Thursday, March 27, 2014

Best Case/Worst Case, Late March/Early April 2014: Surviving Jack, Friends with Better Lives and More!


Best Case/Worst Case is back for a miniature edition, previewing the four broadcast shows premiering from now through mid-April. It'll be back for another short edition in late April.

Since some of these shows have episode orders that could extend beyond the regular season, these averages are only for original airings within the regular season.



Image Surviving Jack (NEW!) Slot Average
1.47
Slot Orig Avg
Premieres March 27 1.52
Best Case: Finally, Fox is trying something in the comedy realm with some actual broad family appeal. Reviews are high on Christopher Meloni. And dueling with the weakest CBS comedies, the competition is favorable. This show can hold almost all of American Idol's dwindling audience. 1.65, a renewal, and a seed is planted for some more traditional fare on Fox.

Worst Case:
Rake taught us that though the Idol audience is much smaller in 2014, the expectations for a lead-out's retention percentage shouldn't be any higher. And unlike Rake, this catches the back half of Idol's season, when the ratings for 30-minute results shows will get really ugly. It's not a good fit with Idol, so it averages a nightmarish 0.75.

Likeliest:
I think this gets somewhat better retention than Rake just because there's only a half hour for viewers to fall away. And Rake was an uncommonly huge bomb. But since Idol will be much weaker in this part of the season, the raw numbers won't be any better. At a 1.14, it may sadly be within 18-49 striking distance of the renewed Tuesday comedies, but (much like Dads) lacking the 18-34 appeal that got them renewed.
Occupants
Glee
1.60 1.70
Rake
1.11 0.89
American Idol Thu
2.10 2.51

Image Friends with Better Lives (NEW!) Slot Average
2.26
Slot Orig Avg
Premieres March 31 (9/8c Preview) 2.64
Best Case: The How I Met Your Mother finale lead-in is going into huge territory, which will get the heavily-promoted FWBL a major preview sampling. Much like the huge 2 Broke Girls preview in season one, enough of that moves to 8:30 that it can build on its lead-in by a few ticks, which would create a bit more optimism about CBS' Monday prospects in the fall. 2.50.

Worst Case:
It's previewing after How I Met Your Mother, but that's a very young audience that will tune out as soon as it's over. Then it doesn't air again for two weeks. 2 Broke Girls really struggles with mid-to-high-1's at 8/7c, and FWBL drops at least a third from there. Throw in a couple episodes at the end of the regular season after 2BG repeats and it's a 1.27.

Likeliest:
Though not a huge bomb, Friends with Better Lives looks too generic. By its second regular week, it will stick out as a noticeable weak link in the already soft Monday lineup. It ends up losing 25% or so of the 2BG demo before Mike and Molly gains a bit back at 9/8c. The preview inflation gets it to a 1.60 average, but it'll be more like mid-to-low-1's late in the season, making it a relatively easy cancel.
Occupants
We Are Men
1.90 1.84
2 Broke Girls
2.64 2.32

Image Unforgettable Slot Average
Premieres April 4 1.32
Best Case: Everybody wrote this show off in season one, but it wasn't really that big of a failure; in fact, it's one of CBS' stronger recent Tuesday 10/9c shows. And the pairing with Big Brother last summer was almost unimaginably incompatible. Friday is where it belongs, and it can do close to the other two procedurals' numbers. 1.33.

Worst Case:
It got low 1's with a low 2's lead-in over the summer. That means it should've never been seen again. Leading off Friday is an even worse situation, and it plummets to a repeats of anything-esque 0.60.

Likeliest:
The way I look at the summer run is that it did a couple ticks better than an average procedural repeat would have in that highly incompatible spot. An average repeat would do about a 0.7 here, so I'll go a couple ticks higher again and give Unforgettable a 0.92. Not a terrible embarrassment, but not exactly a sleeper success either.
Slot Orig Avg
1.50
1.11Occupants
Undercover Boss
y2y Label
-51% flop1.51 1.78
True Sitch
1.38 -19%
Last Pick Miss
n/a n/a
2012-13 Slot
Sunday 9:00

Image Kitchen Nightmares Slot Average
Premieres April 11 0.68
Best Case: Airing at the same time as a season of Hell's Kitchen will be a good thing cross-promotionally. That'll help keep it in the low 1's. 1.21.

Worst Case:
Tacking this show on at the end of the regular season won't help its ratings. Neither will its initial lead-in, the likely sub-local programming Rake. Down about 30% more to a 0.78.

Likeliest:
In the fall I projected MasterChef Junior to get a 1.00, which is about what I thought Nightmares would've done. Putting aside the fact that I was terribly wrong about MasterChef Junior, 1.00 was probably about right for a fall-only run of the weaker Nightmares. In the spring, it'll do a bit worse. 0.93.
Slot Orig Avg
0.67
1.13Occupants
Sleepy Hollow (R)
y2y Label
-23% flop0.73 0.82
True SitchEnlisted
1.29 -12%
Last Pick Miss0.70 1.01
n/a n/aRaising Hope
2012-13 Slot
Friday 8:000.66 0.90

8 comments:

Spot said...

I'm surprised that CBS isn't also giving Friends with Better Lives a post-TBBT tryout for one week due to the NCAA Championship preemption. The network must have some confidence in the show by giving it the HIMYM finale lead-out spot instead of giving 2 Broke Girls one last assist or either Mike & Molly or Mom a special boost. For FWBL to get a second season I think it needs to become CBS' second-youngest-skewing comedy (behind TBBT) and be an above league average 18-34 show.

Kitchen Nightmares may benefit from Ramsey awareness thanks to Hell's Kitchen but it's being thrown against Shark Tank. I would have swapped Nightmares and Rake (if I have to keep Rake on the air, period), but perhaps this is an affiliates thing to give them the stronger show for local news.

Surviving Jack is one of the network's occasional, twisted spin on the family sitcom (Raising Hope, Malcolm in the Middle) but that's not where their brand lies. It has to overachieve to earn a season 2, but a half-hour Idol results show likely mean that the reality show is going sub-2 and won't be big help. Had Fox built a sitcom block of shows that leaned more male - Dads, Surviving Jack, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Enlisted - maybe then it wouldn't feel like Fox is just throwing what's left against the wall to fill a scheduling hole.


CBS is going tri-drama again on Fridays since the Made in Jersey debacle in 2012. Unforgettable shouldn't sink that low, but it's almost irrelevant since this is season 2B while season 3 has a spot on the summer schedule already. Still a little surprised that Unforgettable isn't filling in for Intelligence and that CBS hasn't announced what's taking over Mondays at 10:00 in April/May. I would have thought filling a weeknight slot would be more important than a weekend slot.

Spot said...

I think CBS has assisted 2BG enough and it should stand on its own or not by now.
I do think it might have been a good idea to give Mom a good lead-in for once, but they've already renewed it so w/e.

Spot said...

While ratings declines overall for CBS are more gradual than the other nets (at least it seems that way), I think CBS is in for some especially challenging seasons ahead (more challenging than they have experienced in recent years) as their still strong but shrinking older-skewing audience rejects any programming with an eye toward a more youthful audience. From what I have read about Friends With Better Lives, it sounds as if it is raunchier and more offensive than both 2 Broke Girls and Two and A Half Men which could either work in its favor or kill it. But I agree with Spot's assessment; this will be an easy cancel after big debut ratings.

Spot said...

Mondays at 10:00 in April/May:
I think we'll see repeats of (in alphabetical order) Elementary, NCIS:LA and Person of Interest there. Those are three candidates for that timeslot next season, so I'd expect CBS to test those 3 shows there.
Moreover, if they don't test one there, we may take it as that show staying in its timeslot. Or at least at same night.

Spot said...

Surviving Jack - Idol is fading fast, sub 1s average (only a bit better than the worst case scenario) and cancel.


Friends With Better Lives - huge premiere but low retention, after that, free falling.


Unforgettable - around 0.8-1.0, so, same opinion.


KN - see Unforgettable

Spot said...

It just feels very un-CBS like to have a regularly scheduled rerun hour on a night like Monday. Then again, that night in particular sprung a huge leak this season so it's not incredibly surprising if they go this route. Outside of those shows, I think season 1 of Under the Dome is a possibility to remind fans that it's coming back.

Of the shows you mentioned, my gun-to-the-head guess of which show moves to Monday at 10:00 next season is NCIS: LA. It essentially did the same business ratings-wise with the Rudolph special lead-in instead of its parent show while also against the DWTS Fall finale. So CBS may try a NCIS / NCIS: NoLa pairing...or at least that's my wishful thinking because they didn't go for the NCIS triumvirate this season with Red. Person of Interest won't move unless they go for said triumvirate, and throwing Elementary against Castle and whatever high-testing NBC freshman drama is more punishment than the show can take.

Spot said...

Unusual, but based on CBS announcing all of their midseason and summer schedule without mentioning post-Intelligence Mon 10 PM, I'd say likely.

I would put NCIS: LA there in the blink of an eye. Very similar show, Hawaii Five-0, did OK there. But it is that they had stubbornly refused to move it from Tuesday, why I'm not sure.

As for Elementary, when Moonves said TBBT won't premiere in November, he also added Elementary might not too. Moving it to anywhere but Mon 10 PM, would be the move for the sake of the move. Well, not on CBS. So there's possibility.

Person of Interest to Monday would mean moving it for two years in a row. Very un-CBSish... but if they would be forced to do some un-CBSishly moves (because of TNF or whatever), WB-owned POI might as well be chosen for stepchild treatment.

Spot said...

I'm guessing NCIS: LA hasn't moved because of the good-not-great ratings/scheduling theory (see: Brothers & Sisters, Castle, Private Practice, CSI) and because CBS focused on other priorities they thought were higher: launching the comedy hours on Thursdays in 2010-2011 & 2013-2014, fixing the 10:00 PM hours, etc. But now that the Tuesday 10:00 hour isn't as problematic since Person of Interest may be the first show to at least hit the league average, it's the perfect opportunity to hammock a new drama between two solid shows.

It'll be interesting to see how CBS deals with having to create two schedules for a single season for the first time.

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