Monday, February 6, 2017

Best Case/Worst Case: 24: Legacy, APB

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

24: Legacy
Mondays at 8:00 on Fox

Lead-in: local programming

This Year's Timeslot Occupants:
Gotham (1.14 A18-49)

In a Nutshell: Last night, 24: Legacy became the first series premiere to follow the Super Bowl since Undercover Boss in 2010. Tonight, the 24 revival begins the hard work of trying to reinvigorate a struggling Fox, leading off in an all-new Monday lineup. Legacy is actually the second revival of Fox's 2000s staple 24, following the short summer series Live Another Day in 2014. That series didn't have Super Bowl exposure like Legacy... but it did have Kiefer Sutherland, who will not return this time.

Best Case: Live Another Day was treated surprisingly like an afterthought, with a May premiere. Legacy will have no such issues, with a premiere after an epic football game and a start date three months earlier on the calendar. The appeal of 24 was always in the ticking clock and the split screens, and Corey Hawkins proves a very capable successor to Sutherland. And 24 has had another few years to marinate on streaming services since Live Another Day aired, so its fanbase may be bigger now. It starts well into megahit territory and holds up at least as well as The X-Files did last year. 2.60.

Worst Case: Before Live Another Day's premiere, I made the point that 24 was never really that big in the Nielsens, and it turned out to be more prescient than I was giving it credit for. There's just not megahit-level interest in this concept, even a day after the Super Bowl. Legacy starts shy of where Live Another Day did in Plus (which would be a 1.7ish in today's terms), and without Kiefer, it falls even harder post-premiere. 0.94, and a one-and-done.

Likeliest: Even the series high for Sutherland-era 24 would only be like a 2.1 today. The Super Bowl halo could get tonight's premiere past that, but I don't think it'll be far from that number in either direction. And for a franchise that's never had a big hit season, gravity is going to set in pretty quickly. I thought the premiere was a fairly solid re-creation of 24, so I don't think it'll venture into legitimate flop territory. But I just don't see it suddenly becoming a long-term hit again. It averages a 1.44 (not counting the Sunday airing), which happens to be right in line with the Plus average of the nine 24 seasons. But it is very front-loaded and ends up being at Gotham/Lucifer levels late in the season. Probably good enough for another season, but not a game-changer.

Mondays at 9:00 on Fox

Lead-in: 24: Legacy

This Year's Timeslot Occupants:
Lucifer (1.08 A18-49)

In a Nutshell: A Silicon Valley billionaire bringing futuristic tech to the world of medicine didn't work on this fall's Pure Genius. But Fox is undeterred, and will take the same basic concept to the Chicago police in APB. It leads out of 24: Legacy starting tonight.

Best Case: Lucifer didn't seem to have that much going for it at this time last year, but it was able to ride its huge lead-in to a big opener, and eventually settle with a very acceptable audience. The story will be the same for APB, and this is much more fertile territory for a Fox drama launch now that CBS has moved Scorpion out of the way. Advanced crime-fightin' is more exciting than advanced medicine anyway. Well into the twos tonight and a final average of 1.65.

Worst Case: Fox has been trying to get futuristic crime dramas to stick with the likes of Almost Human and Minority Report, and it's not clear why this one would work where those other, better shows failed. It's also in the increasingly rare position of having a replacement at the ready; Fox may prefer to bring back the benched Lucifer early rather than play out the string with this megabomb. It may not even break a 1 tonight and quickly ventures into Minority Report territory, but Fox inexplicably airs the whole order and is rewarded with a 0.59.

Likeliest: I'm calling failure for this one based on the terrible title alone; it's not appealing and gives no real sense of what the show is about. (Apparently it's the name of the app that people use to report crimes...) And it's rather surprising what a non-factor the show has been on social media. I think it avoids being totally DOA tonight just because of the lead-in and the lack of drama competition. But it's fractional by week three, and not renewed for a second season. It's much more front-loaded but it actually ends up with exactly the same average as Pure Genius: 0.87.

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