Sunday, September 27, 2015

Best Case/Worst Case: Blood & Oil, Quantico, The Last Man on Earth

Best Case/Worst Case lays out possible scenarios for broadcast primetime TV seasons yet to premiere.

This season, each show gets previewed on the day it premieres... except for the premiere week veterans, which we did last week. Here are the Premiere Sunday vets, also premiering tonight unless otherwise indicated.

Blood and Oil (NEW!)

Timeslot OccupantsResurrection Secrets and Lies
Avg Orig Avg
1.79 1.42 1.25 1.26 1.49 1.53

In a Nutshell: Don Johnson and Chace Crawford topline this Dallas-esque soap about the booming oil industry in North Dakota.

Best Case: It seems like an on-brand effort from ABC, and touches on an "American dream" sense of wonder that will make it a surprisingly good fit with Once Upon a Time. It starts big and gives ABC another scheduling piece to build around. 2.20.

Worst Case: Thanks for trying, ABC, but Sunday is just too tough for the broadcasters nowadays. TNT's revival of Dallas was never really that big, so nobody will be interested in a poor man's version. It isn't really that compatible with its severely diminished Once Upon a Time lead-in and only holds about half of it when the dust settles. 0.80.

Likeliest: It will do OK, but it feels just a touch too retro to truly deliver the goods. Seems like something that will just kind of be there, not bombing or breaking out. So it drops somewhat from Once but not disastrously so and ends up being a reasonably decent upgrade on Resurrection. But considering it's on in the fall, it won't be quite as impressive as last year's Secrets and Lies. 1.39. I expect this will be a bit front-loaded and thus a low-end bubble show by the second half of the run, perhaps beaten out by its lead-out.

Quantico (NEW!)

Timeslot OccupantsRevenge
Avg Orig Avg
1.59 1.15 1.11 1.37

In a Nutshell: I heard a promo call it "Grey's Academy meets How to Get Away with Treason," which is far more clever than anything I could come up with. Priyanka Chopra stars in this thriller set around the iconic FBI training base.

Best Case: This show seems to have a surprising amount of buzz building. It kinda has that early Grey's Anatomy feel, and the promos are effectively painting it in a fashion that should appeal to some of the TGIT crowd. It builds from Blood & Oil on premiere night and is quickly building by a wide margin. 2.25.

Worst Case: ABC has been indecisive about where to schedule this show, and putting it on Sunday at 10 was a spectacularly bad idea (mostly a casualty of the network getting cold feet with Of Kings and Prophets). It will be snowed under by a flop lead-in that skews too female, and any of the male crowd that might have shown up for this will be watching football. 0.75, about on par with what Betrayal did here a couple years ago.

Likeliest: Really not sure about this one. It's going to be quite tough to succeed on Sunday at 10:00, but there just seems to be this buzz undercurrent with this show that I'm having trouble ignoring. I don't think it's going to start off that great, but I see the dynamic with Blood & Oil slowly improving over time. Even if it's below B&O on premiere night, it may soon get even with or above it. I have a feeling it may eventually get moved... Tuesday 10/9c? Wednesday 10/9c? A simple flip with B&O? Dunno. But this prediction is just for the Sunday 10/9c eps, possibly improving after a move. 1.38 and finds a way to get renewed.

The Last Man on Earth
1.64 A18-49+True2014-15 Slot
97 1.72 Sunday 9:30

Timeslot OccupantsMulaney Bob's Burgers The Last Man on Earth
Avg Orig Avg
1.41 1.45 0.94 0.98 1.29 1.30 1.49 1.62

In a Nutshell: Fox's acclaimed Will Forte post-apocalyptic comedy was the biggest pleasant surprise of the first Sunday after the Oscars, debuting at a 2.4 for the one-hour premiere on March 1. It shed nearly half that audience over the next month, but stabilizing at 1.4 in the last three weeks still made it a respectable retainer of the Family Guy audience. It made it to the fall schedule for 2015 with another limited order.

Best Case: Last Man's first season aired in the worst of times for the Fox Sunday block. With all boats lifted by the NFL in the fall (and a limited order that keeps it from returning to the spring), the buzzy Last Man is headed for big things. Up to a 2.00!

Worst Case: Yeah, it's a comedy, but you can lump this one in with a lot of the dramatic limited series; the premise was a nice, grabby one-time thing, but the interest is severely lessened for a second go-round. It's airing 90 minutes after the end of NFL coverage, so that won't help that much. It comes back at the low end of last season's numbers and is down from there. By November it's just barely beating year-ago episodes of Mulaney. 0.95 and dunzo.

Likeliest: I have this feeling eating at me that it's going to be another limited series situation... but hopefully the NFL's presence is going to be positive enough to prevent it from melting down too massively. It mostly hovers around last year's late-season ratings with a 1.41, a bit higher on NFL nights and a bit lower on most non-NFL nights. It's a 14% drop from last year's average but a fair amount less impressive given the improved circumstances. Still, it's enough of an improvement on last year's Mulaney that it scores another renewal.

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