Thursday, January 26, 2017

Best Case/Worst Case: Riverdale, Scandal

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

Thursdays at 9:00 on CW

Lead-in: Supernatural (0.65 A18-49 this year)

This Year's Timeslot Occupants:
Supernatural (0.65 A18-49)

In a Nutshell: With a four-pack of superhero successes in hand, the CW now focuses its new show energies back toward the teenage melodrama space with Riverdale. The new drama imports the characters from Archie Comics but puts a very different spin on their world. One of the superhero empire's top architects, Greg Berlanti, is also on board with this one as an executive producer.

Best Case: It seems like the CW is going for the same kind of buzz here that Pretty Little Liars garnered for many years, as that show prepares to exit the stage. All indications are it's working; it's got many times the social media interest of failed fall efforts No Tomorrow and Frequency. It also has pretty strong reviews for this kind of show. After starting at a low-1 tonight, it ultimately settles as a Supergirl-esque performer, which is a simply massive win. 0.90.

Worst Case: Archie Comics is such a weird thing to be adapting for a millennial audience. Sure, there are some folks who remember it, but there are not enough of them in the CW orbit for any kind of nostalgia sampling on a broad level. While the CDub was smart not to put Riverdale at 8:00 (against Grey's Anatomy), even facing Scandal will really limit its ability to draw young female viewership. It barely retains half of its Supernatural lead-in on premiere night, and is ultimately in line with the flops from the fall at a 0.26.

Likeliest: Not quite saying this will get renewed "regardless of ratings," but let's just say the network is reeeeeeally gonna want to bring it back in light of how badly No Tomorrow and Frequency did in the fall. But I also think the ratings will easily be there to justify it. I'm doubtful that it can be a truly top-tier CW program (that is, superheroes/Supernatural) but I also doubt it'll be another Frequency. Pretty much anything in between those two extremes would not be too surprising. I'll go with a 0.6 or 0.7 tonight, and holds on reasonably well (settling a couple tenths behind the premiere) for a 0.49 average and an easy renew.

Scandal (2.05 A18-49, 141 A18-49+ last year): After sitting out the fall due to Kerry Washington's pregnancy, the ABC drama staple is finally back tonight (along with the actual TGIT brand name). The mostly-uninterrupted run is a reason to be optimistic, and there have been some strong early reviews. However, I can't help but wonder if this kind of show will ultimately seem kinda overshadowed by the craziness of the real-life political climate. I'll say it ekes out a 2 tonight but is quickly back to the mid-1's it was pulling late last season, and is in low-1's toward the end of the season. 1.48.

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