Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Best Case/Worst Case: Arrow, Supernatural

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

1.02 A18-49+True2014-15 Slot
61 1.10 Wednesday 8:00
y2y:+11% +24%

Timeslot OccupantsArrow
Avg Orig Avg
0.78 0.99 1.02 1.10

In a Nutshell: Arrow had two very productive seasons to open its run on Wednesday at 8/7c, and was already one of the biggest successes in CW history even before The Flash rolled around. But the arrival of that series (and a couple accompanying crossovers) helped launch Arrow to a whole new level in season three. It hovered around 1.0 for most of the fall, but had a new series high 1.4 in its Flash crossover on December 3 and stayed north of 1.0 for every subsequent episode until DST.

Best Case: The crossovers helped Arrow last year, and with a new DC series launching at midseason featuring multiple Arrow characters, there is much more of that to come. It usually hits the very low-1's of last late fall/winter, and does even better on the more frequent crossover occasions. Another +13% to 1.15.

Worst Case: Arrow resolved its central "will they/won't they" and is reverting to the less dark, less serialized feel of season one. That isn't what this audience wants anymore. Legends of Tomorrow doesn't do much, and The Flash has a sophomore slump, so the crossover juice isn't as potent. Arrow is back down to the Plus of the first two seasons at a 0.74.

Likeliest: It's hard to go against this show since most of the worst year-to-year trends were in the fall and crossovers always benefit the show on the second night most. If it matches its spring level, it will do quite well year-to-year in the fall, and that's before LoT even comes on the scene. Like The Flash, my guess is that there will start to be some signs of it coming back to earth after DST, but not enough signs to drop it into negative Plus territory for the full season. -6% to a 0.96.

0.80 A18-49+True2014-15 Slot
48 0.71 Tue 9:00, Wed 9:00
y2y:-20% -10%

Timeslot OccupantsThe 100 Supernatural
Avg Orig Avg
0.51 0.57 0.51 0.52 0.66 0.71

In a Nutshell: It's been a long, strange trip for the last surviving scripted series of the pre-CW netlets, which included a big bounce when it returned to the midweek alongside Arrow three years ago, and even more impressive deliveries alongside The Originals two years ago. 2014-15 was the closest thing to a disappointing SPN season in a long time, as the show didn't really increase despite airing after the biggest CW series ever (The Flash) and then decreased noticeably after moving post-Arrow at midseason.

Best Case: Never give up on Supernatural, which has surged back on many occasions in the past. If its lead-in is gonna get some major crossover juice this season, it'll inch up to 0.81 and be up year-to-year throughout the second half of the season.

Worst Case: It became obvious in the second half of the season that this show was actually lucky to go just -20%, because The Flash was keeping it from even bigger declines. It was down over 25% beyond the new year, and it continues that trend pretty much throughout the season, dropping to 0.5 or worse for most of the second half. Down over a third to a 0.50. Dunzo?

Likeliest: The fall trends aren't gonna be pretty. Even if Arrow does really well, I don't see it doing well enough to keep SPN close to its 0.9-1.0ish post-Flash level from last fall. But assuming it beats out iZombie and keeps one of the good slots in the winter/spring, it should stabilize in the second half of the season, especially if Arrow picks up due to crossovers. Close to last year's drop at -23% to a 0.62. Likely enough to keep the network from announcing 2016-17 as the final, since there will be bigger fish to fry.

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