Tuesday, September 2, 2014

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

Best Case/Worst Case moves to the Tuesday 8/7c hour, when several newbies will try to make inroads against tough incumbents NCIS and The Voice.

Selfie (NEW!)
Premieres September 30

Timeslot OccupantsAgents of SHIELD
Avg Orig Avg
1.93 2.41 2.40 2.49

Best Case: Unlike many an ABC Tuesday comedy hour in years past, there's no comedy competition. And Karen Gillan might just be one of those starlets that resonates with the younger crowd the way Zooey Deschanel did a couple years ago. Creatively, this is one of ABC's better young-skewing efforts, and so Selfie is one of the surprises of the season. 1.90, roughly matching the season one Plus of creator Emily Kapnek's previous show Suburgatory, and ABC finally has that younger comedy foothold.

Worst Case: Selfie is just another one of those hangout shows that ABC threw after Modern Family for many years. Maybe there's less opportunity cost in this slot, but without that lead-in and up against The Voice, this show will have absolutely no way of getting its younger target audience interested. The few people who recognize Karen Gillan and John Cho aren't interested in this kind of show. There is very little initial interest and it's gone after about a month. 0.80.

Likeliest: I don't see this attracting enough interest to get a full season, but ABC may not want to pull both this and Manhattan Love Story very early on, and Manhattan will likely do even worse. It gets through most to all of the 13-episode order at a 1.06 average, including some possible double-ups late in the fall, and the Tuesday comedy hour is off the sked entirely by 2015.

Manhattan Love Story (NEW!)
Premieres September 30

Timeslot OccupantsAgents of SHIELD
Avg Orig Avg
1.90 2.37 2.40 2.49

Best Case: Though it's a modest hour on the whole, Manhattan Love Story doesn't really do any worse than Selfie. It almost fully retains Selfie in the opening months and both shows get a back nine. Both shows are on the bubble down the stretch, but Manhattan comes up just shy of a renewal while Selfie gets the nod. 1.30.

Worst Case: Selfie is DOA, and the worse-reviewed, less-promoted Manhattan Love Story actually does a fair amount worse. It averages a 0.65 and is gone after two episodes.

Likeliest: This seems like a prime candidate for first cancellation. It's getting much less promotion than Selfie and seems only tacked onto the schedule because ABC needed something semi-compatible at 8:30. Selfie would have to explode for this to have a chance at siphoning off respectable numbers. 0.87 and pulled in within a month.

Premieres September 23
y2y Label True Sitch 2013-14 Slot
2.81 -16% hit 2.87 -2% Tuesday 8:00

Timeslot OccupantsNCIS
Avg Orig Avg
2.38 2.81 2.81 2.87

Best Case: A big part of what held NCIS back last season was a rare successful drama competitor. With Agents of SHIELD gone in favor of a much weaker comedy hour, plus some extra promotion for NCIS due to its new spin-off, NCIS returns to about its peak A18-49+ level. 2.72, down just under a tenth from last year.

Worst Case: Last year was the first time NCIS dropped more than average, and it was actually trending much worse than that late in the season, because the early episodes were inflated by Cote De Pablo's departure. We often saw episodes down 25%ish toward the end of the season. That trend resumes in the fall and never really gets any better. A very mediocre 2.11, down 25%.

Likeliest: There are some environmental reasons to be optimistic here. The competition should be easier on the whole and it had an incredible season when it last launched a spin-off five years ago. But the last few years (and especially late last season) suggest a show finally starting to come down from its peak. I see NCIS dropping a bit less than last year but still a bit more than average, with the declines lessening after the early comparisons are out of the way. -13% to a 2.45.

The Voice
Premieres September 23
y2y Label True Sitch 2013-14 Slot
3.66 -10% big hit 3.37 +8% Tuesday 8:00

Timeslot OccupantsThe Biggest Loser The Voice Tue Spr
Avg Orig Avg
2.61 2.59 1.89 1.80 3.16 3.59

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 6% to a 3.44.

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 on Monday, and that will hold back the Tuesday ratings. Down 26% to just a 2.70.

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 3.05. Tuesday will decline as much as Monday even in an easier competitive spot because it's moving to 8/7c (it aired at 9:00 last fall).

Utopia (NEW!)
Sun Preview September 7; Tue Premiere September 9

Timeslot OccupantsDads Brooklyn Nine-Nine Glee
Avg Orig Avg
1.24 1.30 1.41 1.37 1.63 1.63 0.95 1.13

Best Case: It's a gamble, but it's refreshing enough in a stale unscripted world to pay off in a big way. The deft scheduling gets it some help from the NFL (an audience that likes to sample unscripted shows) and then a significant head start on its competitors. It's a season one The X Factor-sized smash that might even compete for first place in the 8:00 hour toward the end of The Voice's season. 2.70.

Worst Case: Utopia comes off like a lame retread of Survivor and Big Brother. The only truly distinctive part of this show is its larger scope, and that angle didn't seem to get anyone interested in NBC's Million Second Quiz last year. The prospect of a full year of this is too much. Once full competition arrives, it quickly drops to levels that would've been bad even in the summer, and it's gone by November sweeps. 0.65.

Likeliest: Nothing has really changed how I felt in May: Fox scheduled this series so that it would be of little benefit to the network if it succeeds and do minimal damage if it bombs. That does not feel like a vote of confidence. The real trick in predicting this one is that I also have to predict how long it will be on the air. I'm gonna say it gets an OK sampling this Sunday, doesn't do that badly for the first couple weeks, and then falls apart once the full fall competition arrives. A 1.05 Tuesday average including (and inflated by) the two Sunday post-NFL hours, and it ends up getting pulled in the general vicinity of December/January.

The Flash (NEW!)
Premieres October 7

Timeslot OccupantsThe Originals
Avg Orig Avg
0.67 0.88 0.88 0.94

Best Case: The Flash is an even bigger name than other brands like Green Arrow that the CW has successfully launched. And the critics seem enthusiastically on board. It's the can't-miss of the season, and the ceiling is nothing short of highest rated series in CW history (at least in A18-49+). 1.28 and a resounding third place in its timeslot.

Worst Case: Apparently this show is considerably lighter than its DC Comics predecessor Arrow, and dark is what's working in TV drama these days. The Flash ultimately becomes a bit too goofy and lightweight and settles in as a lower-end CW anchor. It probably still gets renewed with its 0.60 average, depending on how front-loaded that average is, but nobody's all that happy with how it turned out.

Likeliest: I don't see a lighter tone being a problem, as that feel has helped build an entire cinematic empire for Marvel. It's actually hard to see how this doesn't succeed in a pretty big way; the only question is the extent. I say it blows past the Plus scores of Arrow (50) and The Originals (48) and comes very close to the network's biggest-ever newbie The Vampire Diaries (61). I wouldn't be too surprised if it does even better than TVD season 1, but I'm playing it a little conservative and saying it goes right at a 60 Plus. 1.02.

The Basics:

bc Rank y2y Rank TPUT Rank bc/TPUT Rank
Tuesday 8:00 8.7 7 -7% 13 31.4 10 28% 8

The Network to Watch: Lots of new stuff against a couple pretty tough incumbents, but the one I have the most hope for is on the CW.

The Picks: I will probably watch The Flash. I may try Utopia in these very slow next couple weeks, and I thought Selfie's pilot was better than expected, but I don't consider any the non-Flash newbies likely over the long term.


Spot said...

Starring in the highest grossing movie of the year would normally be a plus for Selfie star Karen Gillian, but too bad she was a blue alien with her head shaved. Hard to see Guardians of the Galaxy fans flocking to Selfie. Amy Pond might bring some 18-34 Doctor Who fans, but I doubt enough to make a huge difference.

Spot said...

Do you have the projected league average around a 1.7? Another -10% like drop?

Spot said...

Yep, I'm generally assuming exactly a 1.7.

Spot said...

Here we go!

Regarding Utopia, I wouldn't even give it such a high best case scenario to be honest. I totally agree with your argument that FOX scheduled the show with very little confidence and that's probably revealing. In addition, I don't think marketing has done a good job promoting what the show is about. I mean, I am still not entirely sure how it will work. Big Brother was the easy "strangers leaving inside a house" and Survivor was the "strangers surviving on an island" thing but this? I am not sure. Then, of course, battling the voice head to head is certainly of no help. I think FOX would actually have been better off doing Hell's Kitchen/Utopia on Thursdays thus avoiding reality altogether than throwing Utopia against The Voice and Hell's Kitchen against Survivor (remember how awful it got when it faced Shark Tank last year?), even if the end result for Utopia is still probably the same.

Now, in terms of the other predictions, I will go from the closest one to the furthest one:
- The Flash: 1.03. It's almost the same as yours! So far our CW predictions are really the same! I agree with you entirely, it's very hard to not be positive about this show because it seems to have literally everything going for it. I legitimately think the situation would be different if ABC hadn't been kind enough to move Shield ouf of the way, but as it is, it's hard to be negative. I bet you had to think a bit before coming up with the worst case argument, no? I believe the CW arranged its entire schedule to make sure this show had the best chance to suceed, including not moving Supernatural, not caring about Thursday, throwing TO to the wolves and picking a timeslot filler (Jane) to not promote, late launch for the 100, etc. and the raw numbers for this show should likely pay off.

- NCIS: 2.48. Again, we are predicting what is essentially the same number. I think Shield was really a factor last year, so it should be better now, even if the year to year trend was still pretty brutal. Another thing to keep in mind was that it was not facing the voice for most of last fall - no such luck this year! I generally agree with you, so not much else to say.

- The ABC comedies - Selfie (1.51) and Manhattan Love Story (1.06). I am clearly way more positive than you are here, especially with Selfie. I felt very unease doing Selfie's prediction, I didn't know even which range to consider. I ultimately agree that mine is probably too high, but I still think it should be higher than yours is. The no comedy competition argument is very important IMO (last year, I am sure the goldbergs and new girl which aren't even the same type of comedies were cannibalizing one another which is clear if we compare winter/spring numbers from both when the other was and wasn't airing) and ABC is actually making a huge effort with Selfie as far as promotion go (the opposite can be said about Manhattan, which you've summarized perfectly as being something that ABC seems to have picked just to have something to pair Selfie with). Put in the whole potential that the social media aspect of it can give it and I decided to give it the same plus numbers as the goldbergs had last year in a tougher slot (double comedy competition for half the year, a still potent new girl for the other half), even if I recognise that's optimistic and I am already picturing myself typing my regrets a year from now when you do accountability post.

Networks to watch: The CW is very interesting for sure but I happen to think that so is ABC, almost to an equal amount. Still, it's hard to not give it to the CW when they've done everything about this hour, as stated above.

My picks: The Flash is a sure thing! I will also watch whatever airs from the ABC comedies as both look great to me. I've already watched the Selfie pilot which I've liked and I happen to be one of the few people in the world that find the Manhattan pilot very interesting, so I will be there for that one too.

Spot said...

My picks: The Flash. Probably will watch Selfie on the 30th though. My dorm room does not have a DVR so I gotta be choosy here

Spot said...

Selfie/Manhattan Love Story: I definitely think Selfie will end up being the renew-worthy candidate out of the two, but I think it needs Manhattan Love Story to be a success in order to actually score a renewal from ABC. If (and when) Manhattan Love Story fails, I don't think ABC would want to try and use a marginal show to launch a new show. I can definitely see this being a Community/Happy Endings situation in the sense that the show has a young and loyal fanbase but has neither the 18-49 prowess nor a compatible counterpart to remain on the sked.

NCIS: Welcome to the senior retirement center that is CBS Tuesday. I agree with your raw numbers prediction, but I can easily see the show dipping down into the 10% range in terms of skew. How much life is left NCIS franchise and how valuable is it to CBS? I think New Orleans will give us some pretty clear answers to both of those questions.

The Voice: I agree with you that the franchise as a whole will take a large step down, but I think the Tuesday hour might hold up a little better. The 8pm hour is just as easy (if not easier) than the 9pm hour last year with SHIELD out of the picture. The viewing levels might be smaller, but I see the show taking a 10-15% drop.

Utopia: I agree with you, but I'm slightly more positive. I say it gets a larger sampling and ends up at a 1.3-1.4 but is still pulled from the sked come December/January due to costs.

The Flash: Agree

My picks: The Voice, maybe a little bit of Selfie and Utopia just to check em out

Spot said...

I would have given Utopia a legit breakout chance when I first heard the pickup. Since then, the Dutch mothership has been only a modest success, the entirety of FOX did its best late-oughts-NBC impression, and then we got this skedding. This could be so brutal that this slot could go to Glee and still be an upgrade.

I can see Selfie getting modest 18-49s and still being renewed on 18-34 numbers. By contrast, NCIS's skew might be hilarious but it'll still get a gazillion viewers and enough 18-49s to be a hit.

The Voice will drop a bit more on Tuesday because the high-rated blind auditions are at a time of the year where the HUT difference at 8/7c is probably still pretty significant. The Flash will clearly be big for the CW, and if it's not then the entire net is back in trouble.

Spot said...

I don't think Utopia is long for this world. There is very little buzz and America doesn't like "social experiment" shows (Kid Nation? The first season of Big Brother? The Glass House?). The original version from the Netherlands isn't exactly lighting the ratings on fire either, which is always a red flag for these sorts of reality imports.

I'm slightly more positive about Selfie, despite its tough situation, but that might just be because I enjoyed the pilot. I'm definitely in agreement that Manhattan Love Story will be one of the first cancellations of the season, though.

I think The Flash will perform better, but I'm always someone who overestimates The CW's ability to attract an audience.

Spot said...

The Flash: 1.19, being slightly inflated by early episodes
Selfie: 1.38 (full season) or 1.56 (13 only)
MLS: 1.16 (full season) or 1.28 (13 only)
NCIS: 2.57. I think that NCIS: NO will add some juice into the fall ratings and it doesn't fall in plus
Utopia: 1.3. It actually doesn't look *that* bad, but no breakout and I doubt a full out I Wanna Marry Harry disaster

Spot said...

I don't think ABC can give Selfie a full season if MHS is a goner unless they double pump it in the winter and don't air it at all in the spring. I don't think they would pair it with Fresh of The Boat and there is nothing else left.. They should have kept Suburgatory, it would be such a natural fit.

IMO, it will be a battle between the Tuesday 8 hour and the Tuesday 10 hour to see which one gets blown up in favors of The Whispers. Traditional wisdom says the comedies will die first but I think that ABC may prefer to ride out Selfie (and, as such, MHS) and give The Whispers the Shield lead-in instead of the other way around. They did keep Trophy Wife on all season after all (and they didn't have to, by no means).

Spot said...

MLS is an ABC Studios production too, so the Trophy Wife comparison fits!

Spot said...

I agree. I think that much like last year's tuesday comedies, it will only take a positive showing somewhere in late october/ early november to propel that full season order. It also depends on forever of course, I don't think it looks good for that show, but I also don't think it's DOA. If it succeeds they will probably just launch The Whispers at 8 to keep status quo and axe the comedies entirely.

Spot said...

ABC has done weirder stuff. After Hank was pulled after 6 episodes ABC aired Modern Family repeats as The Middle's lead in for nearly a whole season. Even with both Scrubs and Better Off Ted in the wings.

Spot said...

Utopia seems like the Heavens Gate of television programming: a colossal, expensive flop. I can't see either of ABC's new comedies succeeding but one or both could skate by if the ratings are not nose holding bad AND SHIELD is not adversely affected. Debuting new comedies, especially without any lead support nowadays on any network is a recipe for failure, regardless of quality. The entire ABC Tuesday schedule is still lacking any continuity. I am not as high on The Flash as many. It will see another season for sure--probably multiple ones-- but I think it's more cartoonish looking than other CW programming and this could hold less appeal for broader television audiences, even on the young skewing CW.

Spot said...

Selfie: Immediately after its pickup, everybody predicted it to be DOA, and some say even the first canceled newbie. But frankly, I strongly disagree. The show has a concept that is attempting to appeal to the younger side of 18-49, has gotten major love in the World Cup, and it does have Emily Kapnek in charge. While Suburgatory depleted as time went on, it at least had Season 1 potential. Maybe Kapnek could have a "Lorre/MacFarlane effect" that gives Selfie at least a full season. But as for it being a big hit? No. Buzz hasn't been that great, its lead-in is local programming and its lead-out is another new, untested series. But I could see it completing its run of 13 at worst.

Manhattan Love Story: Now I thought that this out of all the shows out would be the first cancelation. It had really bad reviews, had a lead-in that isn't tested yet to infer any success, an incompatible lead-out, and zilch promotion. I think I've seen a 5-second promo at best (but know the only time I watch ABC in the summer is when I'm forced to watch sports, the Wednesday comedies when I'm bored, and the Frozen special tonight). But then I learned it's from ABC Studios. And there's not much to replace it. Yeah there's Galavant, and Fresh Off the Boat, but neither really blends with Selfie, and both can easily be canceled and replaced with any of the midseason dramas, such as...um...Whispers? I guess? Yeah, it's really hard to say. Maybe both will ride out their run, and Members Only or something can be put in. That's my thought!

NCIS: This spring has not been kind to the series. Now it is gone from SHIELD and has fought Voice just fine, but the peak has probably been depleted. A 10-13% drop.

Utopia: A show that is up in the air. There's not a whole lot of huge hype surrounding it, and while it does have early premieres, there is still Voice. It'll probably be premiering in high 1's, then settles in low 1's.

The Flash: It's already has been renewed in my book. It's been given so much publicity and attention compared to almost everything else on the network, and as Omabin said, it's definitely showing that CW is putting the attention on Flash to make it another important cog in the CW. 1.1-1.2 average, and renewed for another season.

Spot said...

That is true actually, good point. I am still not sure if Selfie+MF reruns would be better than Selfie+MHS though but we shall see.

Spot said...

Having watched the first few minutes of Selfie, I was surprised how much I liked it. And I think the lack of ABC's comedy backups (the only one left is Fresh Off the Boat) means that they stick it out with Selfie unless it and Manhattan Love Story are DOA. In that case, perhaps the Dancing with the Stars: Results show comes back to give SHIELD some casual audience tune-in assistance.

I really just expect NCIS and The Voice to just be there, an odd statement to make since they'll be competing for first in the slot. I just feel "meh" about them.

Whatever bloom was on Utopia's rose feels gone by this point. And Fox has taken a stab at this kind of format before to no avail (Forever Eden and Paradise Hotel). Why should this go-around be any different?

Then there's The Flash. The CW's next hope at developing an anchor show is primed for success: no genre competition while ABC and Fox have complete wildcards that are aimed more towards women anyway.

My pick: Selfie, maybe The Flash

Spot said...

Just because ABC didn't get too cute and overthink their scheduling decisions this season doesn't mean it's not possible: we are talking about the network that put Happy Endings & Apt. 23 after DWTS, Super Fun Night & Mixology after Modern Family, and The Neighbors (single-cam) after Last Man Standing (multi-cam). If anything, pairing Selfie & Boat would be a great "Polarizing Title Comedy Hour!" block, even though I don't understanding the buzz about why Selfie's title is off-putting.

Actually, why does ABC gravitate towards noisy, possibly-polarizing titles for its sitcoms? Happy Endings, Cougar Town, Don't Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23, Selfie, Fresh off the Boat, Black-ish...

But I agree that Suburgatory should have gotten another midseason pickup. It and Selfie are good fits tonally.

Spot said...

No wonder Suburgatory and Selfie seem as a so good fit. Both are from the same author, Emily Kapnek.

Title just tries to underline how much self-absorbed main character is. And it backfired? I don't understand. Maybe ignorant people think selfie always include nudity?

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