Friday, May 6, 2016

2016 Upfront Power Rankings: The CW


Welcome to the Upfront Power Rankings! This is the SHOW-centric half of the upfront preview, digging into the merits of individual shows by network. Next week come the Upfront Questions, the SCHEDULE-centric look ahead to upfront week. The following week, the schedules come out, and with them come the Upfront Answers.

The True/A18-49 averages cover the last one-third of aired episodes this season, rounded up, through Tuesday, May 3.

Other Upfront Power Rankings: ABC | CBS | NBC | Fox | CW



#
NameTrueHeatSkewMale
A18-49
y2yEps
The Big Four
1The Flash1.34-1%49%60%1.30-5%7/20
2Arrow0.91-10%48%58%0.87-5%7/19
3Legends of Tomorrow0.77-15%47%59%0.68
5/13
4Supernatural0.66+9%51%53%0.70-13%7/19

These should be the four locks to hold onto the "big eight" timeslots (Monday through Thursday in the fall). But as far as I know, it's still unclear whether Legends of Tomorrow is going to transition into a full-season type of show. If it gets 16ish eps again, then what the network did with Thursday this year actually worked out pretty brilliantly for all parties. The male-skewing comic book empire was cleverly built on nights with no football competition, so throwing the weakest of the three at football on Thursday may not be ideal.



#
NameTrueHeatSkewMale
A18-49
y2yEps
The High-End Filler
5The Vampire Diaries0.52-3%52%35%0.40-35%7/20
6The Originals0.48+17%54%40%0.39-32%7/19
7Jane the Virgin0.43+17%49%27%0.37-23%7/20
8iZombie0.41+26%51%49%0.50-19%7/19
9The 1000.39-13%46%53%0.40-6%5/13

Another key part of forming the CW schedule is what happens with The Vampire Diaries and The Originals. Will they get announced final seasons as has been rumored? Shortened orders? If Legends isn't on in the fall, they seem to be worthy of returning to a weeknight, especially for final seasons.

There was no bigger failing of True formula this year than iZombie, as it was totally unable to encapsulate the show's non-relationship with The Flash. Adding a gender component to the formula would definitely help, but it seems rather hard to quantify a show having that massive a lead-in and still holding its entire audience when on its own. Its 40%ish retention in Viewers/A18-49/A18-34 was actually more like 50% in the female demos, but less than a third in the male ones:



When the relationship is that independent, it should be beyond clear to the CW that this show should not be re-joining The Flash on Tuesday.

However, iZombie and Jane the Virgin still figure to contend for fall timeslots, and maybe on Monday. They could even end up together in a sort of surrender night, depending on what happens with the vampire shows and which/how many pilots get picked up. But the Riverdale pilot seems like it could fit on Monday as well.

I'd put The 100 at the tail end of this group, but it seemed like a good pairing with Legends of Tomorrow. LoT doesn't seem launch pad-worthy compared with the other superhero shows, so The 100 and LoT may well remain together, especially if LoT has another limited order. Again, the winter Thursday plan was a win for all parties.



#
NameTrueHeatSkewMale
A18-49
y2yEps
The Low-End Filler
10Containment0.37-3%41%50%0.50
1/3
11Reign0.34-7%38%36%0.32-26%4/12
12Crazy Ex-Girlfriend0.29+1%43%39%0.27
6/18

Containment premiered poorly and has held up well, a track that always seems to gives shows a psychological advantage. But doing iZombie retention is still not really worthy of much acclaim. It's still too early to say much of anything here; gotta see what happens in the summer weeks. If it can perform like iZombie does when it loses the lead-in, there may be something there. But space is tight.

If you recall what I said about Agent Carter in the ABC post, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is sort of in the same boat: it feels like it should skew toward some particular demographics, but the actual ratings are just blandly low in everything. It has clearly not tapped into the younger and heavily female-skewing audience that makes Jane the Virgin stand out, even with low raw ratings. In this case, that audience never really even sampled it, so maybe they can figure out a way. But as it stands now, it has far less of a case to hold onto a weeknight fall slot than Jane did last year (or even this year). I see it as maybe some kind of Monday bridge series at best.

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