Monday, April 1, 2019

Renewology Week 27: What Does The Resident's Renewal Say About New Fox?

Here's a look at the big Renewology developments in week 27.


Not a lot to say on this one; unlike last week's The Fix and The Village, Abby's actually went below the target line on series premiere night. If it can stay at 0.5, you can at least make the argument that a 9:30 0.5 is better than A.P. Bio's 8:30 0.5. NBC took forever to decide on Champions, a show that settled at freakin' point-four last year. But even if Abby's can settle at 0.5, I think it should still be a renewal underdog.

Last Man Standing88%
The Resident62%0.920.890.841826%38%
The Passage38%0.800.790.841031%43%
The Orville33%0.790.780.841131%59%
The Cool Kids29%0.790.790.881825%45%
Lethal Weapon22%0.730.720.841530%49%

Fox gave us a lot of insight into what the renewal bar is for "New Fox" by renewing The Resident, a show that should be a lock on a "normal" network but was more uncertain on a network that is largely disavowing scripted programming. The other test in that tier will be Star, which is temporarily in the dark green territory but will probably be back into light green once its fall finale and spring premiere are out of the rolling average.

It's too early to grade how I did on pegging what Fox's level of harshness would be before the season, but this makes it look fairly unlikely we will end up in the scenario I feared most: that they were way harsher than the model expected. To get there now would probably require a cancellation for Empire and/or Last Man Standing. Not impossible (Empire has had a shockingly rough spring), but it still seems doubtful for now. If they axe Star plus everything in the light red tier, that's definitely harsher than expected, but not a horrible miss. If they renew Empire, Last Man and one or two others, that's pretty much exactly as expected.

It's also still possible they could be more generous than expected, renewing multiple of the shows that R% has in light red territory. If that happens, the takeaway would be that for all the fuss about new Fox, they ended up acting pretty much like a "normal" network after all. (On a "normal" network, these light red shows would be on the bubble or better.) All the shows in the light red tier (plus Star) have somewhat unique arguments to make:

Star: Is there any way you're going to put a new drama after Empire and get a better result than this? Maybe there's something huge brewing in development, but it'd be tough to pull off.

The Passage: Like Star, its argument was just basically that it was doing well in the raw ratings. For most of its run, it was looking not that different from The Resident, and could be considered a bubble show even on an overly harsh network (and thus a healthy favorite on a "regular" network). But a big drop on its two-hour finale night poked a big hole in that argument.

The Orville: When it hit 0.8 for both halves of its two-parter in late February, I was starting to believe this would be the show to come out of this group. Those numbers were hard to deny. But the 0.6's since then are a lot easier to deny. Now its case really comes down to very solid DVR ratings and an extreme male skew. The demographic makeup could put it at home among the animated comedies and sports that will survive on new Fox.

The Cool Kids: This is the Last Man Standing version of the Star/Empire argument. LMS has to have some companion, and could a replacement really do better? I felt a little better about that argument back in the late fall and early winter than I do now. 0.7's after a 1.0 LMS doesn't exactly scream irreplaceable.

Lethal Weapon: One of the LW advocates can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the argument for this show is basically that it's a "bird in the hand" in terms of studio negotiations; since it was already from an outside studio, that relationship won't really change in the Disney deal, so there will be less turmoil than what the Fox-owned shows are going through. Interesting argument, and it tried to make a ratings case with a 0.8 in its penultimate episode, but looking at the delayed numbers I'm just skeptical that this ratings performance is worth saving (especially since it's still declining rapidly y2y).

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