Friday, September 18, 2015

Best Case/Worst Case, Premiere Friday Vets: Last Man Standing, Hawaii Five-0 and more!

The acclaimed season preview Best Case/Worst Case is back for a fourth season, laying out possible scenarios for broadcast primetime TV seasons yet to premiere. This year, each show will be previewed on the day it premieres... with the exception of this week, when we're knocking out some of the numerous premiere week predictions a week early. Most of these posts will preview only premiere week veteran series today, with rookies and sophomores coming next week. Unless otherwise indicated, all shows previewed this week premiere exactly one week after the day of the post.

Last Man Standing
1.27 A18-49+True2014-15 Slot
76 1.55 Friday 8:00
y2y:-4% +7%

Timeslot OccupantsLast Man Standing
Avg Orig Avg
1.24 1.32 1.27 1.55

In a Nutshell: In season one, Tim Allen's return to TV Last Man Standing started big and faded fast on Tuesday. That makes it all the more amazing that LMS has become such an incredibly consistent Friday staple for the last four years, with season four bringing the smallest drop in series history.

Best Case: Dr. Ken drums up a little more interest in the night, much like Reba's Malibu Country did a few years ago. And it's syndication time for Last Man, which really tends to kick in for the second half of the season. So after another fall of tiny declines, it's actually even to up in raw numbers for the winter and spring, helping it squeak upward to a 1.30.

Worst Case: At some point, it just has to matter that ABC barely promotes this show. And at some point, it just has to take a realistic hit in the spring due to daylight saving time. It sheds 21% to an even 1.00, finally going fractional in the second half.

Likeliest: This is another of those shows like SVU where I just have trouble processing the fact that it can continue to grow, especially since the network doesn't really care about it promo-wise. But there was not really any worsening trend late last season that I can point to (with the possible exception of the low 1.1 for the finale). So I'll say that, like The Middle, it is able to eke out one more positive Plus season. -8% to a 1.17.

Shark Tank
1.82 A18-49+True2014-15 Slot
108 2.08 Fri 9:00, Fri 8:00
y2y:-6% +5%

Timeslot OccupantsShark Tank Beyond the Tank
Avg Orig Avg
1.74 1.78 1.86 2.12 1.50 1.82

In a Nutshell: Nowadays, it's hard to remember that Shark Tank once had very shaky ratings by summer filler standards, with a Plus in the 50's for its first two seasons. Three years of big growth later, it became the runaway #1 series on Friday night, with the highest Plus for a Friday series since Law and Order: SVU left the night in 2003. And Shark Tank dropped less than average again in 2014-15.

Best Case: ABC's finally found the ratings they're looking for out of the 8:30 half-hour with Dr. Ken, and that audience funnels into Shark Tank and helps the Friday sensation grow noticeably again: -3% to a 1.76.

Worst Case: The move to 8/7c probably exaggerated Shark Tank's late season decline a bit, but keep in mind that the show had a couple surprisingly stinky results even before it got moved to the 8/7c hour for the last four episodes. That 1.5ish level is the new normal for most of the Shark Tank season, and it dips a little more in the spring (especially if it has to air at 8/7c again). It's down 22% to a 1.41.

Likeliest: This is sort of like the prediction with The Big Bang Theory last year where it feels like this constantly growing show is right on the verge of peaking/beginning its downturn. Since the trend seemed to be getting a bit worse even before the 8/7c move last year, I'm gonna say it declines just a touch more than the league average: -12% to a 1.60.

The Amazing Race
1.17 A18-49+True2014-15 Slot
69 1.42 Friday 8:00
y2y:-42% -35%

Timeslot OccupantsThe Amazing Race Fall Undercover Boss The Amazing Race Spring
Avg Orig Avg
1.18 1.21 1.17 1.42 1.35 1.54 1.15 1.53

In a Nutshell: The reliably above average Sunday player Amazing Race took big hits in each of its 2013-14 seasons, prompting a move to Friday. It became a solid but disappointing player by Friday standards on the night, dropping 42% for the fall season and 32% for the less-inflated spring one.

Best Case: This will be another example of the unscripted upswing seen this summer! And there's already some evidence of it with the Race, as the spring season did better (Truly speaking) than the fall one. It can go even in raw numbers, finally moving toward the territory that was expected of it here before the move. 1.17.

Worst Case: It's been two years of disappointment now for the Race, from the big Sunday drops in 2013-14 to the huge Friday ones in 2014-15. This is a franchise in sharp decline, and the Friday move actually obscured that reality if anything. It continues here. -22% to a 0.91.

Likeliest: As with The Voice, I'm probably overreacting to what's happened this summer as well as recent Survivor cycles. But I think this show is due for some stabilization, and the spring season of Race was at least a kernel of a promising sign that it can happen. -9% to 1.07.

Hawaii Five-0
1.24 A18-49+True2014-15 Slot
74 1.54 Friday 9:00
y2y:-13% -2%

Timeslot OccupantsHawaii Five-0
Avg Orig Avg
1.15 1.24 1.25 1.55

In a Nutshell: Though it never really broke through in its three years on Monday, Hawaii Five-0 became a Friday success when it moved to the night in season four, topping all three Friday seasons of previous occupant CSI: NY. With a weaker lead-in from Race, it fell a bit more than average in 2014-15 but was still one of the timeslot's strongest occupants historically.

Best Case: Hawaii Five-0's lead-out Blue Bloods had a strong season last year, and that trend was more indicative of what should've happened with Five-0 if not for that pesky diminished lead-in. CBS Friday is due to make up some ground, and we'll see Hawaii Five-0 catch up to Blue Bloods. It's very nearly even in raw numbers at a 1.23.

Worst Case: Five-0 didn't really do much in syndication, and now the sixth-year drama is getting pretty old. Time for some erosion: -22% to a 0.97.

Likeliest: The conditions should be pretty stable year-to-year this time, so it stabilizes as well: -8% to a 1.15.

Blue Bloods
1.29 A18-49+True2014-15 Slot
76 1.60 Friday 10:00
y2y:-8% +3%

Timeslot OccupantsBlue Bloods
Avg Orig Avg
1.15 1.27 1.29 1.60

In a Nutshell: CBS' reliable Friday 10/9c staple saw a bit of a ratings rejuvenation when Hawaii Five-0 became its lead-in for 2013-14. It followed that up with another less-than-average drop (and another new A18-49+ series high) in 2014-15.

Best Case: Unlike Five-0, it feels like Blue Bloods is all over the place syndication-wise. Its super-old skew ensures that its audience is gonna keep watching traditional TV. And that will help it pull away from its lead-in a bit more, relatively speaking. BB is down just 3% to a 1.25.

Worst Case: Late in the season, Blue Bloods had more points down year-to-year, including a horrible 1.0 against Bruce Jenner: The Interview. Time for some natural sixth-year drama erosion: -23% to an even 1.00.

Likeliest: Let's round out this super-exciting post with... another league average decline! I think it declines a bit more than Five-0 just to even out the pair's ratings (as Five-0 was the higher-rated show two years ago). -10% to a 1.16.

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