Thursday, September 12, 2013

Fall 2013 Best Case/Worst Case, Thursday 9/8c

The Basics:

bc Rank y2y Rank TPUT Rank bc/TPUT Rank
Thursday 8:00 9.8 8 -10% 13 34.1 8 29% 9

Long one of the highest-profile timeslots of the week, the Thursday 9:00 hour got a bit stale in the 2012-13 season. The biggest negative was NBC, where the final season of The Office took another major dip, while ABC was just kind of there with slowly declining Grey's Anatomy and CBS saw no real sophomore bounce from giving a better lead-in to Person of Interest. The only changes were Fox bringing in a past-its-prime Glee and the CW airing highly mediocre newbie Beauty and the Beast. This year, the shake-ups are much higher profile, as NBC brings in two big-name new comedies and CBS expands its comedy presence to a fourth hour.

The Shows:

Image Grey's Anatomy Slot Average
Premieres September 26 2.59
Best Case: Grey's has an incredible five-year streak of slowed year-to-year declines, so there's no way we can rule out it continuing. It has a better lead-in from Wonderland at 8/7c and a pairing with the hottest show on TV at 10/9c. Drops just 9% to a 2.82.

Worst Case:
The year-to-year comparisons got pretty ugly toward the end of last season, including a finale down 24%. With a few other networks revitalized in the slot, it replicates that -24% across all of this season, hitting a 2.36. It gets a final season announcement for 2014-15.

I doubt this season will drop as severely as the finale dropped considering that came in an extraordinarily crowded timeslot. And the Scandal heat will keep its Thursday teammate from totally cratering. But it's hard to see the slowed-decline streak continuing given the way the season ended. It'll only get back to mid-3's at best for the premiere and average a 2.60, down 16%.
Slot Orig Avg
Grey's Anatomy
y2y Label
-13% hit3.10 3.27
True Sitch
3.27 -5%
Last Pick Miss
3.10 -0%
2012-13 Slot
Thursday 9:00

Image The Crazy Ones (NEW!) Slot Average
Slot Orig Avg
Premieres September 26 2.93
Best Case: Robin Williams, and Buffy, and Bob Benson from Mad Men, and David E. Kelley. That's a lot of quadrants. CBS has finally found a single-cam to build around. It averages a 3.45, building a bit on The Millers' demo and crushing the timeslot competition.

Worst Case:
Single-cams don't work on CBS. It's A Rule. And the show's not nearly as good as it should be. There's huge tune-out after The Millers and then a sizable tune-back-in for Two and a Half Men at 9:30, so this is the obvious weak link. Averages a 1.80 and ends for November sweeps, when CBS re-installs 2.5 Men as an anchor at 9:00.

I like Robin Williams and David E. Kelley, probably more than you do, so this is likely the show of the year that I'm most nutbar optimistic on. But despite some underwhelming early reviews, I say there's too much talent here not to figure it out, and it'll hold onto almost all of the supposedly disappointing The Millers demo and skew a few notches younger. 2.95 and renewed.
Person of Interest
2.90 2.75

Image Two and a Half Men Slot Average
Premieres September 26 2.46
Best Case: Don't get overly caught up in retention. This was still a very strong show, but at its age it just wasn't that poised to benefit much from a monster lead-in. Drops just 12% in a move to 9:30, outrating the newbies at 8:30 and 9:00. 3.33.

Worst Case:
It was pretty much all downhill during Ashton Kutcher's season on Monday, and that decline trajectory was merely masked by a huge lead-in. Down over a third to just a 2.50 that, even with the loss of How I Met Your Mother pending, might get CBS to pull the plug on this expensive affair.

It'll remain a very strong program in the relative landscape, but once again it'll be ruled a disappointment in many circles. I actually think it'll be a couple ticks lower than its fairly mis-matched lead-in The Crazy Ones at a 2.75, down 27% from last year.
Slot Orig Avg
Person of Interest
y2y Label
-24% big hit2.90 2.75
True Sitch
3.03 +25%
Last Pick Miss
4.10 -8%
2012-13 Slot
Thursday 8:30

Image Sean Saves the World (NEW!) Slot Average
Slot Orig Avg
Premieres October 3 2.00
Best Case: People love Sean Hayes, and people love traditional family multi-camera comedies! Also worth noting: this show has quietly assembled a really good supporting cast. It's a hit. 2.41.

Worst Case:
It's a '90s sitcom star in a '90s sitcom. This is not the '90s. It grows a bit from the low-rated 8:00 hour out of the gate but pretty shortly ends up in their vicinity, if not even lower. 1.10.

My guess is that this is Last Man Standing with a lead who's less in this genre's wheelhouse, and it'll take a mini-version of that show's trajectory. It'll start pretty well and settle at a respectable enough level, a couple ticks above what the 8:00 hour does. That's gonna be enough for a renewal on NBC. 1.60.
The Office
2.16 2.32

Image The Michael J. Fox Show (NEW!) Slot Average
Slot Orig Avg
Premieres September 26 1.47
Best Case: It's as good as Modern Family, but it has an even more marketable hook out of the gate, and it faces the lowest-rated of the CBS sitcoms in its weird 9:30 timeslot. 2.88, which actually wins the timeslot and puts it right on the "big hit" borderline. NBC finally has its game-changing comedy.

Worst Case:
It starts decently enough, but then so did Go On. Eventually it's dragged into the NBC comedy muck, but an even more comedy-starved NBC may still have to renew it. Just a 1.30.

I'm feeling pretty good about this one. It'll be relatively on an island on Thursday, but I'm fairly sure it's going to premiere pretty big and I've liked everything I've seen out of the promos and such. I'll give it a 2.25 and an anchor role next season (if not before).
Parks and Recreation
1.62 1.58
1600 Penn
1.06 1.18

Image Glee Slot Average
Premieres September 26 2.35
Best Case: The death of John Ritter on 8 Simple Rules led to about 50% additional tune-in early in the season, and Glee gets similar interest to see how Cory Monteith's death is handled. But Monteith was not as essential to the show creatively as Ritter, so it holds a lot of that tune-in in the second half of the season. +20% to a 2.65.

Worst Case:
There's plenty of early tune-in, but the Monteith tribute is just as tacky as many other things this show has done, and it has a massive 8SR-esque bleed over the course of the season. Ends up down 23% to a paltry 1.70.

I don't see the Monteith situation mattering by the end of the season; it'll be back to -20% year-to-year if not more. The question is how much of an early bounce it gets. I have no idea, but I'm guessing it's fairly significant, perhaps even giving this show a chance to win the timeslot in the early fall. I'll say it adds up to a very frontloaded 2.08 average, down just 6%, but it's deep in fourth place by the spring.
Slot Orig Avg
y2y Label
-27% solid2.21 2.09
True Sitch
2.09 +6%
Last Pick Miss
2.27 -3%
2012-13 Slot
Thursday 9:00

Reign (NEW!) Slot Average
Slot Orig Avg
Premieres October 17 0.57
Best Case: It's a young adult novel in an exotic setting, pretty much just like The Vampire Diaries. This scheduling makes a funny kind of sense, and the CW has found another buzz-worthy love triangle. Holds all of TVD at a 1.03 and the network improbably goes three for three on newbies.

Worst Case:
This turns out to be just as terrible a pairing as most people thought. Oh yeah, and Grey's and Glee are going to suck all of the women 18-34 oxygen out of the room. It retains less than 40% of the TVD audience, averaging an anemic 0.40.

This is another one of those shows like Super Fun Night where I could get on board with the unconventional scheduling... if only the reviews suggested it were something special. And one of the CW's great misfortunes is that its biggest women 18-34 draw leads into a timeslot occupied by Grey's and Glee. The pairing could work, but I think it's unlikely under these circumstances. 0.48, regularly holding half or less of TVD, and the network's ultimately going to need the real estate for one of its midseason dramas.
Beauty and the Beast
0.61 0.58

The Cable:

ShowNetworkPremieres Avg y2y
Thursday Night FootballNFLN9/122.61+5%
White CollarUSA10/170.73-19%

This is the first time White Collar has been in the fall since season one. The number listed above is its winter 2013 average.

The Network to Watch: This may be the most interesting hour on the entire CBS schedule, but I'm still going with NBC. These are their comedy big guns. Failure here means yet another season of sitcom strikeout.

The Picks: I see myself devoting one DVR tuner to comedies on different networks, The Crazy Ones and Michael J. Fox. I've also watched Glee from the beginning, and though I'm getting kinda tired of it, I'm definitely in for at least the opening weeks to see how Monteith's death is handled. I'll try out Sean Saves the World and Reign, open to the possibility of giving up Glee for one of them.


Spot said...

Outside of Tuesdays at 8:00, this will be the most interesting hour to watch, ratings-wise, to me. CBS and NBC are both trying to find new sitcom anchors in the hour, ABC is hoping Grey's hold tight, Fox needs Glee to not completely meltdown to make its two-season renewal look foolish, and The CW continues to look for an acceptable Vampire Diaries leadout.

I'm also similarly high on Mork & Buffy (AKA The Crazy Ones), so that along with MJF are my picks.

Spot said...

I'm fascinated by Sean Saves the World because I have absolutely no idea how it will do.

Does America want to watch Sean Hayes doing mugging physical humour on a 90s-style multicamera sitcom in 2013? I simply don't know.

At least it has the production values of a competent show, unlike NBC's other recent multicamera attempts.

Spot said...

Again, my lack of exposure to NBC or its sister nets during the summer is of little help, but I kinda foresee MJ Fox heading the LMS route, and I'm not really sure what to make of Sean Saves The World. I think there might be some major issues w/ that.

CBS just doesn't inspire confidence in this hour. They've been alternating between selling Williams' comic broadness and trying to promote the momentousness of his "return to TV" in a very "prestige" type way, and I think that's just confusing as hell and will lead to high disengagement regardless of The Millers' success or failure behind it. 2.5 Men is 2.5 Men, and that's all I have to say on that.

Grey's is Grey's, and its success or failure this season will probably come down to whether people still want to see Pompeo and Dempsey schlepping around in a hospital, and the minutiae like plot and all that (personally, it's never been my thing, but y'know, I accept that people like it, mostly to keep the peace w/ my roommates).

I always hate judging once and future "phenoms" like Glee because I don't have a good pulse on the kinds of people who read the tabloids. I do see it at least having a big(gish) "Goodbye Cory" moment, though.

Tuh, Reign. Disaster in the works, that.

Personal picks:
Dear GOD, it ALL looks like it SUCKS. Probably gonna sample The Crazy Ones due to inertia (my night starting w/ Big Bang and ending w/ Elementary), but let's just say I'm very likely to take a flyer on this hour, and Thursdays in general, if I can't find a good TV show. After all, that's why FiOS gave us both On Demand AND a whole-home DVR.

Spot said...

" of the CW's great misfortunes is that its biggest women 18-34 draw leads into a timeslot occupied by Grey's and Glee."

Which is why I advocated for The Originals to go here. There's two sources of "CW demo" bleeding at 9/8c on Thursdays; one is Grey's/Glee, the other is the fans discussing the episode on social media afterwards. Put The Originals in this slot, you keep the latter audience. That said, I definitely see what they're trying with Reign; it strikes me as the sort of show that could be watched by people who watch TVD but not Grey's or (especially) Glee. (The latter of which is going to start well, obviously, but then crumble hard enough that FOX will stick the final season on Fridays and *really* regret ordering it.)

Spot said...

This is one of the hardest hours to predict due the unknowns of NBC and CBS, but here we go:

Grey's Anatomy: I think the year to year comparisons this year are not fair because the finale was super inflated due to the plane crash, as will be this year premiere. I am sure there will be reports of doom when the premiere numbers come due to that, but they are not to be taken seriously IMO. I say OUAT Wonderland help a bit at 8pm, Scandal helps a bit at 10pm and the show still has enough of a fanbase to survive another healthy year. A 2.59, down 16% (I agree with you)

Glee: I had lousy lousy numbers predicted for the show prior to Cory's death, but I have revised them ever since. It should get enough of an early boost early on, but I doubt that will have a long lasting impact on the season. Besides, the x-factor will completely collapse so it won't have a lead-in support to rely on. Down 27% to an ugly 1.92, mirroring the late season numbers it had last year.

The Crazy Ones: My guess is that the show works. But this is a guess and by definition there is little for me to base myself on. It could go either way. I think The Millers does solid business at 8h30, I think that the competition is not that much of a killer at this time and I think the show will have quality and enough buzz to hold up. A 3.00 average and an easy renewal.

Two and a Half Men: I agree with you in everything you've said. I think it will still be strong, even though it will still be called a disappointment. It is a very old show so it was very hard to make anything out of those post TBBT numbers. I say it drops considerably, some 30%, but still gets very respectable numbers. A 2.70 average and a matter of costs for its renewal decision.

Sean Saves the World: Super hard to call. I could see the draw but I think it would do better in CBS than it will on NBC. I also think it won't have any lead-in support. But I don't think it will be a total collapse. Averages a 1.34 and it s question mark for renewal at year's end.

The Michael J.Fox Show: I would be surprised if this show doesn't end up an anchor somehow during the year. I think it will open good enough and hold up well enough for a renewal. A 1.78 and the biggest comedy on NBC! I am more pessimistic than you I guess, but it seems too much like a Go On 2.0 for me to me more optimistic.

Reign: I think this won't work and I will be very surprised if it does work. I say it airs all 13 and is out to make room for either The 100 or Star Crossed at midseason, both of which are screaming for a post TVD timeslot. A 0.41 average during fall, before it ends.

Network to Watch: CBS and NBC both have crucial hours. I will give it to NBC because they have two new shows, but really, both are very important ones IMO.

My picks: Grey's Anatomy. Mayyyybe The Crazy Ones later in the season, just maybe.

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