Question: A lot has been mentioned by you and others about the overcrowding on Monday nights, especially in the 8 o'clock hour. Chuck and the CBS comedies are must-DVR's for me, but I also love Sarah Connor. My situation is further complicated by the fact that I work nights and thus don't have the option to watch one and record two. I would hate to see any of these shows canceled (either mid-season or before next year) because they were simply in the wrong time slot. With that foundation, I have a couple of related questions. First off, do networks take the level of competition into account when looking at a show's ratings and deciding whether to keep it or axe it? Also, how are the number of people who DVR a show counted? How about those who stream them online? Is there enough evidence out there to support streaming a show online later versus DVR-ing it when it comes to the effect on how a network views its survival chances?
Answer: It's all very complicated and still a work in progress in terms of how all of this data is analyzed, but it's fair to say that all of these factors are taken into account, and no one in the business is blind to the challenges of any show breaking out in this time period — especially when a 500-pound gorilla named Dancing with the Stars is dominating the competition. DVR viewership within a week of the airdate is counted, though it takes more time to measure than the standard overnight Nielsens, and online streaming is also becoming more of a factor in terms of gauging a show's following. But even so, if a show isn't pulling its weight where it most matters, in prime time with live viewership, it's fair to assume its commercial viability (including where ad dollars are concerned) will be called into question. I can't imagine this Monday mess won't claim at least a few casualties.