|Timeslot Occupants||Grey's Anatomy|
In a Nutshell: After eight years in the 9:00 hour, Grey's Anatomy moved to 8:00 and held almost all of its A18-49+ from the previous season. That made it at least twice as strong as many of the occupants ABC has had in this troubled hour over the last generation.
Best Case: This show was holding up well in the spring even as Scandal was cratering and even before the Patrick Dempsey stuff went down. The loss of Dempsey won't really matter, as he was one piece of a very large ensemble. If it could go -1% in Plus while getting moved back an hour, it can pull off growth (for the first time in nine years) in a return to this timeslot. -6% to a 2.24.
Worst Case: McDreamy is gone, and so is the whole reason for the show existing. It barely breaks 2.0 for the fall premiere and is at series low levels shortly thereafter, crumbling into the mid-1's late. Down nearly 30% to a 1.70... it's probably renewed again, but it's heading for league average territory next year.
Likeliest: It's hard not to be a believer after the way this show held up amid Scandal's collapse. But losing Dempsey is going to hurt at least a little bit, as will the declining interest in its lead-out dramas. Still, this will have the best year-to-year trend of anything TGIT. It hangs onto low-2's through the fall but finally dips below 2.0 for good in the second half of the season, adding up to a 2.02 (down 15%).
In a Nutshell: Scandal moved to the 9/8c hour and was stronger than ever in the first half of season four, with a whole lot of low 3's in the fall and winter. But an epic collapse in the second half of the season (dropping from a 3.3 on February 19 all the way to 2.1 on April 2) has left the centerpiece of ABC's TGIT empire very much in doubt.
Best Case: This show is going to rally a lot from what it was doing at the end of last season, because the absence of How to Get Away with Murder was an enormous factor in all of that. It stabilizes at mid-to-high 2's in the fall, close to even in Plus, and the presence of more compatible The Catch keeps TGIT more cohesive in the second half. It's actually even in raw numbers again for the late-season eps, adding up to a slightly less than average drop to 2.64.
Worst Case: The 1.2-point collapse was crushing, but almost as crushing was the fact that Scandal didn't even benefit from the Grey's Anatomy heat at the end of the season. It might have been even worse if not for that! And it'll be really ugly when it has a legitimately struggling Grey's lead-in this fall. Very low-2's in the fall and sub-2's in the second half add up to a 1.92, down a third and no better than its Grey's lead-in.
Likeliest: It's gonna take a massive rebound from the low-2's late spring level to not be down quite a lot. I think it bounces back somewhat with the whole TGIT gang back together, but it's hard to see the comparisons from the fall through February not looking pretty rough. It probably avoids collapsing that hard in the winter and thus has better comparisons by the spring, but I still can't see it doing much above a very low-2 by that point. 2.25, down 21%.
Coming next week: How to Get Away with Murder, Heroes Reborn, The Player!