|Premieres September 24|
|3.54||-16%||big hit||3.73||-5%||Wednesday 9:00|
|Timeslot Occupants||Modern Family|
Best Case: We've gotten used to The Middle trending better than Modern Family in recent years, but those summer repeats have been just as explosive for Modern as they have for Middle. (Before last week's 10:00 episodes, they were up 19%, almost as good as Middle's +21%.) If The Middle can grow, so can Modern Family: 3.70.
Worst Case: Modern Family ended last season on a couple big spikes due to Cam & Mitchell's wedding, but that finish actually masked a couple horrible results at the end of April and in early May. Those upper 2's become the norm a few weeks into the fall and drop to mid-2's in the second half. Down almost 25% to a 2.70.
Likeliest: I think it's a good year for ABC's Wednesday comedies, and Modern Family may benefit additionally if The Goldbergs turns out to be a noticeable upgrade on Back in the Game and Suburgatory. But I say it continues to trend worse than The Middle. Down 7% to a 3.30.
|Premieres September 24|
|Timeslot Occupants||Super Fun Night||Mixology|
Best Case: Finally, finally, ABC has put a new family comedy on after Modern Family in the fall, and they will be handsomely rewarded. If How to Live With Your Parents could do some of the best Modern Family retention when it was thrown on as an April afterthought, there's huge potential with a much better show that ABC actually likes (read: from its studio). It's a smash with 80% retention of Modern Family: 2.80.
Worst Case: It may look like a family comedy, but the provocative title hints at what it'll eventually become: a preachy "issues" show that quickly turns off the Modern Family crowd just as all those hangout shows did. Without the Rebel Wilson hook, it won't start off nearly as well as Super Fun Night, so it's actually a downgrade in the timeslot. 1.50 and gone sometime in the fall.
Likeliest: The reviews for the show seem just okay so far. Maybe it'll get better, maybe not. But the fit here is solid enough that it doesn't need to be better than just okay to have some of ABC's best numbers in a slot with a terrible history. I certainly didn't think How to Live was any better than just okay. And "just okay" seems achievable with this solid cast. It averages a 2.16, and a tad higher if it never has to air after Modern Family repeats. (Though I see this show succeeding, I still think ABC will tack on Fresh Off the Boat in this slot at the end of the season.)
|Premieres October 1|
|Timeslot Occupants||Criminal Minds|
Best Case: Jennifer Love Hewitt is joining the cast, and she's familiar enough in CBS world that it could move the needle. It will benefit considerably from SVU coming back to earth, and the addition of Stalker at 10/9c freshens up the night in general. 2.58.
Worst Case: The momentum is back in NBC's corner in this slot, as we saw last season, and Criminal Minds has dropped more than average for two straight years, suggesting a show on an inevitable decline. Down 20% to 2.00.
Likeliest: Basically the same analysis I had for NCIS. I think the timeslot gets a bit more favorable as SVU regresses, but two straight above-average drops make it feel like the show has peaked. That means it drops less than last year but barely more than league average. -11% to 2.22.
|Law and Order: SVU|
|Premieres September 24|
|Timeslot Occupants||Law and Order: SVU|
Best Case: SVU, I challenge you to post raw numbers growth again and go well above my best case. Once again, I just can't see it happening. But it can continue gaining momentum in the battle with Criminal Minds, just as its whole network keeps gaining momentum in the battle with CBS. Down 5% to 1.70.
Worst Case: Last year I called for this show to even out from some 2012-13 overachievement and instead it overachieved to a far greater degree, actually growing in raw numbers! So this year will be a double-sized even-out. It's down 27% to a 1.31, blowing past its 2011-12 and 2012-13 Plus scores to its lowest level yet.
Likeliest: The Save Benson Saga, which produced huge numbers for this show last season, is not something SVU will be able to replicate. Some regression seems pretty likely here, but I think the stronger network in general keeps it at a better Plus than it had in 2011-12 and 2012-13. It usually hit about a 1.6 when it wasn't getting a big Benson spike, and roughly a league average drop from that takes it to 1.45 (or -19% overall). It's another very late renewal decision, and NBC may be willing to part ways if the Chicago series are still healthy.
|Red Band Society (NEW!)|
|Premieres September 17|
|Timeslot Occupants||The X Factor Wed||American Idol Wed|
Best Case: This is the timeslot in which Glee struck it big five years ago, and the timeslot competitors are roughly the same as they were back then. Opposite two procedurals and older family comedies, Red Band is in a timeslot ripe for something very young-skewing, and Glee succeeded with the same kind of modest reality lead-in that Red Band has. It averages a 1.80, fairly close to what Glee had in its season one fall run after So You Think You Can Dance.
Worst Case: Glee was a much, much better match with SYTYCD than Red Band is with Hell's Kitchen. And the network profile in general has drastically shifted away from this kind of show. A beaten-down Fox is simply incapable of drawing any Nielsen interest to this show. In spite of some Twitter buzz, it's a The Mob Doctor-esque megabomb at 0.75.
Likeliest: This is another one of those shows like Selfie and Jane the Virgin for which just not being DOA is a significant obstacle. And yet, I have a sneaking feeling that this one might go a little better. Fox still at least has some connection to the target audience with American Idol and New Girl, and the network is going to be pretty desperate on every night other than Monday. They're gonna have to show patience with something. This does not have as much going for it as Glee did, but I see it hanging in there just enough and having a favorable enough skew to get that nurturing treatment. I'm not sure if it's limited to the fall or if it can get a back nine, but I'm hesitantly gonna call for this to be an extension/renewal (though maybe the lowest-rated one of the season in 18-49). 1.33.
|Premieres October 22|
|Timeslot Occupants||The Tomorrow People||The 100|
Best Case: The 100 did pretty well last year given its very late premiere, and it was that rare CW show to end the season on a good note: posting 0.6's even in the summer after Arrow repeats was pretty solid. Now positioned in the fall and with a relatively consistent original lead-in, some major growth is possible. Up 25% to 0.75.
Worst Case: CW shows don't often grow, and this one may have to go up against the always shockingly detrimental World Series early on. The show settled at a mix of 0.6's and 0.5's, including a drop to 0.5 for the finale. It will never get better than that 0.5 early in season two, and it may even tail off to some 0.4's at the end. 0.47, down 22%.
Likeliest: Not only did the show finish well last season, but season two is much better positioned on the calendar. If it could get 0.6's in the summer after repeats, I give it a real shot to eke out some 0.7's again in its early fall airings. 0.6 will eventually be its usual number after original Arrow, and maybe there will be some 0.5's late (especially if it airs after repeats again). I will give it a symbolic hundredth growth to 0.61. It probably does better than whatever replaces it at midseason and it returns for a third season.
The Network to Watch: ABC with that long-sought new family comedy at 9:30. But Red Band Society is close behind. I could easily see missing this one big-time.
The Picks: I watched Modern Family and The 100 last year but am not overwhelmingly committed to either one. The late start for The 100 means I will be able to try out Red Band Society and Black-ish with an open mind.