And its numbers last night weren't fabulous when looking just at the numbers in a vacuum. So here's how I'm going to make a case, based purely on the premiere's preliminary results, for renewal. Stick with this, I think you might be surprised.
- 13.005 million viewers
- 2.9/7 A18-49
- 7.564 million viewers (58.2% retention)
- 2.3/6 A18-49 (79.3% retention)
CUPID will drop in the finals while DWTS will rise because of 2 minutes of overrun. However, 79.3% retention in the demo in the prelims is very, very good for ABC at 10pm.
Looking at the half-hours...
- 15.126 million viewers
- 3.5/9 A18-49
- 8.643 million viewers (57.1% retention)
- 2.5/7 A18-49 (71.4% retention)
- 6.485 million viewers (75.0% retention)
- 2.1/6 A18-49 (84.0% retention)
Anyone who tracks ratings can tell you that no show ABC has ever put on after the very old skewing DWTS retains viewers. So I'm just going to stop looking at that figure. In addition, the only figure ABC cares about is the demo. They are on record about this.
So, let's do some comparisons (all in preliminary ratings, not finals).
First, let's compare to what many see as CUPID's direct competition in a battle for renewal, CASTLE. For it's premiere on March 9th...
- 5.9/15 A18-49
- 3.3/9 A18-49 (56.0% retention)
Breaking out the half-hours...
- 6.7/16 A18-49
- 3.7/9 A18-49 (55.2% retention)
- 2.9/8 A18-49 (78.4% retention)
You'll already notice that, just comparing premieres, CUPID's retention is far better than CASTLE's in the demo. Let's move away form the premiere of CASTLE, which followed a much-hyped and much-higher-than-usual rated DWTS premiere, to this Monday, March 30th.
- 4.8/12 A18-49
- 2.5/7 A18-49 (52.1% retention)
Looking at half-hours...
- 5.4/13 A18-49
- 3.0/8 A18-49 (55.6% retention)
- 2.1/6 A18-49 (70.0% retention)
CASTLE's demo retention is FAR inferior to CUPID's. In addition, this week both CASTLE and CUPID scored a 2.1 in the demo at 10:30pm, but CUPID did so with a much smaller lead-in, and with less of a drop-off from 10pm.
But, let's be honest. CASTLE isn't the only thing we should be looking at. Afterall, CASTLE is circling the drain, so doing better retention, if not better numbers, than a show that in all likelihood is going to be cancelled is nothing to crow about.
Let's look at the rest of ABC's regular 10pm shows, and their most recent performances (looking only at half-hours, which I think spell things out in a much clearer picture).
ABC Wednesdays (data from March 25 airings)
- 4.0/9 A18-49
LIFE ON MARS 10:00
- 2.3/6 A18-49 (57.5% retention)
LIFE ON MARS 10:30
- 1.9/6 A18-49 (82.6% retention)
Looking at the above performance, CASTLE behaves a lot like LIFE ON MARS (which, by the way, is cancelled and has its series finale tonight). Actually, from a retention standpoint, it does worse than the cancelled show.
ABC Thursdays (data from March 26 airings)
GREY'S ANATOMY 9:30
- 5.8/14 A18-49
PRIVATE PRACTICE 10:00
- 4.1/10 A18-49 (70.7% retention)
PRIVATE PRACTICE 10:30
- 3.5/9 A18-49 (85.4% retention)
PRIVATE PRACTICE, while not being an out-of-the-park smash hit after GREY'S ANATOMY (outside of the crossover stunt, anyway) is constantly being applauded for having better-than-anything-else-tried-there-before retention out of GREY'S. Notice that CUPID's demo retention (this is long, so to remind you... 71.4% from the 9:30 portion of its lead-in, and 84.0% at 10:30 from its own 10:00 portion) is very similar to PRIVATE PRACTICE's.
A final night and show to compare CUPID to: Sundays and BROTHERS & SISTERS (which is in its third season airing after DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, so ABC must like the numbers it puts up after the ladies of Wisteria Lane)
ABC Sundays (data from March 22 airings)
DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES 9:30
- 4.9/12 A18-49
BROTHERS & SISTERS 10:00
- 3.7/9 A18-49 (75.5% retention)
BROTHERS & SISTERS 10:30
- 3.3/9 A18-49 (89.2% retention)
Comparing CUPID to BROTHERS & SISTERS, the veteran show only has slightly higher retention, both from its lead-in half-hour, and holding onto its own audience at 10:30pm.
One final feather in CUPID's cap: it outperformed previous Tuesday 10pm occupant ELI STONE (which averaged a 1.9 in the demo in the timeslot and had a much stronger lead-in from the Fall cycle of DWTS). Looking at ELI STONE's final post-DWTS airing (November 18, 2008):
- 4.0/10 A18-49
- 1.8/5 A18-49 (45.0% retention)
- 4.1/10 A18-49
ELI STONE 10:00
- 2.1/5 A18-49 (51.2% retention)
ELI STONE 10:30
- 1.4/4 A18-49 (66.7% retention)
All of this can change with next week's numbers. But based purely on the premiere's preliminary ratings, CUPID behaves like PRIVATE PRACTICE, which is a shoo-in for renewal. The series should not be put at fault for its lead-in being weak and for not bringing in a huge audience of its own when it was barely promoted by ABC (unlike CASTLE).