Monday, January 4, 2016

Best Case/Worst Case: The Bachelor, Superstore, Telenovela, The Biggest Loser

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

The Bachelor
2.33 A18-49+True2014-15 Slot
139 2.30 Monday 8:00
y2y:-9% +2%

Timeslot OccupantsDancing with the Stars Fall The Great Christmas Light Fight
Avg Orig Avg
1.73 1.72 1.90 1.80 1.17 1.11

In a Nutshell: The Bachelor was a major smash in the early aughts, then got rejuvenated in 2009 when it started using former contestants and filling the two hours between annual cycles of Dancing with the Stars. In recent years, it's actually started pulling higher 18-49 ratings than DWTS, but it's remained in this winter role (with The Bachelorette filling it in the summer).

Best Case: The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise both had very strong seasons during the summer, proving this franchise is one of the hottest commodities around. If The Bachelorette could grow double digits in raw numbers, maybe it shouldn't be ruled out for The Bachelor. 2.57, the biggest Bachelor season in Plus since the first.

Worst Case: As well as The Bachelorette did last year, it was really just making up for a couple seasons of underachievement. On the other hand, The Bachelor hasn't declined in Plus in its last three seasons, and it might be due to come back to earth a little bit. The return of The Biggest Loser represents more female-skewing competition. It sheds almost 20% to a 1.90.

Likeliest: After what happened last summer, it's hard to bet against this show. And I actually felt like last winter, even dropping just 9%, was a little softer than it should've been at times. I don't see it growing as drastically as Bachelorette and Paradise did, but The Bachelor sees another solid round of Plus growth: it's -3% to a 2.25.

Superstore (NEW!)

Timeslot OccupantsThe Voice Fall
Avg Orig Avg
3.12 3.12 3.12 2.72

In a Nutshell: This one is a bit of a cheat since NBC's new big box store-set comedy has already aired three original episodes: a 2.0 and 1.6 after The Voice in November, and a 0.8 for an unpromoted previously-available-on-demand ep last weekend. But because of the weird nature of these episodes, I would still argue it's a tougher prediction than most of the returnee picks! It moves to the Monday 8/7c slot starting tonight.

Best Case: It has to mean something that this show did sooo much better than Telenovela in the post-Voice previews, and its 0.8/0.9 for repeats in this timeslot over the holidays were not half bad. It's not getting back to the 2.0 of its 10:00 preview episode, but the 1.6 at 10:30 may actually be something it can replicate. NBC finally has at least the start of a comedy foundation again! 1.60.

Worst Case: If this show were going to do anything at all, it really should've done better for the original episode last week. Yes, it was available online, but it still should've been picked up by Season Passes that were set after the November preview. It scraped out a 0.8/0.9 for repeats simply because there was absolutely no competition, and that's about what the originals will get now that there is actual competition. 0.80.

Likeliest: This show seems like a pretty blatant attempt to reignite The Office's vibe, and yet I think it has done a pretty decent job of it. It's been consistently far enough ahead of Telenovela that I think there might be a little audience here. I think this slot will be too difficult to get it much more than low-1's in a lead-off situation, but this just may be enough for another try on a network that is this extremely starved for any kind of comedy pulse. 1.11. (This prediction just counts all episodes from this point forward.)

Telenovela (NEW!)

Timeslot OccupantsThe Voice Fall
Avg Orig Avg
3.12 3.12 3.12 2.72

In a Nutshell: This one is a bit of a cheat since NBC's new Eva Longoria comedy has already aired three original episodes: a 1.4 and 0.9 after The Voice in early December, and a 0.6 for an unpromoted previously-available-on-demand ep last weekend. But because of the weird nature of these episodes, I would still argue it's a tougher prediction than most returnee picks! It moves to the Monday 8:30 slot starting tonight.

Best Case: There's really no good spin to put on any of the numbers Telenovela has hung thus far. So its only hope is that Superstore does really well and Telenovela hangs on to a middling percentage of it, maybe adding on some The Biggest Loser pre-tune. Still not sure that'd be enough, though. 1.20.

Worst Case: The numbers after The Voice were a pretty huge disaster, and even in late December it was clear this show had significantly less interest than the corresponding Superstore episodes. Like in Superstore's worst case, it does no better than the unpromoted late December "original" going forward. 0.55.

Likeliest: Regardless of what happens with Superstore, I've seen absolutely no reason to believe it's gonna work for Telenovela. I think it will lose a large chunk of that lead-in. 0.79 and an easy dunzo. Could get replaced by Superstore repeats if The Biggest Loser is struggling.

The Biggest Loser
1.24 A18-49+True2014-15 Slot
74 1.38 Thursday 8:00
y2y:-36% -28%

Timeslot OccupantsThe Voice Fall Blindspot
Avg Orig Avg
2.68 2.67 3.12 2.72 2.32 1.83

In a Nutshell: NBC's long-running weight loss competition series was on a serious decline in the early part of the decade, then saw a huge rejuvenation three years ago when it shrank to one cycle per year and aired as Monday filler between The Voice cycles. But it hasn't been back on Monday since that strong 2013 cycle, and last year's placement as a Thursday lead-off player took a major chunk out of the ratings. This year, it's finally back to Monday in the winter, but now from 9:00 to 11:00.

Best Case: This show was terribly scheduled last year, and scheduling really matters with this kind of show. It will shoot back up to its 2013 numbers in a return to Monday, or maybe even get a more drastic rejuvenation like last year's Celebrity Apprentice. 1.75.

Worst Case: It wouldn't have dropped 36% last year unless there was some real rejection of the concept going on. It's not like it went to Friday. It's actually down more from last year's modest Plus despite what should be a more favorable situation: 1.00.

Likeliest: The return to Monday is going to help this show have something of a bounce-back, but I'm not sold that it will help so much to take a 74 Plus back into triple digits. I've got a slight raw numbers uptick, but a 1.26 is still behind even what TBL was doing at the end of its two-seasons-per-year era. Perhaps the uptick buys it another year in a similar role.

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