Monday, March 16, 2015

Best Case/Worst Case, Mid-March 2015: Undateable, iZombie and more!

Best Case/Worst Case is back for another brief edition. Since there's another large gap with no premieres, we're covering only the four premieres tonight and tomorrow night. Will come back for one more edition in a couple more weeks.

It's getting to be the time of year to note that these predictions only deal with episodes prior to the end of the regular season. We are not factoring in extended summer runs in an unknown timeslot.

Dancing with the Stars
Premieres March 16
y2y Label True Sitch 2013-14 Slot
2.33 +2% solid 2.46 -5% Monday 8:00

Timeslot OccupantsDancing with the Stars Fall The Bachelor The Great Christmas Light Fight
Avg Orig Avg
2.03 2.08 2.05 2.13 2.39 2.34 1.47 1.54

Best Case: It's hard to get more scorching hot than DWTS was at the end of last season. That will carry over into a big premiere and a consistent up year-to-year trend. 2.51.

Worst Case: DWTS seemed hot coming into last fall and the premiere still disappointed. It's another relatively uninspiring cast, so that will happen again. And whoever is left at the end will be a lot less entertaining than whatever it was that spiked the ratings late in the fall season. 1.90.

Likeliest: One of the oddities about DWTS historically is how often the spring season outrates the fall one. It's actually happened five of the last six years, and the only time it didn't was 2011-12 when the show was in full-on collapse mode. It seems like a pretty good bet to happen again, since the fall season (2.12 average counting the Tuesday airings) got buried under even more competition than usual with The Big Bang Theory on the night. I expect this season to be a bit less of a roller-coaster ride than the fall season, with more consistent low 2's early and less of a crazy late-season spike. That puts it about halfway between the raw numbers from last spring and last fall at 2.24.

Premieres March 17
y2y Label True Sitch 2013-14 Slot
0.90 flop 1.51 -40% Thursday 9:00

Timeslot OccupantsMarry Me
Avg Orig Avg
1.91 2.04 1.19 1.14

Best Case: It's almost hard to imagine a more drastic situational upgrade than what Undateable is getting. Not only is it about lead-in (from Hollywood Game Night to a pretty healthy The Voice), but season one of Undateable was also faced with things like the NBA Finals and the beginning of the 4th of July weekend. In this case, Undateable won't even face an original of comedy competitor New Girl until week three! That means it's pretty much a new show, and it's also a decent one that could pick up some heat as the season progresses. 1.88, matching About a Boy's raw average with a Voice lead-in last season.

Worst Case: The Night Shift couldn't get a series high with a Voice lead-in, and it finished that first summer run a lot closer to its premiere audience than Undateable did. Even after The Voice, it is simply tough to get a huge crowd back that has rejected the show. It starts at the low end of what Marry Me did with a Voice lead-in, failing to get back to the series premiere rating, and it soon goes even lower. 0.90.

Likeliest: True numbers from the summer said that Undateable and The Night Shift were pretty much the same show late in their seasons, despite The Night Shift doing a half point better in raw numbers. So with a lower standard and only a half-hour to bleed viewers, I think Undateable should be able to eke out that new series high here. It's hard for me to see it doing a lot worse than the later post-Voice episodes of Marry Me, but I'm hesitant to go much better after what's happened with The Night Shift. After all, this was also a show that NBC was initially content to throw away in the summer. So it won't necessarily impress, but it won't seem that bad in the context of seemingly higher-priority shows like Night Shift/Marry Me, ending up with similar low 1's. 1.40.

One Big Happy (NEW!)
Premieres March 17

Timeslot OccupantsAbout a Boy
Avg Orig Avg
1.86 1.97 1.04 1.14

Best Case: This show may be airing at 9:30, but its early results will be more inflated than those of Undateable since it's a new show. It opens up with full retention or slightly better of its Undateable lead-in, and it just may be likable enough to continue doing that even as a 9:30 show. 1.75.

Worst Case: Undateable had pretty dire numbers in the summer and yet NBC is still not giving this new show the preferential treatment over a former summer burnoff. That means there will be another significant drop from the 9:00 rating to this 9:30 stinker. 0.80.

Likeliest: This is another one of those picks for a post-Voice 9:30 show that is heavily dependent on what its lead-in does. But what I've seen review-wise suggests it's a fair amount worse than Undateable, and scheduling it at 9:30 would seem to be more evidence of that. So I think it ends up dropping a fair amount more from Undateable's delivery at a 1.15. If any comedy survives into 2015-16, it's Undateable and probably not this.

iZombie (NEW!)
Premieres March 17

Timeslot OccupantsSupernatural
Avg Orig Avg
0.67 0.90 0.89 0.71

Best Case: It's zombies. America just plain loves zombies. And after we see iZombie's ratings, it will seem pretty amazing that it took until well into season five of The Walking Dead for someone else to try a zombie show. At least full retention of The Flash at 1.35!

Worst Case: It may be another DC Comics series, but it doesn't seem like a good match with The Flash. Sadly, female-led genre shows (most recently Agent Carter) have tended to disappoint, and it's not like previous Rob Thomas effort Veronica Mars ever did much ratings-wise. This show is a few notes too cheesy/spoofy to get a serious genre audience interested. It's a The 100-esque performer out of the gate and worse toward the end. 0.41.

Likeliest: I like the sense of humor in the promos, and given the Rob Thomas connection it seems like a decent bet to carry over to the series. But what concerns me is it just doesn't feel that compatible with The Flash; that show skews very male, and this is a female-led series that seems to have a goofier sensibility. Though Supernatural has gotten a bit of flack for its returns after The Flash, it was still an easy renewal even in a True sense. So while I see iZombie doing all right, even getting to SPN numbers would be more in the "really good" column. I don't see it being quite so easy for this show. But starting fairly well and settling at 0.6ish after a slightly DST-depressed Flash would likely be enough? 0.68.

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