With dozens of legal dramas having aired on television over the decades (anyone remember Raymond Burr as “Perry Mason”?), it’s nearly impossible for any new entry in the genre to break new ground. But USA Network’s hit- series, “Suits”, does have a few twists and turns, starting with the very premise of the show.
Meet Mike Ross (played by Michael Adams), who has taken an unusual path to “becoming” a lawyer. Actually, he’s not a lawyer. He’s a bit of a slacker with an amazing memory, who supported himself by taking the LSAT for others. He also decided to supplement his income by acting as a cannabis delivery man that eventually puts him in contact with a hot-shot, real lawyer, Harvey Specter (played by Gabriel Macht).
Harvey Specter has a problem. After a big promotion, he finds himself in the position where he must hire a Harvard Law School graduate, but finding none to his liking he settles upon a faux Harvard grad, Mike Ross, given his uncanny memory and overall brain power. The entire series takes root with Harvey and Mike taking on – and winning—cases while hiding the fact that one half of the legal team isn’t exactly legal.
USA has decided upon an unusual scheduling pattern for its hit series. The new season for “Suits” begins in the summer with ten episodes before going on a 5-month hiatus, and then returns in the New Year for the remaining six episodes. From a continuity perspective, you wouldn’t think that’s an ideal way to allow a narrative to unfold, but “Suits” has built a solid fan base, delivering very strong numbers despite a break in the seasons (not to mention share declines over Seasons 3 & 4):
Source: Viamedia analysis of Rentrak TV Essentials Data (Telecast Summary Report) for USA Network’s “Suits” for the first ten episodes of Season 2 (June 14 – August 23, 2012), Season 3 (July 16 – September 17, 2013) and Season 4 (June 11 – August 20, 2014). Ratings and shares are Viamedia time-duration weighted estimates for new “Suits” airings only (no repeats). Ratings & Shares are Live-only.
Local Cable Advertisers
USA’s hit series sure seems well suited for local cable advertisers. Over the past two and one-half seasons, nearly 300 advertisers across 52 Viamedia (nearly three-quarters of our entire footprint) have aired 2,700+ 30-second spots on “Suits”. That comes to an average of nearly 10 spots per advertiser. And, if we confine our analysis to the current season versus year ago levels (within the 29 markets that exhibit advertising on “Suits” in both years), we find an overall 12% spending increase.
Even though “Suits” is a very different type of show than History’s “American Pickers” (one a scripted legal drama; the other a reality-based “men at dangerous work” series), the two shows are not that different in terms of the advertisers they attract. Automotive, for example, comprises 35% of total “Suits” local cable advertising (34% for “American Pickers”); Tune-in (29% vs 24%); Restaurants (7% vs 6%); and Financial (5% vs 4%):
Source: Viamedia analysis of B.I.G. internal database (“Sports & High Profile Tracker”) for any and all local cable advertisers who invested in USA Network’s “Suits” for the past 2 ½ seasons (June 2012 – August 2014) across any and all markets.
Season 4 Continues
Episode #10 (“This is Rome”) aired last August 20th, bringing to a close the first part of Season 4, which starts up again in January, 2015. Several legal (and personal) shenanigans unfolded through the first ten episodes, which ended with lawyer, Louis Litt (played by Rick Hoffman), uncovering Mike Ross’ Harvard Law degree charade. Louis is a real Harvard alum and grew suspicious when Mike couldn’t identify a magnum cum laude key, which suited Louis just fine. He has been jealous of Harvey and Mike from the get-go, and plans to expose the two of them if he isn’t made a named partner. And, so, the second part of Season 4 resumes this January with the show’s original deceit spinning the plot in a new direction.
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– Written by Jonathan Sims, VP Media Research, Viamedia