The savant in our headline isn't a person, but a thing: the TVGuide.com Watchlist. Or, rather, it's a thing that represents hundreds of thousands of TV viewers.
Some background: In August Ad Age kicked off an informal editorial partnership with TVGuide.com to present a snapshot and analysis of its Watchlist feature, a customizable entertainment guide that lets users make a list of their favorite shows, actors, etc. We were interested in keeping tabs on Watchlist because last year it turned out to have some predictive powers: In the fall of 2011, eight of the Top 10 Watchlist users' new shows were picked up for full seasons.
In mid-September, we ran an updated snapshot of Watchlist titled "The 10 Must-Watch New Fall TV Shows, According to TVGuide.com's 600,000 Watchlist Users." Today's chart looks back at our mid-September chart with a cold eye to see if Watchlist predictions are bearing out again. And the answer is ... yes! Once again, eight out of the Top 10 most-Watchlisted shows have gotten full-season pick-ups by the networks.
The Watchlist community of users -- roughly 800,000 people have registered to create a Watchlist, up from 600,000 in September -- functions as a massive focus group of informed and committed TV viewers. "When our users add shows to their Watchlists, it's a clear statement of their intent to watch, in the same way that a grocery shopping list is a statement of an intent to buy," says Mickey O'Connor, editor-in-chief of TVGuide.com.
Watch for an update next month as TVGuide.com Watchlist users add new shows, including midseason replacements.
Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. Follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.