‘Supernatural’ season 8 wins crown of most-improved TV series; ‘Shark Tank’ #2

SupernaturalHow’s this for depressing TV news? Out of the dozens upon dozens of new scripted / reality TV programming in the past year, less than ten shows on major networks (excluding news magazines) actually saw their average 18-49 rating increase year-to-year. Compare this to cable, where you have shows like “The Walking Dead,” “Duck Dynasty,” and “Game of Thrones,” considerably upping their game on weekly basis, and you have a pretty good indicator of where people are going. (Hint: It sure isn’t to Fox, NBC, ABC, CBS, or The CW – get with the game people!)

So who are some of the select few who managed to improve themselves this year? The #1 show is not too much of a surprise (according to a pretty fantastic chart created by Vulture). “Supernatural” slayed it and because the show aired from 2010-12 on Friday nights, its numbers were definitely going to increase in a move to Wednesdays (though a whopping 22% is still impressive). Plus, it now has a lead-in in “Arrow,” and season 8 was far superior to what was a subpar season 7 with little Castiel, and a direction that was a little all over the place.

If you are looking here at just shows that managed to improve their performance without changes to their night, time, or lead-in, you really have to say that the biggest scripted winner of the entire season is either “The Vampire Diaries” or “Scandal.” While “Shark Tank” (up 17% to take the #2 spot) it benefited from shifting back an hour and “Parenthood” started to come on an hour after “The Voice.” Kerry Washington’s take on Olivia Pope grew a solid 8% on the season, and it was even higher than that in the spring (which is typically a bad time for growing an audience). “The Vampire Diaries” grew even more this season (in 15%), though its numbers sagged somewhat in the spring.

In the reality realm, you have to give it to “The Bachelor,” which was up 14% thanks largely to having a better leading man in Sean Lowe. Let this be known: Even to conservative audiences, women (and some men) love to watch a guy flash his abs!

It’s all pretty fascinating stuff, but will any of these other shows improve throughout next year? Our biggest guess is that CBS’ “Blue Bloods” may, because even though its audience is much older, it’s getting an established lead-in for the fall in “Hawaii Five-0,” which it hasn’t had all year long.

“Supernatural” fans, there’s a reason to celebrate even beyond this. Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki are each up for Teen Choice Awards, and you can read more about it here.

Photo: The CW

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