Thursday, September 18, 2014

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

Best Case/Worst Case moves to the Thursday 10/9c hour, when (as at 9/8c) ABC will try to post huge numbers against relatively little broadcast resistance.

How To Get Away With Murder (NEW!)
Premieres September 25

Timeslot OccupantsScandal The Assets Black Box
Avg Orig Avg
2.16 2.58 3.05 3.15 0.65 0.83 1.28 1.31

Best Case: This show is an absolutely perfect match with Scandal, and Viola Davis is an extremely credible lead with the Shondaland audience. Almost all of Scandal's audience stays tuned, and maybe even Davis herself draws a handful of extra viewers. 3.20, roughly matching Scandal's fall ratings.

Worst Case: Scandal is just another one of those shows that's a "bad lead-in"; everyone jumps off when the episode is over to chat on social media. And while Scandal was relatively unique, this cast is full of bland young people, mimicing previous ABC efforts like The Deep End and Off the Map. It's quickly at 50% or worse retention of Scandal and gets ends after one season with a 1.40 average.

Likeliest: The Scandal and How to Get Away duo immediately makes me think of the long-time Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice pairing. PP usually did about two-thirds of Grey's Anatomy's rating; if How to Get Away follows suit, this show should be very close to 2.0. And yet I think ABC would actually be a touch disappointed with that kind of dynamic with this show. It won't be another Scandal out of the box, but I think 75% average retention is possible, especially when including a big series premiere rating. 2.40, edging Gotham for biggest newbie of the season.

Thursday Night Football (NEW!)
Premieres September 11

Timeslot OccupantsElementary
Avg Orig Avg
1.59 1.74 1.73 1.88

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.

Premieres September 25
y2y Label True Sitch 2013-14 Slot
1.27 -31% flop 1.51 -16% Thursday 10:00

Timeslot OccupantsParenthood
Avg Orig Avg
1.95 1.27 1.27 1.51

Best Case: The announced final season brings in some viewers, and the presence of longtime lead-in The Biggest Loser on the night sets up Parenthood with a more compatible Thursday viewership profile. Also, it doesn't have to face that pesky Scandal anymore! Up 10% to a 1.40, putting it in the general Plus range of its later Tuesday seasons.

Worst Case: Bad Judge and A to Z do even worse than the family comedies last year, and How to Get Away is nearly as strong as Scandal last year. Down 21% to 1.00.

Likeliest: There's actually more going for this than I realized when I started writing the Best Case. But it's still bad competition and it's still a bad lead-in, just (maybe) not as bad as last season. So I don't see a huge influx of viewership for the final season. I think it inches down a tenth to 1.17, a slightly less than league-average drop.

The Basics:

bc Rank y2y Rank TPUT Rank bc/TPUT Rank
Thursday 10:00 8.2 11 +6% 4 30.7 13 27% 9

The Network to Watch: ABC by about a million miles.

The Picks: Parenthood, the rare 10/9c show that I almost never fall behind on, and likely How to Get Away.


Spot said...

How to Get Away with Murder : Highly compatible with its strong lead-in + not much of a competition = renewal seems a lock. I see it at even better retention, around 80%, only thing is I see Scandal much lower than Spot sees it. My likely is 2.10 with best/worst of 2.40/1.80. I think it will fight Stalker for #2 new show just behind #1 Gotham.

Elementary : With Scandal out of the picture, I'd expect it stays flat in raw numbers, at around 1.70.

Parenthood : Final season, so not really important. I see it at around 1.20, because this show has some core audience (though not much of it), which is seen by past resilience to some awful lead-ins.

Spot said...

Remember when ABC was an afterthought on Thursdays? Other than a Millionaire-boosted lineup in the late 90s & early 2000s, for the longest time the Alphabet net was irrelevant here as NBC ruled with Must See TV, then CBS with its potent Survivor/CSI duo. Now, thanks to Grey's Anatomy blazing an amazing ratings trail that Scandal looks to continue, ABC is probably the network to beat on an entertainment series basis this season on Thursdays. It's clear that they are all-in on How to Get Away with Murder: the Shondaland Thursday promotion is reminiscent of how hard ABC pushed Desperate Housewives and Lost before the 2004-2005 season started, and the only other new drama being launched this Fall in Forever. It won't match Scandal's ratings from 2013-2014, but it'll launch stronger than Scandal's season one numbers. Combine that with the y2y timeslot improvement Grey's Anatomy and Scandal should post, and ABC is set up very well.

Parenthood at least gets the benefit of a shorter, Fall-only season that it's enjoyed in years past. But a serialized family drama that's been marginal on average doesn't have a huge reservoir of former viewers to draw from for its final year. A less-than-league-average drop should be considered a win.

My Pick: How to Get Away with Murder, full-stop. This may be a show I actually watch live.

Spot said...

I Don't know if Scandal can match last season's premiere considering that there wasn't much of a cliffhanger but if it does or even if it's a few tenths lower, then I think that HTGAWM can easily debut at a 2.7 or higher. What it averages after that is up to how good the writing is.

Spot said...

How To Get Away With Murder does NOT want to be another Scandal out of the box. Scandal has mediocre retention out a very much upswinging Grey's Anatomy out of the box with the most ridiculous data point being the season 2 premiere that managed a 2.1 out of a freakin' 4.4! 48% retention! That's bad.

Spot said...

I think when Spot says "out of the box" he's saying Murder's first season won't rate as highly as Scandal's most recent season, not Scandal when it first debuted a few years ago out of Grey's Anatomy.

Spot said...

I am more positive about both shows here than you are:
- How to Get Away with Murder: 2.65 As I continue to write these, the more I actually appreciate some of the
schedules that networks came up with. This is just another piece of
perfect scheduling that literally has everything going for it (like The Flash, NCIS New Orleans or Stalker). It has
the highest rated and most compatible lead-in it could have, it has
practically no competition, it will avoid the lowest rated portion of
the year, it has a big star headlining it and it has ABC's promotional machine full behind it.
That has to result in a big win for ABC and I think Scandal/Shonda/the concept is hot enough for this to become a huge hit. Retention is a tricky thing to use here because it will miss out the lowest rated portion of the season when Scandal is likely to be lower and to cool off more.

- Parenthood: 1.29. Parenthood was so stable last year that I don’t see any reason why it
should dip now that everyone knows it is ending and that it has a better
lead-in and slightly less formidable competition. I think it manages to
be up a tick even in raw numbers.

Spot said...

Like I've said in my comment, I think using retention as a predictor for How to Get Away with Murder could be very misleading. The show will finish considerably earlier than Scandal and Scandal is the type of show that, if it is to fall, it should happen in the second half of the season when hype starts to cool off. So Murder should benefit a lot more than pure retention calculations would indicate. Secrets and Lies though is another story.

Spot said...

I think it will be disappointing if ABC doesn't take home Thursdays this fall (after TNF is over anyway, I am ignoring it for these purposes).

My estimates for CBS:
TBBT: 4.47
The Millers: 2.00
Two and a Half Men: 2.45
The McHarthys: 1.66
Elementary: 1.42

Average: 2.24

My estimates for ABC:
Grey's Anatomy: 2.11
Scandal: 2.85
How to Get Away with Murder: 2.65

Average: 2.54

A lot of stuff can go wrong of course but I think they should take it home most of the times.

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