedurals and in all comedies but that doesn't mean they are all the same or "redundant". Each plot is unique but the overall flow is similar. That doesn't make it "bad" tv.

People here love to put down other shows. Personally I can't stand most of the comedies on tv now (love the league, parks & rec, and archer) but I won't put a post out there say I think x, y, and z shows all suck because they are all the "same" comedies and just involves miscommunications and flaws of generic comedies...
2
Reply
Flag
And I and many others don't give a shit that you look down on us and think it's sad. I don't care about how it looks that I watch what I watch. I'm not an art critic and I don't watch to see someone push the envelope. I'm glad you enjoy TV the way you do, but I'm not like that.
5
Reply
Flag
It's sadder about the network feeding out the shows and because the originals were so successful they think and do shell out sequels of the shows and other uncreative things in favor of taking a risk. That is what I think is sad.
Flag
When you look at the viewing habits and preferences of people like me, you reply "I think that's sad" and then say you're not looking down on anyone, that's disingenuous. The point you need to recognize is that "good TV" means different things to different people. The fact that others' definition is different from yours isn't sad.
3
Flag
No one said anything about looking down on anyone buddy. Just don't agree with the shows and they are generic. Your entitled to like these shows heck your entitled to watch reality TV dating shows for all i care. I just am voicing my opinion that networks don't take enough risks and just try and shell carbon copies of things out again and again until America finally gets sick of them and seen as you replied to my post in the first place I'm obviously going to give you my opinion on it.I'm not an art critic just someone who appreciates good TV. Sue me.
1
Flag
The sad part is.. AMC could have been on this list if they weren't so fucking stupid.
9
Reply
Flag
Staff
AMC will be in the mix. I didn't put them on here because they didn't really have anything in January. Walking Dead is back, and that matters, so don't be surprised if they make an appearance in a few weeks.
Reply
Flag
This a great idea but that algorithm could use a little tweaking. It seems far too ratings-focused. I guess that post-Super Bowl it's fair that CBS tops the list. But then Showtime is 2nd because it did well at the Globes and the ratings for the season premieres were up? This seems to give far too much emphasis to the Globes, and the ratings increases don't mean much when they were low to start with, and Californication and House of Lies are both poor shows. I watched the Californication premiere and it was atrocious.
Then all TBS has to do to get a high ranking is air TBBT repeats? Surely networks with new material should be weighted higher than the regurgitators. And funny that Cougar Town is one of the only shows in the article where ratings where not covered, when you'd think that judging by the rest of the article its low ratings would drag the network's ranking down.
In my opinion the number of quality shows a network has should be given as much weight as ratings, since we all know at the moment that their isn't a great correlation between ratings and quality at the moment. At this time of year FX clearly has the best quality of shows currently on so that would be my #2. NBC is a laughing stock, especially with their development slate, but how can a network that is currently airing Parks and Recreation, Law & Order: SVU, Smash and Community be last. And how can PBS rate that well on the evidence of one, imported show. That seems a little forced. The CW probably deserves to be last as its ratings are poor and having some series that are 'completely watchable' doesn't make them high quality.
So I guess I would rank ABC, NBC and FX higher, and Showtime, TBS, PBS and USA lower.
More+
4
Reply
Flag
Staff
Can I tell you a secret? You're probably taking the algorithm a little too seriously. Ratings matter, and that's reflected in here. But you're asking me to take "quality" into account more, which basically means being even less "objective" than I already am. So what's the real purpose then? That just leads me to talking about which shows I like and that's not really the purpose of this feature. (Hope that makes sense.)
1
Reply
Flag
Since you're already factoring in quality of shows (you mention it in your preamble, and you reference Golden Globe wins) then my suggestion of modifying the weighting of quality would hardly result in the rankings lacking purpose or not being objective. And since your article also implies that HBO will often be competitive for the #1 spot it's clear that you are already intending to rate quality higher than ratings in some situations.

Also, quality should not be confused with personal preference as quality can be measured in a fairly objective way (e.g. Metacritic). Universal acclaim for a show will bolster the good will towards a network, whereas we all have at least one show that we like that is critically panned.

So as I wrote originally, I think that ratings should be taken in context when contributing to the power rankings, in particular that they should be weighted less for critically derided shows, repeats or imports.

I don't apologise for taking the rankings seriously, and you should take it as a compliment. Surely the purpose of the rankings in the first place was to generate passionate discussion about the minutiae of the algorithm. And I assume that you do put a lot of thought and effort into the rankings and that consequently the feature will continue to be engrossing.
More +
Reply
Flag
Fox should be lower, it only really schedules 2 hrs of original programming during the weekdays 8-9pm and 9pm-10pm. And out of those 10hrs, American Idol has 3hrs
2
Reply
Flag
Cinemax's move into scripted drama with banshee and strike back is doing well, a couple more shows and they could make that list.
1
Reply
Flag
As for Banshee; How come no one wrote this show up before it hit the ground? It has the most compelling story driving it and Antony Starr and Ivana Milicevik are the two strongest leads of any new program that has aired this season - (You can think real hard about that statement but you'll never disprove it if you've watched their work.) For all of the action and violece - its the actors and the dramatic material that really make this show one of the Best. For everything going on it is - at its core - a love story. The most original love story to hit the air in decades. This isn't simple like good girl likes bad boy. Even the kids are refreshingly different from most child characters added to a mix like this and actually seem like real kids not actors trying to play real kids (looking at you "Homeland"). Added bonus - Ben Cross from freaking "Chariots of Fire" as Mr. Rabbit. Bonus with a bow wrapped around it, "Job" finally made it to Banshee.

This show is about 1000x better than the current state of "True Blood" which honestly has never been as good as this freshman season of "Banshee" and we're only 5 episodes in. Casting is everything. I guess its easy to see why Alan Ball ditched one for the other. I think its time that critics threw away their prejudices about writing about a show that appears on "Skinemax" and give this show its well deserved accolades. All you need to do is watch "Meet the New Boss" (E03) to see that those of us singing the praises of this show are right.
More +
2
Reply
Flag
Where have you been?
Tim totally trashed the show on his Should I Watch article before the show aired. I think he reviewed the pilot and maybe the first episode and kept trashing it. I watched it anyway and love the show.
1
Reply
Flag
Totally agree.
Tim did a "Hey, Should I Watch?" before the premier. Wish someone would review it on a regular basis....
1
Reply
Flag
I should of refreshed my page before posting! It should be reviewed but not by Tim (stick with POI).
1
Reply
Flag
totally agree with everything you said man.
1
Reply
Flag
Banshee is The Best.
4
Reply
Flag
Banshee rules. That is all...
3
Reply
Flag
yes it does!
2
Reply
Flag
I agree with all of you.
2
Reply
Flag
Staff
Your Don Johnson obsession is becoming cause for concern. I'm getting an intervention banner.
1
Reply
Flag
Staff
HEARTBEAT. LOOKING FOR A HEARTTTTTBEAT.
Reply
Flag
Staff
Next you'll be all "You know that TV dot com needs, Jen?! A NASH BRIDGES RETROSPECTIVE!"
Reply
Flag
Great idea, great Cory. Bummed about Ben and Kate, yeah still! Anyway, go Showtime!
Reply
Flag
I find it interesting you mention Elementary and not Person of Interest. which are slotted next to each other. POI has a strong fan base and has proven time and again to be a quality show.
13
Reply
Flag
Person of Interest is mostly ignored on blogs for different reasons (controversial premise, Jim Caviezel, and so on). It's not like I care, Person of Interest is phenomenal and I don't need other people to tell me that. I just laugh when television-oriented websites make such a huge deal out of series with less ratings/viewership compared to POI. Oh, well. Their loss.
8
Reply
Flag
Staff
POI is reviewed pretty regularly here. It's not like no one notices it. I just didn't (and don't).
Reply
Flag
Reviews are one thing, but I've noticed that POI doesn't often make lists/rankings despite widespread praise.
Reply
Flag
what does people have with Jim Cavaziel? not a rhetorical question, I really wonder what led you to that observation; cos I always thought he is a sweet guy and a perfect choice for that role..
Reply
Flag
I actually wasn't referring to Caviezel's alleged "blacklisting" but a lot of people's perceptions towards him. While portraying Jesus was a huge success for Jim, it was also seen as a negative by other people (not me, but the sentiment is out there).
Reply
Flag
Caviezel himself claims he got blacklisted because he played Jesus in Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ".
Reply
Flag
Sounds like paranoia.
Flag
I expect AMC to be on this in the next batch with the Walking Dead returning tomorrow, and I figure NBC will hop closer to the top when The Voice returns. Plus, Parks & Recreation is LITERALLY the comedy that I can stand to watch, so it has to get some love for this! This show is awesome! I wish this website would review it.

I'm so happy White Collar is back (but the reviews on this site are not?? disappointing!), so I'd throw USA quite a bit higher just because of that! But FOX? Ugh. I hate that network. They have ruined every show I've attempted to watch on that network with terrible character arcs, which is what I care about the most in a tv drama.

The only thing I'm currently watching on the CW at the moment is Arrow, and it's pretty damn good, but it's also my DVR fodder. It sits there for a while until I feel bored enough to watch it, and then I'm like, "Why did I wait so long again??" But I did watch Supernatural up until season 5, Vampire Diaries until season 3, and Nikita all through season 1, so the network actually does pretty good work. It just has a hard time keeping my attention.

I hate Big Bang Theory, but I'm actually a huge fan of most of CBS's procedurals, Elementary being at the top at the moment. Person of Interest is also super amazing, and I rather love NCIS: LA.

And I don't watch anything on PBS, FX, ABC, TBS, and Showtime.
More+
3
Reply
Flag
AMC has basically gone fully idiot the past year and a half with some of the bone head decisions they have made. If you've been reading about any of the questionable things they've done, it would explain a bit why AMC wasn't in top ten at the moment. Some how they fudged up Breaking Bad and now its ending (in my opinion) long before it should.

Not to mention Mad Men blahing along. The Killing has a mercy killing season 3 left. AND The Walking Dead is soon to be on show runner #3 after season four. Hell on Wheels is coming back for a third season but who knows if it can get to four. Somebody obviously doesn't know how to play nice over there.
3
Reply
Flag
AMC killed Lily Bell.
Reply
Flag
I'm hoping she is not really dead (wishful thinking I know)
Reply
Flag
That did surprise me. I've watched it from day one. But even I'm confused how long this show will last. Where does it go now?
Reply
Flag
I heard about the problems with the other shows, which is why I'm not surprised to see its absence right now.

But Walking Dead is doing phenomenally, and to be honest, the removal of a new showrunner isn't as big as it sounds. Mazarra and Robert Kirkman (the comic creator and one of the producers of the show) were at odds, and AMC sided with Kirman, so bye-bye Mazarra. As creator of the show, Kirkman wins. Creative differences happen, and AMC had to choose sides. I have no idea if they chose right, but unlike a lot of people, I've enjoyed every bit of the show, so I don't have a favorite!

So, that's why I said I expect to see it in the next batch of rankings.
Reply
Flag
Agreed. I wouldn't be surprised to see AMC in top 15. The Walking Dead alone could carry AMC on its back right now. Any short comings (if any do come) won't be seen until season four anyway. But so far season three has been great.They have that going for them as a network. Also every award show ever keeps giving Mad Men awards. So there's that.

The glorious Breaking Bad will go out with a bang. :-( Gonna miss it like crazy though. That was my top ?? move on their part though. Only five season? wtf. Other than that AMC needs to hit the drawing board.
1
Reply
Flag
You have a point about White Collar reviews. Though, honestly, I didn't like how Price covered that particular show. They should probably just give all the USA shows to MaryAnn.
Reply
Flag
I dunno. I'll always remember the gif of Neal in his boxing shorts fondly...

But I digress. I don't care who reviews it. I particularly love the reviews because it gives me a place to talk about the show! The forum for the show on this site is super dead, so I used to only get discussions from the comments section. Now, nada.
2
Reply
Flag
White Collar--another example of a good show that I wish was consistently reviewed here
Reply
Flag
CBS doesn't have a single watchable comedy, and why people allow that crap to be shoveled down their throats is beyond me.
4
Reply
Flag
At least 19 million people disagree with you.
8
Reply
Flag
I want to see the algorithm.
2
Reply
Flag
Staff
No way! Can't give up my secrets. Copyrighted material.
1
Reply
Flag
Peer review, dude. You must publish.
2
Reply
Flag
i can't believe nbc is lower than the cw and yet i can totally believe that nbc is lower than the cw
12
Reply
Flag
Staff
The CW was lower when I first wrote this, but NBC had a really, really bad week. It was hard not to move it down to the bottom.
Reply
Flag
The analysis for each network doesn't seem to state anything I can disagree with. It's incredible how popular The Big Bang Theory is... even their syndication reruns on other networks do better than a lot of shows with new episodes.

From what I know of ratings and popularity, CBS seems to dominate both dramas (coincidentally, all procedurals) and comedies (coincidentally, all multi-cam). Okay, not coincidences. For a network that also doesn't have a singing competition, they seem to do very well with reality shows as well (Amazing Race, Undercover Boss, Big Brother, Survivor still?). So, yeah, incorporating Nielson ratings, DVR numbers, the stability of its scheduling, and potential new shows, I'd probably put them number one overall.

My number two might be different... I think I'd put FX there. It seems to do pretty well with ratings compared to cable networks. And, admitting bias, it features a ton of shows I watch and think are great: Justified, Archer, The Americans, Sons of Anarchy, It's Always Sunny, The League, Wilfred, and occasionally some UFC. I don't watch AHS or Louie, but I see their value. I love and agree with: "In fact, the Americans-Justified-Archer trio might be the best on TV right now."

Then I guess I'd go with Showtime at three, and well, I'd probably make the rest in order with the list you came up with.

It kind of sucks not to see AMC around, but despite Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, and Mad Men, I figure three shows isn't really enough to compete with the other networks, despite how good they are.
More+
2
Reply
Flag
I agree with everything you said except that I actually watch AHS:-)
Well said!
Reply
Flag
"we encourage you to produce your own network power rankings in the comments."
or you could just give us a poll each month where we can vote on certain criteria and then do quarterly performance results
1
Reply
Flag
Staff
Added a general poll for now. We'll think about how to do multiple polls that all feed into the same results for the next round.
1
Reply
Flag
thanks
1
Reply
Flag
NBC's 11? C'mon. It has to be lower than that. You mentioned QVC! I have to imagine more people watch QVC than Do No Harm.
3
Reply
Flag
"we encourage you to produce your own network power rankings in the comments." Isn't that what we were doing with the "America's Got Cable" articles/rankings? Could you resurrect that and somehow incorporate it with your bi-monthly analysis? (Not that I don't appreciate you 100% accurate maths.) #CWforever
Reply
Flag
They gave up on it when they realize the winner was going to be MTV. Seriously looking at the last think 6 networks left. MTV was probably going to win it.
Reply
Flag
Sorry, disagree.
Many of us were waiting for the AMC vs FX battle-royal that sadly never occurred.
Reply
Flag
It would just be a good example of transparency to disclose that you are employed by a subsidiary of CBS when you do somewhat subjective ratings and list CBS first. Even if there is objective evidence to support it.
Having said that, I agree that CBS is going strong, and I'm not one of the anti-procedural snobs, so I love NCIS and all the other acronyms. I would have listed USA higher and HBO lower, but for the most part, your analysis rings true.
3
Reply
Flag
Staff
That's a good point on CBS; we can add a disclosure. It's funny, when we were discussing how to "calculate" these things, we specifically tried to add enough variables (like including cable networks, considering development slates, etc.) to allow for lots of movement, and so that we wouldn't back ourselves into having the same CBS-topped list every time we do one of these (which, if you go by numbers alone, would likely happen pretty frequently).
4
Reply
Flag
If you're going to add disclosures, then you need to add them to Showtime and, as WindUpRobot said, the CW as well. But especially Showtime, since it was ranked number two.
1
Reply
Flag
Totally. Especially because the CW is half-owned by CBS too and he ranked that at 10, and that's higher than NBC! NBC! The bias of these people with their blend of subjective and objective evidences.
Reply
Flag
Staff
I didn't personally think about these things since I'm just a freelancer, but yeah, it's a good point. CBS, the network, is just really good at their jobs. Can't deny it.

And I just love The C-dub.
2
Reply
Flag
Oh, I really don't care. My point was mostly mocking the ridiculousness of asking for some transparency here when you didn't rank CW or Showtime any higher than they likely deserved as cause for corporate agenda-rigging. I mean, no one's asking for disclosures on shows reviews by this site that air on CBS-owned channels or networks.
Reply
Flag
To be honest, I'd rate CW above NBC. I'd rate PBS above NBC. I'd rate a local cable show above NBC. They have just about done everything wrong they can; it's like watching a corporate attempted suicide.
9
Reply
Flag
NBC has Community (which they mistreated, threatening that October 19 feeling in my heart) and Sunday Night Football, which is over until August.
Reply
Flag
I won't put cbs as number one,I don't know who'd i'd out as one, either HBO (personal) or FX or FOX (based on ratings). I think HBO should be before showtime especially since most of the shows on their that are good are originally from other networks. TBS is another network that just runs reruns and i don't think they should be one the list at all. I agree that NBC should be last the only good show on NBC is Revolution and that is far from one of the best shows on tv and they'll be lucky if the long break doesn't kill renewal.
1
Reply
Flag
Load More Comments

Like TV.com on Facebook