Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Best Case/Worst Case: Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders

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

Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders (NEW!)

Timeslot OccupantsCode Black CSI: Cyber
Avg Orig Avg
1.29 1.33 1.26 1.18 1.10 1.20

In a Nutshell: After a season of marginal results from medical drama Code Black in the Wednesday 10/9c hour, CBS will hope for improvement with its second Criminal Minds spin-off Beyond Borders. Criminal Minds already has a relatively bad spin-off record by CBS standards, as Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior went one-and-done in this same timeslot in 2011. It's also a timeslot return for Beyond Borders lead Gary Sinise, who toplined CSI: NY on Wednesday at 10/9c through the second half of the aughts.

Best Case: Criminal Minds has been a stronger show since the new year, and that heat makes for good timing to launch a spin-off. Gary Sinise is a reliable, familiar face to the CBS audience, and reliable and familiar is always a good thing for CBS. The reviews are awful, but that doesn't matter remotely! Even the ill-advised Suspect Behavior held its entire Minds lead-in on premiere night, and Beyond Borders is much more capable of staying close to that pace beyond the premiere. 1.75.

Worst Case: Suspect Behavior proved that the darker Criminal Minds is a more difficult formula to replicate than other CBS procedurals, and this exotic spin is another misfire. The reason Criminal Minds has been stronger lately is the lack of Empire... and that break is gonna end in two weeks. Minds is still a weaker show now than it was five years ago, and it quickly reverts to its mid-1's from the fall. Beyond Borders holds less than two thirds of it. 0.88.

Likeliest: Not feeling this one. Then again, I've never been a Criminal Minds guy, so maybe that's a good thing? The Minds association may get it to premiere at Code Black's 1.5+ tonight, especially with Chicago PD off. But I don't see it sniffing at Suspect Behavior premiere territory, which would be a 1.9-2.0 in today's numbers. I also think it'll drop more quickly post-premiere than Code did. The later eps will be in the lower tier of the CBS drama hierarchy, so it's a likely cancel. 1.16.

(This may be a good time to mention that, as has always been the case, all these predictions are only for episodes aired within the regular season. Not sure this will get through its full order by season's end.)

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