Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Best Case/Worst Case: Agents of SHIELD, Grandfathered, The Grinder

Best Case/Worst Case lays out possible scenarios for broadcast primetime TV seasons yet to premiere. Here's what's premiering tonight!

Agents of SHIELD
1.58 A18-49+True2014-15 Slot
94 1.76 Tuesday 9:00
y2y:-34% -26%

Timeslot OccupantsAgents of SHIELD Agent Carter
Avg Orig Avg
1.55 1.64 1.58 1.76 1.37 1.36

In a Nutshell: The September 2013 launch of Marvel's Agents of SHIELD was one of the biggest series premieres on record (in a historical-adjusted sense), but half of that 4.7 premiere rating was gone by the second half of the fall. It was quite consistent at around 2.0 in the second half of season one, but took another step down early in season two before stabilizing in the mid-1's.

Best Case: SHIELD had mostly rotten lead-in support last season. If an improved lead-in could drag even the seemingly crumbling Nashville to a positive season in A18-49+, then it can probably be done with this show too. Fresh Off the Boat ends up being nearly as much of an upgrade at 8:30 as Black-ish was on Wednesday last year. Drama competitors NCIS: New Orleans and Scream Queens were big disappointments in week one. Loses just 5% to a 1.50.

Worst Case: It ended the season on a new series low 1.3, which is never a good sign. And there will soon be drama competitors on all four big five networks, with iZombie and Chicago Med showing up shortly. This show skews so pointedly male that it won't really be affected by the lead-in upgrade. Like season two, it starts low and is deep into new series low territory by week two. Mimics last year's drop by shedding just over a third to a 1.04.

Likeliest: I do think the lead-in upgrade will help this show to a relatively healthy drop by this type of show's standards, but it won't be as much of a boost as the broader-skewing Nashville got. And it looks like this won't be as much of a lead-in upgrade as what Nashville got anyway. Should be pretty much downhill from here for this kind of show, though it won't be nearly as steep as last year's decline from the super-inflated season one. It's -17% to a 1.31.

Grandfathered (NEW!)

Timeslot OccupantsUtopia Tue MasterChef Junior Hell's Kitchen
Avg Orig Avg
1.41 1.42 0.88 1.05 1.66 1.70 1.25 1.54

In a Nutshell: John Stamos stars in a comedy about a middle-aged man whose life is turned upside down when he discovers he's both a father... and a grandfather.

Best Case: This show has done pretty well in early social media indictators, which suggest that John Stamos is enough a part of the public consciousness to open a show. (If you need hard Nielsen proof, just look at how Full House does on Nick at Nite!) If Fresh Off the Boat could do respectable business in this tough hour last spring, then surely something with more star power can start even bigger. 1.70.

Worst Case: If the mega-hyped Scream Queens couldn't open, what hope does this have? NCIS, The Voice and The Muppets is about as rough as it gets competition-wise, and it doesn't even get the premiere night break from The Voice that was originally expected (since NBC is leaving Best Time Ever at 10/9c tonight). Might go fractional from night one and is a huge problem beyond that. 0.75.

Likeliest: The clear point of comparison here is Fox's newbies Dads (74) and Brooklyn Nine-Nine (80) in the same hour two autumns ago, shows that some labeled as potential massive bombs but that ended up hanging in there somewhat OK. These shows will have a much rougher road on premiere night, since Dads and 9-9 opened in the uncompetitive pre-premiere week, but I think they will end up doing fairly similar ratings when the dust settles. I give Grandfathered the slightly better chance of the two to survive, since it seems a bit broader conceptually, but it will still probably take some patience. 1.22.

The Grinder (NEW!)

Timeslot OccupantsUtopia Tue MasterChef Junior Hell's Kitchen
Avg Orig Avg
1.46 1.45 0.88 1.05 1.66 1.70 1.25 1.54

In a Nutshell: Rob Lowe stars in a comedy about an actor fresh off many years playing a lawyer on TV. He returns to his small town and looks to join his brother (Fred Savage) in doing the law for reals.

Best Case: This is just like the Dads/Nine-Nine block from two years ago, when Fox put the more critically acclaimed show at 8:30 and it ended up building on its lead-in. Rob Lowe is a very recognizable name, and there may even be some Fred Savage nostalgia that wasn't fulfilled by Crumbs. 1.80.

Worst Case: Again... if the mega-hyped Scream Queens couldn't open, what hope does this have? Throw in the fact that it's a bit more of a niche concept with the showbiz satire stuff, and it goes even lower than Grandfathered. 0.70.

Likeliest: Personally I think this show looks like the better of the two Fox comedies, and the critics who have actually seen it mostly seem to think so too. But I'm a bit less confident in its potential commercially. 1.12. Again, it depends on how patient Fox is, but I'm narrowly taking Grandfathered if only one of the two can survive. But I think there's a decent chance they both at least make it to a full-ish season.

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