Being a huge fan of the PBS hit-series, “Downton Abbey,” I couldn’t resist watching a British talk show with Michelle Dockery, who played the icy, aristocratic Lady Mary Crawley. Given her on-air persona, the talk show host just assumed that Ms. Dockery came from some posh, upscale London neighborhood… that is, until she broke into a broad cockney accent to reveal her true origins from the working-class county of Essex!
I thought of that interview the moment I saw Dockery in her new role as Letty Raines in TNT’s drama series, “Good Behavior,” which gets underway for a second season on October 15th, 2017. Her ability to mimic several down-home American accents is remarkable as is her overall transformation from English blueblood to small time thief… make that small time thief, with big time problems. To start with, she’s a con artist on parole with a serious drug and alcohol addiction. Letty would also like to be re-united with her son who is living with her mom, Estelle (played by the actress, Lusia Strus.) The problem is that Estelle has a restraining order to shield her grandson from a mother with a criminal past (and present.)
Despite a motivational app that’s supposed to keep Letty on the straight and narrow, she reverts to a life of petty crime, including a series of robberies at a swank hotel. That’s what really lands her in hot water. While hiding in a closet, Letty overhears a professional hit man, Javier Pereira (played by the Argentinian actor, Juan Diego Botto) finalizing plans to murder his client’s wife. Letty may be a crook, but she’s no murderer, and she does all she can to prevent Javier from carrying out his next assignment. She seduces him but the tables are quickly turned as Letty is ultimately blackmailed into a partnership with Javier!
Say this for Letty and Javier… when the booze flows and their guards are down, passions run hot… as in white lightening hot! I only wish I could say the same for “Good Behavior’s” Live television ratings, which ended up more or less in line with TNT’s average audience for the show’s 9pm time slot. That said, when we look at Live viewing combined with DVR activity, we find significantly higher ratings. Indeed, Live+ 15 Days of DVR activity generates a rating more than 3-times the size of the Live-Only rating – a sure sign of viewer engagement and interest in the show:
Local Market Viewing Skew
In the chart below, we selected the Top 25 DMAs with the highest ratings for “Good Behavior” through the first five episodes of Season One (2016 – 2017.) In light of the show’s African-American audience skew (114 Live ratings Index), we assumed that the markets with the highest ratings would also have heavier concentrations of African-American Households. That assumption is not borne out by the data since, collectively, the Top 25 DMAs have a median DMA African-American HH rank of 73, versus a median Total HH rank of 76. What we can say with certainty is that “Good Behavior” has a strong following in three states (New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania) which together contain thirteen out of the Top 25 markets:
Premiere Season Cable Advertising Support
TNT’s “Good Behavior” has been on air for only one season, so we have no baseline comparisons to quantify year-over-year sales metrics. But the show received advertising support in line with other first year drama series, attracting 40 advertisers who ordered nearly 200 spots across 22 Viamedia markets (~30% of Viamedia’s national footprint.) That comes to an average of nearly five spots per advertiser.
(Source: B.I.G.SM database — Copyright © 2017 by Viamedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved)
In terms of local cable advertising categories, Automotive captured the highest share (38%), which is about three share points higher than what this category typically accrues company-wide. The second highest share (at 21%) belongs to the Tune-In category (TV/Radio/Media) whose share is significantly over-represented in the show. The reason: the high-profile nature of “Good Behavior” (starring the highly talented and popular Michelle Dockery) has attracted significant investments from competing cable and broadcast stations seeking to reach the show’s highly engaged audience. The Furniture & Floor Covering category (14% share) is also over-represented by a factor of two:
On to Season Two
TNT’s “Good Behavior” represents one of the bigger ratings surprises (in not necessarily a good way) of all the cable drama series we’ve blogged about in this space. The show’s premiere season was generally well received by critics; it has obvious star-power in the multi-talented Michelle Dockery (who is, by the way, quite a singer); and the chemistry she generates with co-star Juan Diego Botto practically bursts through the TV screen. So, why the okay (not great) Live television ratings in its premiere season? That’s not entirely clear, although the show (as is the entire television medium) is swimming against a tide of increasing digital video usage, DVR activity and everything else that consumers are doing with connected TV devices. Or, perhaps the underlying premise of the show — a forced romantic partnership that engages in murder — is not everyone’s cup of tea. Still, the show has generated significant playback activity, and there a good deal of dramatic tension generated by the two stars, who will need new and intriguing material in their second season to ensure “Good Behavior” is still around for a third.
Written by Jonathan Sims
VP of Media Research, Viamedia