Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Best Case/Worst Case: Doubt

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

Wednesdays at 10:00 on CBS

Lead-in: Criminal Minds (1.46 A18-49 110 A18-49+ this year)

This Year's Timeslot Occupants:
Code Black (0.97 A18-49, 73 A18-49+)

In a Nutshell: It's now been over seven years since Katherine Heigl's last appearance on Grey's Anatomy, and two years since her last TV comeback on NBC's State of Affairs. Tonight, she gives it another shot with the CBS legal drama Doubt, which will inherit the timeslot from Code Black.

Best Case: Compared to the rest of CBS' new drama class, which are all hovering around a 40 on Metacritic, this show's 60ish reviews are positively glowing. The old-school Grey's Anatomy fanbase may actually be up for this kind of drama, and they should like what they see since the creators are former Grey's writers. It's a surprisingly decent fit with Criminal Minds (which skews a bit younger/more female than most CBS procedurals) and brings a lot of its own audience to the timeslot, improbably making for a very close race with Chicago PD all season long. 1.40.

Worst Case: If the critics like it, that probably means it's outside of the CBS wheelhouse. And going outside of the CBS wheelhouse just doesn't work. Its Criminal Minds lead-in has really been struggling, even with Empire off the air. And Doubt will have another drama competitor with real audience overlap in a few weeks when Designated Survivor returns. It's an even bigger bomb than the Thursday 10/9c dramas, starting even below Code Black's usual 0.9 and quickly dipping into low-end Elementary territory. 0.57.

Likeliest: I'm giving this a try if only for the likable supporting cast (loved Dule Hill on Psych and Dreama Walker on Apartment 23). I don't think it's what the CBS crowd is looking for, but it won't go much worse than the Thursday bombs, because Criminal Minds will still work better as a lead-in for a new drama than a single-cam comedy like Life in Pieces. So it starts somewhere in the usual Code Black range and settles just below that range. That makes it a cancel. 0.83.

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