Thursday, September 4, 2014

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

Best Case/Worst Case moves to the Thursday 8/7c hour, where a collection of veterans are moving into the slot and fighting over the female audience. CBS figures to dominate with male-skewing Thursday Night Football.

Grey's Anatomy
Premieres September 25
y2y Label True Sitch 2013-14 Slot
2.69 -13% hit 2.93 -8% Thursday 9:00

Timeslot OccupantsOnce Upon a Time in Wonderland The Taste
Avg Orig Avg
1.08 1.02 0.98 1.10 1.06 1.11

Best Case: The move to 8/7c feels like much more of a demotion than it is. It faces a bunch of modest, declining veterans, and Grey's is still a part of that Thursday lineup that ABC is promoting relentlessly. CSI held up very well in its first year away from its longtime Thursday 9/8c home, so why not Grey's? It's down just 7% to a 2.49.

Worst Case: ABC's Thursday 8:00 Curse will reel in its biggest fish yet. This is a lineup with three straight hours targeting the same audiences, and that audience won't want to plant in front of the TV for more than two. And Sandra Oh's departure is significant. The declining veteran Grey's is the series left out in the cold, dropping over a full point (or about 40%) to 1.63. Either ABC announces that this is the final season sometime early in 2015, or they renew it for a short final season in fall 2015.

Likeliest: I'm tempted to be optimistic here because I see all of Grey's opponents in this hour trending down, making this slot not that difficult. However, its timeslot last year was even easier, with no dramas of consequence after Glee left. And I can't help but think a lot of the Shonda Rhimes audience will just trade out Grey's for the hot new thing How to Get Away with Murder. So it drops 25% to a 2.01. This will still make it an extremely strong player for ABC in this hour within the historical context, so it should get another renewal. But ABC might announce 2015-16 as the final season.

Thursday Night Football (NEW!)
Premieres September 11

Timeslot OccupantsThe Big Bang Theory The Millers
Avg Orig Avg
3.35 3.87 5.02 5.29 2.63 2.14

Best Case: CBS is all-in on this thing production-wise, putting its #1 broadcast team on all these games (even after the CBS telecasts end, if I understand correctly). And Thursday Night Football, at least from the CBS perspective, has one huge advantage over the Sunday and Monday franchises: it only lasts for the first half of the season, when the NBC NFL ratings are over 10% stronger. It won't match SNF on a week-by-week basis, but it's only about a point shy. And because of SNF's erosion in the second half, the average is virtually the same as SNF: a 7.50.

Worst Case: NFL games on Sunday and Monday night are part of the fabric of American culture. Thursday is something new, and the habit doesn't form immediately. The games are mostly nothing special, both from a matchup perspective and because players aren't at their best off of short weeks. Though it's on the broadcast stage, it does a fair amount worse than ESPN's Monday games. 4.40.

Likeliest: Ad rate buzz seems to suggest CBS is looking for money about halfway between NBC's Sunday ad rates and ESPN's Monday ad rates. Those shows ended up with 7.90 and 5.18 averages respectively last year. Normally I'd go very close to the Monday end of that range, but this does have that key advantage of ending after just eight weeks. So it manages a 5.70, a little better than ESPN's early-season games but quite a bit behind NBC Sunday.

The Biggest Loser
Premieres September 11
y2y Label True Sitch 2013-14 Slot
1.93 -17% solid 1.85 +4% Tuesday 8:00

Timeslot OccupantsParks and Recreation Welcome to the Family Community
Avg Orig Avg
1.71 1.18 1.14 1.25 0.93 1.01 1.09 1.26

Best Case: There's no unscripted competition, and The Biggest Loser gets to start about a month earlier than last year (including a head start on the other broadcasters). Bringing in former athletes is kind of an interesting twist. Down just a tenth to 1.83.

Worst Case: Jillian Michaels is gone again, and she was the main reason why the show surged back to solid ratings a couple years ago. NBC Thursday is cursed! The former athlete angle might bring in a few viewers... if not for those viewers now watching NFL games on CBS. And to top it off, it's no longer in The Voice's halo as it was on Tuesday. This is The Biggest Loser's weakest season yet by a wide margin at a 1.30.

Likeliest: There's quite a bit going against this season of The Biggest Loser. So I think it drops 25% to a 1.45, which would be this series' lowest Plus score historically. But it would still be great by NBC's recent Thursday standards.

Premieres September 25
y2y Label True Sitch 2013-14 Slot
1.72 -19% marginal 1.82 -5% M 8:00, F 8:00, M 8:00

Timeslot OccupantsThe X Factor Thu American Idol Thu Hell's Kitchen
Avg Orig Avg
1.86 2.00 1.68 1.73 3.06 3.21 1.71 2.14

Best Case: Many of Bones' most valuable seasons have come on Thursday, and it benefits quite a bit from not airing on Friday and not getting jerked all over the place. It could break even or even uptick a bit to 1.74 simply because it gets treated a lot better. That'd put it at about the Plus level of the two Bones seasons prior to this one.

Worst Case: The multiple moves last season really hurt this series, and that damage is permanent. The 1.5-1.6ish audience at the end of the season is the best Bones can muster out of the gate. It stays put in the spring (with a decaying 30-minute Idol at 9/8c again) and tails off into the 1.2 range after the new year. That adds up to a rotten 1.30 average, down another quarter, and that's likely it for Bones.

Likeliest: Who knows what fresh scheduling hell Fox will have for Bones in 2014-15? I'm gonna assume for this prediction that Bones keeps the Thursday 8/7c slot all season, though I kinda doubt it will happen. It averages a 1.53, which is only a touch above a league average drop, but it looks better than it truly is because of the Friday comparisons. (I'll say a 1.60 if it's moved at the end of the fall.)

The Vampire Diaries
Premieres October 2
y2y Label True Sitch 2013-14 Slot
1.02 -17% hit(CW) 1.17 -12% Thursday 8:00

Timeslot OccupantsThe Vampire Diaries
Avg Orig Avg
0.76 1.02 1.02 1.17

Best Case: The Vampire Diaries usually bounces back from its spring numbers in the early fall, and it almost can't possibly drop so much over the course of the season again. From 1.0's in the fall to 0.8's in the spring, it adds up to a 0.93. That's down less than 10%.

Worst Case: It bounced back from its spring numbers in previous seasons because the drops were simply situation-based. What happened to this show over the course of 2013-14 was significant damage to the franchise, and the presence of Grey's Anatomy at 8/7c is an added issue. It won't do any better than its late spring 0.7/0.8 out of the gate. It might even hit some 0.5's late in the season, but the overall average is a 0.64 (down well over a third).

Likeliest: How much can this show really bounce back? It's never rebounded by more than a tick or two from its late spring numbers, so even getting back to 1.0 in the fall might be a tough ask. Since this show had a long string of 1.3's last fall, those fall comparisons are gonna be pretty horrible. As I said in the Best Case, it's hard to imagine the show collapsing as much in the second half for a second straight year, so the drops won't be this severe toward the end. But I'll go with nearly -25%, seemingly my go-to year-to-year trend for this hour, to a 0.79. If my predictions are right, that'd take it from the #1 18-49 show on the network (five years running!) to #4. All good things must come to an end.

The Basics:

bc Rank y2y Rank TPUT Rank bc/TPUT Rank
Thursday 8:00 8.5 8 -17% 20 30.4 15 28% 7

The Network to Watch: This isn't one of the more star-studded hours on the sked, but with so many shows new to the timeslot, nothing's terribly uninteresting either. I'll take ABC and the earlier start time for Grey's Anatomy. It should be the biggest show of the entertainment bunch and it leads into a couple extremely high-stakes hours for its network.

The Picks: This hour has many veteran dramas that I gave up on years ago. I don't anticipate returning to any of them. So it's maybe the beginning of a football game, and then The Big Bang Theory when it returns.


Spot said...

I think you are overly optimistic on Thursday Night Football. I am not football fan, but I'm from a big football family so I know a lot by association. My understanding is that Thursday night games tend to get stuck with the worst matchups. CBS may be able to change this, but my little Brother and Father watched every Sunday and Monday night game last year, but only 1 Thursday night (and we were paying extra for NFL Network!). We've seen a good matchup on Sunday get a 10.0 and the a stinky one get a 5.6 the next week. I see it doing a low 4 average. Some 2's and 3's if its a bad matchup

Spot said...

My picks: Nothing until the Big Bang Theory returns. Probably Biggest Loser, just because its the only one of the brunch I've seen more than an episode of.

Spot said...

Grey's Anatomy - ABC isn't interested in how much GA will be down, they're interested in how much Thursday as a whole will be up. To be honest, same is with me - I'm not much interested what happens with GA, but anxious to see what new Thursday lineup scores.
Having said that, Spot's "likely" 2.01 looks like "worst" to me. It's a hit drama, after all. But I expect it will shed at least half a point after such a massive timeslot degradation. That leads me to insanely specific best/likely/worst of 2.20/ 2.10/2.00.

Thursday Night Football - 5.70 looks too high. I think around 5.00 average with best/worst at 4.50/5.50. However, Spot's 5.70 looks just about right average for combined ratings of CBS and NFLN (those first 8 games will be simulcast on 2 networks).

The Biggest Loser - the moment NBC announced move to tougher THursday, I said to myself it would go 20% down. Which would be 1.55, but Spot says 1.45 - let my prediciton be round 1.50.

Bones - With all those timeslot changes I'm not optimistic. But Bones never disappoints, so Spot's around 1.50 seems perfectly logical.

The Vampire Diaries
If I read Spot's Schedules Plus for Thursday 8 PM well:
CBS - high
Fox - was high, but is in sharp decline
ABC - low and stable
NBC - low and falling

CW - TVD was stable until 2013-14. Remarkable stable for serialized show targetting fickle young adience. Spot (or someone in comments, I don't remember) explained it by it capturing some of viewers flocking away from Fox. I buy it. But sharp spring decline indicates that trend is ovev. Then I predict W18-34 down 25% to W18-34 1.15, with best worst case at 1.05 / 1.25. Still No 1 show on CW, but only a tenth ahead of Flash.
A18-49 is not important for TVD, but I'd set best/likely/worst for that demo at 0.70/0.77/0.84.

Spot said...

I can see this slot being a mess. Four female-skewing long-running veterans in the same slot... and then you're throwing Big Bang into that mess later in the season.

I think The Biggest Loser is going to be, well, the biggest loser, despite liking the former athlete concept. It feels like the least essential of the shows.

Spot said...

Just my opinion, but the matchups (at least in the first half of the season) are not nearly as bad as when it was on NFLN only, and I'm sure that's a deliberate part of the CBS arrangement. They're more like the typical Monday matchups, maybe even a touch better. I was tempted to go lower here and it looks from comments like maybe I should have, but I am fairly confident it's a step up from the NFL Net level of game quality.

Spot said...

Yes, Thursday matchups look better than in previous seasons.
No, I didn't put much thought in my 5.00 prediction. Just a round number lower than seemingly too high 5.70.

Note: I think they're selling ad space based on combined ratings for CBS and NFL Network (projected ratings for now, of course). It means same ads would air on both networks simultaneously. It doesn't matter Nielsen probably will report two separate ratings numbers.

Spot said...

Again, no major discrepancies! Either I am improving my prediction power or we are at least both wrong for the most part! No comments at all on the Sports ratings, I have no clue and it's not something I even look at the numbers to be honest. As for The Biggest Looser, which is unscripted which means I don't predict it, I see it having kind of a bad season, mostly hanging around the 1.5 area, but the early start may just put it slightly above your numbers, though not by much, I agree for the most part.

Then, from the closest prediction to the furthest one:
- The Vampire Diaries: 0.80! And the CW continues to give us what are exactly the same guesses, now across all 4 8pm weeknights! I agree with you of course and I also had the thought that "it can't possibly drop all that much in the spring again". I am however extremely worried about it facing Grey's Anatomy. I strongly believe a large part of the reason why so many TVD lead out failed was because the W18-34 audience they were seeking was already busy with GA and now it will be time for TVD itself to face it, and it is doing so coming off from its weakest season yet so there is reason to be scared I think.

- Bones: 1.57. It's also quite close to yours and I don't really have an argument to defend it any better than you did. I agree that it comes down to how much FOX moves the show this year, it's crazy how much they like to mess around with it. I think the Spring damage was real but on the other hand, Bones is the kind of show that, as a procedural, is best suited to turn around these kind of things, so it's possible it works its way around it I guess.

- Grey's Anatomy: 2.11. I initially had your number as my prediction too but I added in an extra tenth motivated by all the promotion the show is getting this year. I don't remember ABC being so focused on this show probably since Season 5 or something like that. It still has an uphill battle because of the clear timeslot downgrade and I also think last year's strength was a bit overvalued due to the absence of competition (it also had what was probably a worse lead in than local programming on the other hand...) but overall I feel optimistic about this Shonda night so I wanted to bump this one a notch.

Network to watch: ABC

My picks: Grey's Anatomy and also The Big Bang Theory! I will also keep up with Bones and The Vampire Diaries somehow but it will probably be mostly through marathons during the hiatus and such.

Side note: I find the way you are doing it assuming that Sports will be the main occupant to be kind of weird when predicting competition dynamics since the regular shows will only face them for 5 or 6 weeks while they will face Big Bang for the remainder 16-18 episodes of the season.

Spot said...

On a related note, who wants to guess how ABC will schedule Thursdays this year? I find it kind of hard because of the split season treatment and the odd numbers that the 10pm shows have. Also, guesses for what the midseason filler will be?

The orders are:
- Grey's Anatomy: Not known but I assume the regular 24
- Scandal: 22
- How to Get Away with Murder: 15-16
- Secrets and Lies: 10

My guess:
Fall: GA/Scandal/Murder - 11 episodes each, with a break only for Thanksgiving night
Late Winter: 26/02: GA/scandal/Murder - 4 episodes each
Spring (26/03): GA/Scandal/Secrets and Lies

Fall: GA/Scandal/Murder (11 episodes each)
January & February: Filler
Late Winter (starting 26/02): GA/Scandal/Murder (4 episodes each)
(starting 26/03): GA/Scandal/Secrets and Lies. GA probably gets a two
hour finale leading to the Secrets and Lies finale while Scandal wraps
the previous week.

However, this scenario assumes that Secrets and Lies has an 8 episode order, while I've heard it has 10 episodes ordered. I have no clue how to schedule those extra 2! Additionally, I realize it's not ideal to have that break in the Murder season just with 4 episodes in the winter but I do not know how to do it better. Having it return in January sans Scandal is kind of dull.

As for the 7 weeks in between, my guess is Reality Filler (maybe it's even The Taste again)/The Club/Astronaut Wives Club. 7 weeks is a very short order but it's not that far off from the 8 episode order that Carter got or that Resurrection had last year.

Spot said...

While I do think Grey's Anatomy may not hold up well since there was no Oh spike for her final episodes, the drama will benefit from the relentless promotion ABC is putting behind Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder. Either way, the show should be the strongest player, Plus-wise, that ABC has had since Ugly Betty's first season.

The one show that should really be worried is the only one that's been in this hour since its debut: The Vampire Diaries. It had the most provocative ending last season compared its past finales (So many deaths! So many resurrections!), so I could see a bigger bounce-back than usual compared to its spring numbers. But the drama needs to sustain a tighter focus over the course of show to hold that. And ABC and NBC will be much stronger in this hour than last season, with shows that skew female to boot. Tough hill to climb

Since Bones didn't have an announced move, I do think it's likely to stay here all season; Fox should see more upside with a Backstrom/The Following lineup on Mondays while Thursdays could easily become Bones/Idol/sitcom come January.

My Pick: The Vampire Diaries

Spot said...

The feeling I have for this slot is that even though all three networks (ABC, NBC and FOX) are almost guaranteed to have results for the individual shows lower than last season (the almost is only for Bones and even so it's a stretch), they will for sure be up year to year faced to what they were doing there last year. This is especially true in the case of ABC and NBC which were gigantically incompetent last year there.

Spot said...

Regarding FOX, I highly doubt they think Backstorm has the potential to lead Mondays like that. I think Mondays will be Wayward Pines/The Following in the late winter/Spring. Thursdays will probably be Bones/Backstorm, it wouldn't surprise me to see Idol just on Wednesdays next season.

However, I do not know what happens with Empire on this scenario. I suppose an alternative is American Idol/Empire on Thursdays with Bones and Backstorm being relegated to Fridays.

Both cases still leave that awful Tuesday at 8pm slot to fix though once Utopia flops. Honestly I am not sure if trying comedies there (especially if launched during the voice hiatus) wouldn't be a good idea. All the other solutions are either too compatible with the voice (Idol, Empire) or with NCIS (Bones, Backstorm).

Spot said...

I do wonder if there's the possibility of ABC being able to order extra Scandal episodes during the season; they've been fond of doing that with Castle, but it is much easier to do that with a procedural.

The big question mark is if ABC wants to try blunting The Blacklist's Thursday timeslot debut with Scandal. With no Olympics mucking up February Sweeps this season, I don't see ABC rolling over with filler for the whole month. Which leads me to guess:

9/25-11/20: Grey's/Scandal/Murder (9 episodes each)
11/27-1/29: Holiday Specials & Filler - take your pick of what shows fill in the gap
2/5-3/19: Grey's/Scandal/Murder (7 episodes each)
3/26 & 4/2: Grey's/Secrets & Lies (2 Grey's, 4 Secrets & Lies)
4/9-5/14: Grey's/Scandal/Secrets & Lies (6 episodes each)

Spot said...

My gut says that Glee fills in for one of the Utopia hours. I'd rather have it on Tuesday if it has to have a weeknight slot just because I'd rather not put my new music-themed drama (Empire) against The Voice's spring season. As for Idol going to once a night, I like the idea but can Fox pull that trigger? The ballsy move would be Idol/Empire Wednesdays once Idol moves to the live shows and make Thursday Bones/new drama. This all would mean that the network is really rolling over on Fridays, which is possible (see: this past season).

Spot said...

I had a crazy idea of having a 2 Hour Grey's Anatomy as the lead in for HTGAWM for the premiere. Grey's has a good history with strong 2 hour episodes. Then premiere Scandal next week. I think HTGAWM should have a solid enough self start premiere to grow from a solid Grey's. Then the usual post premiere drop would have blocked by a bigger Scandal as the lead in in week 2. It would help with the episode counts too. But it isn't happening. Just a crazy idea

Spot said...

Members Only is the new title of The Club. That one is currently casting, and The Astronaut Wives Club is being retooled - I doubt either is ready before spring at earliest.

Last season Winter Olympics was incentive for them to put shows on so long hiatus, and call it split season. This season I expect them to have shorter break, and to do this:

9/25/2014 to 12/11/2014 : Murder 11 episodes, GA/Scandal 10 episodes (1 repeat each), plus all 3 in repeats on Thanksgiving night.
2/5/2015 to 2/26/2015 : GA/Scandal/Murder - 3 episodes each.
3/5/2015 : GA + 2 hours Murder season finale.
3/12/2015 to 5/14/2015 : GA/Secrets and Lies - 10 episodes each, Scandal 9 episodes + 1 repeat (or 23 episodes order).

Spot said...

Oh. Oops. Well, I kinda used it as a guideline but I still went well below what it seemed like they were projecting, so maybe I will get lucky and not be too far off.

Spot said...

Tentative American Idol order is 37 hours. Then I suppose it would be.

Auditions 3 x 3 hours = 9 (1/21/2015 to 2/5/2015)
Hollywood Round 2 x 2 = 4 (Wed 2/11/2015 and 2/18/2015)
Semifinals 3 x 1 hour = 3 (Wed 8 PM 2/25/2015 to 3/11/2015)
Finalists 9 x 2 hours = 18 (Wed 8 PM & Thu 9PM, 3/18/2015 to 5/14/2015)
final week 3 hours 5/20/2015 & 5/21/2015

That would allow them to air:
Wayward Pines at Thu 9 PM, 10 episodes from 1/8/2015 to 3/12/2015.
Backstrom at Thu 8 PM, 13 episodes from 2/12/2015 to 5/14/2015.
Empire at Wed 9 PM, 13 episodes from 2/25/2015 to 5/20/2015.

Complicated, but Fox schedule always is.

Spot said...

Grey's Anatomy: I agree with you but, like everyone else, I'm gonna add a tick. ABC is definitely the network to watch not just in this hour but the entire night. I do agree that local programming is probably the best lead-in its got in a looooong while. I think the show also benefits from not having TBBT in the hour for the first few weeks. Additionally, I think we tend to undermine the importance of lead-outs. I don't know about you guys, but if I know a good episode of Scandal is coming on at 9pm, I might jump to ABC a little earlier, just because. Maybe thats just me, but I still think that a lead-out is important and ABC definitely did not make this move without reason. They made the decision in the context of the entire Thursday landscape and no matter how much Grey's declines, I think we'll all look back on this as a good decision for the network.

Thursday Night Football: I say it's down a few ticks from your prediction, but not exactly at your worst case. I agree completely with your point about how Thursday football games are not part of the football-viewing tradition. But I think another thing we have to consider is that the NFL Network does get a pretty decent-sized audience for its Thursday games. If I had that type of paid subscription, I would try to get my money's worth, not just jump to a free broadcast network. So, it's not like CBS is going to steal many viewers from NFL network. Although I think most regular CBS viewers will flock to this night of programming, I still think it will be difficult for the network to establish a huge Sunday-sized audience on a night where most broadcast viewers are not accustomed to watch football.

The Biggest Loser: I basically agree with you. I think eventually the 9pm comedies will fail and NBC will start pumping out 2-hour episodes, which might help its average a little since it gets to air in a higher-viewed hour.

Bones: Agree

Vampire Diaries: Agree

My Picks: Maybe some Biggest Loser/Grey's

Spot said...

I think the TNF matchups are (nearly?) always divisional matchups. Every team has to play in exactly one Thursday game; opening night doesn't count, but Thanksgiving does. (Therefore, each team has precisely one short week.) Divisional games obviously excite the core fanbase, and they allow everyone to have a primetime game *somewhat* worth getting excited about - the epitome of which is surely Titans-Jaguars on the NFLN-only part of the slate this year - but they might not resonate nationally in the way that the SNF matchups (which are often clashes of the top QBs - Manning-Luck this week, Manning-Brady and Brees-Rodgers midseason) tend to.

Because of the package excluding Thanksgiving games, the perennial ratings-machine Cowboys can't be in it, but Peyton's Broncos had a similar impact last year, and they're on the CBS slate against the Chargers. That game should hit a good-for-SNF number, especially if the Bolts reprise last season's knack of producing games that go to the final two minutes. (They're my team. I think I love them for it. Think.)

I'm seeing a two-network combined figure in the 6s. Won't guess at the CBS split, which by the sounds of it is irrelevant to them outside of Nielsen battles anyway.

Spot said...

I've been rooting for terminal damage to TBL for a while and I think this is the year. All the Worst Case arguments ring true, and I think the way last season ended has done legitimate damage to the franchise - when you get someone winning the quarter-million by overshooting even the standard American thin ideal, and looking decidedly gaunt at the season finale, that's threatening the entire justification of the franchise as positive intervention. Sub-Parks numbers cannot be ruled out here, but that might be hope rather than expectation.

Spot said...

Yes, I noticed it after I posted it. I have forgotten Hieroglyph is cancelled.
Monday 8 PM is then Backstrom, very likely. Could be Bones, but since it's already on Thursday, that's one move less. Thanks for correction.

Gotham is 16 episodes order, and Sleepy Hollow 18. Then I suppose it's this:
Monday 1/26/2015 Gotham Season 1 finale
Monday 2/2/2015 Sleepy Hollow 2-hours Season 2 finale
Backstrom at Mon 8 PM, 13 episodes from 2/9/2015 to 5/4/2015
Following (15 episodes) 5/11/2015 - 2-hours Season 3 finale.

Bones remains at Thu 8 PM, around 13 episodes from 2/12/2015 to 5/14/2015.

Spot said...

I think Tuesday 8 PM will be:
1. Utopia if it does well.
2. If not, then Red Band Society if it does well enough to earn back 9 order.
3. If not, then Glee or something Ramsey. Glee only if it is surrender night, it's W18-34 went down to low 1s in spring, and season finale was at truly awful 0.7. To compare, New Girl season finale was 1.6 in W18-34, and Mindy's 1.8. Both comedies were at mid to high 1s during late spring.

Spot said...

Red Band would in theory be a good choice to that slot, if only because it probably shares the young audience of New Girl and Mindy but that's also the exact reason why that show shouldn't face the voice, pretty little liars and what will presumably be the cw's strongest show in that demo either. I agree about Glee, it's a horrible choice but it will probably happen.

Spot said...

I just don't see Backstorm being the kind of buzzy show that can launch on Monday by itself. FOX's drama launches are all about buzz and hype and they are always about premering big and then they get renewed or cancelled depending on how well they hold that premiere audience.

Backstorm, if it is to even succeed, feels much more like a Bones type of player that will never be huge but could move along by being solid enough to fill problematic slots, than a Monday show like I've described (The Following, Sleepy Hollow, Almost Human, Terra Nova, Alcatraz). Wayward Pins fits that bill better to me. Backstorm imo, should be launched out of Bones or American Idol.

Spot said...

While in theory I like the ballsy move of Idol/Empire, rationally speaking, it's wrong for FOX to cut Idol down to one hour because it's very likely that it will still end up being FOX' highest rated show come Spring.

My guess is that they put Bones on hiatus (or maybe sent it Fridays again who knows) come winter and so something like this:

January: Idol on Wednesdays and Thursdays the two hours
February: Idol+Empire on Wednesdays and Idol+Backstorm on Thursdays
Spring: Idol+Empire on Wednesdays and Bones+Backstorm on Thursdays

(I haven't tried to work out the dates just yet, so I am not 100% sure if this works in terms of episode order and all). By the way, all of this assumes they ignore Friday the entire season apart from Masterchef Jr's brief run in the fall. Which is probably not such a bad idea when they have so much to focus on with the Monday-Thursday schedule already.

Spot said...

Paul Lee is on the record saying he will keep the split season model and honestly, seeing how well it worked for them, I am not sure why they wouldn't.

I suppose your schedule is possible and at least you address some issues might had such as having Murder coming back after such a long break only for 4 episodes and not having enough room for Secrets and Lies final two episodes but on the other hand I don't like that you have the whole month of January with nothing and that you have Scandal taking some random one week breaks every once in a while. I would still rather see them using split season again and 7 weeks is enough time for ABC to give a decent effort into programming them (as opposed to just January)

Spot said...

Like Silvio's schedule, yours is possible but I would rather see them keeping the split season treatment since it worked so well last year. The other big advantage is that it gives them enough time (7 weeks in January and February) to try to program something decent instead of just filler for the whole time.

Spot said...

Scandal having fewer episodes means that unless there's a 2 hour Grey's Anatomy at some point (which is likely for a season finale) there has to be some kind of break for the 9:00 PM show. And in an interview, Shonda mentioned something about how an actress' real life pregnancy hasn't impacted their storytelling for at least the first 9 episodes. Maybe that's just a production/writing thing, but it could be a hint to the scheduling since she has to have more sway with Paul Lee than most producers.

My suggestion is just based on the feeling that I don't like the one week Thanksgiving break, then 2 more episodes before the hiatus. It avoids having only a 4 ep run of Murder on the back end while also fitting in the 10 eps of Secrets & Lies. Admittedly it's not great for the gap shows which would only have the three Thursdays in December, one week break for Christmas, then the five Thursdays in January, but the one Lee really wants to make work is Agent Carter; any others that hit would just be extra credit.

Spot said...

Yes, but what split season means isn't exactly carved in stone. It meant 10 weeks hiatus last winter, but it could just as well mean 7 weeks this season.

And, for Thursday only, all things point to it being 7 weeks this season.
1. Like you said, there's combined order for How to Get Away with Murder / Secrets and Lies is 25 to 26 episodes.

2. Like, Chris said, ABC wouldn't like The Blacklist first 3 Thursday episodes air against low-rated filler stuff.

3. There's no Olympics this winter.

Spot said...

The Blacklist's argument goes both ways. You might argue they want to counter-attack it right away but you might also say they wouldn't mind taking the first three weeks to let the dust settle and avoid whatever boost the superbowl gives it short term. The show is bound to fall in coming weeks and the fall would be even greater if Scandal were to arrive in said period as well.

I just think that the hour as a whole is worse off with that scheme because if you take 7 weeks off you can air decent stuff in the meantime. If you take 3 or 4 weeks off you have to air repeats because there is nothing else worth programming in such short amount of time. Not to mention that I think it would be better for the Shonda shows to air uninterrupted as well.

Spot said...

Well, that's actually a good argument (the one about letting the show avoid coming back in December post thanksgiving).

I think the only problem is what to air in January. It's one thing to have a gap show taking over for January and February for 7 weeks but it's another one to have it taking the horribly viewed December nights and then break and then January. I don't think it would work at all. They would probably be better off with something like the great christmas light fight on december and then pure filler on January. But I still feel that, if this were to be the plan, the overall numbers for the night would be lower than if they were to properly program replacements like Members Only or TAWC.

Regarding GA, I thought it would be a two hour season finale but since Secrets and Lies has 10 and not 8 episodes, then I agree that it's more likely that we see GA/double Secrets and Lies twice than it is that we see a two hour season finale. I think ABC would however prefer to launch Secrets and Lies out of Scandal than out of GA, so I think it's more likely that Scandal wraps up early and the double ups of Secrets and Lies happen on the last weeks of the season.

Spot said...

I only suggest Secrets & Lies launches out of Grey's Anatomy because I'd want Scandal to touch all 4 weeks of May sweeps. It's an outdated concept but one that all the networks still like to tout (especially ABC since they actually won it last season). Plus the late-March scheduling gives Secrets & Lies at least one week where CBS' schedule is preempted for NCAA coverage. But your idea of Secrets & Lies launching out of Scandal is more likely.

For December/January, I expect to see something like 2 hour episodes of The Taste again, followed by Members Only at 10:00. (The Great Christmas Light Fight would be the gap series between Dancing with the Stars' November finale and The Bachelor's January debut. The Astronaut Wives Club probably replaces a canceled Mistresses in the summer, post-Bachelorette.) I agree that the overall numbers would be lower than a "proper" schedule, but at some point fighting the quirks of the calendar is fruitless to try doing. ABC would be better off getting in the miniseries/anthology series business to solve this issue in future seasons.

Spot said...

I realize that about May Sweeps but they were actually decent about it last year with Scandal (as in, they could have postponed its return or even aired reruns in the middle of it to force it to air in May and they didn't), which is why I am assuming that they are willing to let it end early on in May Sweeps again if that's what benefits the show as a whole more.

You have a solid plan there. It always seems a bit of a waste to me to throw those high viewed January nights to the wolves like that but I don't really have a better plan I admit. I am just not too sure about Members Only being the burnoff your schedule would imply. The show is actually gathering some decent cast so I don't think ABC would throw it to the wolves like that. In an ideal world, Nashville is pulled to the summer and there is an opening on the schedule for something like this.

Spot said...

Mmm, that seems too low for Grey's.
I'm going with a 2.3.

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