Sunday, October 4, 2015

Best Case/Worst Case: Madam Secretary, The Good Wife, CSI: Cyber

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

Madam Secretary
1.44 A18-49+True2014-15 Slot
85 1.49 Sunday 8:00

Timeslot OccupantsMadam Secretary
Avg Orig Avg
2.21 1.66 1.30 1.43

In a Nutshell: CBS' political drama was a close thematic fit with lead-in 60 Minutes and lead-out The Good Wife. While it was always a significant demo downgrade on previous occupant The Amazing Race, it showed some flashes of promise when the NFL was leading into the CBS night. That all came to an end when the show came back for the spring in the low-1's, dipping as low as 1.0 for the last two episodes.

Best Case: The best thing that Madam and TGW can hope for is that they were propped way up by the NFL lead-in in the fall, and they will experience a similar boost this time. In reality, Madam and TGW didn't really get any weaker in the spring... we just didn't properly account for the NFL effect. So it gets all the way back to the mid-1's in the fall, and some storyline helps it hold up better in the second half. 1.40.

Worst Case: The worst thing they can hope for is that they actually did get much weaker in the second half, and those viewers are gone forever. Low-1's are all Madam can muster up in the early fall, and it never breaks a one after the NFL is gone. 0.95, down over a third.

Likeliest: The reality is probably somewhere in the middle here, and it should bounce back at least a bit as the NFL returns. But I'm inclined to think it shouldn't have dropped this much, so the year-to-year trends will still not look good. 1.14, down 21%.

The Good Wife
1.22 A18-49+True2014-15 Slot
73 1.34 Sunday 9:00
y2y:-14% -4%

Timeslot OccupantsThe Good Wife
Avg Orig Avg
1.87 1.27 1.15 1.25

In a Nutshell: In its fourth season on Sunday and sixth overall, the CBS legal drama had some solid year-to-year trends in the fall alongside Madam Secretary. But like Madam, it all went to pot when the show returned from hiatus after the Oscars. It barely broke a 1.0 for most spring eps and even got down to its first 0.9 on May 3.

Best Case: See Madam Secretary. The 1.2 finale rating was kinda surprisingly decent. Very nearly even in raw numbers at 1.20.

Worst Case: See Madam Secretary. Down a third to 0.80.

Likeliest: The key difference between Madam and TGW is that there are actually year-to-year comparisons available with this show, so we can see that the trends actually got drastically worse in the spring along with the raw ratings. It seemed like a weaker show, and those bad trends will carry over into the first half of this season. 0.99, down 19%.

CSI: Cyber
1.38 A18-49+True2014-15 Slot
82 1.52 Wednesday 10:00

Timeslot OccupantsCSI Battle Creek
Avg Orig Avg
1.48 1.16 1.28 1.56 0.77 1.10

In a Nutshell: Over a decade after the seemingly last CSI spin-off premiered, CBS added yet another entry in the franchise in March 2015, this one based on Internet crimes. After a couple decent weeks, the show fell into the low-to-mid-1's, usually over 20% behind its lead-in from Criminal Minds. Reportedly renewed due to its attractiveness in the international market, CSI: Cyber assumes CSI's final resting place on Sunday at 10/9c and also adds latter-day CSI lead Ted Danson.

Best Case: Danson is just what this show needed to spice things up a bit creatively, and with him there's no reason the show can't as do at least as well as Danson's previous series in the same slot. The decent-sized audience for last week's CSI finale helped start some momentum for this show. It frequently builds on The Good Wife and is less than a league average drop from CSI's ratings at a 1.20.

Worst Case: Most shows that move to Sunday 10/9c Siberia drop a third year-to-year... but most shows that move here are also much older series that have built more of a core audience. Nobody is going to show up for an already shaky series in a timeslot with zero support, and Cyber takes a bad drop even by Friday move standards: -46% to a Battle Creek-esque 0.75.

Likeliest: Maybe it will be a little better creatively, but it's still not gonna do quite as well as CSI original here. CSI averaged just about 100% lead-in retention, and it should be a little bit worse for Cyber. Just to continue the long streak of series dropping almost exactly a third in a move to Sunday 10/9c: it's down 33.3333% to a 0.92.

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