Wednesday, September 3, 2014

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

Best Case/Worst Case moves to the Wednesday 8/7c hour. NBC tries to extend its budding crime drama slate to a very drama-light timeslot, while Fox brings a summer staple back into the regular season in its effort to replace The X Factor.

The Middle
Premieres September 24
y2y Label True Sitch 2013-14 Slot
2.06 -9% solid 2.24 -8% Wednesday 8:00

Timeslot OccupantsThe Middle
Avg Orig Avg
1.93 2.05 2.06 2.24

Best Case: The finale was up a tick from last year, and the summer repeats have absolutely exploded, up 21% from last summer thus far! NBC and Fox competitors will likely be even weaker than last year. This show has held up quite well the last couple years even as ABC has done some pretty stupid things with the rest of the Wednesday lineup. Now that they're actually behaving competently, there's some real upside. It's up nearly 10% to a 2.25, becoming a bonafide hit for the first time.

Worst Case: Male-skewing Revolution and Twitter teen-skewing The X Factor were never actually a problem for The Middle. Hell's Kitchen and The Mysteries of Laura are actually more conducive to family viewing. Down 17% to 1.71.

Likeliest: Last year I predicted The Middle would be even year-to-year, and though it was getting there toward the very end of the season, it wasn't that close for the full run. Can I pull the trigger again, with the show trending better late in the season and coming off a very good summer of repeats? ...YES. With the late season/summer ratings, there's actually more working in its favor this year than last, when I was mostly counting on a syndication bump (and that may still factor in this year). 2.06. Help me out, Middle.

The Goldbergs
Premieres September 24
y2y Label True Sitch 2013-14 Slot
1.68 marginal 1.58 +6% Tuesday 9:00

Timeslot OccupantsBack in the Game Suburgatory
Avg Orig Avg
1.60 1.67 1.75 1.50 1.58 1.65

Best Case: The Goldbergs is the main reason why ABC's Wednesday repeats have done so well this year. The pairing with The Middle is a match made in heaven and a huge upgrade over last year's shaky SHIELD pairing and a lot of comedy competition. It'd be highly disappointing if there's no season two bounce here. It matches its usual 100% repeat retention and ties an overachieving Middle's 2.15.

Worst Case: The pairing makes sense, but The Goldbergs is sadly just a little too late. Too many weak 8:30 and 9:30 shows have put the momentum in a negative direction on ABC Wednesday, and even a decent 85% hold means about a league average drop since The Middle underachieves. 1.49.

Likeliest: I don't expect The Goldbergs to match its consistent 100% retention from the summer, since passive repeat viewing is a different beast. But the Wednesday lineup's remarkable growth this summer has to mean something. The Goldbergs will consistently go a tick or two below The Middle, but that's still going to be good enough for some significant season two growth. 1.89.

Premieres September 24
y2y Label True Sitch 2013-14 Slot
2.47 -14% hit 2.41 +2% Wednesday 8:00

Timeslot OccupantsSurvivor Fall Survivor Spring
Avg Orig Avg
2.05 2.44 2.49 2.43 2.42 2.83

Best Case: Survivor had a really good spring season, down just 7% (its smallest y2y decline for a season in four years). And last year's Dancing with the Stars was proof that that momentum can escalate the following season. Blood vs. Water was a pretty good twist the first time, and it's back this fall. With The X Factor out of the way, Survivor can go dead even or maybe even inch up to a 2.50.

Worst Case: There's a good chance that Hell's Kitchen shares more audience with Survivor than the Fox music competitions ever did. They cannibalize each other, and Survivor takes a third straight 15%ish drop in the fall, maybe even a little more if the casting sucks. 2.03.

Likeliest: Oddly, Survivor has taken two straight above-average drops in the fall and two straight below-average ones in the spring. I got burned by calling for those trends to flip last year, but I have to do it again. So Survivor drops a little less than average this fall. And Survivor actually had one of its better recent seasons the last time it faced Hell's Kitchen in fall 2010, not that it really means anything. -6% to a 2.31.

The Mysteries of Laura (NEW!)
10/9c Preview September 17; 8/7c Premiere September 24

Timeslot OccupantsRevolution
Avg Orig Avg
1.48 1.40 1.37 1.46

Best Case: This show wouldn't have had a prayer five years ago on NBC, but now NBC has an older base audience that might gravitate to this. It makes for a good pairing with Law and Order: SVU, another show driven by a strong female detective. And the lack of drama competition sets this up as a nice counter-programming option. It averages a 1.60, making for an extremely consistent three-hour lineup that might just return intact in 2015-16.

Worst Case: SVU and Chicago PD may be crime procedurals, but they at least have enough edge to draw in some younger viewers in 2014. The Mysteries of Laura is far too retro, almost insultingly so, and nobody's reeled in by the very silly promos. It averages a 0.83 and is canned after three episodes.

Likeliest: I'm having trouble figuring out where else NBC would put the last season of Parks and Recreation, so I have a feeling Laura is just keeping the slot warm for that and some other comedy. Can it hold up well enough to air all 13 episodes? I wouldn't be stunned at a very early hook, but I'll say yes. Most of the failed occupants of this slot historically have managed about a 60 Plus; Laura may go a touch higher due to the favorable competition and NBC's strengthening in general. But it won't match what Revolution did last year. 1.11 and done after 13. Parks takes its place early in 2015.

Hell's Kitchen
Premieres September 10
y2y Label True Sitch 2013-14 Slot
1.67 -19% solid(sum) 2.22 -25% Thursday 8:00

Timeslot OccupantsThe X Factor Wed American Idol Wed
Avg Orig Avg
2.26 2.30 1.79 1.79 2.69 2.87

Best Case: Hell's Kitchen had a somewhat off year this summer, and it will benefit from higher overall viewing in the fall. It rates a little higher than the summer season, and actually a bit better than The X Factor's raw number last year. 1.83.

Worst Case: Survivor is far tougher as competition than anything Hell's had to deal with in the summer, and the other networks are on the map too. Fox's implosion extended even to Hell's Kitchen last summer, and the double-digit erosion will continue into this spring season. 1.36, dropping as much from the summer rating as the summer season dropped year-to-year.

Likeliest: Probably the best comparison for this Hell's Kitchen situation was its last fall season in 2010, when it averaged a 2.77 coming off a summer season that averaged 2.97. I don't see much reason to expect this one to do better, especially since it's back so soon after the last season ended. Though Hell's can put up respectable regular season numbers, it's a little better-suited to the summer, and it will once again go a bit behind the spring/summer season. 1.56.

Premieres October 8
y2y Label True Sitch 2013-14 Slot
0.92 -13% hit(CW) 1.00 -9% Wednesday 8:00

Timeslot OccupantsArrow
Avg Orig Avg
0.72 0.91 0.92 1.00

Best Case: The Flash is so big that it even helps out Arrow a fair amount, especially when they cross over. Arrow is also losing what may have been a meaningful competitor in NBC's Revolution. It won't quite be Flash, but it will inch up to 0.95 and thus handily pass both of the struggling vampire shows in the ratings.

Worst Case: Arrow didn't do quite as badly as The Vampire Diaries and The Originals in the spring, but (aside from a good finale) the drop was still far from encouraging. The 0.7-0.8 level from the late spring is all that returns in the fall, and a string of 0.6's late in the season drag it down to a 0.67, down close to 30% year-to-year.

Likeliest: Though the spring drops look bad, the show was actually not down drastically more in the second half of the season (meaning it took a similar spring decline the previous season). The improved timeslot and a pinch of Flash heat add up to a slightly smaller drop than last year: -11% to a 0.82.

The Basics:

bc Rank y2y Rank TPUT Rank bc/TPUT Rank
Wednesday 8:00 8.1 12 -13% 18 31.2 11 26% 10

The Network to Watch: I'm taking ABC in an upset over the network with a newbie. If The Middle and The Goldbergs don't experience some heat in originals this season, we can probably put to bed the notion of making anything of summer repeat ratings, ever.

The Picks: I have been locked in on Survivor and Arrow in this slot the last couple years, and I don't plan on that changing. I liked The Goldbergs last year, but it may have to get demoted to on demand catch-up duty when both of those shows are on (something I had to do with Suburgatory last season).


Spot said...

The Middle: Without a doubt, we are going to see an upgrade this season, but I don't think as big as your best case prediction, probably around 5-8%. I think it would be different if this show actually received the critical acclaim and buzz it deserved, like Modern Family, but it's always been a solid show that has continually lived in the shadow of the 9pm megahit. However, I think this year, as MF continues to trek downward, we are going see just how important The Middle is to the overall success of the comedy block.

The Goldbergs: basically agree, I see The Middle being stronger, thus the show being around a tick or two higher

The Mysteries Of Laura: Probably one of the biggest scheduling oddities of the entire fall season. The promos make it seem as if NBC isn't even taking itself seriously. But what surprises me the most is that NBC didn't have a particularly bad year in drama development. This is clearly not their strongest drama and they know it. This wouldn't have been a bad spot for Heroes: Reborn, Aquaris, or Odyssey. I give the show 3 eps before its pulled.

Thats all I really have to comment. My picks are the ABC comedies and I might check out Survivor

Spot said...

I really hope you are right on the Middle. I love that show. I am hoping for a Middle/Suburgatory season 1 feel here!
Arrow was all over the place last year with a .7 and 1.2 not too far apart. I think that The 100 will have more lead out heat than the Tomorrow People.
No clue about Survivor. Don't watch. Same with Hell's Kitchen. I think Laura will have a decent post AGT sampling, but medicore results at 8

Spot said...

My picks: The Middle and The Goldbergs. Great Family Comedy

Spot said...

This hour would have been a decent place for Fox to put Almost Human had it not been canceled. Instead, Hell's is thrown in and in a tough spot to boot. It hit its regular-season low opposite a special edition of Shark Tank. A regular reality competitor in the form of Survivor might be too much to handle.

I still NBC should have put comedies here, and that may be the plan at midseason when Laura's mysteries are over. Or NBC could plug in one of its limited-series options like The Slap or Heroes: Reborn.

Perhaps the syndication bounce just starts a season later for shows like The Middle and Modern Family. Having a schedule of reruns on ABC, USA (Modern Family), Hallmark & ABC Family (The Middle) makes it easier to get into, maybe. At least this time around for The Goldbergs, it's getting a true hammock between the two elite ABC sitcoms. That has to count for something.

My pick: The Middle. May sample The Goldbergs again.

Spot said...

The Middle airs on my CW affiliate paired strangely with Family Guy repeats. I dunno if that is at all widespread, but maybe M18-34 will just flock to it now...
I hope they don't put Parks and Recreation against The Middle. I don't want to have to chose

Spot said...

As always, no predictions about unscripted, but I would tend to be more negative about Hell's Kitchen. The show had a horrible performance when it had to face Shark Tank last year on Thursday so I am not sure how facing Survivor will be a good thing. FOX should have probably kept it on Thursdays where the competition was more favorable and avoid the extra move. I have no thoughts on Survivor to be honest.

On to scripted, we are in very very close alignment today. From the most similar to the most different:
- Arrow: 0.85. Our CW strike continues!! We continue to have the same predictions here. I am only slightly more positive than you are about Arrow. I was encouraged by the finale result and I think it has a couple of important things going for it like The Flash and Revolution's absence as you were saying. The 100 is also probably a more competent lead-out than The Tomorrow People proved to be so that won't hurt either.
- The Goldbergs: 1.85. Only a 2% deviation from yours so I pretty much agree. I have the middle lower though so my relative performance of the goldbergs is better. If the Middle does your numbers, I would expect the goldbergs to perform better than this as well. I think it will work very well.
- The Mysteries of Laura: 1.07. We all agree 100% that this will be cancelled. It is a very odd choice for NBC to go with since they have so much good stuff in reserve and they don't have that much to promote either (Marry Me, the Thursday comedies and Constantine... that's literally it!) so they could devote promotional muscle to a drama that could come to what is a great slot for drama counter programming. Instead they went with Laura, which is certainly a mystery. The only question is how long it lasts. I was uninspired so I gave it the same A18-49 that Ironside got last year and the same 3 episodes' length.
- The Middle: 1.95. I am positive about the middle but I still ended up with a lower number than you. 6% it's not that big of a difference anyway and I wouldn't be surprised to see the middle hitting your number but I've been burned way too often for my excess of optimism so I guess I played it safe here. I see it having a great season regardless, for sure up in Plus.

Network to watch: It has to be ABC.

My choice: Arrow every step of the way!! I adore that show! I've watched the pilot of the goldbergs this summer but wasn't impressed.

Spot said...

Sniff at Suburgatory, I am still deeply sad about that cancellation.

Spot said...

I agree 100% about Laura. It's even more odd because NBC has so little stuff to promote for the early fall so they had plenty of chances to launch a good drama there (and they have plenty of those in reserve like you've mentioned). And it's a great slot for a drama! I don't get it.

Spot said...

I see The Middle and Goldbergs some 10% lower than Spot sees it, and the rest I completely agree.

The Mysteries of Laura: Low 1s, and dead before Thanksgiving. All about it looks too thin for having chances of survival in this day and age.

Arrow: Yes, around 0.8 - can't see it up, can't see it much down.

Survivor, Hell's Kitchen - Not following unscripted much, so here I'm agreeing with Spot by default.

The Middle: Usual 10% drop puts it at around 1.85, which is my likely for this show.
Goldbergs: Move to Wednesday is lateral one. More compatible, but weaker lead-in. Less comedy competition, but overall tougher timeslot. Besides, Goldbergs isn't strong show, its True was no better than what Back in the Game did in the fall, or what Suburgatory did in the spring. Look no further from ABC not trusting it to anchor Tuesday comedy block. Then I expect it to stay at around last season's raw numbers, but slightly up in A18-49+. My likely for Goldbergs is 1.60.

Spot said...

I disagree 100% about The Goldbergs being a timeslot downgrade. To me, it's such a positive upgrade. Shield was doing nothing for it (evidence: posting the same numbers after originals or reruns) while the comedy competition (new girl and about a boy) were harming it a lot (evidence: compare spring numbers from when it aired against new girl vs. when new girl was in repeats). Not it has no comedy competition and a lead-in that should be in the same numbers range but much more compatible. Modern Family is also a much better lead-out than Trophy Wife was!

Spot said...

Just to be a contrarian, I'm not completely sold on the idea that The Mysteries of Laura will bomb hard. As a heavily female-skewing procedural, it's precisely the type of show that's firmly in the Internet's blindspot.

I doubt NBC will have any problem scheduling Parks. I'm not sold on any of their comedies succeeding, including sophomore About a Boy, plus it would be a decent partner with Kimmy Schmidt.

Spot said...

I get the impression that Laura would, if anything, have fitted in nicely on mid-aughts CBS Fridays. I can see it producing Harry's Law-esque numbers.

Spot said...

The Middle: Ah, the little show. It never overachieves nor underachieves. It simply does its job and does so satisfactory. A below-league average drop to about 5%.

The Goldbergs: I do expect a boost. It's done very well in repeats and is sandwiched between two strong series, the lead-out in particular. I predict doing on par or better than The Middle.

Survivor: Seeing as how it is doing Blood vs. Water again and that reality competition hasn't stopped it before. A drop of the upper 1's at most.

Mysteries of Laura: I just don't see even the 13-ep run. The show is horribly-reviewed, and Dads can testify to how well that helps, there's already The Middle in terms of the family audience I think it's getting, and with so many series in midseason, just putting in Parks and Kimmy Schmidt, Aquarius, or even The Slap would be really easy. Sorry Grace but I don't see anything.

Hell's Kitchen: You seem really positive. With a weaker summer season, being crushed by reality (The Voice, Shark Tank) and with Survivor doing better, I don't see anything that good. Not terrible, but not swell either. 1.4 is my estimate.

Arrow: A leauge-average drop, might be on par or worse than Flash. Nothing more, nothing less.

Spot said...

I disagree 100% about me saying it's a timeslot downgrade. I said "lateral move", which means neutral timeslot change.
As for the rest, we'll see. But I really don't get why people are so excited about Goldbergs prospects. I see it as just a perennial bubble show. For renewal it needs rookie class to underperform (which is becoming disturbingly common for ABC) plus ABC to keep 4 comedy blocks (which is impossible to guess at this moment).

Spot said...

The Middle - down below league average, keeps being a strong performer.

Goldbergs - growth year to year, nothing substantial but enough to improve ABC's performance.

Survivor - league average, boring.

Hell's Kitchen - I believe it'll be hurt on regular season, will hover around 1.3-1.5

Mysteries of Laura - done by week three after a poor retention from AGT during the premiere and two regular timeslot tryouts. Dateline replaces it until Parks and Rec and another comedy takes over.

Arrow - league average drop, performing around 0.7-0.8 with a few 0.6s in the spring.

Spot said...

I misunderstood, sorry about that. Still, I don't get how a much better lead-in (see my previous post for evidence as to why Shield was doing nothing as lead-in for it) and much more favorable competition (see my previous post for evidence as to why New Girl and About a Boy were hurting it) can be a lateral move. ABC also seems pretty invested in the move with all the reruns! They just did a 2 hour Goldbergs marathon yesterday! That, to me, is not a very lateral move.

Also, I think the show can very easily be kept even if they don't keep 4 hours of comedy. If it works well on Wednesday at 8h30, it will just be kept there. At some point ABC will realize that it's not their goal to put new shows there over and over again. I think it's much more likely that they replace Black-ish and Cristella than it is that they replace The Goldbergs. They are probably fine not needing to launch these many comedies per year.

This being said, it's of course possible it highly disapoints and has a lackluster season. Suburgatory did that for instance when placed after Modern Family which everyone thought was a huge timeslot upgrade. So it could happen here as well. But in my opinion the failure would be even bigger than the numbers would indicate because it is in such a good position and has everything going for it right now.

Spot said...

Unless ABC audibles out of its Sunday plan for Galavant, the only comedy it has in reserve this season is Fresh Off the Boat. So even if The Goldbergs disappoints I feel like it gets to air a full season here since the network clearly believes in the show and there are bigger holes possible (Manhattan Love Story being the most obvious).

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