What does it mean to air after The Office? What does it mean to air Glee on The Office? And what does it mean to be Conan O'Brien?
The answers—and more questions—in the latest ratings quiz:
1. What will Parks and Recreation do in its new midseason time slot? It'll probably score a bigger audience among 18- to 49-year-olds than The Bigger Loser, Law & Order: SVU and the just-renewed 30 Rock. In other words, it'll probably do just fine.
Consider: Last season, 30 Rock averaged a solid 3.3 demo rating behind The Office; this season, in the same time slot, Outsourced, without the track record of Tina Fey and company, is averaging a near-identical 3.2. But before you pencil in Parks and Rec's 3.2, you probably should tune in.
2. Did The Office get a Glee bounce? Oddly enough, no. Or, then again, maybe not odd at all considering Michael Scott cut the cable, and left Glee fans in the dark as to how "Duets" ended. (Consider that a lesson: Don't expect to catch up on McKinley High business at Dunder-Mifflin.) In any case, The Office (7.2 million viewers overall; 43rd place) was down a bit from its previous, non-Glee-watching episode.
3. Is Conan still Conan? Pretty much. Last week, including his huge premiere night, O'Brien's new TBS show averaged 2.9 million; a year earlier, on the bigger stage that was NBC's Tonight, he averaged 2.3 million.
4. What does it mean to air after Conan? For George Lopez, it means an audience of about 1 million viewers a night versus the 875,000 a night he averaged the week prior.
5. Name one good thing smallpox has ever done. The dreaded disease boosted last night's House to a season-high 10.8 million, per estimates.
6. Did Demi Lovato's Disney show get a rehab bounce? No. The household rating for Sunday's Sonny With a Chance, the first new episode to air since its star's retreat, was down about 20 percent from the comedy's previous new episode. Overall, the show was a top 40 cable hit, with 3.7 million viewers.
7. True or false: If cable ratings were votes, Sarah Palin would be president. False. The sea sponge of Bikini Bottom would be. A prime-time outing for SpongeBob SquarePants averaged 6.1 million constituents, top among all cable series. The Walking Dead (5.1 million) placed second, followed by Sarah Palin's Alaska (5 million).
8. Why are you right not to trust DVR numbers? In the latest DVR-adjusted rankings, NBC said, The Event boosted its demo rating, percentage-wise, more than any other freshman series. The achievement earned the show a long winter vacation.
This said, those in the Nielsen-know insist DVR ratings are absolutely important. The networks, after all, get paid for day-after and day-after-that views just the same as they do for so-called live views.
The bottom line: DVR stats matter, but they don't necessarily save.