Monday, September 15, 2014

Fall 2014 Best Case/Worst Case, Monday 10/9c

Best Case/Worst Case moves to the Monday 10/9c hour, in which last year's biggest newbie The Blacklist stays put for a couple months and looks to roll past a couple veteran procedurals, including NCIS: Los Angeles in its first ever timeslot move.

Premieres September 29
y2y Label True Sitch 2013-14 Slot
1.93 -5% solid 1.93 +0% Monday 10:00

Timeslot OccupantsCastle
Avg Orig Avg
1.78 1.96 1.93 1.93

Best Case: Though Castle had rough ratings for much of the spring, it ended on a good note (even year-to-year finale), and NBC will probably not be as strong in this hour as they were last year. Its reality lead-ins continue to trend very well. It will be down some in the fall but gain it back in the spring, breaking even at 1.93.

Worst Case: This show had a bad second half of the season, and it's all the worse because Dancing with the Stars had such good ratings in the spring. NCIS: Los Angeles is going to be a massive step up from what CBS aired last season, and NBC stays solid when State of Affairs steps in. Castle is the big loser in a crowded timeslot, dropping 25% to 1.45.

Likeliest: While I don't see State of Affairs being another Blacklist, the timeslot is still getting tougher on balance because NCIS: Los Angeles should be more up for CBS than SoA is down for NBC. And that's ignoring the early weeks of the fall, which will be even rougher. Still, its lead-ins will be strong enough to keep it from really cratering. Down 14% to 1.66 and in a tight race for second with LA all season (much like its battle with Hawaii Five-0 in 2012-13).

NCIS: Los Angeles
Premieres September 29
y2y Label True Sitch 2013-14 Slot
2.43 -13% hit 2.16 +12% Tuesday 9:00

Timeslot OccupantsHostages Intelligence
Avg Orig Avg
1.31 1.21 1.20 1.21 1.24 1.31

Best Case: As we saw on that one night it aired after Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, NCIS: LA has its own audience. It's also a very good match with Scorpion, which just so happens to be a big hit. Down just 9% to 2.22.

Worst Case: I really got burned by predicting big things for the Person of Interest move last year. That show dropped 32% even in what seemed like a better timeslot. This isn't a better timeslot, and this show was much more lead-in dependent than PoI. Also, NCIS: Los Angeles has gone for years with very little drama competition, and that's changing. If Scorpion actually bombs, this could completely crumble by over 40% to 1.40.

Likeliest: This is pretty dependent on what happens with Scorpion, as I could see the two being a good match. Since I've got Scorpion being a decent-rated but ultimately borderline kind of show, I'll say this drops 30% to a league average 1.71. It will go behind Scorpion in the fall, pull even by about December, then maybe ahead later on, much like the dynamic between The Crazy Ones and Two and a Half Men last year. Maybe CBS flips the two series late in the season as they did with those two, but I'm assuming not for these numbers.

The Blacklist
Premieres September 22
y2y Label True Sitch 2013-14 Slot
2.89 big hit 2.55 +13% Monday 10:00

Timeslot OccupantsThe Blacklist
Avg Orig Avg
2.70 2.70 2.89 2.55

Best Case: This is one of the heaviest-promoted sophomore series in the history television. It seems to be a far higher priority than any of the NBC newbies, and it will reward NBC for its efforts. It starts just a bit behind the series premiere level from last year and settles at a fair amount higher than the fall 2014 level. 3.30.

Worst Case: For all the hype, this show did cool off a bit late in the spring. A new series low for the season finale is never a good sign. Even with blind audition lead-ins, the show can't do better than upper-2's, and when it dips to mid-2's or even low-2's in early November, NBC starts seriously reconsidering the move. 2.50.

Likeliest: I'm only predicting the eight Monday episodes here, and will do a separate post when it returns on Thursday in February. Because of this, the actual apples-to-apples number is 3.14 (the fall average after The Voice) rather than the 2.89 above. But I think it has about the same ratings it had in the spring, with a start in the low 3's and then mostly high-2's. 2.83.

The Basics:

bc Rank y2y Rank TPUT Rank bc/TPUT Rank
Monday 10:00 8.5 10 -5% 11 32.9 8 26% 11

The Cable:

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

The Network to Watch: I'll take CBS with the only show new to the timeslot. The Blacklist's Thursday ratings may be the most "to watch" numbers of the whole TV season, but I don't expect anything too shocking in its familiar Monday home.

The Picks: The Blacklist. I frequently fell behind and caught up in chunks last season and may do that again.


Spot said...

Finally, we are going to learn something about NCIS: LA other than "it gets pretty good retention out of NCIS." Much like Parenthood last season, we'll see what happens when a veteran show gets a wildcard lead-in and real competition. Instinctively, though, LA will survive better than Parenthood and both it and Castle will get a bump once The Blacklist leaves.

Oh, Castle. You ran ahead y2y until ABC threw an episode against the Winter Olympics and you never regained the momentum. I still wish ABC would give Castle a hiatus when Dancing with the Stars gets its break but Castle's typical episode count (23 or 24) runs a touch too long for Stars' combined 20 episodes on Monday, of which Castle only got 19 so The Bachelorette could debut at the end of May sweeps. Instead I'll advocate for better cleaving its run assuming a 23 episode season:

10 consecutive episodes this Fall paired with Dancing with the Stars
5 consecutive episodes this Winter paired with The Bachelor (either the first five Bachelor eps or the final five before the finale/After the Final Rose Special)
9 consecutive episodes this Spring paired with Stars (giving the performance finale night lead-in to The Bachelorette again)

As for The Blacklist, it should benefit from extra interest The Voice gets for the new judges but not enough to fully recapture the heat it launched with last season by virtue of not being The New Hot Thing and CBS being stronger with NCIS: LA. NBC has clearly pinned its 2014-2015 schedule around this show by giving it the stronger half of The Voice's season, the Super Bowl lead-out hour, and building Thursdays around it at midseason. Makes me wonder what NBC internally thought of its pilots during development season...

My pick: Castle on the DVR (thanks to my weekly poker game).

Spot said...

We know TWO things about LA. It gets decent retention out of NCIS AND Rudolph

Spot said...

The Blacklist : best/worst/likely 2.30 / 1.90 / 2.10
Monday 8 episodes: 2.50 / 2.10 / 2.30
Thursday 13 episodes: 2.20 / 1.80 / 1.95
Monday: Increased competition + drop of The Voice lead-in (like 15% y2y) + usual drop of sophomore show at about league drop.
Thursday: Very tough timeslot, much weaker lead-in and much stronger competition. But first Thursday episode should be high rated, as it's a Part 2 of 2-parter, and Part 1 leads out of Super Bowl. Smart move.

NCIS: Los Angeles : Not promoted, random repeats did 1.0+ in this timeslot. Thus I'm not pessimistic. But, yes, it's going against two procedurals now. Then again, situation will get better with State of Affairs and Bachelor arrival to Monday,
All in all, I can see it doing above 2.0 in some weeks, but not in all the weeks. Which gives me likely 1.90, with best/worst 2.10/1.70. CBS probably not over the moon with that, but satisfied with huge improvement in this timeslot.

Castle : Strong The Blacklist remains in timeslot initially, while CBS will be much stronger this season. In the meantime, both Castle and its lead-in are aging.
I'm not very optimistic, but it's a procedural with some faithful audience, so let's say it drops lees than 20%, and to 1.65.

Spot said...

Here's another idea.
They should order 19-20 episodes of Castle, unless syndication gods forbid it. Make Castle have split season too, with 10 episodes in fall, and 9-10 more airing from mid March to mid May. And, pair 10 episodes of something like Members Only (FKA The Club) or The Astronaut Wives Club with Bachelor. Now, those two dramas I mentioned above have 13 episodes order, I think. And are planned for summer 2015, or as midseason/spring backups for whatever fails, or have dual role (summer only if nothing fails), I'm really not sure. But you know what I mean, something targeting W18-34 paired with Bachelor, and 20- episodes of older skewing procedural paired with DWTS.

But probably it's too late for season 2014-15. And for 2015-16, it's too early to say. Who knows, maybe Castle drops so much it's cancelled. And DWTS could be cancelled too (unlikely), or cut down to 1 cycle, or moved to Sunday in 2015-16 (Fall Monday would be Bachelor / new drama, and midseason maybe new reality / Shark Tank / same new drama).

Spot said...

I've argued this idea for months, using Nashville or Mistresses as the scripted show to go with The Bachelor & The Bachelorette. But since ABC Studios produces Castle a reduction in episode count means lost syndication money for the network's sister studio.

Knowing that, my main objective in scheduling Castle as I laid out above is to not have any repeats when it has Dancing with the Stars as a lead-in. I just don't know from a production standpoint if that's feasible since Castle would lack a sizable enough break like Once Upon a Time, Grey's Anatomy, or Scandal got last season to stay ahead of the 8-ball. If they stayed in production like SVU does in May/June to crank out the first few episodes of the next season, then maybe it'd be possible.

Spot said...

Then I'm no better than Dane Cook, I'm stealing your material, like he's Louie's.

Anyway, I get it now, ABC Studios syndication money for Castle is a bird in the hand. They have no need to risk with highly Bachelor-compatible show, but unproven one. I mean, if ABC would see any hit potential in that hypothetical, W18-34 friendly show, then they would premiere it in fall, or in March (supported by promotion at The Oscars), and not in January on Monday 10 PM.

Spot said...

Ha! +1 on your Dane Cook/Louie joke. I think the echo chamber here means we all start to develop similar ideas but different ways of expressing them.

A gap series or split season of a show would actually have a decent chance launching in January out of The Bachelor: higher HUT levels mean more possible viewers, Monday Night Football is over, CBS will have to start cycling in NCIS: LA repeats, and NBC's State of Affairs has to go at it without a Voice lead-in.

Of course this would all be much easier if Castle were either so weak that it should be cancelled or so strong that it should be anchoring a night instead of ending one.

Spot said...

Yes looking forward to NCIS2's fall from grace; sub-2 would be quite nice.

Spot said...

I fell a bit behind on the comments of these this week so here it goes my 10pm predictions, starting with Monday!

Today it's pretty boring since we literally have the same predictions for all shows:
- Castle: 1.63. I was a bit shocked with how bad it got for this show in the Spring considering the excellent fall it had. As you said, it was especially bad due to the great season that DWTS was having. So I am not really optimistic going forward, especially because I think LA will have a lot of overlap with it.
- NCIS LA: 1.73 I am kind of amazed that in such an unpredictable move we arrive to the exact same number. Like you said, I think a lot hinges on Scorpion and that's a huge unknown! I think it will do decent business and probably win the slot in the winter/spring, as long as Scorpion does good enough for the night to remain unchanged.
- The Blacklist: I've actually already made my predictions for the entire year, according to which I have The Blacklist at 2.31. I expect high 2s for the fall (though not exactly as high as last year) and low 2s for Tuesday with some high 1s when rough spring hits in April. I guess my comparable prediction to yours would be something like 2.70 so maybe you could say I am less optimistic than you are here.

Network to watch: CBS by far, though State of Affairs will also make NBC interesting later on

My picks: I've given up on Castle for now. I like The Blacklist but not enough to make it weekly appointment since I find it too slow paced so I will probably just marathon it over Christmas. So I guess it's nothing for me here until State of Affairs premieres.

Spot said...

That's quite the pessimism about the blacklist. I thought I was already not very optimistic about it but your predictions for the Monday episodes are downright scary!

Spot said...

My big problem with that theory is that while I like it in a vacuum, I don't like it for ABC.

ABC is the network that has OUAT, Resurrection, Revenge, Shield, Nashville, Grey's, Scandal and Murder, all of which require replacements come midseason due to their serialized nature. That's already a whole lot of trouble and a lot of replacements needed. Therefore, I disagree with the idea of taking your practically only good repeater off the air and waste a good replacement there when there are plenty of timeslots in need for them.

If ABC had a HUGE replacements' dept (like one may argue CBS does this year), I would be all for it, but like it is, I don't really buy it.

Alternative idea: air Castle there in the fall. Come midseason, take Nashville off the air (run the rest of the season in the summer) and put Castle in its place, using DWTS/The Bachelor to launch something new there.

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