Big Hits: Empire (303), How to Get Away with Murder (176)
Hits: Scorpion (137), Black-ish (136), The Odd Couple (132), Gotham (129)
Solid: NCIS: New Orleans (124), Fresh Off the Boat (102)
Sub-solid renewals: The Last Man on Earth (97), Agent Carter (89), Secrets and Lies (89), Madam Secretary (85), CSI: Cyber (82), Galavant (79), The Mysteries of Laura (74), American Crime (69)
At the top, the new class of 2014-15 was undeniably one of the best for broadcast TV in a decade. Empire was the biggest newbie of the era (rather easily surpassing Desperate Housewives), and it combined with ABC's hugely successful Scandal lead-out How to Get Away with Murder to produce the first multiple big hit class since ABC's Desperate/Lost/Grey's Anatomy trifecta ten years prior. There were six total hits, tying 2004-05's record for the era, and NCIS: New Orleans was just a point away from becoming the seventh hit. And this big four focus ignores the fact that the CW also developed The Flash (86), by far the biggest series in network history.
It was also pretty top-heavy; there's a big drop-off from NCIS: NO down to the frontloaded league-averageish ratings from Fresh Off the Boat and The Last Man on Earth, and nothing else was all that close to average. The number of solid shows was actually down year-to-year.
However, the renew percentages this year were still among the highest in the era as the networks showed a great amount of patience with marginal newbies. A year after one of the least patient seasons in memory, this time the big four tied the era record by renewing eight sub-solid shows. ABC became the first network in the A18-49+ era to renew seven scripted newbies. Granted, four of these were for bridge/low priority timeslots, but it still counts!
Career A18-49+ Update:
I also grade the classes based on how they pan out in Career A18-49+. Here's the update to that pursuit with 2014-15 numbers. The changes based on 2014-15 numbers are included in parentheses.
|2008-09||25||4||3 (+1)||1 (+1)||0||0|
|2009-10||26||9||4||2 (+1)||1 (+1)||0|
|2011-12||40||7 (+2)||3 (+3)||0||0||0|
The problem here is obvious: it's very unfair to the later classes because they haven't had as much time. But there's still some insight to be gleaned. To help with the inherent problem, I put every number that's "locked in" (that is, there's no chance to add to this number) in red. Here's a very quick note about what changed for each class in 2014-15 and what can/will change in 2015-16.
2001-02: Extinct (at least until 24 gets revived again). The only star of the class is 24, and it's only there because 24: Live Another Day is counted in its total.
2003-04: NCIS didn't quite make it to icon, but at just 24 points away it'll do so next year.
2004-05: American Dad! didn't cross the 1,000 threshold in its first cable season, but it should do so in its second. That will make it the fifth and final star of 2004-05.
2005-06: Criminal Minds is still at least two and quite possibly three seasons away from icon. Bones should become the third and final star of the class next season.
2006-07: I'll probably count Heroes Reborn toward the career total for Heroes, as I did for the 2014 season of 24. So that makes this class un-extinct. But it needs 176 points to make tentpole.
2007-08: The Big Bang Theory became an icon this season. Though the class is not extinct since TBBT keeps rolling on, all of its labeling is now resolved.
2008-09: Parks and Recreation became the third and final staple, while the final season of The Mentalist got it into tentpole territory. Castle, the last survivor of the class, will become the second and final tentpole next year.
2009-10: Modern Family became the first star and NCIS: Los Angeles the second tentpole. The Good Wife will become the fifth and final staple in 2015-16, but there may not be any more movement for a couple years after that (as MF is 401 points from icon, LA 250 from star, and TGW 206 from tentpole).
2010-11: Blue Bloods became the fourth and final utility. Next season will make Mike and Molly the first tentpole and Hawaii Five-0 the second staple.
2011-12: 2 Broke Girls, Scandal and Once Upon a Time all joined the staple club, but with Scandal seemingly fading and 2 Broke Girls facing uncertain scheduling, it is not a given that any of them will become a tentpole next season. (Scandal needs a 163 and 2BG a 106.) Person of Interest should become the fourth staple next season, with New Girl (needs 87) unlikely but not impossible. Last Man Standing got to utility, as did Revenge in its final season. Grimm will become the eighth and final utility player next season.
2012-13: Chicago Fire made it to utility. But only two other members of the class survived to season four (at least on broadcast TV), with The Following cancelled 16 points shy of utility. Nashville and Elementary should be safe bets to become utility next season, ensuring this year won't set a new record for fewest utility shows. Could this become the first class of the era not to produce multiple staples? Chicago Fire should get there, but Elementary would need three more years at its 2014-15 Plus, and even then it would just barely get there.
2013-14: The Blacklist, Mom and The Goldbergs will all join the utility club next year. Agents of SHIELD and Sleepy Hollow would get there with a repeat of their 2014-15 numbers, but could be denied if they drop enough. Chicago PD and Brooklyn Nine-Nine would need to overachieve by quite a bit to do it next year.
2014-15: Empire became the first newbie in the era to join the utility club with just one season! Even getting there in two is pretty rare, but How To Get Away with Murder (176) should be a good bet. Scorpion (137) and Black-ish (136) could at least conceivably get the sophomore bounce required to make it interesting next year.
Here's the now updated A18-49+ New Shows post.