Thursday 10:00 was the healthiest hour on broadcast TV in 2012-13. Your instinctive response to that is probably, "Oh, yeah, Scandal," but the interesting thing is that NBC was actually up even more than ABC! Rock Center and Hannibal proved slightly less embarrassing than the previous season's Prime Suspect and Awake. The growth on those two networks combined to nearly nullify the declines from CBS, where the somewhat disappointing Elementary replaced The Mentalist.
|Premieres October 3||2.10|
|Best Case: The two highest points in series history, a couple 3.2's, came at the end of last season. That means the sky is pretty much the limit. It brings upper 3's into the season, breaks a 4.0 at some point, and ends up averaging a 3.50, up 40%!|
Worst Case: It brings that 3.2ish back for premiere night, but it settles at the more typical mid-2's in the fall. Then the burn-out signs start to appear in the spring. Ends up at a 2.25, down by 10%.
Likeliest: This show is going to be up year-to-year by so much in the opening weeks (when it was getting a 2.0ish last year) that it's hard to see the season as a whole not growing. I still have questions about the sustainability of this whole thing, so by season's end I see it falling back to about even with the corresponding episodes. But the scorching fall means a 2.88 average, up 15% from last year, and it's rather easily TV's top 10:00 drama. ABC makes some drastic move with the Grey's/Scandal duo for fall 2014.
|Slot Orig Avg|
|Premieres September 26||2.04|
|Best Case: Scandal and Parenthood cannibalize each other and Elementary suddenly finds itself a solid counter-programming option. Two and a Half Men is a larger lead-in than the second half of Person of Interest was last year. +7% to a 2.42.|
Worst Case: This show was a disappointment from start to finish. Now it's much lower on the CBS promotional priority list and it's got a considerably less compatible Two and a Half Men lead-in, plus as much competition as a CBS show will pretty much ever see at 10:00. A catastrophic -30% to 1.58 that may get it cancelled outright.
Likeliest: This feels to me like a sophomore slump waiting to happen. Two and a Half Men was of no real help to Person of Interest last season, so I see a likely much weaker version being a net negative leading into the already modest Elementary. Throw in a red-hot ABC opponent and an actually somewhat competent NBC and getting into the twos will be really tough. -21% to a 1.79, and it could easily be bound for the Friday/Sunday fray.
|Slot Orig Avg|
|Premieres September 26||1.22|
|Best Case: If Parenthood could go -5% last season when its lead-in was disappointing The New Normal, why can't it do even better with Michael J. Fox as a lead-in? It grows by 14% to a 2.09, equaling its season two raw numbers.|
Worst Case: Parenthood basically held up last year because it was facing an extraordinarily weak CBS and a non-factor ABC in the Tuesday 10:00 hour. It will have no such luck this year, as Scandal positively runs it over, and it has to air episodes in the low-viewed spring (when it was off the air last year). Down by 27% to a 1.33. It's still an improvement in the hour, but it will likely struggle to get renewed at that level.
Likeliest: This is a toughie because so many things are changing in so many directions. Last year it had no real lead-in and no real competition. This year it should have a better lead-in and will have very real competition. It seems like NBC's promoting it more than usual, but it also has to deal with the late spring. All of it ends up cancelling out to a roughly league average drop: 1.65.
|Slot Orig Avg|
|True||Sitch||Do No Harm|
|Thursday Night Football||NFLN||9/12||2.61||+5%|
The Network to Watch: Parenthood's transition to Thursday will be really interesting, but the answer here is ABC. How high will Scandal fly?
The Picks: Locked in on Scandal and Parenthood. I've kept up with Covert Affairs this summer but I'll probably save the fall run for the holidays.