Wednesday, September 17, 2014

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

Best Case/Worst Case moves to the Wednesday 10/9c hour. ABC and NBC will return less than formidable players, presenting a big opportunity for CBS' first new drama lead-out in years.

Premieres September 24
y2y Label True Sitch 2013-14 Slot
1.47 -21% marginal 1.59 -7% Wednesday 10:00

Timeslot OccupantsNashville
Avg Orig Avg
1.35 1.44 1.47 1.59

Best Case: ABC's going to have a good comedy year, and that success will trickle into Nashville, especially since 9:30 will see some of the most pronounced growth. Nashville might just grow a bit in Plus: -7% to 1.37.

Worst Case: Maybe Black-ish has a higher viewership volume than stuff like Super Fun Night and Mixology, but it's not any better as a fit, so the lead-in change is thus irrelevant. Another thing to keep in mind is that ABC didn't want to renew this series for 22 episodes or air it in the fall. Since it's fallen out of favor with the ABC brass, it's a much lower promotional priority. Nashville's sharp decline accelerates: it's -30% to 1.03.

Likeliest: I think the comedy success will help, but only to a small extent. There's really no reversing course with this kind of show. Better lead-ins will just reduce the decline to 20% rather than the 25%+ it may have been with another year after hangout comedies. 1.18. This is going to be a particularly interesting test of the "three years ensures a full fourth" theory, since ABC didn't even want the full third.

Stalker (NEW!)
Premieres October 1

Timeslot OccupantsCSI
Avg Orig Avg
1.70 1.91 1.90 1.88

Best Case: It would be tough to hand-pick two better 10/9c opponents than Nashville and Chicago PD. (OK, maybe you could give NBC Parenthood.) The fit with Criminal Minds is perfect. And the twisted concept draws something of a crowd as well, just like Kevin Williamson's previous series The Following. 2.42, actually improving a bit on its Criminal Minds lead-in.

Worst Case: It may have twisted Criminal Minds-like themes, but Dylan McDermott and Maggie Q just don't have the entertainment value of the CM gang, and that's a big part of that show's appeal. American Horror Story gobbles up much of this show's potential audience, and Chicago PD is stronger than expected as well. It's a significant disappointment, retaining just 60% of Minds at a 1.30, and it's over after just 13 eps.

Likeliest: The critics hate it, but that's almost irrelevant with this kind of show. This is a pure "I really like the timeslot" play. Even if Chicago PD trends up, it's still not that formidable, and the fit with Criminal Minds seems really perfect. It has stellar retention of Criminal Minds at 1.96 and gets renewed.

Chicago PD
Premieres September 24
y2y Label True Sitch 2013-14 Slot
1.65 marginal 1.81 -9% Wednesday 10:00

Timeslot OccupantsIronside Chicago PD
Avg Orig Avg
1.68 1.52 1.05 1.02 1.65 1.81

Best Case: To repeat what I said about Chicago Fire: "The Chicago franchise is only behind The Blacklist on NBC's "promotional darling" list, and this is the budding procedural empire of this generation." And what people eventually learn from the cross-overs between ChiFi and ChiPD is that PD is actually the better show. It matches Chicago Fire's 11% sophomore bounce, plus a few extra hundredths for good measure. 1.92.

Worst Case: Last year this whole night was one of NBC's most respectable Wednesdays in years, but a huge misfire at 8/7c with The Mysteries of Laura means we're back to the usual NBC incompetence. Laura is way down, Law and Order: SVU is way down, and thus Chicago PD can't pick up any heat. It's -20% to 1.32.

Likeliest: Without a The Voice lead-in, matching Fire's 11% bounce for Chicago PD seems unlikely. However, it will become a slightly stronger player in its sophomore year, and that'll be most evident in the changed dynamic with SVU. It will be even with SVU early in the season and ahead by a couple ticks by the second half . It's down just 5% to a 1.57.

The Basics:

bc Rank y2y Rank TPUT Rank bc/TPUT Rank
Wednesday 10:00 7.2 15 -12% 17 30.5 14 24% 15

The Cable:

ShowNetworkPremieres Avg y2y
American Horror StoryFX10/82.16+50%
The LeagueFXX9/30.34-36%

The Network to Watch: CBS with the newbie.

The Picks: Nashville was another show I fell behind on and caught up with in chunks. That often means I'm close to giving it up, but we'll see. I don't see Stalker being up my alley.


Spot said...

Stalker looks like a good pair, but nothing has done much post Criminal Minds not starting with CSI. Not even the Criminal Minds spinoff. I agree critics won't matter as they would say that everything on CBS not named Person of Interest or The Good Wife sucks (maybe Elementary). Even though I think CM is one of the best shows ever made (I went through 7 seasons on DVD this summer)

Spot said...

This season the networks really set up their freshmen dramas in pretty much the sweetest spot on their schedule that was possible. How to Get Away with Murder, NCIS: LA, Madam Secretary, and Stalker are four examples of networks not out-thinking themselves and actively playing to their scheduling strengths. The one drawback I see with Stalker is that it feels like the low man on the CBS freshmen drama slate: they're incredibly invested in growing the NCIS brand with the new spinoff, creating a new prestige drama out of Madam, and making wildcard Scorpion a hit to justify ending the 4 comedy block on Mondays. I don't know how much benefit a show like Stalker would get some extra promotion, but my perception is that CBS is banking on the tonal match with Criminal Minds and the weaknesses of ABC and NBC to be enough. It wasn't enough for Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior...

Perversely, I think Nashville's best hope to stick around all season would be for black-ish to bomb out. If the sitcom's a success, ABC may be tempted to yank Nashville and put something like The Astronaut Wives Club or Members Only here at midseason, pushing Nashville to the summer.

Chicago PD is the biggest beneficiary of its crossovers with ChiFi and SVU since it brings the larger audience of the former over and compels fans of the latter to stick around into the hour. A double-digit bounce isn't likely, but single-digits aren't impossible.

My pick: American Horror Story: Freak Show

Spot said...

Nashville : Weak serialized soap has nowhere to go but down. I expect again a bit more than 20% drop to likely 1.15. Best/worse = 1.30/1.00.
Note: I expect it in 0.9 to 1.2 range during 2nd part of season = there's possibility it would be moved to summer at some point, or even burn off on Saturdays.

Stalker : Highly compatible, strong lead-in, weak broadcast competition = in the best case it could fight Gotham for the #1 new show of the season. My likely is 2.15 , with best/worst of 2.40/1.80.

Chicago PD : Compatible, but not strong lead-in, and Stalker brings increased competition into timeslot. One more error in NBC scheduling, they failed to protect CPD in its delicate second season. Best case is retaining 100% of its SVU lead-in, around 1.50. Then likely is 1.35, and the worst case is really ugly: 1.20.
Note: 1.35 wouldn't necessary mean cancellation. I mean, this show seems like something that would do well in syndication, and it will be at around 40 episodes after this season. Studio might give discount for Season 3 (and definitely for Season 4), while NBC might give it better lead-in in Season 3 to make Season 4 possible at all.

Spot said...

I'd guess Stalker going 13-and-out would lock in CSI Cyber in this hour.

Can't see it, though. If the two Jaguars games are any guide, Stalker has had at least as much of an NFL promotional push as NCIS: NO (albeit mostly from very short promos, but still lots of them), and the lead-in dynamic is a big win. I can definitely see it being a newbie hit (the hit boundary this year is - shudder - a projected 2.16).

Chicago PD is what stands in its way for me. A lot depends on how that can get boosted by crossovers - so it might struggle on a regular basis but help NBC to a couple of big sweeps.

Nashville is going to be served to the bear with a side salad of "serials are worthless in stripped syndication" aftafter a miserable season.

Spot said...

Criminal Minds and Stalker premiere a week later, so CBS can spend week 2 concentrating on their premieres

Spot said...

Is 60 Minutes really that amazing of a lead-in?

Spot said...

It's super-compatible, as Spot has pointed out before.

Spot said...

It's not so much about 60 Minutes; Madam Secretary will be closer to the NFL afternoon games and won't have to worry about getting pushed out of primetime like CSI: Miami and The Mentalist have been (as CSI will experience this season too).

Spot said...

Debuting in week 2 is more about the Survivor premiere and Big Brother finale than giving Criminal Minds and Stalker extra room/time. In general I'm against freshmen shows sitting out premiere week; to me it signals that the network isn't very confident in the newbie. But in this instance since it's happening to both the veteran and the freshmen I give it a pass.

Spot said...

Nashville - 1.18 too, what ABC is going to do with it, I don't know

Stalker - 2.02 and it becomes CBS number 1 show at 10 PM, critics hate it and I'm with them, kind of expect it to be strongly misogynist.

Chicago PD - 1.49, going with a league-average drop of 10%.

Pick: American Horror Story if rebounds quality-wise.

Spot said...

Again, very much in agreement about everything in here:

- Chicago PD: 1.57, exactly the same as yours. I agree with your assessment and I think it will indeed "feel" like a stronger player than it did this year even though I kind of think you always tend to undervalue this show a bit too much for some reason.

- Nashville: 1.15, very close to yours as well. I've mentioned it before that even though I believe the show is indeed a weak one, it was probably intensified big time by the horrible lead-ins it had to endure this season which were both incompatible and low rated. So I think Black-ish helps this year. The extent of the help remains to be seen and, like you, I am not overly positive. I do believe there is a very legitimate chance that ABC pulls the second half of the season for summer if the new Tuesday hours hold up better than we are thinking and they need room for newbies.

- Stalker: 1.89. Like NCIS: New Orleans, this also appears to be one of those shows that has everything going for it from the get go so it’s obviously pretty hard to imagine it not working. I think it starts out big and I don’t even put it past it closing in on Criminal Minds for the premiere and then falls from there once initial curiosity dies down but still settles at a pretty decent level to be a win for CBS and probably a better option than what CSI would have done here one more year. I thought I was being optimistic about the show but you actually beat me to it and have it doing even better, which is certainly possible.

Network to watch: CBS with the newbie, by far, which has a lot of upside potential

My picks: American Horror Story and probably The Americans later on. Stalker is from a creator I adore and has two leads I really like but I am still passing on it at least for now. I don't really feel like adding another procedural to my rotation and especially one with such hard subject matter (I was never able to watch Criminal Minds on a routine basis because of that).

Spot said...

CBS has CSI, NCIS: LA, Criminal Minds, and Stalker all airing a week later. With 2 Broke Girls, The Millers, Two and a Half Men, The McCarthy's, and Elementary. I can't remember a network spacing so many new and returing shows premieres out like that. Preplanned to start 9/21 and go thru 10/23

Spot said...

I agree with your first paragraph. Networks really hit it off this year in terms of scheduling some shows perfectly. NCIS New Orleans, Stalker, Madam Secretary, How to Get Away with Murder, The Goldbergs, The Flash are all perfect pieces of scheduling. If these shows fail, it will be entirely on them, not on their networks.

Spot said...

I think it's because they initially had Extant planned to end on this night and when it flopped they probably preferred not changing the already promoted premiere date for Stalker.

But like Patrick mentioned, I like the phasing out that it gives them.

Spot said...

It's true, I hadn't noticed it until you mentioned it, but it's a great strategy from CBS IMO:
- Pre premiere week: Madam Secretary, The Good Wife
- Premiere week: TBBT, Scorpion, NCIS, NCIS New Orleans, Person of Interest, Survivor, The Amazing Race, H50, Blue Bloods, CSI

- Second week: Mom, NCIS LA, Criminal Minds, Stalker
- Late October: 2 Broke Girls, The Millers, Two and a Half Men, The McHartys, Elementary

Very well phased out!

Spot said...

I suppose Nashville has W18-34 good enough to prevent a saturday burnoff, no? I don't see ABC doing that. Moving it to summer though would be a very wise possibility IMO.

As for PD, I see it starting to build on SVU a bit by season's end, like Spot said.

Spot said...

Nashville is surely extremely well positioned to be the first real test of the weight of syndication to renew 66 episode shows. From a purely academical POV, I am very much interested!!

Spot said...

Fox used to space out its premieres pre- and post-World Series; Almost Human is the most recent example of this. But with the year-round scheduling they are attempting to do, it seems to have fallen out of favor.

Spot said...

I approve of it too. Because CSI would have been preempted anyways last night.

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