Monday, February 24, 2014

Best Case/Worst Case, Post-Olympic Week 2014: About a Boy, Mixology, Hannibal and more!


The Winter Olympics interruption has created an irregularly crowded "premiere week" to kick off the last three months of the broadcast TV season. Today, Best Case/Worst Case returns to preview the eight broadcast shows premiering this week. There's then over a week before the next broadcast premieres on March 9, so we'll be back toward the end of next week to hit the March premieres closer to when they happen.

Image The Amazing Race Slot Average
Premieres February 23 2.38
Best Case: Premiering against the Olympics Closing Ceremony was a risk, but it's going to pay off, because some major Olympics fatigue has been setting in the last couple days. Plus, this All-star edition has some faces who will spark interest. Drops just 7% to a 2.19, actually outrating the fall edition.

Worst Case:
The franchise showed some major leakage during the fall, and dueling with the Olympics just gives viewers another reason never to check in at all. All-star editions don't have a very good track record of late. Down nearly 30% to a 1.65 that could put it in some actual jeopardy.

Likeliest:
The Olympics competition won't hurt as much as we may have thought two weeks ago, but it certainly doesn't help. The larger concern is how far down the fall season was. It's tough to see this season vastly improving on the fall's year-to-year trend given the tougher circumstances. Almost -20% to a modest 1.91.
Slot Orig Avg
2.51
2.35Occupants
The Amazing Race Fall
y2y Label
-10% solid2.02 1.86
True Sitch
2.28 +3%
Last Pick Miss
2.33 +1%
2012-13 Slot
Sunday 8:00

Image The Voice Slot Average
Premieres February 24/25 3.17
Best Case: There are two clear advantages this season has going in: Olympics promotion and a more favorable placement on the calendar (meaning it won't run deep into June like last spring). Also, Shakira/Usher are more appealing than their fall counterparts. It starts with the same raw numbers as the spring 2013 season and drops less in the closing weeks, going +5% on each night to 4.35/3.99.

Worst Case:
NBC has been pretty lucky that real signs of burn-out haven't developed yet, running it two seasons a year as other shows in the category continue to crumble. The luck's got to run out, and this is the year. Down at least 20% to 3.25/2.97.

Likeliest:
The fall season was down about 10% y2y on both nights. It was trending worse than that toward the end of the fall. But with the advantages listed above compared to spring 2013, I don't see this being the big downturn season. I'll give it roughly -8% to a 3.80/3.45.
Slot Orig Avg
3.32
4.14Occupants
The Voice Mon Fall
y2y Label
-14% big hit4.07 4.01
True SitchHollywood Game Night
4.00 +3%
Last Pick Miss1.42 1.37
3.80 +9%
2012-13 Slot
Monday 8:00

Image About a Boy (NEW!) Slot Average
3.16
Slot Orig Avg
Premieres February 25 3.22
Best Case: The preview got a 2.2 demo on a Saturday fully outside of primetime. The Olympics only averaged a 2.9 demo at 10:30, meaning its Tuesday slot after The Voice will actually be quite a bit better. And it had much better demo retention than viewer retention on Saturday, suggesting it wasn't totally mooching off the Olympics. There may be some real interest here. It's a very solid post-Voice option at a 2.70, doing even better than Go On, and it might even get the slot back in the fall.

Worst Case:
The reviews for the post-pilot episodes are not promising. It's a bit too low-key to match well with The Voice. And there's a lot of comedy competition. Quickly gets into first-half-hour-of-Ready for Love territory, but it does last longer... meaning a month or two. 1.45.

Likeliest:
I don't think this will settle at quite the same raw numbers that Go On did, but the good news for AaB is that it won't have the same opportunity (at least within season one) to get exposed without The Voice. By the back half of the run, it may not grade out much or any stronger than Community and Parks in True, but comedy-plagued NBC will likely ride the raw numbers to a renewal. 2.10.
Occupants
The Voice Tue
3.66 3.38
The Biggest Loser
1.93 1.85

Image Growing Up Fisher (NEW!) Slot Average
3.30
Slot Orig Avg
Premieres February 25 3.38
Best Case: These comedies go up against two other comedy blocks, and in both of those the 9:30 show is a lot weaker. There's room for something at 9:30 to overachieve, so maybe Fisher can hold pretty much all of AaB. 2.00 and renewed.

Worst Case:
If AaB hits the worst case number above, it's hard to see Growing Up Fisher stopping the considerable bleeding. 1.05.

Likeliest:
I haven't seen the Olympic preview rating for this one yet, but I did watch the pilot. The blindness angle is unique, but it could wear thin in relatively short order. This will become a Goldbergs/Trophy Wife situation where the 9/8c show is stronger even after accounting for its big lead-in advantage. Fisher will end the run approaching Community/Parks-esque raw numbers, which won't be enough for season two. 1.47.
Occupants
The Voice Tue
3.66 3.38
The Biggest Loser
1.93 1.85

Image Mind Games (NEW!) Slot Average
1.17
Slot Orig Avg
Premieres February 25 0.98
Best Case: Hey, at least ABC is giving it a post-Bachelor platform on premiere night! The good lead-in gets a surprisingly OK audience to show up. And Kyle Killen makes TV that the critics love, so a very high percentage sticks around for the subsequent weeks. At a 1.50, building on Trophy Wife, ABC sees more upside here than with something like Nashville and gives it another shot.

Worst Case:
The Bachelor will get a good demo rating, but it's also incompatible with this show, so it won't be of any real benefit. (We saw this with Body of Proof's post-Bachelor premiere last year.) It's been very established by now that Christian Slater is not a draw, and Trophy Wife coming in at 9:30 sure won't help. Another big-time 10/9c bomb at 0.60.

Likeliest:
I'm going to put its raw numbers a bit ahead of Killer Women because the timeslot will be less horrifying: no Olympics, more original lead-ins, much better premiere lead-in. But I just don't see much reason to believe this show will be able to overcome what is still a bad timeslot. Let's hope ABC knows something I don't. 0.82.
Occupants
Lucky 7
1.00 0.94
Primetime: What Would You Do?
0.87 1.01
Killer Women
0.72 0.96

Image Survivor Slot Average
Premieres February 26 1.89
Best Case: The Wednesday competition keeps getting easier as American Idol keeps getting weaker. The Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty theme has some real resonance, and the show has unearthed some really memorable personalities out of this all new crop. A dead even 2.56.

Worst Case:
Hate to say it, but there's a reason Survivor is bringing back returning players so frequently. They can be a draw, and entirely new casts often end up quite dull. That happens big-time with this new cast. Down over 20% to a 2.00.

Likeliest:
Spring 2013 saw a smaller year-to-year drop than either of the last two fall seasons, so this season will catch up to the fall trajectory to some degree. And again, it's probably correct to bet on an all-new cast being a slight net negative, even if it's something I'd prefer they do more often. Down nearly 15% to a 2.20.
Slot Orig Avg
2.47
2.56Occupants
Survivor
y2y Label
-9% solid2.49 2.43
True Sitch
2.79 -8%
Last Pick Miss
2.55 +1%
2012-13 Slot
Wednesday 8:00

Image Mixology (NEW!) Slot Average
1.99
Slot Orig Avg
Premieres February 26 2.01
Best Case: Every post-Modern Family occupant has at least gotten a decent sampling. And this show's weird concept brings a reality show kind of urgency to the proceedings. Modern Family overachieves in the spring due to syndication exposure. 2.15 and ekes out a renewal.

Worst Case:
It is incompatible, and it is bad. And unlike Super Fun Night, it doesn't have a star who can move the needle significantly for the premiere. We may finally have our first DOA Modern lead-out. 1.30 and out of the slot pronto.

Likeliest:
Super Fun Night has recently been getting 1.5's after original Modern. Is it actually possible to do even worse? If any show could really put that to the test, this is the show. There were still some Rebel Wilson die-hards mixed into the SFN number, and it's hard to figure how Mixology will have any more appeal, so I say it does get a bit lower. It'll average a 1.45, at least starting off somewhat higher than recent SFN eps but nowhere near SFN's premiere.
Occupants
Super Fun Night
1.79 1.47

Image Hannibal Slot Average
Premieres February 28 1.62
Best Case: It had some dreadful numbers in the summer, but airing on Friday in the regular season is really no tougher, especially considering how awful and/or incompatible its season one lead-ins were. Throw in added compatibility with Grimm, plus the possibility that this may be good enough to pick up some fans via catch-up streaming the way cable serials do, and there's growth potential here. 1.30 and actually gets paired with Grimm in the fall next season.

Worst Case:
It ended the season on a 0.7 and a 0.8. That's probably about all it can hope for this season. It's just too dark a show to resonate with the masses, and it's a worse match with the easy-to-watch Grimm than Dracula was. 0.68 and an easy dunzo.

Likeliest:
It won't start the season as well as Dracula did, but I could see it settling at nearly the same level. If there's a renewal available for the Friday 10/9c shows (which may be a big if), Hannibal's heavy acclaim means it will beat out Dracula with similar ratings. 0.92.
Slot Orig Avg
1.15
1.12Occupants
Dracula
y2y Label
flop1.04 1.23
True Sitch
1.36 -18%
Last Pick Miss
1.25 -11%
2012-13 Slot
Thursday 10:00

Note: Fox quietly postponed the return of Kitchen Nightmares, which otherwise would've been a part of this "premiere week" on Friday. My uneducated guess is that it may be replacing Rake on Thursday. If it ends up premiering before the next BC/WC post goes up next week, I will try to do a quickie BC/WC for it in the comments of this post.



Notable upcoming cable returns:

ShowNetworkPremieres Avg y2y
DallasTNT2/240.75-32%
Rizzoli and IslesTNT2/250.79-16%
PerceptionTNT2/250.71-6%
The AmericansFX2/260.69
VikingsHistory2/271.41
Bates MotelA&E3/31.19

16 comments:

Spot said...

I almost think About a Boy is going to get a second season if only because NBC does not want to completely strike out two seasons in a row for new comedies. It would have to bomb out hard a la Ready for Love for that to not happen. If that's the case, then Growing Up Fisher needs to actually earn ratings that merit a renewal. The same logic kind of holds true for Mixology: The Goldbergs is most likely to earn the "face-saving" freshmen sitcom renewal, so Mixology needs to show some merit. But what also cuts against Mixology is how it really pairs with nothing on ABC's schedule currently. Does the room know if anything that ABC's got in development for 2014-2015 would better fit content-wise with this show?



Speaking of bombing out, that feels very likely with Mind Games. I think it's amazing that Kyle Killen has developed a broadcast drama every other year, at different networks to boot (Lone Star: Fox 2010; Awake: NBC 2012: Mind Games: ABC 2014). If he lands something at CBS in 2016 after three failures, that should be award-worthy.

Spot said...

NBC is most interesting to me. I think you're spot on with Hannibal, but I see The Voice a bit higher, like 4.0/3.6. While About a Boy I see a bit south of 2.0 average, and not north of it. It seems kinda compatible with The Voice, but you're basically giving it 60% retention. I don't think it's that compatible, and Voice is pretty strong, so I expect more like 50ish retention. But other than that small 10% difference in prediction, I completely agree with your analysis - AaB smells very GoOnish, 1.9 raw A18-49 average to get it clear renewal, but late season True numbers to be warning sign of likely collapse in the fall, after inevitable move from under The Voice wing.

Enough with splitting hairs, what I really doesn't agree is Growing Up Fisher. I don't see it compatible with About a Boy. Yes, both shows seem to go for aw effect, but AaB is 20-somethings comedy, and GUF family comedy. At least from what I understand. Plus I can see people feeling sorry for a blind man, and not really laughing much about that situation. So audience to abandon comedy that is not funny to them.
I can see it in low 1's already around 4th episode. After 7-8 episodes (and at 1.3 average) pulled in favor of Undateable or whatever. If NBC doesn't have replacement ready, then 13 (?) episodes run to finish very close to your worst case, at 1.15 or so.

Spot said...

Reviews say Mixology feels "being there, done that". Still I think it will do a tick or two better than you think. Merely because there's only 10 episodes - no time for average to sink to 1.45, not after probably initially being well sampled. But last 5 episodes should average bellow those 1.45, which is no-brainer cancellation.

I'm tick or two more optimistic than you about Mind Games, too. And again, that's irrelevant. Because if I'm right, then it still would be way bellow Nashville, and any ABC midseason drama must beat Nashville to be considered at all.

The Amazing Race and Survivor are safe, so I don't care about them. I mean, as long as CBS dramas keep failing at current rate, Amazing Race is safe for Sunday slot and Survivor for Wednesday slot.
BTW, some month ago I tossed idea about CBS moving one comedy block to Wednesday 8PM. That was stupid of me, I opened my mouth before actually thinking about what is in that timeslot currently. If it was some aging, already in syndication, easily dumpable to a weekend drama, then yes, why not try comedies there? But Survivor is still doing too solid for move to a weekend night. And CBS really has no good slot Mon-Thu to move it into.

Spot said...

I also heard that Mixology only has a 10 episode order, but sites like The Futon Critic are saying 13. A 10 episode order would actually help the sitcom since Modern Family also has 10 episodes left this season; Mixology shouldn't have to have rerun lead-ins unlike How to Live, Suburgatory, Don't Trust the B, and Happy Endings had over the past few seasons.

Spot said...

ABC cracks me up, because they are bound and determined to have the next big hangout comedy and they are just as determined to surround it with family comedies and soaps.

Spot said...

For the record, my average assumed a couple episodes would have a repeat lead-in (as most Modern lead-outs have). Would've gone roughly a tenth higher if there are indeed 10 episodes that all air after originals.

Spot said...

Probably I'm mistaken. I googled now and found:
"Set in a Manhattan bar, the 13 episodes will track one night in the lives of five young men and 15 young women looking for love."

Spot said...

I always love this a lot! Maybe you could even expand to summer? :P

Here I go. I am not feeling particularly good about my predictions today but they do fall pretty close to yours in most cases, so I guess that's a good thing. Quickies:
- About a Boy: I really adored the pilot, I had somehow high expectations and it delivered. This being said, it's a dramedy and not a comedy. I love those and I am fine with that but a lot of people see to reject them and it's not a "mass" thing. At the end of the day, it's probably irrelevant though since it will all be about compatibility with the voice. Excluding its premiere, Go On averaged about a 2.40 in its fall post voice episodes. Year to year declines would put it around 2.14. It's spring though so I take it down an extra notch and I get a virtually similar to yours 2.08
- Growing Up Fisher: I have no interest in sampling this one, I think it looks simply too odd for me and most comments I have seen suggest it's even less of a comedy than About a Boy is. I can imagine a scenario of massive 9h30 rejection but I think it won't get that awful and it will look a bit like The Goldbergs and Trophy Wife. The New Normal was about 77% of Go On during fall but I see more rejection here than The New Normal have so I am bringing that to some 65%. A 1.35 and dunzo.
- Mind Games: I don't even know what to say anymore. I remember you saying that airing two new dramas out of Trophy Wife was odd, even for ABC, but it's actually happening. I predict it will flop, but the extent of the flop is surprisingly hard to grasp (I thought Killer Women was going to be a massive flop and it was, but I was still off by 26% from its actual result since I predicted a 0.9). Anyway, I will go with a generic 0.80 here, just because I lack any idea on how to estimate a more precise number. One step closer to firing Paul Lee!!
- Mixology: I actually disagree with you a bit on this one. Even incompatible comedies have scored decently behind Modern Family. Apartment 23 which was probably the most incompatible (RIP!!), had about 58% retention. Assuming Modern Family goes to the 3.2 this spring, which is even a bit pessimistic, it would give Mixology a 1.86. Super Fun Night arguably the biggest flop to air after MF, had a 53% retention even excluding premiere, which again would give Mixology 1.69 out of Modern Family. I think the result is probably somewhere in the middle. Because of those inevitable couple of sans MF original lead-ins, I will go a bit lower than the middle case and give it a 1.73 (I do think the downside potential you are predicting is all there, but I just do not expect it to do that awful)
- Hannibal: I do think the show has potential for some growth in plus due to the type of show it is and the critical acclaim it has gotten, even though that is probably exxagerated in our minds since it missed up all the big award shows anyway. Still, I also agree that Fridays with Grimm is a better situation than what it had last year. So I give it a nice 5% growth. However, I bump that down the usual 20% from airing on a Friday and I also add the year to year decline I am considering, all of which result in a 0.97, which is probably enough for another low priority renewal, even if it is for summer.

As always, I tend to pass by reality. No idea at all on Survivor or TAR. The Voice is a mystery. I thought last season was amazing so I was surprised with the late season drops but well, I do think your positive factors are quite positive indeed, so I would tend to agree with you. It's always a mystery for me why does it drop so much after the blinds, because even though the blinds are a lot of fun for me, I really start to get into the show when the lives start, it's the best part for me. Guess I am the minority there.

Also, I hadn't caught on that about Kitchen Nightmares, nice one. FOX is probably going to air it on Thursdays which is kind of odd but better than Rake. It's too bad because I was really rooting for Enlisted to be rescued!

Spot said...

I agree that Growing Up Fisher looks very ill advised there and incompatible with everything. Another issue that NBC might have is that it might affect Chicago Fire, which would be the last thing they want after all the protection. I think that might actually put some additional pressure on About a Boy to overachieve because if NBC finds itself in a situation where About a Boy does ok, Fisher does awful and Fire does bad because of it, it's not inconceivable that they blow up the whole thing and put the voice at 9 to save Chicago Fire again.

Spot said...

I still cannot believe that ABC will try a second new drama after a proven flop like Trophy Wife against stiff competition from both competing networks at 10pm. It's the definition of insanity.

Spot said...

I think Spot should seriously consider a themed post of the biggest scheduling idiocies of ABC. It's ridiculous.

Spot said...

Presumably an "OK" About a Boy gets audibled into the Thursday mess in that situation? Or do NBC go with 90-minute Voice episodes leading into About A Boy at 9:30?

Spot said...

I thought about moving it to Sunday to pair with TAR last season, so the comedy expansion could be into Wednesday with two singlecams isolated from the multicams elsewhere. (And as they thought Crazy Ones was anchor material...)

Spot said...

NBC seems very reluctant in extending the voice on Tuesdays once the results shows start and rightfull so since there is not enough content for the extra hour and protecting the voice should be more important for them than protecting anything else they might have. They did not extend it last year when they were desperate for replacements when Ready for Love flopped, I don't think they will do it this year either. What did they air at 8pm last year after Ready for Love flopped? I am having trouble remembering for some reason.

Spot said...

This is coming from the network that threw its hangout comedies (Happy Endings & Don't Trust the B) against then-stronger hangout comedies (New Girl, Mindy Project) and Voice-fueled comedies (Go On, The New Normal), and has flopped with dramas on Thursdays at 8:00 for four/five years (depending on if you call FlashForward a flop for not getting renewed even though it graded as marginal). So at least the network is consistently crazy.

At least with Tuesday, ABC has a very obvious solution: swap SHIELD and Goldbergs/Trophy Wife. Counterprogram with the only sitcoms in the 8:00 PM hour, get SHIELD into the easier 9:00 PM hour, and give Mind Games a stronger lead-in. The Goldbergs is basically getting a second season anyway, Trophy Wife is clearly dunzo, and SHIELD self-starts anyway with 7:30 affiliate lead-ins anyway so TW's weak numbers won't be a huge net negative.

Spot said...

The amount of unknowns with NBC is ridiculous. Everything on Sunday has no chance. It goes new show new show new show with Dateline NBC leading off the night. Dateline can always extend to two hours if Dream Builders flops, but they can't air 4 hours if Crisis and Believe flop. If the new comedies fail, at least they can just switch the results show and them to save Fire

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