|How To Get Away With Murder (NEW!)|
|Premieres September 25|
|Timeslot Occupants||Scandal||The Assets||Black Box|
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|
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|
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 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.