Thursday, May 5, 2016

2016 Upfront Power Rankings: Fox


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



Comedy

#
NameTrueHeatSkewMale
A18-49
y2yEps
The Anchors
1Family Guy1.35-2%61%60%1.38-30%6/17
2The Simpsons1.33-10%55%60%1.24-20%7/19
3New Girl1.18-7%56%43%0.93-17%7/20

It was a really good winter for New Girl, and the degree to which it has "collapsed" in the spring is probably being overblown. It's something that has been happening with this show pretty much since it began. (Even its modest negative Heat is only there because the 9:00 episodes have such lower scores, which is an issue we'll try to address in the off-season. It's been quite consistent in the 8:00 episodes.) It would not surprise to see it get back on the fall schedule; it's particularly brutal for a show that skews this young to have to air so much of the season after Daylight Saving Time.



#
NameTrueHeatSkewMale
A18-49
y2yEps
The Second Tier
4Bob's Burgers1.10+13%58%57%1.02-20%5/15
5The Last Man on Earth1.04-15%54%56%1.03-28%6/16
6Brooklyn Nine-Nine0.93-20%56%54%0.88-29%8/23

Brooklyn Nine-Nine may be a young-skewing show, but it would be hard to call its audience loyal. It's basically a chameleon, looking quite good when it's part of a strong lineup (NFL-boosted Sundays) and doing nothing to transcend when it's in a bad lineup (Tuesdays). It's certainly proven to be of some value on Sundays, but that ship may have sailed for a veteran, un-owned show. Bob's Burgers and The Last Man on Earth have both proven to be decent bottom-of-the-hour options on Sunday, and the network may want to try something new as well.



#
NameTrueHeatSkewMale
A18-49
y2yEps
The Pity Party
7Grandfathered0.83-18%43%40%0.777/21
8Bordertown0.79-13%53%57%0.454/10
9Cooper Barrett's Guide0.71-9%56%57%0.524/10
10The Grinder0.64-19%44%44%0.597/21

Grandfathered vs. The Grinder is an even more pathetic version of the NBC comedy "bubble," where the network would certainly not be missing out if they axed the whole lot. But there's much schedule to be filled in a post-American Idol world. Some of the buzz has suggested Grinder may have the edge over Grandfathered due to studio ownership and critical love. Ratings-wise, I think Grandfathered is the stronger (or, "less weak") of the two, and True says by a surprisingly wide margin since 8:30 is lower-viewed and more competitive than 9:30. But I hate to spend too much time arguing for Grandfathered because its numbers aren't really worth defending either.

They skew pretty old for Fox comedies, so I don't see them as great candidates for a huge boost on Sunday. But either way, if you're actually planning on keeping one of these shows around till syndication for the studio's sake, it's gonna be one long slog...



Drama

#
NameTrueHeatSkewMale
A18-49
y2yEps
The Elites
1Empire3.810%49%36%4.08-11%5/15
2The X-Files2.08-14%42%52%2.25
2/6

Fox ruled out Empire as a post-Super Bowl occupant because it didn't fit their "scheduling flow." In other words, it wouldn't be airing episodes at that time in early February, which probably suggests that it'll be used almost exactly as it was used this year.

The X-Files' major success this winter should make Fox push a little harder, but its return status and return date seem to be at the mercy of Duchovny and Anderson.



#
NameTrueHeatSkewMale
A18-49
y2yEps
The Second Tier
3Gotham1.38-6%44%57%1.29-37%7/19
4Rosewood1.36-7%36%37%1.17
6/18
5Lucifer1.18-3%41%49%1.22
5/13
6Bones1.09-13%26%37%0.90-21%5/13

I kinda think of Rosewood the same way I do Blindspot on NBC: not necessarily a "bad" renewal (especially since the bubble on Fox is so low), but it's getting a downgraded situation next year and just praying to hold up as respectable filler. It goes up a lot when Empire is around, and therefore is the textbook case for adding a lead-out component to the True formula. That will almost certainly be happening next year.

My first pass at this was to do basically the same adjustment as I do for lead-ins, but only weigh the lead-out effect half as much as the lead-in effect. That's kind of a shot in the dark, but I don't think it's too far off of what the adjustment will actually be. When I did that, the True averages for Rosewood and Lucifer were virtually even, though Lucifer pulled significantly ahead at the very end with those 1.3's in the last two weeks. Even that seems like too generous of a read on Rosewood. However, I would point out that after being dismissed as DOA when it returned with a 0.9 in early March, the show held up well in the late March episodes when DST hit (even upticking to 1.0 the week before Empire returned). Applying my guesstimate lead-out effect, it really makes the early March points look like the outliers, and pretty much smooths out the post-DST eps with the ones that air alongside Empire. The short version of all this: I don't think it's quite as weak as it looked when it returned in early March. But it's obviously not as strong as the average listed above either.

As for Lucifer, I was a bit less certain before those last couple 1.3's, but now I say it's probably earned a fall return to Monday at 9/8c. It's tempting to say that Gotham and Lucifer make a good pair, but it may be more that they're two respectable performers that happen to be on the same night. Lucifer actually gets far bigger DVR bumps than its Gotham lead-in, often pulling ahead in Live+7. And it seems like Lucifer is a good bit more female-skewing; it might have been interesting to see it lead out of something like House or an in-its-prime Bones, but Fox doesn't really have those kinds of shows anymore. It also might have been interesting to see it get a few more weeks without Scorpion competition during May sweeps, but alas.



#
NameTrueHeatSkewMale
A18-49
y2yEps
The Pity Party
7Sleepy Hollow1.04+6%34%44%0.72-47%6/18
8Scream Queens0.85-19%50%38%0.884/11

Hey, if we're talking about a world in which Grandfathered or The Grinder will get renewed, then maybe Scream Queens doesn't look so bad anymore...!

And if we're talking about a world in which Scream Queens AND one of the Tuesday freshman comedies gets renewed, then Sleepy Hollow's 0.7's on spring Fridays don't look bad at all. But I really have to wonder if it's worth going forward on this show without Nicole Beharie. Maybe I'm putting my artistic hat on too much here, and a cast change won't move the needle that much on something that is gonna be low-rated either way. But she was easily the best thing about the show, and I'd want to be blown away by a season four pitch if I was really gonna renew it.



#
NameTrueHeatSkewMale
A18-49
y2yEps
The Dunzo
9Second Chance0.74-2%34%46%0.50
4/11
10Houdini and Doyle0.68
35%
0.70
1/1
11Minority Report0.48-11%43%52%0.62
4/10



Reality

#
NameTrueHeatSkewMale
A18-49
y2yEps
1American Idol Wed2.12-6%32%39%2.10-16%3/9
2American Idol Thu2.11+2%30%37%2.06-4%5/14
3MasterChef Junior1.46+14%38%39%1.40-26%4/11
4Hell's Kitchen1.25+7%40%41%0.93-8%6/16
5American Grit0.94+10%42%51%0.70
1/3
6World's Funniest0.750%41%44%0.60-27%3/8

You could throw World's Funniest in which the likes of Beyond the Tank and Hollywood Game Night as pieces of emergency filler that bombed... except World's Funniest wasn't actually an emergency. It had a really good-for-Friday lead-in from MasterChef Junior and just plain should've done better. So I'm less sold on its future prospects compared with the other two.

May be worth keeping an eye on American Grit as the competition clears out in the early summer weeks. The raw numbers are not good right now, but the formula likes it because it's turned out to be pretty darn incompatible with Bones, bringing a much younger/maler audience than one of Fox's oldest/femalest shows. Doesn't look like it'll get the chance, but it might have had more of a pulse leading out of a Gordon Ramsay show or something.

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