Sampling continues to be a big issue in marketing shows. Getting someone hooked through a show’s first episode -- or through any episode that’s the first seen by someone -- is a big deal.
Networks typically know that launching a new show that airs right after a hit like CBS’ “Big Bang Theory,” NBC’s “The Voice” or ABC’s “Scandal” will provide initial high viewership.
Predictably, the new shows will usually see lower results in their second week, due either to viewer apathy or to a shift of the program to another time slot. The networks hope such shows will settle int0 a sell-able viewership range, and perhaps even find a way to grow.
Next season, CBS hopes its somewhat typical slower start will get a big lift from its new “Thursday Night Football.” Much marketing of the network’s other new shows will occur during those early season, mid-week games.
My unofficial, thoroughly unscientific study of a handful of regular TV viewers tells me they know pretty much by the middle of watching the first episode of a new show whether or not they’ll head on over for episode two -- which will most probably also mean their viewing of episode three and more.
In this fractionalized viewership world, rare is the new series that gets higher ratings in its second week.
Fox’s “The Following” did that a year ago. The show had a Nielsen 3.3 rating among 18-49 viewers for its second outing, up from its 3.2 debut in January 2013. Unfortunately, its viewership trends have dipped since then, dropping to a 1.5 for its recent season-ending episode.
In another version of a “second date,” NBC will have a new mini-series season for “Heroes” this season. That show originally ran for four seasons, ending in 2010.
The network hopes viewers will give “Heroes” some make-up viewing -- and love.