TV.com's Network Power Rankings, Mid-April 2013: After Some Big Things on Cable, Lots of Movement at the Top


"Did the president call?" "No, but TV.com's Network Power Rankings did!" Yuk yuk yuk.

Hello, fellow television fans and anti-fans! It's that time again: TV.com's Network Power Rankings, where we rank and discuss the buzziest moves on network, on cable, and online. As always, here's how the Power Rankings work: Using a complicated methodology including ratings (Nielsen overnights, DVR numbers), business matters (pilot orders, scheduling, personnel decisions), buzz (social media, "viral" moments, other goodwill), and quality (good shows, episodes), I evaluate the performance of an ever-changing variety of networks based on the preceding weeks.

Last time, FX kept its hold on the top spot thanks to a big channel extension, some welcome renewals, and as always, good programming. But as we get through various network Upfront presentations and move toward the end of the season, with all the renewals, cancellations, and pilot orders, there's going to be all kinds of movement. This is an exciting—albeit sometimes very stressful—time for fans.

1. HBO (previous rank: 3)

Have you heard of the little show called Game of Thrones? It's pretty cool. The most recent episode brought in the series' highest ratings to-date, which means this is the monster that just keeps growing. Good social media buzz as well. Veep is also back and somehow already underrated, both in the literal Nielsen sense and in the larger cultural conversation sense. Seriously, Veep is the funniest show on HBO. You should watch it. Right now. I'll wait. 

Okay, cool. Speaking of funny, HBO also just aired a comedy special with that guy who always wears black T-shirts, Louis C.K. He's funny, it was funny. You should probably also watch that. 

But HBO has also made a lot of moves lately that helped it take this top spot. Pete Berg is going to direct Damon Lindelof's adaptation of The Leftovers. The network also keeps giving Ryan Murphy money, greenlighting his relationship drama Open, which I already hate but will watch every second of. Patricia Arquette has joined Ron Livingston and Jeffrey Wright in what is an unbelievably stacked cast for Boardwalk Empire Season 4.

AND: The Newsroom will be back in July. Aaron Sorkin is so ready to tell you about late 2011.

2. AMC (previous rank: 4)

AMC moves up a few spots, thanks primarily to the return of one of television's best shows, Mad Men. Even if the series' ratings are down, it gets extra points for all the new facial hair and for Pete's generally scummy nature. Plus good social media buzz for the series, and obviously good discussion all over the web.

There are a few other things of note: Another one of the best shows on television, Breaking Bad, has a final season premiere date, maybe a spin-off and a stupid, cheap talk show (if Dean Norris and Bryan Cranston don't host it together, AMC is doing this all wrong). It's a bummer that the show isn't coming back until August, but AMC just has to get those new episodes of The Killing to air. Gotta strike when the air is hot! 

Hell on Wheels is going to air on Saturdays, which is half interesting because it suggests AMC has identified a niche audience to appeal to in that timeslot, but also half hilarious because LOL AMC and LOL Saturday. The network has also renewed most of its super-cheap (notice a trend?) reality shows, including Comic Book Men, and announced the development of about a half-dozen other shows. 

Get this: Of the seven new shows in development, four are set in the past, two in the future, and one in Afghanistan. Honestly, the period pieces all sound terrible—the 1920s auto boom! A Kentucky (i.e. racist) mining town in the 1950s!—and AMC ain't paying for a show about Afghanistan (Vancouver can only do so much, guys). I can't wait until Mad Men and Breaking Bad are done. AMC is basically the NBC of cable as it is; this is only going to get better. But lots of news is good news, at least as far as the Power Rankings are concerned.

3. Syfy (previous rank: N/A)

Syfy risin'! The cable channel with the best-spelled name around held its upfront last week, which means there are a number of interesting things to anticipate. Syfy renewed Being Human (yay) and Ghost Mine (LOL), but then announced that it's moving forward with a slew of projects, including something from one of the internet's favorite songs, Bryan Fuller. Also on that list of projects? A horror anthology series produced by Jamie Foxx. That makes so little sense that I can't wait to see it. On top of that, Syfy debuted the first trailer for Ron Moore's new project Helix, which didn't offer tons of information but suggested a really intriguing tone.

Oh yeah, there's also that show that you TV.com readers seem to be interested in, DefianceThe buzz was pretty good, and so were the ratings. I'd imagine that the social media buzz will follow once those rankings come out as well. 

4. CBS (previous rank: 2)

This is a good time of year for CBS (though to be fair, when isn't it a good time for CBS?) thanks to March Madness and the Masters. Sports! Both events did well in viewership and in social media buzz (sports in general does better than we often assume, I think) and even better, both the basketball tournament final and the final round of the Masters were unbelievably entertaining. Again, sports! (BTW, in the interest of full disclsoure, CBS and TV.com share a parent company.)

True story, here's how popular The Big Bang Theory is: A rerun—you know, an episode that already aired—was the eighth most popular individual airing on broadcast TV last week. A RERUN. That is some 1990s TV ratings stuff. It also killed it on social media, which means people don't care that they're tweeting about or checking into episodes they've already seen. This is a level of popularity that I can't even fathom. A Two and a Half Men rerun did pretty well too. 

More bad news for CBS haters is that the network's comedy development looks strong, with another Chuck Lorre show almost guaranteed to make it to air (sometimes, we're so lucky as a people). The slate is so good that it's possible that a show with both Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar might not make it to air. CBS doesn't even have the schedule real estate to pick up many new shows; the network's scraps are probably better than anything NBC is working on.


5. MTV (previous rank: N/A)

Welcome to the big leagues MTV. It's your first appearance in the Power Rankings, take it all in. Moving the MTV Movie Awards from summer to spring apparently paid off, as ratings were up and buzz was quite high (even if our future goddess and overlord Jennifer Lawrence did not show up). The big news here though is, of course, the return of your favorite high school comedy and mine, Awkward. Critics seemed to like Tuesday's Season 3 premiere, and the ratings were rock-solid as well. 

6. Starz (previous rank: N/A)

More big moves! Starz makes only its second appearance in the Power Rankings and this time it's not in the #11 Everyone Gets a Trophy for Being Special Memorial Space! But really, the network deserves it; they've had a good run over the last few weeks. Spartacus came to an end, satisfying Andy Daglas and apparently most of you as well. The series finale was one of the highest-rated efforts in the whole run, which is a little bittersweet. 

But dry your eyes, fans of completely historically accurate action and sex romps: Starz's Da Vinci's Demons, a show with one of the most ridiculous premises this side of Do No Harm, debuted to such a strong rating that Starz immediately renewed it. Immediately!  Starz is also doing a pirate drama produced by Michael Bay, which is the most Starz thing of all-time. The trailer needs more explosions and 360-degree camera moves, but I'll survive. And Magic City is coming back for a second season in June, if that's something you care about.

7. A&E (previous rank: N/A)

Bates Motel is chugging along, well enough apparently to grab a relatively quick second-season order. Noel Kirkpatrick is psyched! The show does well on GetGlue, which makes complete sense: Creepy mothers love stickers. Smothering and stickers. Also goin' on at A&E: Something called Duck Dynasty. 7.8 million viewers for an episode last week. That's like the total rating for Season 4 of Community, across nine episodes. A&E usually airs four episodes of DD in a block on Wednesdays, and last week, all four episodes were among the top 25 most-watched shows on basic cable. You're probably watching people talk about ducks and dynasties right now.

8. FX (previous rank: 1)

Big drop for FX this go-round, but that was inevitable. Their made their big scheduling announcements earlier than most, so they reaped the benefits of all those crazy fascinating announcements last time. Since then, things have been pretty quiet for FX, news-wise. Nevertheless, we can't forget that Justified and Archer closed out their respective seasons in strong fashion and that The Americans is still chugging strongly along. 

9. Fox (previous rank: 10)

I feel weird about rewarding Glee for its "school shooting" episode, because if there is any individual in Hollywood who we should never, ever encourage, it's Ryan Murphy. Still, there's no doubt that the episode was controversial, and it helped Glee score the one thing that has been eluding it all season: buzz. People were definitely talking about the show more than normal, so you win, Murphy. (Ratings were also up.) Still, it's a little weird that Glee hasn't been renewed for a fifth season yet. With personal and professional reasons pulling members of the core cast away, and the messiness of the second half of Season 4, the chance it doesn't come back has maybe risen from 0 percent to 0.2 percent. Fox just might ask Murphy to do more school shooting episodes. What if a few members of New Directions join the cult on The Following?

Speaking of! People are still watching and talking about The Following even though it's truly terrible (hope you like the broadcast money, K. Williamson, but you can come back to Mystic Falls anytime you want). And even though the post-Idol experiment failed pretty clearly, New Girl and The Mindy Project continue to make up the best hour-long comedy block on television right now (Ready for Love is funnier, but it's a little longer). Plus, both are doing well once DVR numbers are factored in. 

Outside of Mike Schur's pilot, everything in contention for pick-up at Fox makes me really sleepy. Greg Kinnear? Sure. Can't wait for that on Mondays at 9pm in the fall. 

10. ABC (previous rank: 7)

Right now, ABC is just boring. Other than Happy Endings, the alphabet network doesn't have any show in real jeopardy that's riling people up on Twitter. Modern Family continues to chug along and is helping How to Live with the Longest Title on the Air do well in that problematic 9:30 timeslot, so that's fine. Still, it's been tough for the network to really build momentum in the rankings because it's been hamstrung by a slew of lame scheduling things. With the 31 award shows ABC has aired this year, many of their high-profile dramas have been running on disjointed, stop-and-start schedules. Nashville's back! Oh wait, it's on for three weeks and then off until sweeps. The Sunday dramas are operating the same way. It's frustrating, and I thought ABC dealt with this with Lost like five years ago.

The good news is that in about a month, we'll have all kinds of ABC-related things to discuss. The network always picks up a half-dozen more shows than anyone else on broadcast, and by the looks of things, they have some intriguing things in development. The S.H.I.E.L.D. program is a shoo-in, but ABC also has the Once spinoff, a show based on the Big Thunder ride (puke), a show from Kyle Killen starring Christian Slater, and another dozen things that seem interesting but ABC will put at Thursday at 8 p.m. and immediately kill. 

But hey, Scandal made it to the cover of Entertainment Weekly. That's something!

11. NBC (previous rank: 6)

After a predicted ratings bump with the returns of The Voice and Revolution, NBC fell back to earth—and really quickly. There's a dirty little secret out there that NBC doesn't want us to talk about: Revolution isn't doing that well. Hiatus or no hiatus, spring or no spring, the ratings are down and down big. Not including DVR numbers, the last new episode of the lights-out drama scored a 2.2 in the 18-49 demo. That's worse than 60 Minutes (no shots at 60 Minutes). I don't even strongly dislike Revolution; it's fine. But we're a long way away from October when NBC couldn't wait to talk about how it was on its way back. 

The big question now is whether NBC will consider moving Revolution come next fall. I'm guessing they won't, because Bob Greenblatt hates admitting failure or even being pragmatic until he has to (see: Smash). So we'll probably hear him and other NBC folks talking about how well they did in the fall, chalk up the big drops to an extended absence, and then try to extend Revolution throughout more of the year. But The Voice is the only valuable property on NBC's schedule; keeping an eroding Revolution on after it is a waste of a timeslot. If NBC continues to be high on The Sixth Gun like it is now, I could see it premiering in the fall, with Revolution coming on later in the year, keeping more consistent runs of originals for both. 

Elsewhere at the Peacock, Hannibal! The ratings actually rose in week two. A tenth of a percentage point, but when you're a 10pm Thursday drama on NBC, that's a reason to celebrate. If it does well again this week, the show might actually be in good shape to make it to next year—where it should have a better timeslot. 

NBC has a lot of decisions to make. 2013 has been so bad for the network that it make you wonder whether or not this is the year they'll simply go scorched earth and cancel almost everything. The comedy block consistently gets ethered by just about everyone, it has to go. CommunityGo OnThe New Normal and 1600 Penn could all be canned. I'd guess that the first two stick around and the latter two say goodbye. It's always too early to tell, but few of NBC's pilot seem interesting, other than Jason Katims and David Walton's About a Boy... but that's destined to be burned off about a year from now anyway.

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Hey, what about Cinemax? Strike Back, Hunted and Bansheeeeeeee?
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HBO, shows 90% of viewers have no awareness means ON TOP OF THE WORLD! Woo!

AMC's power ranking seems to be as much about what they're developing as what they have. But they could be developing crap, we dunno for sure.

Siffy at #3? Siffy will always be #2, and by that I mean shit. Their network is shit. Their upfront was shit. They are a joke. Nobody should be watching Siffy, right now they apparently have a single noteworthy show airing, and its reviews were middling (the tie-in game too).

Damn, it doesn't take much to get on this list, MTV's appearance is hilariously dubious as well. How the hell does MTV get above Starz, which actually has real buzz for its Spartacus finale and development despite very few people having the network.

Goodness, now A&E too? Duck Dynasty has a bit of buzz, but Bates Motel seems like low interest, and then there's... nothing else to talk about? Yeesh.

Look, I don't like NBC, but they've clearly got more to crow about than half the networks above them on this list.

I'm giving a "no interest" to this period, this round of upfronts wasn't inspiring, most of the nets were on rerun, USA only has Psych in rotation right now (which is great, but not enough to get it a nod), so I'm just saying "no" to this whole mid April ranking. NBC gets my vote for simply airing a lot of content since the last one of these.
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I saw a little bit of one episode of The American's and liked it a lot. I've decided I'm going to catch up on it on Netflix or as reruns or something. So tell me, is it worth it?
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Yesss
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I'm going with Syfy, for finally waking from their slumber and putting on some decent stuff. Good start for Defiance so kudos.
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My vote went to NBC. Shocking, I know, but in terms of my personal power rankings, NBC just sucked me into its show, Grimm. I am in love with it, and as long as they don't hurt it any, they'll have all of my love and support. But because tv.com never talks about Grimm, like, ever, I have no idea how it's doing or if I should be worried. I think it'd being renewed, so that's good, but I throw a hissy fit anytime I have to go anywhere other than tv.com for tv news and reviews.

But ignoring that, I am still deeply in love with the Voice and think it's better than anything Fox is putting out, so screw you, Fox. I actually enjoyed Castle this week unlike a lot of people, so ABC gets my second vote, and I'm the only person on earth not watching Game of Thrones right now, so I say HBO can eat it! Eh, just because I can.
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I'm boycotting NBC for their quick ax! They show no respect for their audience. I encourage others to do the same (for new shows) but please don't stop watching Smash even though its next on the chopping block. Sad!
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So, you're boycotting NBC, which will lead to more shows getting cancelled, because you're upset over shows getting cancelled? I don't think that's really going to change anything.

A better idea would be a letter campaign or something similar to that, something that would get their attention without it being like, "Well, another one bites the dust."
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I have no reason to believe we can change anything. Obviously the millions that watched the shows I did weren't enough millions, so why would I invest another minute of my time getting invested in another ( probably doomed ) series? That's all I'm saying...RIP Smash..
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Revolution's 2.2 was against the NCAA championship and it still beat both Castle and H5O? It isn't dominating, but it isn't a failure. Winning a timeslot still means something doesn't it?
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As usual, I'm out of step with other TVdotCom users. Of the networks mentioned I only watch ABC, CBS & NBC. NBC, though struggling, airs some of my favorites: SVU, Parks & Rec, Community & Go On. I thought Psych might have brought USA onto your list.
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I agree with ya there. I would have voted USA just for Psych, and had to fight the "it's power-ranked because I watch it" thing while reading. I ultimately voted NBC because it had more content during this period.
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TL;DR
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Thumbs down!
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HBO does have the advantage that it doesn't have to run ads during it's shows. As such ratings for it's shows, like Game of Thrones, are somewhat irrelevant. And because it doesn't run ads it's shows tend to fare better.
Maybe CBS should buy NBC so they have some place to put their overflow of good shows.
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Ratings still matter at HBO. Otherwise, Enlightened would still exist. And the lack of ads don't really impact its ratings either way.
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Ratings matter most because those are direct sales, subscribers directly pay for the channel and ratings help HBO decide which shows are content viewers want more of.
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And suddenly I fell back into that deep depression that I fell into when it was official, that Enlightened got cancelled. I miss that show. Thanks a lot sheeple of planet earth!
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I think the fact that HBO is premium price cable and did network tv level ratings is extremely relevant. Plus if you take away sports from CBS they would probably be a lot lower
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Okay, network TV is so screwed these days. It didn't seem this bad before and I'm not really sure what's up. Perhaps it's the fact that there just isn't enough good stuff to go around and the current season seems to have ended the week before Thanksgiving. Sure, shows like POI, The Good Wife, Scandal, CSI, NCIS, Revenge, Elementary and Nashville check in with a new episode every few weeks but all sense of continuity is gone. TV needs to change the way they do the 38 week TV season and eliminate all this hiatus crap that kills shows prematurely. Now that Revolution doesn't totally suck as much anymore it could very well be the next causualty. I do have a suggestion, however. Shows like the ones I mentioned - just make more of them instead of putting in new stuff that mostly fails. Or show them consistently leaving out the holidays and then put new stuff in their places for the rest of the season. Shows that simply do okay, shorten their seasons - like 18 episodes each and double them up back to back with other okay shows so we have new programming nearly every week and split the season into two parts as it currently is but with more consistancy. And stop all this cancelling crap as it makes no one happy. They wouldn't make these shows if they didn't make money so make more, what's the problem. More work for everyone is a good thing isn't it?
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Oh, wait, there is a problem here and it's that the American public can only watch so much TV. Unfortunately this leaves us with bad months like January through May where we really don't have much of a TV season. Never mind...
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Well, there's something to that though. Some suggest the production orders should all be like 13-18, with MORE shows. Others suggest increasing the episodes to 25-30 to cover more time. But the scheduling is outdated for sure.
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Gotta change with the times. TV is very important to most of us and thank God we have good cable networks to take up the slack. But January through May, with a few exceptions can be pretty desolate. I have many old series in my collection and they are all longer with more episodes, so yes, we need to make more and fix this thing we call TV...
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I'd put TNT (Southland) and BBC (or BBCA---for the show Orphan Black) in place of MTV and AMC (at least until Hell on Wheels or Breaking Bad actually starts back up again).

Which ever network has The Good Wife should be up a notch--loved their spin on Anonymous A hackers. I watch shows online so I often don't know the network (my bad)...googled it--CBS!

That being said, your methodology is precise:-) lol
I always enjoy reading your articles/reviews.
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TNT definitely. Southland has absolutely killed it in the final 3 episodes of the season and while I don't watch, that whole who shot JR thing was was pretty big again after 3 decades. I also would tune in for a 2nd season of Monday Mornings - pretty much every episode got my back up for moral/ethical reasons, which is to say, the show is more than typically intelligent and thought provoking.
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Considered TNT, but so many shows are on the bubble and without buzz (Mon. Mornings for sure).
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I've got to say after reading a few comments and reading your article again, i cant understand why TNT is not on the list.

If you take away Mad Men from (AMC), which is dropping in the ratings all that is left are show announcements.

NBC- they get on the list even though you point out that their shows are losing viewers (I hope Go On gets another season, but with NBC you never know whats going to happen). Apart from the Sixth Gun you dont seem too excited about NBC's upfronts. Hannibal is a good show (i really like it), but it does not compare to episode 9 of Southland, which i think is one of the best episodes i have ever seen on any tv show, ever!

Fox - The Following and Glee.
I watch The Following (Vote Joe!), but its more of a guilty pleasure.
I dont watch Glee because i like good tv shows and i am not a teenage girl. But i did hear about the school shooting episode - i still didnt watch it because i like good tv shows and i am not a teenage girl. I'm surprised you didnt pick up on the timing of the episode - i believe their is something about a proposed gun law happening in America right now, so there is bound to be some social media buzz.

TNT - The last 3 episodes of Southland, Monday Mornings,plus (from the link you provided)"The two completed TNT pilots, popcorn dramas The Last Ship, produced by Michael Bay, and Legends, produced by Howard Gordon, both appear strong after some reshoots and are in contention for the network’s adventure-themed Sunday night anchored by Falling Skies." - surely TNT could scrape onto the list or at least get an honorable mentiion
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BBCA also started season 2 of the nerdist (which I dislike the host but the guests are somewhat interesting) and their series-work is strong. Then there is Doctor Who of course. Plus, I really enjoyed Copper.
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haven't heard of the nerdist but will look into it. Is it like QI? I like QI.

Copper is on my "to be watched list" but I wanted to watch Hustle (I think that is BBC) first--in the middle of season 1 and really like it.
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Yay for the Veep love!! I absolutely adore that show. I'm not sure why everyone hates The Following, though. There are some truly smack your forehead bad moments but overall, I find it enjoyable enough. It's one of those shows my husband and I can watch together. We like very different things but this one kind of lands somewhere in the overlap.
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I hate The Following. It was entertaining enough at first, but it's just offensively bad.
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As a non-american, might be I'm just not able to understand this whole power ranking business but we have different channels here as well and some just suck while some are good (well, as good as German TV gets), so could someone fill me in on how this stuff changes weekly? Or am I just missing the point here?
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Well.

These rankings are just my own. They change based on the criteria I listed above. I'm talking about why some suck and some are good.
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So it's basically just an outlook on how the networks will likely fare with recent announcements and the likes?
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It's a bunch of crap in my opinion. Just more a young demographic controlling what's good and ranting about it and then when other programs with probably equal ratings or maybe even better ratings don't fit their "hip" way, they bash it and it doesn't matter. Or honestly not even covered.
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Oh, Cory, I knew you'd like Veep. I knew you wouldn't disappoint me!!!
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I know you calculated the rating with audiences, buzz and all so it has more technical grounds than my saying, but I personally would have placed ABC as 11th. From what i've gathered, all viewers have been disappointed with it, may it be concerning the scheduling hours, the shows proposed or more importantly for that matter, the shows axed. ABC has been doing nothing but shooting bullets in its feet ever since September. Some shows with good ratings were cancelled, while others with relatively ok ratings were kept which caused a major buzz over the channel's facebook page with people petitioning for shows to be killed or pursued. It seems that the channel is doing nothing but struggling to gather the littlest amount of viewers and unlike many other competitors, they've come to the point that they're left with no Hit show (remember the time when ABC was gathering viewers with Desperate Housewives, well, that's definitely long gone!) The channel has been doing more than going downhill, it's digging its own grave! Now let's just see if they'll come back from the dead to do a cool zombie dance...! ;)
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Its a slow month and most of the networks aren't putting out too much original scripted programming.
i would of probably moved SyFy down to about no.8
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I'd probably actually agree about those rankings, this time, except that I'd replace NBC with Comedy Central as #11. I know #11 isn't very prestigious, but the station really has things going for it: The Jeselnik Offensive, Ben Show, Nathan for You, and the new Amy Schumer project coming soon which are solid fare, with what's been a stale network for a little while.
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Good point. I'll pay more attention to them.
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finally HBO is where it belongs number 1
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Ready For Love jokes are always welcome. Nice work on the rankings Cory.
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It's almost too easy. Thanks.
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#12 - Sundance. Because they actually have a series, Rectify. And its really really good. And as of yet there has not been a fight scene, nudity, guns, vampires, power outages or dragons. Quite amazing to say actually... but now I have a reason to tell people about Sundance
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Thanks for the recommendation! With so many season finales and series finales I was looking for something new.
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That sounds interesting. Thanks for pointing it up, I'll definitely check it out.
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couldn't agree more. iv'e checked it out and its really good. Ray mckinnon done good here.
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Aden Young is doing fantastic work. He's like 1/3 Andy Dufresne (Shawshank Redemption), 1/3 Johnny Cash and 1/3 Forrest Gump, and 100% captivating even if its just starting at a bottle of SmartWater.
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Did it start already? Planned on checking it out.
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There are 3 episodes out now. It is a slow mover, about the exact opposite of Banshee actually in pacing (and most everything) else for that matter) but really worth checking into.
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I just watched the first 2 episodes online and they were powerful. No action, minimal talking but the acting negates the need for the first two. Powerful show and a fascinating plot.

@tv.com: they can be found online if you know where to look (if you have an apple/mac then just google it with the words free episodes on line then via 3rd party site you can find streaming links)...there are probably torrents but I don't use those (maybe a couple times)...no idea if they are on-demand

gotta sleep--only had 3 hours of sleep last night.

Thanks for the suggestion KiowaWoolley
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Are they available via On Demand or online or something? We've got the series premiere down as this coming Monday, April 22... gonna publish a "Hey TV.com, Should I Watch [X]?" story in the next day or two!
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Thank you! I'll definitely put it my queue.
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