Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Best Case/Worst Case: Frequency, Arrow

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

Wednesdays at 9:00 on CW

Lead-in: Arrow (0.94 A18-49 64 A18-49+ last year)

Last Year's Timeslot Occupants:
Supernatural (0.71 A18-49, 49 A18-49+)

In a Nutshell: For the second straight night, the CW will give one of its big superhero drama lead-ins to a new drama. This time, it's the time travel drama Frequency, starring The Flash recurring player Peyton List.

Best Case: Unlike No Tomorrow, this is a premise that seems relatively compatible with the superhero shows, and its lead is a familiar face to the DC TV universe. It has a surprising premiere night build on its lead-in, like The 100 did, and ends up nearly matching Arrow on a regular basis. 0.77 and an easy renewal.

Worst Case: As great as the superhero empire has been for the CW, it has been a struggle to launch new brand names with those big lead-ins. This is one of the most competitive timeslots on TV, and most of the competition is other dramas. It ends up with just below the raw Plus of Peyton List's previous effort in this timeslot, The Tomorrow People, which is really bad considering Arrow is much stronger now. 0.36 and, on a network with lots of backups awaiting, doesn't make it to 2017.

Likeliest: If No Tomorrow can compete for a renewal with bad ratings because it's from the "right" studio, Frequency may be in exactly the opposite boat. I expect this show to get better raw numbers than No Tomorrow with a much smaller lead-in, but I also don't see it breaking out; the premise seems a little less grabby than something like The 100 was initially. It'll still go well behind Supernatural and the superhero shows, so it may get left out in the cold even with a not-awful performance. Perhaps a bit less front-loaded, but it has about the same retention for the full season as The Tomorrow People did at a 0.49.

Arrow (0.94 A18-49, 64 A18-49+ last year): The superhero show that started it all has taken its ratings to another level since The Flash came on the scene two years ago. But the second half of last season suggested its growth may be nearing its end. I think it's still strong, but down just a touch in Plus in season five. Likeliest: 0.77.

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