Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Fall 2013 Best Case/Worst Case, Wednesday 8/7c

The Basics:

bc Rank y2y Rank TPUT Rank bc/TPUT Rank
Wednesday 8:00 9.3 10 -13% 16 32.2 13 29% 8

Though Wednesday 8:00 wasn't the weakest weeknight 8:00 hour on broadcast (it edged Tuesday 8:00 by less than a tenth), none of the big four broadcasters really had anything positive to report this year. ABC saw The Middle take a downturn, while The Neighbors was much weaker than 2011-12's Suburgatory. CBS' Survivor continued to trickle downward, NBC had weak comedies, and Fox saw its singing shows keep crumbling. The year's best story by far was on the CW, where Arrow was without a doubt the second-most impressive new show the network has ever developed.

The Shows:

Image The Middle Slot Average
Premieres September 25 2.04
Best Case: The Middle takes off in syndication on ABC Family, becoming nearly as big a deal for them as The Big Bang Theory is on TBS. Recoups all of last year's raw losses with a red-hot second half at a 2.60.

Worst Case:
It's a single-cam. Single-cams don't syndicate well, and that's just how it is! ABC Wednesday is trending down, and syndication won't have much of an impact on that. Down 16% to a 1.90.

Though Modern Family is getting the bigger promotional push on USA, I think lower-profile The Middle is better poised to benefit in first-run from its syndication exposure. It'll remain down year-to-year in the fall, but it makes up that deficit as the season progresses. I'll give it a dead even 2.27.
Slot Orig Avg
The Middle
y2y Label
-13% solid2.27 2.33
True Sitch
2.33 -2%
Last Pick Miss
2.50 -9%
2012-13 Slot
Wednesday 8:00

Image Back in the Game (NEW!) Slot Average
Slot Orig Avg
Premieres September 25 1.78
Best Case: It's a new ABC comedy that is actually scheduled well! And it proves a perfect fit with The Middle in the vein of season one of Suburgatory. Maintains or even sometimes slightly builds on The Middle's aud at a 2.40.

Worst Case:
It might be a "fit," but it turns out to be a bit of a one-trick pony. James Caan screaming at people and being horrible wears thin and it tails off to a barely above Family Tools 1.45 average. It's out at midseason.

I'm bullish on this show if only because there are about five other hours on the ABC sked that scream potential major disaster. Even if it's only a The Neighbors-type retainer, that's going to be easily enough for this one to stick around. And it seems like a strong enough pairing with The Middle that it may well be able to do better than that. 1.95 and an easy renewal.
The Neighbors
1.80 1.65
1.77 1.79
Family Tools
1.30 1.37

Image Survivor Slot Average
Premieres September 18 2.30
Best Case: Yeah, bringing back former contestants is nothing new, but this season managed to find some faces from deep in Survivor's megahit past. And the brother-vs.-brother format adds a new kind of tension that really reinvigorates the show. A dead even 2.86.

Worst Case:
There are so many twists and gimmicks in this season that it feels like Survivor has completely lost its soul. If the spring premiere could drop by 23% year-to-year, a really bad whole season could do that too. 2.20.

I'm on the fence here, but my guess is that all this change adds up to about the same kind of effect as the spring's Fans vs. Favorites season: it slightly slows the bleeding. I'll say it goes -10% to a 2.57, mimicking the spring Wednesday average.
Slot Orig Avg
Survivor Fall
y2y Label
-15% hit2.81 2.72
True SitchSurvivor Spring
2.74 +4%
Last Pick Miss2.57 2.78
3.00 -5%
2012-13 Slot
Wednesday 8:00

Image Revolution Slot Average
Premieres September 25 1.36
Best Case: Yeah, Revolution had The Voice lead-in, but its audience was far more different from The Voice's audience than previous occupant Smash. It's able to basically hold its late-season numbers at a 1.80 on Wednesday.

Worst Case:
The Voice helped this show a lot more than people think, as their audiences had almost identical 18-49 skew. Like season two of Smash, it starts in the low 1's and becomes a big problem in a hurry. 1.00, and NBC struggles through the fall before having to resort to a bad night burn-off as they did with Smash.

I feel like I read this sentiment a lot online after the NBC sked came out: "It'll struggle, but it'll crush the year-ago comedy averages, so NBC can count that as a win." I'm not feeling "crush." It was sub-2.0 even in the late-regular season episodes last year. It does hold better than Smash, barely well enough for NBC to stick it out on Wednesday for most of the season, but its dip in the spring gets it cancelled after two seasons. 1.35.
Slot Orig Avg
Animal Practice
y2y Label
solid1.22 1.19
True SitchWhitney
2.01 +28%
Last Pick Miss1.26 1.32
2.27 +13%Dateline
2012-13 Slot
Monday 10:001.30 1.46

Image The X Factor Slot Average
Premieres September 11 3.07
Best Case: Fox drops the "embrace the trainwreck" approach that didn't work last year, and X is able to reclaim some legitimacy with a stronger judging panel. It drops just 5% to a 2.77, and is actually up year-to-year by season's end.

Worst Case:
We thought Britney Spears didn't help The X Factor last year, but she actually did help; the show would've totally melted down without her. Said meltdown comes this year. Down over a third to a 1.90, and though those are still "acceptable" ratings, Fox doesn't like the cost, the trajectory, and the damage to Idol, so they decide to end this and try to shore up Idol.

It's just when I write these kinds of shows off that they always seem to surge back. The loss of Britney may improve the product. That said, with Idol coming off another bad season, I don't see a compelling reason to say the ship will get righted. Replicates last year's -23% to a very mediocre 2.25 and has to sweat out a renewal decision.
Slot Orig Avg
The X Factor
y2y Label
-23% hit2.97 2.90
True SitchAmerican Idol
2.83 +3%
Last Pick Miss3.92 3.89
3.43 -15%
2012-13 Slot
Wednesday 8:00

Image Arrow Slot Average
Premieres October 9 0.83
Best Case: With the CW's schedule stronger as a whole, Arrow is able to put together a good old fashioned sophomore bounce. +14% to a 1.20.

Worst Case:
Arrow benefited more than people think from the pairing with lead-out Supernatural, and there were a lot more "Supernatural viewers who happen to watch Arrow" than "Arrow viewers who happened to watch Supernatural." The network has spread itself too thin, and Arrow tumbles by over 20% to a modest 0.82.

I really like this show, but I find it so hard at this point to predict anything on the live-viewing-unfriendly CW will be up year-to-year. Even The Vampire Diaries dropped 15% in season two. Arrow is older skewing, so I'll say its aud is a little less fickle. It drops 8% to a  0.97.
Slot Orig Avg
y2y Label
hit(CW)1.05 1.13
True Sitch
1.13 -7%
Last Pick Miss
1.10 -4%
2012-13 Slot
Wednesday 8:00

The Network to Watch: I'm going to take NBC, just because a show moving from a post-Voice berth is probably the most unpredictable. While I don't have high hopes for Revolution, I at least acknowledge it could maybe go either way.

The Picks: It was Arrow and Survivor for me last year, and it'll probably be those two again this year. Watched Back in the Game pilot, and it was OK but probably not something I'll bother with weekly.


Spot said...

This whole hour feels like a lot of "meh" to me, which could work out in favor of Revolution since there's no incredibly buzz-y show it has to face. Since NBC decided to not give Revolution any kind of Voice-assistance, this is probably the best time slot it could have gotten.

It's definitely three-strikes-and-you're-out time for X-Factor. My theory on why Fox loaded up on so many shows at the upfront and preemptively slotted them for summer 2014 is to give the network cover in case X-Factor drops by double digits and is canceled; limited-run series like 24: Live Another Day and Wayward Pines would be a great solution to fill the Fall 2014 gaps.

I'll be watching The Middle and possibly Back in the Game while awaiting Suburgatory's midseason return somewhere on the schedule.

Spot said...

I was unsure on Back in the Game from the promos but the pilot (along with the other two ABC released) is actually pretty decent and shows potential, should be a great fit with The Middle and have the best shot out of the three. Still wishing for Suburgatory's return sooner rather than later though.

Spot said...

I am really uncertain on Survivor this year. I could see this twist going -25% or +5% year-to-year. I wonder if we should make anything of Big Brother's ratings for predicting Survivor's.

Spot said...

I'm very bearish on nearly all the ABC shows cause, Agents of SHIELD aside, they've all cut horrible trailers this time out. Of course, some of that might just be my normal slant against ABC programming in general, but even so, Back in the Game doesn't look very good.

My own plans for this slot in the fall involve continuing to watch Arrow live while utilizing On Demand to keep up w/ The Middle.

Spot said...

I'm a bit of a seller on Back in the Game. I think it's a show that's more compatible with The Middle on paper than in practice.
I don't think ABC is doing a good job at promoting all the shows they are premiering on the same week. They really aren't putting much promotion effort into Back in the Game or Trophy Wife at all.
Then again, it's wedged between The Middle and Modern Family. Surely it will get sampled no matter what?

Spot said...

Also, I completely agree about Revolution and The Middle. I will be surprised if The Middle doesn't benefit from syndication.

Spot said...

If you look at ABC's schedule, it's clear that Tuesday is the network's priority this year. SHIELD and, to a lesser extent, The Goldbergs are getting the biggest promotional push because it's an All New Tuesday. The network's hope is that the anchor shows help the remaining new shows get off the ground.

Spot said...

I know that it is not a huge audience, but whether the Curb Your Enthusiasm audience tunes in for The Goldbergs (Jeff Garlin) and, also, The Millers (JB Smoove) may be very important. They may be just 0.8% of the demo, but a group that likes comedy and knows those actors.

Spot said...

I think that Arrow will get a bump to make up for its soft finish last season. The CW is on the upswing in my mind now that they are embracing genre shows over the teen drama fare that brought them down a couple years ago. Tomorrow People will also serve as a compatible lead-out for Hero Night. I do worry about asking a sophomore genre drama serve as an anchor after Once's meltdown, but from what I understand, that was more about creative issues. Grows a bit, still in the low 1s.

Revolution is going to greatly benefit not having the network on its shoulders and a relatively low-pressure time slot. What might also help is not having FOUR MONTHS in between episodes again. Complaints over the storyline notwithstanding, the show never recovered from its big break. And for what? To give Deception a fair shot? To ensure that it never went without a Voice lead-in. Fat lot of good that did.

I don't see much growth from The Middle because of syndication. Back in the Game has the potential to surprise, though. The kids will help I say they both finish in the low-2s.

Survivor will drop the league rate to mid-high-2s.

X-Factor will disappoint, down another 15% and get cancelled.

Spot said...

Here we go:

The Middle: I do think it will benefit from syndication, but I think that will only be enough to make it up in A18-49. I think last year's decline is here to stay to some extent. A 2.12, but one of the few instances, in which I think I might be too pessimistic.

Back in the Game: It is tough to predict what will happen with ABC's new class of comedies. There are just too many variables. Ultimately, I think that between the tuesday unpredictability, the neighbors on fridays and super fun night, this one is a somehow safe bet to make it for a whole season. A 1.91 and a 2nd season.

Revolution: I am very torn here. On the one hand, common logic tells me that it will bomb just as everyone predicts, judging by the late season drops and the fact that it is now away from the voice. On the other hand, it might do just fine considering how much it had dropped already in season 1, suggesting that those who were watching just because of the voice had left already. Also, the timeslot doesn't have any prohibitive competition, but I doubt being against arrow and survivor helps that much. Ultimately, I go with a 1.43, but it really could go way lower than this and it could potentially go a bit higher. Furthermore, even if it is at this number, I have no clue what it means in terms of renewals, by no means I think it will be that easy of a cancellation.

Arrow: I am with you in the sense that I really love this show and would love to predict a sophomore bounce, but I don't think it will happen. I do however think that the cw will have an overall more favorable environment for the show, so that may help a bit, and I think the excellent finale might also draw in some new viewers that check it out due to buzz. Ultimately though, and as much as I am looking forward to tomorrow people and think they will work, I also believe that supernatural was helping this show in a way that a newbie won't be able to. I say it drops less than the league average, but still drops. A 0.89.

The X-Factor: Yeah, premiere numbers are in and there is not much left to say. It is a catastrophe happening. You were right all along in hating Fox's schedule for not recognizing this. I was with you in disliking it, but I did not anticipate the magnitude of what was happening by any means Nothing to add really

Survivor: I don't know what to say here. This one is hard to predict everytime. I don't expect any big drops or any surges, just good old evenish numbers I guess

Network to Watch: NBC, as Revolution is really a wildcard

My picks: Revolution and Arrow. Maybe Survivor but I don't think I will have the time to invest in it.

Spot said...

I love your optimism about Arrow and I hope you are right. But somehow I cannot be that positive. The finale really was amazing but it didn't finish the season as well as I could have hoped for ratings wise and as compatible as TP looks, I think that Supernatural was really giving it a hand there and I am affraid a bit of that will be lost. It will still be 100% safe for the cw, but I don't think it will be up.

Spot said...

I don't think you can use Big Brother ratings to predict Survivor. Someone can look into that but I doubt they are correlated. I think they are too influenced by their own seasons. Besides, summer has very specific factors influencing it in some years (e.g. Olympics) so it is hard to make anything of those trends.

Spot said...

I am also hoping for a Suburgatory return, I adore that show, but I think it will come back to tuesdays (there is also a small chance it lands on fridays). Wednesdays are possible but I somehow doubt it.

Spot said...

That is a very good point about FOX's schedule but I doubt they have the promotional machine to make it happen. Casual viewers of TV know nothing about those supposedly summer shows and I don't see how FOX could bring them into the fall out of nowhere. Besides, they would run into complications in the winter when idol arrives because the orders wouldn't be finished and it would be a mess. In general, even though I think it would be a good idea in practice, I doubt they can cancel the X-Factor like that. They would piss off the talents show audience that still sticks with the show and seriously risk harming Idol even further.

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