|Secrets and Lies (NEW!)|
|Premieres March 1|
Best Case: Never underestimate the power of Oscars promotion. That will help this show become one of those surprising ABC thrillers that surprises in a seemingly tough slot/incompatible pairing. (Think Revenge season one.) It's very close to Once's ratings at a 1.73 and gets renewed.
Worst Case: This feels kind of like the lightweight, pointless ABC Sunday megabombs of the recent past, like Red Widow and Betrayal. The pairing with Once Upon a Time won't do it any favors, and this concept isn't attracting any of its own audience. If the more compatible Resurrection was holding less than half of its Once lead-in, this may be below that threshold very early, even out of a weaker Once. 0.75.
Likeliest: I've made a lot of comparisons in this section, but perhaps the show this feels most like is Fox's Gracepoint, at least for the concept. We know how that ended up going, and it had more critical backing than this one seems to. This might be able to start off better than Gracepoint, but I don't think the pairing with Once will do it any favors, and so the end result will be Gracepoint-esque: a struggle to break 1.0. 1.01 and dunzo.
|The Last Man on Earth (NEW!)|
|Premieres March 1|
|Timeslot Occupants||Mulaney||Bob's Burgers|
Best Case: In The Lego Movie creators we trust! This is a classic "so crazy it just might work" situation. It's got a concept that will attract attention in a crowded landscape, and the Fox Sunday audience is relatively receptive to crazy. It significantly builds on its Brooklyn Nine-Nine lead-in on premiere night and keeps building even when Family Guy returns to the 9/8c hour. 2.00.
Worst Case: What if Mulaney had low-1 lead-ins instead of the upper-1's it usually got at 9:30? That's what will happen here. Fox Sunday became a dumpster fire during Sunday event season, and it's not really gonna bounce back. 0.81.
Likeliest: I don't particularly see any of the three March 1 premieres breaking out, but this is the one that "worries" me most. It's one of those big, simple concepts that can click. On the other hand, it's up against the gold standard in post-apocalyptic television for its first month. And despite good early reviews, I'm not at all sold that this premise won't wear very thin very fast. (It's one of those shows I really wish I had seen!) The other issue here is that the Fox cartoons haven't aired under "normal" circumstances in a long time, so it's hard to say how much they will bounce back from the event-depressed numbers. Ultimately, I would guess this attracts a little bit of initial interest, certainly more than Mulaney, and the reviews are good enough that I'm gonna say it can settle fairly close to its Family Guy lead-in, at about what Bob's Burgers would be doing. Maybe that is enough for renewal? 1.30.
Best Case: CBS is truly embracing the cable/prestige approach to Sunday, and this show has the pedigree in front of and behind the camera to actually draw in a viewership. It may seem like they're throwing it under the bus scheduling-wise, but that's just because the network was so flushed with drama winners. This is another one. 1.75.
Worst Case: No matter how crowded the CBS sked is, they could've done better by this show if they really wanted to. Though its lead-in has critical acclaim, it won't be a good match with The Good Wife audience, and it's hopeless to try to attract its own audience on Sunday. 0.80.
Likeliest: I've been looking forward to this one, but sadly for prediction purposes I have to follow the scheduling. CBS could've and would've (or at least should've) put it almost anywhere else if they thought it could connect with their crime drama audience. It needs a better support system to connect with the CBS base, but it feels too procedural to reel in outside prestige drama viewers. I think the recognizable cast gets it a little ahead of CBS' last newbie effort at 10/9c, NYC 22 (which had a 1.33 raw average / 56 Plus in four Sunday airings three years ago). But not by very much. 1.08.
|Premieres March 2|
|Timeslot Occupants||Sleepy Hollow|
Best Case: As disappointing as The Following's ratings were early last year, it quietly settled at a very consistent level in the second half of the season. That core 1.4-1.5 audience will return, and it may well pick up a little something extra with a darker, more male-skewing lead-in from Gotham. It averages a 1.62, which is actually just above its average from last season if you throw out the football-inflated premiere.
Worst Case: Without that football-inflated premiere, the show would've been down about 40% last season. The show was pretty steady in the second half of season one, too, and that didn't help season two much. Oh yeah, and the hiatus is even longer this time... just shy of ten months! It opens at or very near a series low and settles in the 0.9-1.0 area, marking just over a 40% drop to 0.98.
Likeliest: Last year, The Following was the first time we got a look at a sophomore season for a "limited series," and it was a trajectory that repeated itself in eerily similar fashion many times later in the year. This year, it'll be the first example of what happens in season three. My probably dangerous guess is that the drop won't be quite as bad this time around; there aren't as many casual viewers left in that beaten-down audience from late last season. And Gotham may indeed be more compatible than Bones was (though it only gets original Gotham lead-ins for about half of the season). I still see it continuing to depreciate somewhat, though. 1.24, which is down about 20% from the without-football average.
|Premieres March 3|
|Timeslot Occupants||Utopia Tue||MasterChef Junior||MasterChef Junior Spring|
Best Case: The main thing that made Hell's fall season (1.34) such a disappointment and MasterChef Junior such a big Tuesday success by comparison was the competition from Survivor. That's out of the picture with this move to Tuesday, and it's also back in spring/summer mode which is a more familiar time of year for the show's audience. It has a bit of a revival at 1.65, very close to both last spring/summer as well as MasterChef Junior.
Worst Case: This is a decaying franchise. Throw in DST and competition from The Voice and the show will take another sizable step down from what it was getting in the fall, much less from last spring/summer. 1.15.
Likeliest: It's aired in literally every part of the year, so it won't suffer from the time of year and low viewing as much as many other shows do. But I'm not giving it a higher score than the fall season either. 1.30, down just a bit from the fall average and 22% from last spring/summer.
Best Case: CBS may not have aired the Oscars, but it still got the single best piece of Oscar promotion. CSI: Cyber lead Patricia Arquette took home the hardware in what many have argued was the year's best acting performance in any category. That will have a Viola Davis-like effect on this show's ratings; it builds from its Criminal Minds lead-in on premiere night and remains pretty much in lock-step with that lead-in through the rest of the season. 2.20 and another potential elite drama added to the CBS repertoire.
Worst Case: Based on the ratings for the CSI mothership this season, there isn't much reason to believe the CSI brand is going to bring any real viewership to the table at this point. Arquette's Boyhood really wasn't a major player at the box office anyway. Criminal Minds has had a pretty rough winter, and Empire will still be around depressing the CM ratings in those critical weeks when Cyber premieres. It's at the low end of CBS' drama slate with 50% Minds retention at a 1.04, and CBS finally says goodbye to the CSI name on all fronts.
Likeliest: This show has a few little things going for it: Arquette, relatively light competition and the CSI association. I don't see any of those factors being potent enough to actually generate a hit, but they may keep it from severely disappointing. I see the end result being yet another show in that very crowded third tier, perhaps drifting toward the lower end of it as Stalker did late in the season. Since that level of show seems to be a dime a dozen on CBS right now, I'm doubtful that would be enough. And its raw average will be a bit below Stalker since it's getting a weaker Minds as a lead-in. 1.45.
|American Crime (NEW!)|
|Premieres March 5|
|Timeslot Occupants||How to Get Away with Murder|
Best Case: Shows about race relations have had an incredible track record this season, and this one will be no exception. It's a very worthy TGIT fill-in for How to Get Away with Murder at 10/9c, coming far closer than expected to that show's breakthrough ratings. 2.45, and ABC likely sticks with the exact same Thursday arrangement next season.
Worst Case: American Crime may be topical, but it forgot the thing that has made those other series successful: actual entertainment value. A mass audience just doesn't want to watch something this dire. This show will harken back to Grey's Anatomy's prime years on Thursday when some of the show's crappy lead-outs were getting retention in the 30's. 1.15 and beyond dunzo.
Likeliest: I don't mind ABC's thinking here in giving this the post-Scandal berth. I really believe Secrets & Lies would've just felt like a poor man's TGIT on Thursday and ended up getting rejected in either place, so they're using the big lead-in to swing for the fences with something that will be more unique and presumably more acclaimed. Unfortunately, I don't really see this one connecting either. It may have some thematic similarities, but it just doesn't seem like a tonal match with the soapier, heavily female-skewing shows. It will be below 50% retention of Scandal by the halfway point of the season. I wanted to reheat my "low-end bubble show that the critical acclaim gets renewed" narrative that has worked so miserably on Red Band Society and Fresh Off the Boat. But honestly, I don't see it being quite high enough for that when the dust settles. 1.50, and ABC tries something else here next spring.