Monday, September 8, 2014

Fall 2014 Best Case/Worst Case, Monday 9/8c

Best Case/Worst Case moves to the Monday 9/8c hour, in which one of the biggest new hits of last season looks to buck the ugly recent trend for limited series in season two. It also has to deal with a heavily-promoted new drama on CBS.

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
2.18 2.25 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.

Scorpion (NEW!)
Premieres September 22

Timeslot Occupants2 Broke Girls Mike and Molly Mom
Avg Orig Avg
2.09 2.12 2.50 2.35 2.17 2.13 2.09 1.91

Best Case: Scorpion starts the season with the biggest entertainment programming lead-in that broadcast can offer. And there's no doubt that it's CBS' promotional darling of the fall, meaning they strongly believe in its potential. It's this year's The Blacklist, a procedural with just enough extra to get young people interested. 2.60.

Worst Case: After one week with that biggest entertainment programming lead-in that broadcast can offer, it's leading out a middling comedy hour. It's the same scheduling debacle that doomed last year's Hostages and Intelligence, only an hour earlier, and this show doesn't have enough of a hook to do any better. It takes an Intelligence-esque week two drop and ends up at a Hostages-esque 1.11.

Likeliest: I've gotten burned in the past by trusting in CBS' scheduling wisdom, and this could well be another of those spots. But I just don't see CBS blowing up its decades of two-hour Monday comedy tradition and devoting this much promo time to a total dud. On the other hand, the timeslot is pretty rough, and I'm not sold this is a splashy enough concept to do big numbers with a shaky support system. So I say Scorpion will get a back nine but be a season two bubble show. 1.80.

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
3.55 3.61 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.

Sleepy Hollow
Premieres September 22
y2y Label True Sitch 2013-14 Slot
2.61 hit 2.47 +6% Monday 9:00

Timeslot OccupantsSleepy Hollow The Following 24: Live Another Day
Avg Orig Avg
1.87 2.01 2.64 2.51 1.56 1.72 1.85 2.06

Best Case: Sleepy Hollow succeeded in a big way last year without that much lead-in support. Gotham will be a noticeable upgrade in that department, more compatible than Bones and much bigger than Almost Human. It was a good enough show that the long hiatus is not nearly as detrimental as it was for Under the Dome and The Following; in fact, it might bring a few more people on board. It'll be down in the early weeks, but very close to even for the full season: 2.58.

Worst Case: There's a habit forming among the limited series that take eight- or nine-month hiatuses: people just forget about them. Under the Dome is down 40%+ year-to-year. The Following would've been down almost exactly 40% year-to-year if you throw out the huge NFL influence on the first episode. Sleepy Hollow may be better-reviewed, but the ratings don't lie; it tailed off late in season one just like those two. That's a pretty consistent template, and Sleepy Hollow follows suit. In fact, it may even drop a bit more due to a longer episode order and some added drama competition from Scorpion. Down 43% to 1.50 (but still may get renewed, so downtrodden is Fox).

Likeliest: This is one of those tough situations where there are significant positives and negatives. It's a markedly better show than Dome and Following, which I (perhaps wishfully) think will keep it from getting quite as ugly. But it still didn't have a great season one trend, and an upgrade in lead-in may not be as meaningful with this kind of show as it would be with a comedy or procedural. It'll come back with well into the 2's (depends on how Gotham premieres) and end up settling at very high 1's for a 1.97 average (down 24%). An easy renewal, but still a noticeable step down from its bonafide hit status in season one.

Jane the Virgin (NEW!)
Premieres October 13

Timeslot OccupantsBeauty and the Beast The Tomorrow People
Avg Orig Avg
0.31 0.32 0.30 0.33 0.39 0.46

Best Case: The CW has a funny way of devising these "little engine that could" shows like Hart of Dixie and Reign that end up pulling ahead of shows with heavier hype. I can't see this actually pulling ahead of The Flash, but it will be a solid underdog story in the vein of Ugly Betty, and the critics really seem to like it. It almost matches The Originals at 0.65 and gets a season two.

Worst Case: This is a Dawn Ostroff-style show that finds a network almost completely switched over to a different regime. Maybe it'd have fared better after 90210 or Gossip Girl, but it makes for a nonsensical pairing with its already modest The Originals lead-in. Pulled very quickly at a 0.24.

Likeliest: Last year my gut was telling me that the pairing between The Vampire Diaries and Reign made a funny kind of sense, but I didn't listen. This year, I have no such impulse. I just don't see the Originals audience being remotely interested in this, so getting a decent level of sampling on the CW of today is going to be a major struggle. It will do a touch better than last year's Beauty and the Beast almost by default because its lead-in is so drastically better. But the CW has shows in reserve and they're going to want to do better than this. 0.34 and done by the end of the fall.

The Basics:

bc Rank y2y Rank TPUT Rank bc/TPUT Rank
Monday 9:00 10.2 4 -7% 14 35.4 3 29% 5

The Network to Watch: CBS. Though Sleepy Hollow season two is a wild card, Scorpion is an even bigger one.

The Picks: I'll likely return to Sleepy Hollow, which I enjoyed last season. I am moderately intrigued by Scorpion and Jane the Virgin, but only one (at most) can win out for that second DVR tuner.


Spot said...

At last we have some divergences, albeit still minor ones! From the closest to the most further:
- Jane the Virgin: 0.30. I agree with your likely description and I think the show will be over by December. Probably gets to air some burnoff episodes late in December a la Emily Owens (which I am not even counting on this average) but it's off the air afterwards. I was heavily burned by Reign last year which, like with this show, felt was a very dumb choice to bring to the fall especially with the midseason shows that were in reserve but I was proven wrong big time so it does feel a lot like I am making the exact same mistake but I feel even strongly against this show than I did against Reign last year, so I am not a buyer at all.

- Sleepy Hollow: 2.07. There are indeed things going both ways for this show and the Under the Dome/The Following comparisons are truly scaring but I am still relatively positive. Gotham should be a big help to offset the gap between seasons and I am not sure if FOX and CBS even share that much audience. I also think they will probably manage to air it in a better schedule than last year without so many breaks which should help out a bit, even with the longer episode order. FOX is clearly all in on this show with the incessant reruns and the killing promos so I am letting myself follow suit.

- Scorpion: 2.07 (I promise it's a huge coincidence that it has the same number as Hollow). To me, this is the biggest unknown of the entire fall. Literally wouldn't surprise me if this would settle in the 3s and become the highest rated drama of the season, the same way it wouldn't shock me if it would pull low 1s and be gone by November sweeps. The range is huge and I was actually expecting your best-worst cases to have an even bigger gap, despite the one you already put there. Like you've mentioned, to me the biggest argument going for this show is that CBS wouldn't have blown up god knows how many years of comedy tradition for something they weren't confident in. And critics are surprisingly all-in on this CBS procedural. The last show I find with precedence for something even remotely similar to this (relocating decade-long staple CSI, leading out a moderately rated comedy, going up against stiff competition, actually having some critical backup) is Person of Interest, so that's what I went with. I am giving it roughly the same Plus as Season 1 of that show, just because I lacked a better referential.

Network to watch: FOX is interesting but it's CBS all the freaking way, I am very curious about this one

My picks: I liked Sleepy Hollow, even though I didn't love it as some did, so I will continue watching that one. I have also decided to give Scorpion a try to at least see what it is about (score one for CBS's promotional campaign since I said no when the trailer was released during the upfronts but I want to see what all the fuss is about at this point)

Spot said...

Again I agree with Spot. This time completely. Perhaps I'm incorrigible influenced, because I learned about ratings mostly from his posts.
However, my 1.80 for Scorpion is based on 13 episodes only. With so many drama backups, I don't see those ratings earning it back 9. And with so many dramas CBS is airing next season, 1.80 looks to me as likely cancellation. Because I think at least 2 other rookie dramas will do better.

Scorpion : Description of the show sounded like "4 Sheldons are helping lawmen solve tech crimes." Correction, 3 Sheldons and 1 Temperance Brennan (twofer casted Jadyn Wong). I was "Really?". If it's a stretch even for me, then why would usual CBS audience want to engage in something like this? Now they're calling it "fun-cedural". So it's not exactly a dramedy, but they're not playing it completely straight either. Well, that sounds better, but how does it mesh with seriousness of the subject? And again, with usual CBS audience?
However, it's a good slot for action drama (would be even better without Sleepy Hollow), so I don't expect disaster. My likely is 1.80, best/worse 2.00/1.50.
But after 13 episodes Battle Creek to take over timeslot.

Jane the Virgin : Twilight-ish show leading into UglyBetty-ish show. Not ideal, but at least both are targeting young females. Anyway, I expect it to do pretty bad in A18-49, but not awful in W18-34 demo. My likely is W18-34 0.50 with best at 0.60 and worst at 0.35. In A18-49 it translates to likely 0.34, best/worst 0.42/0.24.
My (rather optimistic) 0.50 in W18-34 would assure it airs 13 episodes on Monday, but then CW would try iZombie at Mondays in midseason. And even if both iZombie and The Messengers would flop hard, "Jane" still would be likely cancelled - unless Reign and/or The 100 would collapse, that 0.50 would be enough only for 8th best rated CW drama.

Sleepy Hollow : I don't expect SH to keep hit show status. In my opinion 8 months hiatus isn't much of a worry, but worrying is this: first 8 episodes averaged 2.84, and last 5 "only" 2.24. 2.24 is still nice, especially compared with collapsing Fox primetime average. But it makes me put best case on 2.30, with worst at 1.75 (The Flolowing Season 2 sans NFL-inflated premiere was 1.56) and likely at 2.00. That 2.00 I made up rather arbitrary (nice round number), yet it turned out to be almost identical to Spot's 1.97

Spot said...

Also influencing CBS' decision to push Scorpion incredibly hard could be because its comedy development has disappointed as of late. Look...

Renewed for a season 2 since 2010-2011: Mike & Molly, 2 Broke Girls, Mom, The Millers
Canceled after season 1 since 2010-2011: Accidentally on Purpose, Shit My Dad Say, Mad Love, How to be a Gentleman, Rob, Partners, We are Men, The Crazy Ones, Friends with Better Lives, Bad Teacher

Given that Mike & Molly has settled into the Rules of Engagement swing player role, 2 Broke Girls is a shaky anchor, Mom's a marginal player, and The Millers is being looked at more for syndication money than first-run ratings, it's even more horrifying that CBS has lost How I Met Your Mother and will lose Two and a Half Men this season. Their back is against the wall (without even getting into the fact that they haven't developed an "elite" drama since Criminal Minds in 2005), so a big swing and full-throated promotion of Scorpion is required especially considering Dancing with the Stars skews so much towards CBS' target drama demo/audience.

Moving onto Sleepy Hollow, if this disappoints in season 2 Fox should look more towards ABC's split-season model for developing future serialized dramas instead of going the limited-run route. Hollow hadn't even gotten back on Fox's rerun schedule until late in the summer. Really, the only benefit the show has over The Following and Under the Dome is its Fall scheduling: it gets to avoid the lower HUT rated parts of the calendar and is part of the tide of new programming that brings new viewers ashore every Fall. A weak season 2 under these circumstances makes the argument for limited-runs shaky at best.

And Jane the Virgin. This should have been on the schedule two seasons ago instead of Emily Owens, MD when The CW tried to make Hart of Dixie a Tuesday anchor. Jane certainly won't win on volume versus The Flash and most likely won't win on critical acclaim either. It would have to exceed the best case here not to lose its slot to iZombie. Even if it did overachieve, then maybe it would just move to Friday to pair with Hart of Dixie anyway.

My pick: I'll sample Scorpion and Jane the Virgin on my DVR since I can't watch anything live on Mondays.

Spot said...

I believe CBS has aired a comedy leading off the 9 o'clock hour since the FIFTIES with I Love Lucy (9:30 wasn't a comedy though). They must be high on Scorpion. It looks like Big Bang Theory as a drama. They even have a non genius waitress as a main character...
I think Sleepy Hollow will hold up better because of Gotham. The same people who would watch Gotham will watch Sleepy Hollow. They have aired companion ads airing for them last afternoon during Football.
Sorry, Jane is dead on arrivial. It's an hispanic family drama... On the CW. Maybe if they made it a scifi retelling of the Nativity Story it could work, as Supernatural has done scifi Biblical before. But I doubt that would even work

Spot said...

My picks: I have a class 6-8:50 on Mondays during the fall. And living in Central time, it will affect this hour. So nothing. Probably would sample Scorpion if I could

Spot said...

I agree about FOX need to adopt ABC's split season treatment. In my opinion, they are the ones that have found the best model to air serialized shows in today's climate. It's essentially two seasons within the timeframe of a normal season and at the cost of a normal season (that is, avoiding the costs escalations between seasons if they were to be two separate seasons) while also reaching syndication sooner. This being said though, ABC still needs to perfect the "what to air in the break" part of the equation since The Assets clearly wasn't the answer last year (I personally don't think The Taste was that horrible answer though). I don't think FOX has the schedule discipline to work with split seasons though, they would probably force poor Bones to move even more times within the season.

One other thing that SH has going for it is the massive upgrade lead-in, both in raw numbers and in compatibility. That is why I think this show is the ultimate test of whether or not broadcasters can endure this limited series model.

Spot said...

Ahah funny about the waitress bit, I hadn't realize that.

Spot said...

+1 on the idea that Fox doesn't have the discipline to work with split seasons. Until this year, you always had to write their midseason schedule with a pencil due to the threat of moving Bones to Fridays; when they finally did they ended up erasing it anyway to bail out The Following.

I think it stems from American Idol. It was a reality show Event that thrived and was only on once a year. Eventually the regime in charge decided to try that with some of their scripted shows, but we are seeing that may not be best. And it's not like they don't have pieces to do split-scheduling. If they just gave Gotham or Sleepy Hollow a 22-24 episode season, for example, they could do something like this for Mondays:

Fall (9/22-12/1): Gotham & Sleepy Hollow
Winter (12/8 to mid-February): MasterChef Junior & Hotel Hell
Spring (mid-February to May): Gotham or Sleepy Hollow & The Following

Yes, moving MasterChef Jr. leaves Fox with no pieces on Fridays. But why bother making an effort on the weekend night when most of the rest of the schedule is en fuego? Just shove Utopia and detonate the Glee megabomb there.

Spot said...

As I've mentioned more than a few times on here, I think they've blown up the wrong tradition - the upside from a 60 Minutes cancellation in terms of opening up that 7:xx hour is huge - but the fact they even considered this suggests to me that Scorpion tested huge. If this falls apart and TBBT takes timeslot-switching damage, CBS could legitimately finish a clear third this season - I can absolutely see ABC overtaking them in those circumstances.

Premiere Monday this year is about as high-stakes as you're ever likely to see, isn't it? Sleepy Hollow, Scorpion, Gotham...

Spot said...

I agree in a way about 60 Minutes but I think that if it is to leave it there, at least they are doing the best thing possible with it with Madam Secretary. I can't think of a broadcast show with more overlap with it.

As I've said in my post, I think Scorpion's best comparison is a little show called Person of Interest:
- relocated something with a huge precedence on the slot (CSI / Monday comedy block)
- going up against stiff competition, mostly slot "staples" (Grey's Anatomy and The Office, DWTS and The Voice)
- leading out a modestly rated comedy hour (Rules of Engagement, Mom)
- a CBS procedural with some actual critical backup and reports of great testing
- a respectable albeit unspectacular procedural as lead-out (The Mentalist, NCIS LA)
- extra: even the subject matter as a "nerdy" feeling to it in both cases

Spot said...

Yes, I agree that Ramsay gives them the perfect ammunition for split schedule treatment. I also doubt it would influence the summer numbers that much because it would still have the spring break in the meantime.

I am even afraid of this year's FOX midseason schedule. I would do something a bit crazy which would be to split Idol across three nights but honestly I think it's their best bet and as crazy as my schedule sounds, I wouldn't be shocked to see FOX going for it:

Fall: Gotham+Sleepy Hollow
Winter: Gotham+ Sleepy Hollow | Wayward Pines + The Following
Spring: Wayward Pines + The Following

Fall: Utopia + New Girl/ The Mindy Project
Winter: American Idol + Hell's Kitchen (The Voice is on hiatus at this time so it's not a horrible place to put Idol)
Spring: Glee + New Girl/ The Mindy Project (I know... but I don't know what else to do here)

Fall: Hell's Kitchen + Red Band Society
Winter: American Idol
Spring: American Idol + Empire

Fall: Bones + Gracepoint
Winter: American Idol + Backstorm
Spring: Bones + Backstorm

Friday to the wolves apart from Masterchef Jr because honeslty they don't even have enough to fill all the weekday hours like you've said so well

Spot said...

FOX: Two straight hours of comic book inspired and heavily supernatural themed programming on any network other than The CW is high risk. I can see both Gotham and Sleepy opening with respectable live ratings but both quickly dropping early on. Sleepy Hollow was attracting big DVR playblack numbers throughout its shortened freshman run but I think even those might be down too as it experiences the sophomore season slump. I know I am in the minority here but I think Gotham will struggle to achieve Almost Human ratings shortly after debuting strong. Both Gotham and SH could live to see another season depending on the ratings success or failure at FOX. If only one makes the cut, my bet is with Sleepy Hollow which, like The CW series, Supernatural, doesn't always take itself so seriously. Gotham looks like it is very dark and serious with heavy procedural elements...and no Batman.

CBS: The Big Bang will give CBS a big ratings bang on Mondays in the first hour. It should give the marginal Mom a boost, too. After Big Bang moves back to Thursdays, I believe the Two Broke Girls and Mom combo will struggle mightily. Scorpion looks like a CBS procedural blatantly designed to appeal to the younger demo audience who typically don't watch CBS and generally don't like procedural programming. There is also a continuity problem going from Mom to Scorpion. Scorpion reminds me of ABC's failed Mind Games so I believe Scorpion's survival chances are very low.

ABC: I know precious little about DWTS but it sounds like it has a dedicated older audience. Many people love to watch celebrity train wrecks or especially fading celebrity train wrecks so I'll have to agree with Spot's assessment here.

NBC: Similar to DWTS, I have never seen one episode of The Voice. I have less than zero interest in any singing competition shows. I watched the first season of American Idol like everyone else in America; for me, that was enough. I've read that the median age of The Voice audience is approaching the mid 50's or somewhere around there.. Again, I'll have to defer to Spot's assessment here but I think the rating's decline could be even greater than 17% but that is mostly wishful thinking on my part.

CW: The ratings expectations for The CW are low but I think Jane The Virgin might surprise as a modest CW hit. The weak lead-in of The Originals will be no friend to Jane. If Jane The Virgin succeeds, it will be based on its own merits and perhaps robust Latino audience support.

My picks: I might DVR both Jane The Virgin and Gotham for the first few episodes but I will be most likely watching MNF live on ESPN Monday nights since nothing much appeals to me on network television. I watched nearly half of the Sleepy Hollow episodes last year before losing interest. The stories started to seem too similar in tone and content o Supernatural (which I still DVR) and the dynamics between the female sheriff and the Revolutionary War English dude just seemed like a re-imagining of the Winchester boys.

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