Wednesday 10:00, like the Wednesday 9:00 hour that preceded it, was one of those rare hours in which every network was on the map. Though Nashville was a ratings disappointment, failing to live up to the previous season's occupant Revenge, it still did well enough to score a reasonably comfortable season two renewal. And NBC had one of the biggest pleasant surprises of the season as Chicago Fire proved a great match with Law and Order: SVU and heated up in the second half of the season.
|Premieres September 25||1.60|
|Best Case: Nashville ended the season with a couple nice upticks in a row, priming it for a sophomore bounce. It's the Scandal of 2013-14, pulling upper 1's in the fall before growing into the mid-2's late. 2.30, up by 23%.|
Worst Case: It had its chance for some heat early in 2013 and blew it, dropping back into the 1.6-1.7 range. That's all that shows up early in the season, then it takes another big drop into the low 1's in the second half. 1.40, down by 25%, and done after two seasons.
Likeliest: One area of concern here is the 9:30 lead-in, which looks like a potential disaster. One positive area is the competition, which I see being weaker on both the CBS and the NBC fronts. Combining those, I don't see it falling apart, and I don't see it being quite distinctive enough to pull a Scandal. Give it -11% to a 1.66 and a probable season three renewal.
|Slot Orig Avg|
|Premieres September 25||2.07|
|Best Case: Nashville weakens and, most importantly, the NBC competition is much less potent. ChiFi took a big chunk of CSI last year, and CSI gets some of that back this year (at least in Plus) dropping 4% to a 2.21.|
Worst Case: This CBS lineup, now in its third year, is just getting stale, and the drops from Criminal Minds and CSI last year were proof of it. CSI loses another 22% to a 1.79 and gets moved to Friday or Sunday next season.
Likeliest: As I said with Criminal Minds, I see this lineup "evening out" a bit from last year's underachievement. A projected weaker NBC is a big part of that, especially in this hour. 2.07, down 10%, and it generally has an easier time beating the other broadcasters this year. I'm guessing it gets one more season on Wednesday if only because I see the 10:00 hour becoming a bit of a mess on CBS outside of Tuesday/Wednesday.
|Slot Orig Avg|
|Ironside (NEW!)||Slot Average|
|Slot Orig Avg|
|Premieres October 2||1.85|
|Best Case: With Chicago Fire, NBC finally re-discovered how to approach procedurals. Now that they're no longer going after the "next great cop show," they have something viewers can connect with, and Ironside is another perfect example. And Blair Underwood has a stronger presence than anyone on ChiFi. Actually matches Chicago Fire's average at a 1.83 and cruises to renewal.|
Worst Case: The soapy elements of Chicago Fire made it a great combo with SVU, but this is just a bland crime-solver that will skew much older. (SVU is a relatively young-skewing show compared to most procedurals.) 1.01 and replaced pretty early in the fall.
Likeliest: This seems like something that might have worked in the Blue Bloods slot after CSI: NY a few years ago, but I see it skewing too old here to get a ton of help from SVU. It may match the SVU overall viewership, but it'll be several tenths weaker in the demos by the time the dust settles. Averages a 1.15 and is out at midseason.
|American Horror Story||FX||10/2||1.44||-10%|
|It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia||FXX||ongoing||0.46||-32%|
The Network to Watch: Torn between ABC's sophomore and NBC's lower-priority newbie, but I think I'm gonna take NBC in a close one. As I said, I don't see Nashville doing anything too exciting in either direction.
The Picks: Sunny on FXX, and likely to stick with Nashville.