Battle Creek by the Numbers

Battle Creek, now with three weeks of viewership statistics to digest has dug in with steady numbers in key demographics. The results so far? Not great. But there are a couple of things that must be taken into account when you look at these numbers.

1. 10pm on a broadcast network isn’t great anymore. People on in the eastern time zone start to go to bed, especially people aged 50 and above, a significant chunk of CBS’s audience, traditionally.

2. After football season, Sunday night becomes cable’s domain. Between the Walking Dead, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, and True Detective, broadcasters are having a tougher time than ever.

That being said, Battle Creek has performed solidly in terms of overall viewership, cracking the top four of programs broadcast on March 15th. The crime procedural also has seen raw numbers north of 6.5 million viewers every week.

Then why is Battle Creek performing so poorly in the 18-49 demographic, only barely hitting a 1.0 it’s first week, and then .08 and .09 in the second and third weeks, respectively? I think the answer is the Walking Dead, AMC’s zombie-core program that has been breaking cable ratings records for the past couple of years. Dead’s impact is so significant that AMC runs a pre-show and a post-show analysis program bookending the show.

While there has been rumblings of the show needing to perform better to avoid being cancelled, the silver lining is that the overall viewership numbers are pretty good. That, coupled with favorable critical reception, give Battle Creek a fighting chance.

Battle Creek: Dispatches From the Field

This past Sunday, March 15th, Battle Creek premiered its third episode on CBS, which means critics have had plenty of time to digest the not-so-buddy-cop dramedy as part of the Sunday night lineup at 10pm EST.

Survey Says? It’s pretty good! Metacritic, the web’s favorite criticism aggregator (after Twitter of course) gives the show a robust score of 73 with 25 positive reviews and 4 mixed.

The consensus: Critics applaud the acting performances of leading men Josh Duhamel and Dean Winters and appreciate the show’s departure from the well worn treads of CBS procedural predecessors CSI and NCIS. Strengths also include a light-hearted tone and “real” story lines, while the show’s weakness lies in occasionally being “too coy or sappy”.

User reviews on the Metacritic site echo these sentiments, with one user noting that the show has gotten better with every episode, a trend that could bode well for the show. Rotten Tomatoes also has rated the show as 95% fresh, tying Tina Fey’s Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt as the top score for new shows. It’s worth noting that the show’s creator, Vince Gilligan, has had success with atypical shows that start a little slowly… Ok, Breaking Bad is only one show and totally different, but you get the point.

Welcome to “Battle Creek”

On Sunday, March 1st CBS will launch Battle Creek the 10pm EST time slot as a mid-season replacement for CBS rating stalwart CSI. The show boasts an impressive stable of talent, starring Josh Duhamel (Transformers) as the flashy new FBI agent playing foil to the incumbent police detective played by Dean Winters (30 Rock) in Battle Creek, Michigan. The ensemble is rounded out by Kal Penn (Harold and Kumar) and Oscar nominee Janet McTeer.

After laying dormant for over a decade, Vince Gilligan’s “Battle Creek is finally getting its shot with CBS.

The creative pedigree of the show is even more star-studded than the cast, with Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul creator, Vince Gilligan, and House creator, David Shore giving the hour-long black comedy at least a fighting chance to gain traction in a time slot with limited competition outside of ABC’s Revenge. Sony will produce.