Monday, September 1, 2014

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

Though Best Case/Worst Case officially began with yesterday's intro/Sunday 7:00 shows, it really kicks into gear today with one of the most intriguing hours on the schedule. How big will Fox's highest drama hope Gotham be? Can CBS' reduced comedy lineup stop the bleeding? And in the music competition duel, will Dancing with the Stars keep chipping away at The Voice?

Dancing with the Stars
Premieres September 15
y2y Label True Sitch 2013-14 Slot
2.16 -5% solid 2.09 +3% Monday 8:00

Timeslot OccupantsDancing with the Stars Fall The Bachelor Dancing with the Stars Spring
Avg Orig Avg
2.13 2.23 2.14 2.06 2.51 2.43 2.32 2.53

Best Case: In 2013-14, the fast-fading Dancing with the Stars improbably reversed course with a -5% fall and, more significantly, a +2% spring. The momentum is undeniable, and at this point DWTS may just blow past its spring numbers. Adds a tenth to the spring total and posts a 2.42, up double-digits from last fall.

Worst Case: This so-called "momentum" has really only lasted for two seasons, which is less a trend and more a temporary spike in casting. DWTS will promptly return to the just-above-average level to which it had fallen in its 2012-13 seasons. Down 17% to a 1.80.

Likeliest: I'm still skeptical about just how much farther this comeback can go, but it'd be tough to call for an immediate end based on how well last season went. DWTS is probably going to have at least one more "good" season, and then maybe it'll start tailing off again in the spring. This fall averages a 2.11, down 2% from last fall.

The Big Bang Theory
Premieres September 22; Moves to Thu October 30
y2y Label True Sitch 2013-14 Slot
5.07 -4% megahit 5.28 -4% Thursday 8:00

Timeslot OccupantsHow I Met Your Mother 2 Broke Girls
Avg Orig Avg
2.65 3.10 3.39 3.26 2.18 2.53

Best Case: The finale was up year-to-year! And CBS is gonna be promoting its crown jewel even more than usual this year since it'll be asked to start off two different entertainment lineups. It picks back up the 4% lost last year, hitting 2012-13's 5.25 average.

Worst Case: It seems the trend is getting worse for this series, as last year brought the first raw numbers decline in three years. Big Bang is so entrenched on Thursday that not all of the casual audience will know about the quick Monday stop, and then even more slippage occurs when the show is jerked back to the Thursday lineup. Big Bang plummets by nearly 20% to a 4.16.

Likeliest: For almost all of last season (early weeks and finale excepted), it really looked like we were past Big Bang's raw peak. The downward trend means we're probably getting close to this behemoth's historical-adjusted peak as well. Will this be the season? I would lean toward "not quite" under normal circumstances, but the multiple moves might nick it a bit. This will be a close call. Down right around 10% to a 4.56. (Note: this is one of the few predictions that will cover multiple regular timeslots. This is for the full season, Monday + Thursday.)

Premieres September 29
y2y Label True Sitch 2013-14 Slot
2.09 solid 1.91 +9% Monday 9:30

Timeslot OccupantsWe Are Men 2 Broke Girls Friends with Better Lives
Avg Orig Avg
2.23 2.51 1.90 1.71 2.62 2.22 1.70 1.81

Best Case: Remember when Monday at 9:30 was by far the best place on TV to launch a new comedy? Those times have changed. It has shown an ability to spike when its lead-in spikes (including during summer repeat season), but it's still never had a real lead-in spike; none of its lead-ins did a 3.0+ last season. That's about to change with four weeks after The Big Bang Theory. It should comfortably hit series highs in those airings, and it's got the goods creatively to keep a low-2's volume around after BBT is gone, even building noticeably on 2 Broke Girls. It adds up to an over 15% sophomore bounce to 2.44.

Worst Case: The once-proud CBS Monday lineup has become a toxic wasteland. How I Met Your Mother's final season just masked the problem last year (and it didn't even mask it that much). 2 Broke Girls disappoints as an anchor year after year, and everything else (Mom included) is lead-in dependent. Mom will get some bounce from TBBT, but when the dust settles it'll just retain 80%ish of an ever-crumbling 2BG. Down nearly 20% to a 1.69.

Likeliest: Enough people seem to believe in this show creatively that I'm inclined to say the Big Bang exposure may help the show even over the long term. Still, it just doesn't feel like the kind of thing that a ton of people will actively seek out. I think the BBT boost will do just enough to get this show roughly matching the 2BG 8:00 rating most weeks. But it'll have a slightly higher average than 2BG because of those opening weeks. A 2.10, up a hundredth from last year.

The Voice
Premieres September 22
y2y Label True Sitch 2013-14 Slot
4.02 -8% megahit 3.69 +9% Monday 8:00

Timeslot OccupantsThe Voice Mon Fall The Voice Mon Spr
Avg Orig Avg
3.38 3.42 4.07 3.72 3.55 3.69

Best Case: The Voice's ability to cast appealing people in the coach seats is simply unmatched. Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams actually represent a marked improvement on Christina and CeeLo, keeping The Voice's fall season on the improved side in Plus. It's down 5% to a 3.82.

Worst Case: This series has been trending in the wrong direction of late. Even in a good fall season, it dropped much more in the second half of the season, and then the spring season was down more than average even with what should've been very favorable scheduling. (It started earlier on the calendar and came off of Olympics promotion.) With even more competition, it'll really start to snowball this year. Down 25% to just a 3.00.

Likeliest: The momentum does not seem to be on this show's side right now, and that's not a good place to be when such a brutal Monday slate looms. The new judges may help, but probably not much. The Voice is headed for its worst year-to-year decline yet: -17% to a 3.35.

Gotham (NEW!)
Premieres September 22

Timeslot OccupantsBones Almost Human
Avg Orig Avg
1.74 1.81 1.79 1.85 1.78 1.70

Best Case: The obvious comparison for Gotham is last year's Agents of SHIELD, which averaged a 2.39 or a 127 Plus. Gotham actually has a few clear advantages in that comparison: Batman is even more iconic than anything Marvel. The early episodes won't be blatantly hamstrung by upcoming developments in the movie universe as SHIELD was. And the late episodes... won't exist, since the order is just 16 episodes. This may be the recipe for an actual megahit drama. Holy 3.50, Batman!

Worst Case: What Gotham lacks is that immediate, close connection to an ongoing blockbuster movie universe. SHIELD's premiere rating wouldn't have been so ridiculous without that immediacy, and Gotham's won't be either. Throw in a mountain of early competition and Gotham gets off to a surprisingly modest start. Then comes the early-SHIELD problem: it's a procedural for an audience seeking something else entirely. It adds up to a front-loaded league average-ish show that may get the Almost Human treatment due to heavy costs. 1.68.

Likeliest: If Guardians of the Galaxy's success this summer with relatively obscure characters taught me anything, it was just how powerful the Marvel brand is. Gotham will open well, but the afterglow of The Avengers is something this show can't match. I expect closer to a Sleepy Hollow start here than a SHIELD start. And it will drop more post-premiere than Hollow, settling at 2.0 or just a bit south and averaging a still very good 2.25 in total. Despite some of the inevitable "disappointment" cries, it's a slam dunk renewal.

The Originals
Premieres October 6
y2y Label True Sitch 2013-14 Slot
0.89 hit(CW) 0.94 -5% Tuesday 8:00

Timeslot OccupantsHart of Dixie Star-Crossed
Avg Orig Avg
0.36 0.36 0.40 0.40 0.32 0.37

Best Case: If The Originals could handle NCIS and Agents of SHIELD, it can easily handle an even lighter slot for drama. (There's also no more Pretty Little Liars on cable to contend with.) The Originals holds up much better in the second half of the season story-wise and is thus nearly even at a 0.86.

Worst Case: Now this was a bad late-season trend, from a 1.1 on January 21 to a 0.6 just three months later. It's changing nights and the pairing with megabomb-to-be Jane the Virgin doesn't make any sense. This will get reeeeeally ugly. It only brings that 0.6 to its early episodes and goes through the 0.5's and then the 0.4's as the season progresses. 0.50, down well over 40%.

Likeliest: The Worst Case stuff all seems pretty compelling here, sadly, though it will do at least a little better at each step than the trajectory I laid out. It'll manage some 0.7+'s in the fall/winter and dip to 0.5 toward the end. But the 0.64 average is still down nearly 30% (even if it's a massive improvement to the timeslot).

The Basics:

bc Rank y2y Rank TPUT Rank bc/TPUT Rank
Monday 8:00 9.7 5 -3% 9 33.7 5 29% 6

The Cable:

ShowNetworkPremieres Avg y2y
Monday Night FootballESPN9/85.18+2%
WWE RawUSAongoing1.27-13%

The Network to Watch: They're actually all pretty interesting here, but I'll take Fox's dip in the comic book pool.

The Picks: I am trying Gotham, plus the few Monday weeks of The Big Bang Theory. I might check in at some point on how much Mom has improved.


Spot said...

Yay, it's finally here!

As usual, I don't predict unscripted but I would think the predictions for The Voice and DWTS are pretty much in line with what I expect. Regarding the voice, I would only add that personally I think Season 6 had issues creatively with the talent. I really like the show but I thought Season 6 really didn't gather an overall interesting group of singers (despite some excellent ones in the mix) in addition to some hiccups in terms of song choices and stuff like that (more than usual). This may be 100% a personal thing and not reflective of the overall view, but if it isn't, there may be potential for a better recovery than the raw numbers last season would indicate.

Now, in terms of the other predictions, I will go from the closest one to the furthest one:
- The Originals: 0.63. Almost on point with yours! It is however strange because you "feel" way more negative about it than I do and at the end we have the same number. I think the negatives aren't that negative (it was already facing the voice) and the positives do exist (the pretty little liars thing is a big one, and I would also add 18-34 draw Glee in there). We do end up in the same spot though, so it's probably irrelevant.

- The Big Bang Theory: 4.47. We are quite close, percentage wise, on this show as well, so I at least feel good about my prediction. The Monday thing is a mixed bag because Monday just seems to be so much more high viewed than Thursday that I think Big Bang could actually do better than it would do on Thursday early fall, but the Thursday return in the middle of the fall should be of no help. I think it has peaked, just barely, and is still a monster.

- Gotham: 2.36: For a show with such a big range, we are just 5% off which is not too bad I guess. I generally agree with your assessment. But one important distinction from Shield is that I think this show has done a slightly better job at announcing upfront what it is about (it's Gotham, not Batman, while last year it felt like everyone was expecting Iron Man to pop in Shield). So that could lead to a lower initial sampling but lower post premiere drop as well. Regardless of the exact number, I 100% agree with the outcome: it will be a big success for dying FOX and a very easy renewal even though cries of disappointment and hate will persist!

- Mom: 2.25. I am more positive than you are on Mom because it really feels like the kind of show that never had a good lead-in and that could benefit from some additional exposure. Even more, that additional exposure may have happened already seeing how it has been reaired this summer on CBS (both after 2BG and after TBBT) and on TBS. I don't think this show has ever been given a fair shot so I think it can take advantage of all of this. This was a case in which I felt that I was being optimistic when predicting but it was a deliberate thing because it was a show that I feel has enough going for it to justify that (Never mind the fact that it was also one of my biggest misses from last year!!)

Spot said...

Dancing with the Stars: While I definitely believe the stability of DWTS is impressive, do I expect it to trend upwards? No. Do I expect it to go down south? Heck no! At worst, maybe a -5%. It'll still be a show that will stay on and be in that little bubble it's been in.

Big Bang Theory: Despite being down, it's still leaps and bounds above the rest of the pack. But has it reached its peak? Probably. And while many think that Big Bang moving to another night then back again will hurt the ratings, I personally don't see it. Maybe slightly down around -8%.

Mom: CBS really loves Chuck Lorre. It's clear the Eye really wants this show to break out huge, but will the 4 weeks really do that big of an impression for the series? I believe so, but nothing huge. 2 Broke Girls has been depleting more and more, but Mom still has that Lorre effect. I definitely believe in a boost, but only around +10-15%, which isn't up to previous Lorre standards, but could be worse.

The Voice: It'll probably down another 10%. I like Pharell as much as the next guy, but the bad trends going on getting worse and worse as time goes on makes it looking like it'll keep sinking. Now there's zilch chance for an Idol situation, but I expect no huge improvement.

Gotham: This is tough. Fox has been stuck in a rut, but I don't see that hurting it. Buzz for the series is overall solid, there's brand recognition, but that didn't help SHIELD. Heck, fanboys were pretty critical on SHIELD! And of course, while it is the only male-skewer for the majority of the season, there's still the death star of Big Bang to look out for. I'd say around mid 3 for premiere, and settles in mid-high 2's for the season.

The Originals: The show doesn't have Glee or Pretty Little Liars anymore, but it's spring #s against Voice doesn't bode well. And with 2 Broke Girls/Mom added to the equation, we have four female-skewing shows competing for an audience. Add on to the declining ratings of the mothership, and being put in the same day that had "hits" like Hart of Dixie and Beauty and the Beast shows that there isn't a whole lot of things going for it. And Jane the Virgin airing right after it? Really? Down 15%, maybe even 20%.

Spot said...

The Big Bang Theory was unphased by the special Thursday Voice specials. It is also used to facing Idol when it was much stronger. Unless Gotham just breaks out I see big numbers for Monday here. Especially since it will be only one day removed from the Sunday afternoon promos and in a much higher viewed slot. Thursdays at 8 is a low viewed slot for a weekday.
I see a low three premiere for Gotham and low 2's for the rest of the season. But if its too procedural for the the AV Club and Reddit crowd to get behind, it could end up skewing too old. Batman is an OLD character. Tons of 50 plusers know it, unlike say the Green Arrrow or Phil Coulson.
I see Mom getting a nice boost. I'm hoping for a HIMYM/2BG or Middle/Suburgatory season one feels here

Spot said...

Nothing to comment really. I agree with practically everything. Maybe I'd give TBBT and Gotham a tick or two higher average ratings. And definitely Mom, but in opposite direction. I think it goes a south of 2.0, but just a bit. I see no reason CBS audience would suddenly embrace it after underwhelming first season.

The Originals had 1.1 W18-34 average for the show's first season. This is more rough slot for female oriented show, so I think its W18-34 goes down to 0.8, at best 0.9, at worst 0.7. Which would mean 0.65 in A18-49 (with best/worst case at 0.75/0.55, I'd say), exactly what's Spot saying.

Spot said...

In the early weeks of a show a lead in is very important. And by the first week of November Mom had had 2 Broke Girls, Big Bang Theory (R), and Mike & Molly as a lead in. And later it had Friends with Better Lives as a lead in. I think Mom should benefit from some consistancy

Spot said...

Dancing with the Stars: I'm gonna wait and see until the new cast is announced, but I can't see it declining more than 10%. It might be hurt by TBBT, but the two shows don't have a similar base audience. If CBS does have an impact, I think it can definitely make up ground in a much easier 9:00 hour.

The Big Bang Theory: Agree with you completely. The show has faced tough competition before and I can't see it being directly hurt by The Voice. However, I think the schedule-jerking and the collective decline of CBS Thursday will lead to league-average drop for the show.

Mom: I think it will definitely see a bounce from season 1, but the question is by how much. Here's my issue: if TBBT couldn't help The Millers than there's no reason to suggest that it will be able to help Mom. Additionally, Mom's most-likely weak and incompatible lead-out gives no reason for viewers to stay with CBS. (I think if NCIS: LA and Scorpion were flipped, it might be a different story. However, I do think it is a "better" show than The Millers and will probably have better retention than The Millers. I see the show averaging 3.1ish out of Big Bang. It might grow a little out of 2BG in November, but I see it falling behind it after the holidays come along. 2.2ish overall at best, but still a nice sophomore bounce.

The Voice: agree again completely

Gotham: agreee

Spot said...

I think you can legitimately argue two networks have their season on the line in this hour. Maybe even three!

Gotham feels like the highest-stakes launch of the season - it may even be at The Following levels of "if not now, when?", because FOX is actually in a worse state than it was then! (Sure, they have Sleepy Hollow, but that could do what The Following did, and the entire midweek schedule is in flames.)

The Voice has the potential to crash hard this season - I'm inclined to agree with your pessimism on that one - and it could take Blacklist with it if it does, tanking the entire basis of NBC's scheduling this season.

CBS's TBBT jerk-around actually makes sense to me in that specific context - it was pretty obvious FOX were putting Gotham here, The Voice already was, TBBT as a temporary Monday lead-off has the potential to destroy the Gotham sampling and damage The Voice's high-rated blind auditions. Are they going to be killing their own golden goose in an attempt to kill everyone else's? Can't see it - this show does so well in out-of-timeslot reruns that I can't see it being nicked more than a little from the jerkaround. Then again, if Bones can't survive a double move, can anything?

If the DWTS revival is legit, ABC could end up hurting the networks in general and NBC in particular here. And considering it was up y2y *in a worse situation* (no episodes avoiding The Voice), I'm pretty sure it's legit. But The Voice was down less y2y on Mondays than it was on Tuesdays, so maybe DWTS wasn't doing the damage there...

One way or another, I think Premiere Monday is the most important night of the entire season this year. You could legitimately write a Question for all four nets!

Spot said...

I would also argue that The Originals is a pretty high stake hour for the CW. I also don't think it's that much of a relevant hour for CBS especially once 2 Broke Girls settles in. IMO, importance wise, it would go like FOX > NBC > CW > ....> CBS > ABC

Spot said...

I agree 100% about the importance of a lead-in in the early weeks of a show.

Also, I think it's much easier to bet in a show that never had a great sampling but held its audience well afterwards than in a show that had a good sampling but then dropped. The later is less likely to get those viewers back IMO. The first case I am mentioning, by the way, is Scandal's trajectory and we all know how that went (I am not predicting Mom to be the next Scandal, but well)

Spot said...

Mom has had better retention from TBBT this summer than The Millers, so that could be a reason as to why TBBT could help Mom more than The Millers.

Spot said...

Probably the most competitive hour of the week.

The Voice - I think people are overreacting about the show's decline. When you look the average it seems like the declines are big deal, but in fact, in previous seasons The Voice always delivered high 4's and low 5's in the blind auditions and then low 3's for live shows. (obviously depended on how interesting the contestants were). In my opinion, the show's decline is more in line with the decline of network television viewing, than the show itself. The Blacklist won't be hurt by any possible huge decline of The Voice, it will post it's usual 2.7-3.0 for its fall run. Then NBC surely hopes it will proper to a new level after the Super Bowl exposure.

The Big Bang Theory - I can see both The Big Bang Theory and The Voice suffering a little going head to head. Probably will average 4.5 to 5.0 for its Monday run. However, it gained a big buzz worldwide about the actor's contracts, so it can possibly have a big premiere.

Mom - Will hold a lot better retention than The Millers, a can see this going into 3's for its sophomore season with its big lead-in.

Gotham - Probably the biggest victim in this hour.

Dancing with the Stars - Stable.

The Originals - I can see a decline this season.

Predictions for the premiere Monday:

The Voice 4.5 - 4.8
The Big Bang Theory 5.0 - 5.3
Mom 3.3 - 3.6
Gotham - 2.7 - 3.0
Dancing with the Stars 2.2 - 2.5

Spot said...

My picks: Big Bang Theory and then probably Mom. Gotham starting in late October

Spot said...

I agree with most of your predictions, spot, but I think you are being a little too generous with Gotham. I'd like to see it succeed since I am big fan of the genre but I think after a respectable premier there will be a near calamitous ratings drop in the weeks ahead. I really liked Nolan's take on the batman film franchise and Gotham looks like it will attempt to capture that dark, somber and brooding tone. However, I think the darkness, along with its procedural story line will ultimately be it's achilles heel as television has to to appeal to a broader mass audience than film. My fear is that Gotham-noir might be taking itself a little too seriously. The film-noir look and tone might be enough to win over niche diehard DC comic fans who are raging about the absence of an adult batman but could ultimately alienate a broader television audience. I might be wrong since I have only seen the promotional clips for the show. Even though FOX is so desperate for anything to succeed, I can't say that Gotham will be a slam dunk renewal.

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