|Last Man Standing|
|Premieres October 3|
|Timeslot Occupants||Last Man Standing|
Best Case: Last Man Standing quietly finished last season very well. It hit some 1.4's (that is, above the season average) even in the extremely low-viewed period after DST, and it's getting a much more compatible companion at 8:30. It may very well stay in the 1.3/1.4 range for another full season. 1.36, up a tad.
Worst Case: Despite its good finish, Last Man Standing was one of the last renewals of the season, and the studio isn't going to come down on the license fee any more. The promotion dries up, The Amazing Race is an even more formidable piece of family-viewing competition, and ABC ends the season early to try out some unscripted series that pairs well with Shark Tank. When that series does Last Man numbers or better, it's curtains for the TGIF revival. Down 25% to a 1.00 and dunzo.
Likeliest: I may be reading too much into the delay in the previous Last Man renewal, but I have a sneaking suspicion this series will have a real struggle getting renewed again, much like decent off-studio performer Suburgatory last season. Last Man's best hope may be for Cristela (from the same studio) to hit a ratings sweet spot where it shows potential but not quite enough to stand on its own next season. I see LMS being down less than average early in the fall but tailing off more later in the season, adding up to another 11% drop to 1.18. It'll be another very late decision for ABC.
|Premieres October 10|
|Timeslot Occupants||The Neighbors|
Best Case: The Hispanic demo has gone woefully untapped by broadcasters, and we got a taste of that when family comedy Rob posted some of the best numbers CBS has had after The Big Bang Theory. TV makes stars, and Cristela Alonzo is one that ABC likes a lot. It almost certainly can't start as well as Malibu Country did a couple years ago, but since it's something new rather than a poor man's Reba, it will settle at a stronger level. It matches and occasionally barely edges Last Man Standing. 1.31, basically tying Malibu's raw numbers (if you throw out the first couple episodes). TGIF is suddenly a thriving property again.
Worst Case: The show is far worse than The Neighbors, which more than cancels out a better "fit," and Last Man takes a hit from facing The Amazing Race. Its 0.76 seems to be dragging down Shark Tank, so ABC pulls it after a month or two in favor of Last Man Standing repeats (which actually do a fair amount better).
Likeliest: ABC doesn't really have a replacement for Cristela, and it's tougher to blow this hour up entirely compared with Tuesday 8:00 since there's a veteran leading off. That means this show would have to bomb big-time not to get some kind of extension, and I don't see it going that badly. Cristela averages a 1.00, settling at two tenths behind Last Man. That's actually an improvement on The Neighbors, but that's less a credit to Cristela and more about how terribly placed The Neighbors was. It ekes out a back nine, but is this enough for a renewal? As with Last Man, it's close, but I'd lean slightly toward no.
|The Amazing Race|
|Premieres September 26|
|Timeslot Occupants||Undercover Boss||Unforgettable Spring|
Best Case: This is another Hawaii Five-0 situation waiting to happen; it started to look soft in a tough weeknight timeslot, but it has enough of a loyal following that it can spring a surprise double-digit improvement in its low-viewed Friday timeslot. It also gets a bit of help just from starting on time every week. It drops just 23% to a 1.55, making it CBS' biggest Friday series in Plus in the era.
Worst Case: The Race was never really that much stronger than the Boss when both aired on Sunday together, especially after accounting for the NFL boost being more helpful for Race. And this show's actually been getting weaker lately while Boss has held up. That means Race is actually the inferior series now. It averages a 1.11, down about 45% and way behind the Boss Plus from last fall.
Likeliest: This one really made me respect what Undercover Boss has done in this hour the last couple years. If the Race matches the 34% drop that Hawaii Five-0 took last season, even that would put it behind last year's Undercover Boss in Plus. And H50's 34% drop was actually one of the more favorable Friday drops in recent years. Additionally, Race is coming from a timeslot with a part-time NFL boost. It doesn't "feel" right to say it will do significantly worse than Undercover Boss, but the numbers it'd take to put it above or even on par with the Boss feel like an unrealistically small drop in a move to Friday. I'm really struggling here, so I'll just say it mimics H50's drop to 1.33.
|Premieres September 26|
|Timeslot Occupants||Dateline Fri|
Best Case: Newsmagazines are taking over the world. -2% for the regular season looks good, but Dateline's actually been dead even (+0%) in the summer. It continues to build on that trend, inching up to 1.28 this season.
Worst Case: Whatever bubble it is that's inflated these newsmagazine ratings over the last couple years is about to burst. I can't explain it, but it's got to happen, because these shows had consistent Plus scores for a decade before this. It drops 18% to a 1.03, returning to its Plus level from a couple years ago.
Likeliest: The momentum has to slow down eventually, and it's another show that might get nicked a touch by The Amazing Race. But there's little to indicate an above-average drop. It finally takes a noticeable dip at some point, hitting around 1.0 for most of the spring, but it's still down a bit less than average. -9% to a 1.15.
|Premieres September 12|
|Timeslot Occupants||MasterChef Junior||Bones||Rake|
Best Case: If Fox actually stumbles across an X Factor-sized smash, these Friday editions may produce some of the best Friday numbers we've ever seen. 1.90.
Worst Case: If it tanks very quickly, the Friday numbers could be truly Rake-esque. 0.50.
Likeliest: I'm expecting the Friday average to be pretty close to the Tuesday one because of the scheduling. The Friday run is only for six weeks, two of which are against no real competition, and the Tuesday average will be much higher in the first six weeks than it is by January. 0.90. But this won't be enough to keep it around once MasterChef Junior premieres.
Not including Whose Line Is It Anyway? here because
The Network to Watch: I'll take ABC and Cristela for this one, though your mileage may vary. I'm pretty fascinated by how the whole Amazing Race/Madam Secretary thing goes down over the course of the season, but the hour of greater interest there is on Sunday.
The Picks: I'll give Cristela a shot, but likely nothing.