Monday, January 14, 2019

Renewology Week 16: Schooled, Fam, Brooklyn Nine-Nine Are Early Renewal Favorites

Here's a look at the big Renewology developments in week 16. Let's talk about some solid comedy premieres!

Single Parents69%0.740.720.661134%39%
Fresh Off the Boat63%0.700.700.661026%42%
The Kids Are Alright57%0.700.680.66927%38%
Splitting Up Together52%0.660.660.66931%34%

Schooled had a nice start, matching its The Goldbergs lead-in and Modern Family lead-out. So is it being a little harsh to put it not that far R% from all these other mediocre-rated shows? It was particularly striking to see it at 72% on the same night that Single Parents was 69%, when the gap between the two ratings-wise was so enormous on that night.

Not that I'm breaking any new ground here, but the reason Renewology exercises caution is because Schooled was a series premiere. It's not just that series premieres are expected to drop a lot; even if it hits the mean projection (in the Proj column), it will be a clearly stronger show than any of these other five. But there's also a wide uncertainty around that mean projection, especially with a new show that has aired one episode vs. all the others with nine or more aired. Much of the 28% involves the possibility that Schooled drops more than the mean projection, and becomes as weak (or weaker) than some of these other shows. Don't forget that Single Parents also premiered with a 1.3 once upon a time.


The other comedy series premiere of the week, Fam, invited its own direct comparison with a comedy premiere from the fall on the same night: Murphy Brown. Fam did roughly a full tenth better than the Murphy premiere in the un-rounded numbers. The gap was a little smaller in True, but still enough to make it a short favorite where Murphy Brown was a short underdog.

Though it has a bit more cushion to start with, chances are Fam will also have to hold up a little better post-premiere than Murphy ultimately did. If it underachieves the premiere night Proj by 0.06, which is basically what Murphy did, that would put it just below the 0.76 target.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine74%1.070.780.64144%46%

This is a similar situation to Schooled. What Brooklyn did on premiere night is something NBC would never cancel. Even if it drops to the Proj level in the end, it would be like a 90% renewal. But it gets only a 74% because of the chance it could go way below the Proj.

If you were around right when I updated the table, you might have seen about a two-minute period when Brooklyn was listed at 94%, before it magically reverted to 74%. The reason for this is that with returning shows that have been revived and/or switched networks, I make a manual correction that treats them like new shows rather than returnees, in terms of how much they are expected to drop. And I hadn't added that correction for B99 yet.

The idea is that a revival/rescue is being lifted up by new show-esque levels of promotion and hype. If anything, even treating them like new shows hasn't gone far enough; Roseanne, Last Man Standing and Murphy Brown have all underachieved their premiere night projections, even treating them like new shows. (I hadn't started doing this yet in fall 2017 with Will and Grace, but that one would be an even more egregious post-premiere drop than the other three.) I would take the over on 74%, because I'm pretty sure NBC will not want the embarrassment of rescuing Brooklyn and then axing it after one season. But just keep in mind it doesn't have to drop that much more than a typical new show before it starts looking kinda weak.

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