‘Alcatraz’ debate: Should DVR numbers keep Fox series around?

Will we go back to the island?

Do DVR ratings really matter? It’s been a debate that we have long had, especially since there are too strong arguments to be made. Proponents of recording the show will say that they love the show, but can’t watch it live for whatever reason; meanwhile, proponents of live TV will argue that commercials and ad revenue are what really matter.

When it comes to the pure dollars and cents, the supporters of live TV are right — however, this debate of DVR ratings becomes far more complex with a show like “Alcatraz.”

Based on the ratings without heavy DVR figures, the show’s a lock to be canceled. After all, it only averaged between a 1.5 and 1.6 rating in the 18-49 demographic for its two-hour finale Monday night, and this is low enough that a show on any of the big four network (yes, including NBC) would consider pulling the plug. It’s a distant fourth place in the Monday timeslot, and it ultimately lost half of its premiere audience when it comes to young viewers.

At the same time, though, “Alcatraz” has consistently been one of the ten most-recorded shows on TV, at least when it comes to the percentage of its audience gained once you factor in DVR viewing. The show routinely pulls in close to a 3.0 rating with these numbers, and that is easily enough to merit a renewal.

You could argue that any show would suffer in a timeslot against CBS comedies, “The Voice,” and “Dancing with the Stars,” and to an extent you would be right. Unfortunately, naysayers to this would say that if you’re not watching the show live Mondays, what other show would you prioritize over it if it aired on another night? “Alcatraz” is not event TV in that you have to watch it immediately for watercooler discussion the next day.

Really, there are only three scenarios we really see playing out here for this show, and we’re ranking them in terms of probability:

Most likely – Fox cancels “Alcatraz,” and Jorge Garcia now has to find another show. Just because Fox already canceled “Terra Nova,” is likely to cancel “Fringe,” and is ending “House” does not mean that this show stays by default. We just don’t think the network will be happy with these demo numbers, which is why “Bones” is moving to Mondays soon for a test run to show “Alcatraz” how it’s done.

Possible – Fox moves “Alcatraz” to Fridays, possibly replacing “Fringe.” It may sound strange at first considering the “Grimm” and “Supernatural” competition, but it makes some sense. The procedural elements here actually make it a better fit for Fridays than “Fringe,” since it will repeat to a slightly better audience. Plus, we think it would post slightly better numbers than the 0.9-1.1 rating that show has pulled as of late.

Next to impossible – Keep the show on Mondays, and admit defeat with the competition. Fox programs fewer hours than the other three major networks. They can’t afford to let a whole night drown in subpar ratings.

What do you think that the fate of “Alcatraz” is going to be?

Photo: Fox


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