Sunday, August 31, 2014

Fall 2014 Best Case/Worst Case, Intro & Sunday 7/6c

We're just 22 days from the official start of the new fall season, and Best Case/Worst Case is back to preview one hour of the fall schedule each of those 22 days. Once the whole sked is in the books, it'll be time for premiere week!

Since the low-priority Sunday 7/6 shows are never very interesting, I've started using this post as a de facto intro to the project each year. Here are a few quick things to know about this year's edition:

1. The tables have been rearranged. Taking all the text out of the table should make it less of a hassle on mobile, and I'm soon adding a script which will make the individual tables scrollable on small screens. But it's all the same numbers as were in these tables when introduced two years ago.

2. For the first time, I'm going to do multiple predictions for a show that moves in the middle of the season. This won't happen for all (or even most) of the moving shows, as I don't see there being a ton to say about lateral-ish moves (like The Big Bang Theory's Monday -> Thursday) or burn-off situations. It's mostly here for NBC's The Blacklist plan, though other situations may perk up that warrant it. (I probably would've done Bones' Friday move last year, for instance.) Basically, all the predictions here will be for the show's first listed timeslot, rather than projecting future moves (even ones that have been announced).

3. This isn't new, but CBS' introduction of Thursday Night Football will make it more extreme this year. These 22 posts will only predict the first regular series in each slot. So quite a few series are getting bumped to the "late fall" edition, including 2 Broke Girls, CBS' Thursday entertainment series, MasterChef Junior, State of Affairs, as well as other late fall changes that may get announced based on early developments.

4. The True numbers listed in these posts will be the old (that is, 2013-14) version. I've been working on a new version this summer, but it's not quite to my satisfaction right now. Let's hope it will get there over the next three weeks...

And with that, away we go! The Sunday 7/6c hour is a primetime oddity, essentially a low-viewed weekend hour that the networks usually fill with low-priority stuff. But it leads into the highest-viewed three-hour period of the week, and on NFL Sundays it often pulls some of the week's highest ratings.

America's Funniest Home Videos
Premieres October 5
y2y Label True Sitch 2013-14 Slot
1.40 -6% marginal 1.36 +3% Sunday 7:00

Timeslot OccupantsAmerica's Funniest Home Videos
Avg Orig Avg
1.36 1.39 1.40 1.36

Best Case: Like 60 Minutes, ABC's lead-off show will continue getting stronger compared to regular entertainment programming. This isn't nearly as big a deal as 60 Minutes' NFL lead-ins, but it gets a late-season boost when ABC airs the NBA playoffs in the late afternoon, and that will only intensify over time. Throw in a little interest in host Tom Bergeron's final season and it's up a hundredth to 1.41.

Worst Case: This show has really overachieved for a couple years running now, and people will finally start to realize how obsolete this should be in a world with YouTube. It drops 18% to a 1.15, putting it on the low end of its Plus scores over the last eleven years.

Likeliest: As much as this show may seem like a relic, there's little to suggest it's slowing down. It's been around a 1.0 for repeats this summer, which is actually slightly up from last year's average. I don't see it getting a whole lot stronger than last year's already high-end number, but it's down a tiny bit less than average: -9% to a 1.28.

60 Minutes
Premieres September 21
y2y Label True Sitch 2013-14 Slot
1.96 -7% solid 1.54 +28% Sunday 7:00

Timeslot Occupants60 Minutes
Avg Orig Avg
3.13 2.01 1.51 1.43

Best Case: CBS has a string of amazing late-afternoon games and its heavily-boosted lead-out 60 Minutes grows slightly to 2.05.

Worst Case: The introduction of Thursday Night Football slightly dilutes CBS' afternoon NFL matchups on average, and slightly dilutes the production as well (since CBS' NFL A-team will be primarily focused on Thursdays). Throw in a slightly off year for the NFL in general and 60 Minutes drops 15% to a 1.67.

Likeliest: I'm a very slight seller on the NFL this year, but not enough of one to bring 60 Minutes below a league-average drop. It goes -9% to a 1.79 average.

Even I'm not enough of a completist to do the 90 minutes of Sunday Night Football pregame shows, so we'll jump right into the SNF prediction as always.

Sunday Night Football
Premieres September 4
y2y Label True Sitch 2013-14 Slot
7.90 -3% megahit 7.22 +9% Sunday 8:30

Timeslot OccupantsFootball Night in America p2
Avg Orig Avg
1.38 0.73 1.68 1.48

Best Case: The franchise has been down in raw numbers for the last two years, and by NFL standards that's "underachievement." It will even out from that and return to its 8.36 raw numbers zenith from two years ago, marking a +6% season.

Worst Case: The NFL has simply reached a point where it can't really grow anymore. And in fact, a rather discouraging preseason suggests it may be on a cultural downturn. A third major primetime package on Thursday oversaturates the NFL market. Sunday Night Football drops about in line with entertainment programming, if not a bit more, down over 10% to 7.00.

Likeliest: Preseason returns are not exactly encouraging, but they're probably not all that meaningful either. Still, factor in that and the added Thursday games and I think the year-to-year trend will continue to ever-so-slightly worsen. But I can't see it getting down into entertainment programming decline territory. Down about 4.5% to a 7.55.

Bob's Burgers
Premieres October 5
y2y Label True Sitch 2013-14 Slot
1.47 -24% marginal 1.37 +7% Sun 8:30, Sun 7:00

Timeslot OccupantsThe OT American Dad!
Avg Orig Avg
4.31 1.26 5.21 2.32 1.27 1.44

Best Case: The best case is actually that Bob's Burgers doesn't have to air much at 7:30, which would likely be connected to a quick hook for Mulaney. But if it does air pretty much entirely at 7:30, the best Fox has really done in this slot historically is a little over a 70 Plus. That would translate to about a 1.27 (or the same raw number American Dad! averaged there in just the spring).

Worst Case: The worst they've done historically at 7:30 is in the 60 Plus range, but those shows (even The Cleveland Show) were a bit stronger than Bob's. It could do a bit worse; maybe it matches the 0.95 that it averaged at 7:00 last spring.

Likeliest: With Bordertown in reserve, it will probably take a lot for Bob's to find its way back to 8:30 or 9:30 on a regular basis. But a lot could happen. It's tough to predict the effect of erratic scheduling and local NFL lead-ins in the fall, but I'll say a 1.12 for the 7:30 episodes.

The Network to Watch: Fox. How near is the end for the poorly-treated Bob's Burgers?

The Picks: I will watch NFL overruns!


Spot said...

I'm excluding sports and newsmagazines in this:
AFV: It's one of those shows. The kind that are so cheap, get zilch promotion, and are only around as timeslot filler. It'll get renewed again for the next 20 years.

Bob's Burgers: This is a tricky one. Cleveland Show lasted two seasons there, King of the Hill lasted 7, Futurama lasted two, and Bob's Burgers got one so far. By that, this or next season will be Bob's last. It'll just go over the syndication limit by this season though, and since Bordertown is MacFarlane's baby, there's bound to be huge priority, especially if Mulaney tanks. So I'll just say 75% chance of cancelation.

Spot said...

Yay, Fall is almost here!

One more season of 22 episodes will give Bob's Burgers 89 episodes, so I think this one will be the last.

Spot said...

Thanks for the new formatting for the table! It's so much easier to read.

Spot said...

The relative suspension lengths of Ray Rice (two games for domestic violence) and Josh Gordon (16 games for marijuana use) might be the sort of moment that goes down as a tipping point if we are indeed talking about "cultural downturn." But I don't get as much of a feel of that this year as I did with concussion last year, although of course the latter is still an ongoing concern.

Flipside in terms of SNF ratings is that the NFL (after consultation with the three relevant networks) can now audible out of two SNF matches between weeks 5 and 10, as well as having the previous 'flex scheduling' in the second half of the season. This probably mostly serves as insurance against an injury to a star QB who moves the ratings needle. (For instance, week 8 has a Packers-Saints match marked for SNF that's already being marketed as a clash of elite QBs; if either of them were to be injured early in the season, the NFL might prefer the Bears-Patriots game to be in primetime instead.) That in turn limits the downside potential for SNF this year from matchups. (Of course, there's always the risk of a blowout...)

Spot said...

I'd guess the ability to flex two games from week 5-10, rather than just from week 11 onwards, would lead to a modest ratings increase for Sunday Night Football. I vaguely remember some really bad matchups in those weeks last season.

Spot said...

Bob's Burgers had a reeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaallllllyyy hard time breaking a 1.0 when it moves to 7. It even hit a .6 (or 32 plus!!!). Now, even the Cleveland Show hit a 2.2 in its final season when it had some regional overrun lead in on premiere night, so Bob's might catch a break. But Cleveland's final seaon had it premiere a week late, take a MONTH off, take a week off, air on a week where the rest were on repeats. And so on. Only aired 6 episodes in the fall!

Spot said...

It's finally here! Can't wait for this! This year I've already published my own predictions over at spoilerTV so I don't even have the chance of being influenced by yours! I am very excited to read your thoughts, per usual.

Spot said...

Two 6.3s in that spell - Packers @ Vikings in week 8 and Colts @ Texans in week 9. The latter would assuredly have been switched out of given the chance - the Texans were midway through their 14-game crash for Clowney at that point. I thought initially that the Packers-Vikings game was deflated by no Aaron Rodgers, but his injury came the following week, so that one was presumably down to the Vikings also being way out of playoff contention at that point too.

(All four of those teams were in the playoffs in 2012 if memory serves, so it was no great leap of faith to put those games on the SNF sked in the first place, especially as they were also both divisional games.)

Spot said...

My picks: America's Funniest Home Videoes. Football doesn't interest me

Spot said...

Bob's Burgers only gets back to a more favorable :30 slot if both Mulaney and Brooklyn Nine-Nine bomb. And I feel like Fox is going to give 9-9 the whole season at 8:30 since, in their mind, they are sheltering it from the crumbling Tuesday comedy block; right now I wouldn't be surprised if it's Fox only live-action sitcom come 2015-2016. Meanwhile, Bob's best chance for another season is moving to Adult Swim.

My pick: Nothing.

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