Friday, September 5, 2014

Fall 2014 Best Case/Worst Case, Friday 8/7c

Best Case/Worst Case moves to the Friday 8/7c hour. Only one network goes scripted, but CBS' import of longtime staple The Amazing Race is also worth watching.

Last Man Standing
Premieres October 3
y2y Label True Sitch 2013-14 Slot
1.33 -11% solid(Fri) 1.65 -19% Friday 8:00

Timeslot OccupantsLast Man Standing
Avg Orig Avg
1.23 1.34 1.33 1.65

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.

Cristela (NEW!)
Premieres October 10

Timeslot OccupantsThe Neighbors
Avg Orig Avg
0.99 0.98 0.95 1.16

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
y2y Label True Sitch 2013-14 Slot
2.02 -21% solid 1.77 +14% Sunday 8:00

Timeslot OccupantsUndercover Boss Unforgettable Spring
Avg Orig Avg
1.25 1.33 1.51 1.78 0.92 1.29

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
y2y Label True Sitch 2013-14 Slot
1.26 -2% solid(Fri) 1.57 -19% Friday 9:00

Timeslot OccupantsDateline Fri
Avg Orig Avg
1.45 1.24 1.27 1.59

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.

Utopia (NEW!)
Premieres September 12

Timeslot OccupantsMasterChef Junior Bones Rake
Avg Orig Avg
1.07 1.25 1.40 1.62 1.54 1.72 0.47 0.65

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 I'm lazy I'm not sure how often it will actually be original, and it's already been on the schedule on an ongoing basis anyway.

The Basics:

bc Rank y2y Rank TPUT Rank bc/TPUT Rank
Friday 8:00 5.1 19 +2% 5 26.6 20 19% 19

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.


Spot said...

i would be more able to see an upside to Amazing Race if it hadn't fallen so much in the spring and become a sub league average show. But I think that it can manage around a 1.4
I'm sure Tim Allen took a big pay cut in season 2 of LMS and having too Again in season 3 probably held things up. That shoe is consistant!

Spot said...

Last Man Standing : Barely renewed after tough negotiations, that never bodes well. Though, compared to dramas, budget cuts are easier masked in sitcoms. I think the best case is it keeps current A18-49+, which would put it at 1.20. Likely then 1.05 with worst at 0.90.
Cristela : Diversity and other feel good things aside, this is just another formulaic, bland sitcom. I doubt it can retain 100% of its lead-in, but if I expect lead-in to be so weak, then I can see Cristela being close to it, and my likely is 0.95. I think it airs until Christmas, then in January is replaced by Fresh of the Boat. This assumes Tuesday 8 PM hour is given to some drama (or less likely, some reality show) at some point, which I'm pretty much sure will happen.
Though other scenario is in play if Selfie does good:
"Manhattan" and Cristela early cancellation, Selfie/FotB at Tuesday, LMS doubled up at Friday to burn it off. Then in spring some reality comes at Friday 8 PM (maybe even 2 hours of Shark Tank), finally.

The Amazing Race : I'll be very specific here - best/likely/worse = 1.60/1.50/1.40. Surely it goes down on a lower viewed night, with a weaker lead-in. But I doubt it goes bellow what Undercover Boss would do - otherwise CBS would just leave UB here, and put The Amazing Race on the bench instead.

Dateline : I have no idea.

Utopia : My Tuesday prediction was likely 1.8, best 2.1, and worst 1.4.
Then I see Friday edition 20% lower than it - 1.45 with best/worst at 1.65 / 1.15.

Whose Line Is It Anyway? : So, initially CW will run repeats of it at Friday 8 PM? If true, why then not air Hart of Dixie there? To get rid of it.
If there will be WLIIA originals in the fall after all - spring Friday episodes were at exactly 0.50 average. Similar competition, but viewing levels a bit higher in the fall. Then I think 0.55.

Spot said...

I am in no way representative of the audience but I didn't watch TAR for the first time in years, mostly because Rachel and Brandon made me quit watching the first season they were on. Plus, several of the All Stars were coming back for a THIRD try. The casting really hit me wrong. Like I said, I don't know if I'm representative, but the casting could well have been part of the reason fell.

Spot said...

My understanding is that Whose Line is going Original/Repeat in this hour for the Fall. Given that the show's repeats can hit the first-run numbers, it makes sense to amortize the (minimal) costs and rerun it ad infinitum.

I'm still of the opinion that ABC's renewal of Last Man Standing was connected with the pick-ups of Cristela and Fresh Off the Boat, sort of how Sony probably tied The Blacklist with Community last season to give the sitcom a fifth season (though NBC's complete ineptitude with comedies helped Community's young-skewing case). If we see ABC ordering multi-cams to pilot this season even in the face of Cristela not working, that could be a good sign for LMS.

By far the most interesting thing to me, though, is The Amazing Race. We've thought that going to/from Friday & Sunday is a lateral move if you're a CBS show, and now we get another chance to see how true that is. Does start time consistency trump an NFL boost? Or is the Race a HIMYM/Big Brother-esque performer that didn't really get a football bounce anyway? I and my DVR will at least appreciate this scheduling (because lord knows I'm not usually home on a Friday night).

My pick: The Amazing Race

Spot said...

TAR's situation is legitimately interesting, and I'm with Spot in thinking there's a big range here. It [i]should[/i] be ugly in one way, but the NFL lead-in is a mixed blessing, and it's dented big time by 60 Minutes anyway. It'll surely have to do better than UB numbers to win a renewal from here.

Spot said...

I think the Amazing Race is comparable to Extreme Home Makeover a few years back. Both are family oriented reality shows moving from Sundays at 8 to Fridays at 8.

Spot said...

I think there's a few key differences:

1. The Amazing Race will have a consistent start time in the Fall for the first time since 2005. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition never had that situation.
2. Race is a serialized reality show while EM:HE was a standalone show.
3. Other than Undercover Boss' brief time on the night, CBS hasn't historically tried to program Sunday to win. So Race became the crown jewel ratings-wise. ABC has a history of trying to be splashy and trying to compete. EM:HE was always outshone by Desperate Housewives & Grey's Anatomy, and was neck-and-neck with Brothers & Sisters.

Spot said...

Pretty sure it's encores at 8 and two-hour Datelines from 9-11.

Spot said...

This hour doesn't really have much scripted for me to predict so here it goes:
- Last Man Standing: 1.26. I guess you can say I am much more positive about this one than you are even though we only have a 6% difference. The thing with this show is that it had an 11% drop last year in a much tougher situation! Not only it didn't have those very initially high rated episodes from early on when it premiered on Fridays, it also had an incompetent lead-out and, much more importantly, it had to air deep into the spring, which didn't happen the year before when Happy Endings took over. So I really don't find anything going against it this year after having held so well last season. Sure, there is TAR, but I am not sure how much overlap there is there. So I think it grows on Plus this season. You may have a point in it struggling to get a renewal this year but IMO that would be for reasons that are non ratings related so I don't see the point of letting said reasons influence the ratings predictions.

- Cristela: 1.01: We have the same number here but since it's all about retention my number looks worse than yours and that feels right to me since I am less optimistic about this than you are. Not much to add but I am not a big buyer here. So I gave it a generic 80% retention, which is about the same number that had MC canned two years ago, for whatever it's worth (for the record, I kind of think ABC regrets simply not riding that one out. It would be a studios production entering its third season now had it been renewed and probably continuing to do the same unspectacular but passable retention here.

On the unscripted front, only TAR is worth any look at. You pose some very compelling arguments about it since I had always been assuming that the show was a shoe in to improve on the slot but now it looks less certain. I still feel that Sundays=Fridays on CBS so maybe your H50 comparison is not fair because it's almost like the show was already on Fridays before, hence the percentage drop should be way lower than from a show moving from an actual weekday. It will be interesting to see.

Network to watch: Taking CBS here, TAR's transition will be interesting to watch

My Picks: Probably the only hour of the week in which I have nothing.

Spot said...

Well, we all thought that two seasons ago ABC also had to order another multicam to keep LMS and they went with The Neighbrors as its pair, so who knows what they will come up with? I am not sure development is such a huge help in predicting the fate of LMS.

Spot said...

Regarding Dixie, my understanding is that the show is not ready to go since Rachel Bilson is pregnant. I haven't been following it closely so I could be wrong

Spot said...

And it will have to be comedy encores since they are not launching any drama this early fall which is one of the biggest scheduling oddities of the year (I am sorry but I don't consider Mysteries of Laura a serious attempt since I expect it to be canned in no time)

Spot said...

That's logical explanation. Thanks.

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