Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Question, Thursday 1/2/14: Will a Large Community Welcome Back Dan Harmon?


In fall 2013, NBC's attempt to create "broad" comedies blew up even more spectacularly than usual. While a couple of those shows live on out of scheduling necessity, tonight sees NBC give back another Thursday half-hour to one of the old "niche" comedies. Community is back for yet another season in the Thursday lead-off role, and once again it's accompanied by a much-publicized behind-the-scenes shakeup. Creator Dan Harmon is back in the saddle, and the reviews have been very positive. For a show that's developed a habit of premiering well and has an engaged fanbase, this could actually be a difference-maker. Will a large Community welcome back Dan Harmon? That's The Question for Thursday, January 2, 2014.

Community's Big Premieres
2.2 (spring premiere, 3/15/12) 
1.41 (average rest of spring) 
1.9 (premiere, 2/7/13)
1.18 (average rest of season)

The premiere in 2012 could've been written off as a fluke due to the competition; namely, it premiered on a night when there was no The Big Bang Theory. However, the show pulled off another improbably big return last winter even as Big Bang was hanging a whooping 6.2 in the half-hour. Does twice make a trend? I'm not 100% convinced. I'm not even sure that Dan Harmon's return is a bigger "event" than the new showrunners were at this time last year. But given this has happened twice now, I'll say it's more likely than not to attract that abnormally large premiere interest again.

Over/Under: 1.65.

(Will average the 8:00 and 8:30 episodes if counted separately.)

No entries accepted after 6:00am ET the morning after the date in the headline. If editing your pick, please leave a separate comment.

37 comments:

Spot said...

Under. I certainly hope for 1.7+, but I think 1.5. 1.6 at best.

Spot said...

That's The Question for Monday, November 4, 2013
What?

Spot said...

Under

Spot said...

I'll be optimistic and say OVER

Spot said...

Over. I'm going to be irrationally optimistic.

Spot said...

I think that the Assets looks really good and good counterprograming to a procedural Elementary and female skewing serial drama Parenthood, but I don't think the Taste will do that well, and even if it does, it's extremely incompatible.
On the same note, Enlisted looks really good, but I don't think I have ever seen a worst case in premiering a show IN SEASON. I was hoping they'd move it to Dad's spot when it got cancelled and give it the post Superbowl spot to boost it right out of the gate. They did the exact opposite!

Spot said...

Under.

Spot said...

Over 1.65

Spot said...

Has the Nigella Lawson story had ANY news coverage in the States? I've been seeing a UK version of The Taste advertised on one of our major channels - starting next week with the exact same judges!
Don't make much of the trailers for Rake but Enlisted looks alright. If only the situations were swapped.

Spot said...

Under - 1.6 at best

Spot said...

For me, I'm going under. I don't expect it to completely tank, but I doubt it'll do that fantastic. I'd say 1.5-1.6. Funny is that I'm predicting it'll be the best comedy ratings since MJF's premiere.

Spot said...

Under.

Spot said...

Under

Spot said...

Under. 1.5-1.6

Spot said...

I can't wait until American Idol comes on so I can see how low it premieres. I bet a lot of old shows will beat it this year. I also agree with you about Rake, I think it'll average about a 1.7 cause I don't see it going down to a 1.1 or up that high with a 2.7. I think Community will average around a 1.2 or 1.3.

Spot said...

I say over and I go with a 2.0 but it'll fall hard in the coming weeks since cult show Vampire Diaries will be back in three weeks and juggernaut American Idol will be back as well.

Spot said...

To be honest, although I agree with you that ABC's Thursday lineup will post Summer-esque numbers, I do think that realizing there are 4 different seasons of programming is the way to go for networks and, in that sense, I am a big fan of ABC's lineup. People will judge it against GA/Scandal numbers and it will look awful but it should be judged against the repeats of those shows and also taking into account the expected benefit in the ratings of Scandal and GA themselves from airing with no breaks. I think the next big step is to invest seriously in summer but with Under the Dome last year and 24 this year, I don't think it will take much longer. I think networks should do their shows either Fall/Spring with the lower priority stuff on Winter/Summer or simply a batch of Fall+Winter and then a batch of Spring+Summer. FOX's Monday schedule is the closest to this last one I think as their schedule will be Bones/Sleepy Hollow, Almost Human/The Following, Gang Related/24 or something along these lines. ABC and CBS comey lineups, as well as CBS procedurals, are still the exception to these because they repeat fairly well, but otherwise I think networks will tend to move in this direction.



Anyway, enough rambling (sorry about it). Let's get right down to the business! (As always, extremely happy that this is back, I love this feature):
- Community: I had actually done my predictions a couple of weeks ago and back then, I didn't feel this much buzz surrounding my beloved Community's return. That's probably why I feel my number is pessimistic now but maybe that's a good thing, I will stick with it. I say it drops a bit less than last year, but it still drops plenty. I think the current brand of NBC comedies (or lack of it) will hurt it. A 16% drop, to a 1.04 and, as always, on the bubble up until the very end.
- Rake: I am very neutral towards this one, I agree with you. This feels like something that FOX should be trying, but I just don't see it being a huge thing. The fact that it depends so much on what AI does makes it all the more hard because that's a huge unknown too. I say it does about the same in A18-49 as Glee did last year. A 1.60 and fights with Almost Human for a last renewal at season's end.
- The Assets: I thought I was being agressive on this one but then there's your prediction! You may very well be right but I don't think I am ready to go that far down CW territory for a main network just yet. A 0.85 and obviously one and out.
- Enlisted: "Man, this scheduling sucks". I couldn't agree more! What is more annoying is that you would think FOX is this very deep network that doesn't have any shows needed replacing and that can therefore afford to burn off a show like this. I think the show looks great and I will even watch the pilot even though it's obviously DOA - I like all three leads and it just looks funny. But that won't matter because, as you've said, the best it can hope for is still terrible. Equals Hope's fall A18-49 numbers, pulls a raw 0.63 and is canned after its 13, if some of them are not burned off in the summer.
- As always, I don't predict unscripted but your predictions for AI and The Taste sound about right to me!

Spot said...

Over.

Spot said...

Fixed, thanks. I've been exposed as a formatting copy-paster!

Spot said...

I just looked up the ratings for the Americans and wow, it does not look good for the Assets. It went from a 1.2 premiere to a .6 finale, kind of strange for all the critical praise it is supposed to have.

Spot said...

*cough* Today isn't Monday...

Spot said...

A risky over from me.

Spot said...

Under (1.5)

Spot said...

Just Under at a 1.6

Spot said...

Over

Spot said...

Under. But it'll comfortably beat SSTW and MJF.

Spot said...

I might think differently if it was just the first episode, but Under, 1.5.

Spot said...

Under.

Spot said...

I hope over, but I'm gonna say under. Don't wanna jinx it.


It's pretty funny that all it needs is a 1.4 to beat any comedy NBC has aired since October.

Spot said...

Hell, I can't get a bead. Time to bring out the coin.

Over. (heads)

Spot said...

Under at 1.4.

Spot said...

With Enlisted's scheduling, Fox has essentially pre-canceled three new shows this season before ever debuting (Us & Them and Murder Police [which has actually been pronounced as canceled] being the others). That's got to be some kind of record...

Anyway, this shows that the scheduling limitations Fox has will damage itself. Though the cartoons skew male, the Schedules Plus stats show that mixing live-action and animation has not worked historically. So there's little, if any, benefit from mixing in male-skewing sitcoms. A block of shows like Enlisted, Dads, Brooklyn 9-9, and Surviving Jack could be a cohesive night, but there's almost nowhere to put it: Fox won't dislodge New Girl on Tuesdays, the reality singing competitions soak up Wednesdays & Thursdays, the weekend nights are ratings non-starters for new shows, and Sunday has Animation Domination. That would leave Mondays, but Fox has that earmarked for dramas. So, instead, they cherry-pick their most promising (9-9) and most well-connected-to-other-Fox-properties (Dads) and leave everything else to fend for itself. This isn't commentary on the shows' quality, but on how the flexibility Fox gave itself with multiple shows is being wasted when the execs continue to schedule themselves into Gordian knots.

Moving on from an unexpected rant based on a single show that I won't be watching, Idol shouldn't drop as much as X Factor since it doesn't have to worry about baseball preemptions. But facing the Olympics in February will probably make y2y comparisons ugly. And if both ABC & CBS hold eps of Modern Family & The Big Bang Theory during sweeps for March/April that hurts Idol, too. Rake has a limited time before the Olympics and Grey's Anatomy start to make a name for itself, making its loss of the post-NFC slot more puzzling.

Meanwhile, ABC needs/wants The Taste to be its next iteration of Shark Tank; even if it pull your likeliest case, maybe it should be brought to Thursdays next fall if the Alphabet doesn't go the Grey's Anatomy/Scandal/new drama scheduling route.

Spot said...

I almost went for a coin myself. But I couldn't find one.

Spot said...

That comment on Fox scheduling says a lot. Simple solution here, and one I can legitimately see happening: cancel Idol. Yes, I went there. At the very least, XF is dunno, which opens up three hours in the fall for limited-run stuff; I'd love Fox to cancel Idol too, but I suspect that'll wait until 2015.

Spot said...

I think American Idol is headed toward a best case this season. They are really pushing the fact that this is the show to produce stars. The judges seem to be taking a back seat this season, which is a nice change of pace. I haven't watched the show since season six (maybe sooner, I don't recall for sure) but the ads are grabbing my attention. With Carey and Minaj gone, I think it'll be a breath of fresh air for the fans.

Spot said...

While I do think you summarize quite well FOX's state of mind (putting all of their eggs in the same baskets), I disagree with them not having options. They are the ones that decided they didn't want options. They could have easily created a more flexible schedule. For instance, Wednesdays at 8pm would be wide open for a male comedy hour attack - they could have kept the singing shows, they would just have to shrink them to 2 hours after the opening weeks. Also, I think FOX has what it takes to make a real attack on summer as well, effectively having year around programming. The baseball thing should effectively work as the end of the summer season for them IMO, which would avoid them having shows breaking momentum that earl into their runs.

If it was me, this is the schedule I would have them do next year
Monday [3 cycles of drama pairs]: Sleepy Hollow + Hieroglyph [16 episodes, 28/10 to 24/02, with a 2 week Christmas Break], Gotham + The Following [16 episodes, 03/03 to 16/06, no breaks], 24+Gang Related [17 episodes, 23/06 to 14/10]

Tuesday: They might as well keep the comedy block here, but they need strong new blood. But I would start the comedy block after baseball only and use Glee and a pair of syndication bound comedies/ burnoffs to bridge summer and September. Had it been this year, I would have done B99+Enlisted+New Girl+Surviving Jack [25 episodes each, from 29/10 to 29/04 with a 2 week Christmas break] and then Glee+Us and Them+Raising Hope [23 episodes, from 06/05 to 08/10], with the ACAs on 15/10. Next year I would probably suggest the same replacing Enlisted and Surviving Jack and probably just airing repeats after Glee in the summer, unless it's profitable for them to renew Mindy.

Wednesday: Either they go with two back to back dramas here or they have to bring back Bones to a weekday and pair it with a new drama here. I love what Bones is doing on Fridays for them but I kind of feel they need it badly here. I would be fine with it either way. I would do Bones+New Drama [7 episodes, from 30/10 to 18/11] with a break on Thanksgiving. Then 2 weeks break from Christmas. 8 episodes of Hotel Hell from 08/01 to 12/02 and then the return of Bones+New Drama with no breaks until 28/05, effectively making for 22 episodes. For summer, I would do So You Think You Can Dance? in June and uly and then The X-Factor in August+ September+first half of October until the World Series, in a condensed cheaper version.

Thursday: This day I would split between American Idol and Gordon Ramsey. Hell's Kitchen+Rake (or New Drama) from 11/09 to 19/12 with 2 breaks (World Series and Thanksigiving, making for 13 episodes from each). Then 2 weeks Christmas break and then 2 hours American Idol until May (condensed version, no results show). Masterchef would then take over for Summer!

Friday: I would give Almost Human a renewal and place it at 8pm for Fall and see what happens. Not sure what to air at 9pm, a new drama sounds like an overinvestment. Maybe some sort of reality that is not Ramsay. At midseason, when they are not airing Ramsay on Thursday, do Masterchef Jr. and Kitchen Nightmares.

I think this is how they get to try out a bunch of stuff while not exposing themselves to too much risk (there is always a replacement ready)

Spot said...

I think barely anyone knows the name Nigella Lawson. I can't even picture what she looks like. Like...is this her only media outlet in the US?

A possibly faulty reasoning: Seasonal averages: 2011-12 X Factor: 3.8/3.6
2012-13 Idol: 3.9/3.7

So 2012-13 X Factor: 2.9/2.8
2013-14 Idol: 3.0/2.9?

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