Predictions for New Dramas: CBS

Here is the NEW scale that will be used this season:
Breakout (5) – Strong out of the gate; one of the highest rated new series
Hit (4) – Ratings are high, but not one of the highest rated new series
Solid (3) – Neither strong nor weak, simply puts up average numbers
Weak (2) – Not a bomb, but puts up consistently low numbers
Bomb (1) – Fails to catch on; one of the lowest rated new series

Madam-Secretary-1-779x400Quick Premise: Female Secretary of State tries to balance work and family.
Timeslot: Sundays at 8/7c
Lead in: 60 Minutes
Competition: Brooklyn Nine-NineNBC Sunday Night Football, Once Upon a TimeThe Simpsons

Analysis: CBS knew when they ordered Madam Secretary that it would skew old.  Watching promos, nothing about it screams “hey 20 and 30 year olds, come watch me!”  CBS is going after the more affluent viewers with Madam Secretary.  It’s evident in the premise, as well as the scheduling between 60 Minutes and The Good Wife.  This is what makes a prediction for Madam Secretary so difficult.  How is CBS making an episode extension decision, or even one for a renewal?  Is it the same formula as The Good Wife?  Does the show simply have to hold onto the affluent viewers, and possibly pick up a few award nominations?  None of the competition is going to take away from Madam Secretary.  Those watching The Simpsons and Brooklyn Nine-Nine clearly aren’t viewers, neither are the families of Once Upon a Time, nor are the men watching NBC Sunday Night Football.  Many are predicting Madam Secretary is going to crash and burn, but I don’t see that happening.  If anything, Madam Secretary is the next The Good Wife.
Prediction: Solid (3)

NCIS-New-Orleans-1-779x400Quick Premise: The long-running NCIS franchise shifts to New Orleans in the latest take on the crime drama.
Timeslot: Tuesdays at 9/8c
Lead in: NCIS
Competition: About a BoyAgents of SHIELD, Marry MeThe Mindy ProjectNew GirlSupernatural

Analysis: CBS knows its audience.  Whether or not they want another NCIS remains to be seen, but it seems like a sure thing.  NCIS still averages 16-17 million viewers a week, with a solid 2.3-2.6 A18-49 demo.  NCIS: Los Angeles was able to hold onto an adequate amount of the NCIS audience, so if New Orleans can do the same, its safe.  It helps that Person of Interest airs at 10 o’clock, as it has a nice built in audience as well.  The competition likely won’t play much of a factor into the fate of NCIS: New Orleans, as every series airing against it is targeting a younger audience.  If NCIS: New Orleans has a successful first season, it’ll likely mean a nice syndication deal, and big pay day for CBS Television Studios.
Prediction: HIT (4)

Scorpion_(TV_Series)Quick Premise: A group of geniuses help solve problems in the world.
Timeslot: Mondays at 9/8c
Lead in: Mom
Competition: Dancing with the StarsJane the VirginSleepy HollowThe Voice

Analysis: For the first few weeks of the season, Scorpion will benefit from The Big Bang Theory airing at 8 o’clock.  How much of that audience continues to watch at 9 is a mystery, but it’ll certainly be something.  When The Big Bang Theory moves back to Thursdays, and 2 Broke Girls returns to the timeslot, things will probably get ugly for Scorpion.  It has a few weeks to try and take advantage of the higher rated 8 o’clock hour, and I’m not so sure it can.  The competition is rough too.  Dancing with the Stars has the viewer lead, and a large chunk of the older viewers.  The Voice, while down from previous seasons, is still a force with younger viewers.  Sleepy Hollow was able to find its own audience in the hour last season, and will no doubt rate higher than Scorpion.  When all is said and done, there isn’t much audience left for Scorpion.  Unlike last season, CBS has a built up stock of reserves, including two comedies to rebuild the Monday comedy block (whether they do that, I don’t know).  Scorpion has to sprint out of the gate and with a “meh” premise, and one that doesn’t really look like the average CBS drama, I don’t see that happening.
Prediction: WEAK (2)

Stalker_logoQuick Premise: Detectives investigate stalking incidents in Los Angeles.
Timeslot: Wednesdays at 10/9c
Lead in: Criminal Minds
Competition: Chicago PDNashville

Analysis: There may be no better pairing in television than Criminal Minds and Stalker.  In fact, I selected the duo as one of the best decisions of the 2014 upfronts.  The one hesitation I have with the pairing is if Criminal Minds viewers will watch Stalker.  After all, they (myself included) didn’t watch the short-lived spinoff, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, in the hour a few years back.  The premise is a bit different for CBS, as it shifts away from the usual homicide to stalking, but still keeps that CBS drama feel to it.  The competition in the hour is fairly light, with sophomore Chicago PD and low-rated Nashville.  It will be interesting to see if Chicago PD drops at all this season, or continues to put up modest numbers.  In either case, there is certainly room for Stalker in the hour.  If Stalker can at least hold 75-80% of Criminal Minds audience, and win the hour in the A18-49 demographic, I think its safe.
Prediction: SOLID (3)

Predictions for New Dramas: ABC

Here is the NEW scale that will be used this season:
Breakout (5) – Strong out of the gate; one of the highest rated new series
Hit (4) – Ratings are high, but not one of the highest rated new series
Solid (3) – Neither strong nor weak, simply puts up average numbers
Weak (2) – Not a bomb, but puts up consistently low numbers
Bomb (1) – Fails to catch on; one of the lowest rated new series

foreverQuick Premise: New York City Medical Examiner helps solve cases, while trying to solve his own mystery: how he can live forever.
Timeslot: Tuesdays at 10/9c
Lead in: Agents of SHIELD
Competition: Chicago FirePerson of Interest

Analysis: I typed it three times last season, and here it goes again: yet another new show in the Tuesday 10 o’lcock timeslot on ABC.  Since Boston Legal aired in the timeslot in the 2007-08 season, seven scripted series have aired in the timeslot, SEVEN (Eli StoneThe ForgottenDetroit 187Body of ProofLucky 7Killer Women, and Mind Games).  That instantly puts Forever at a disadvantage.  In the case of Forever, it does have a solid lead in with Agents of SHIELD.  Unfortunately, there is likely little to no crossover audience between the two shows.  And like a number of other shows this season, and previous seasons, Forever may be on the wrong network (ahem, CBS).  Forever, a crime drama, has to face off against two other crime dramas, both of which are already established, and well rated.  The audience is basically dried up for crime dramas in the timeslot.  All of that spells bad news for Forever, which will not live up to its name.
Prediction: BOMB (1)

how-to-get-awayQuick Premise: A criminal defense professor (Viola Davis) and her law students get entangled in a murder case.
Timeslot: Thursdays at 10/9c
Lead in: Scandal
Competition: ElementaryParenthood

Analysis: Shonda Rhimes is the Executive Producer of yet another ABC drama.  Unlike her other dramas; however, Shonda Rhimes will not be writing How to Get Away with Murder (the only other one she didn’t write was Off the Map, which was cancelled after one season).  Despite Shonda not writing, it seems rather unimaginable that ‘Murder‘ could fail.  The series has the lead in of one of televisions hottest dramas.  Even if it holds only ~60% of its Scandal lead in, that would put How to Get Away with Murder at about a 1.8 A18-49, easily enough to win its timeslot.  Elementary and Parenthood are both quite weak in the hour, so competition won’t be an issue for How to Get Away with Murder.  Some say fatigue could set in with three Shonda Rhimes dramas back to back to back, but I don’t see that happening.  Viewers weren’t fatigued with two, and given each show premise is different, I don’t really see the harm in adding a third (unlike three NCIS’ airing together).  Paul Lee, President of ABC, has already said How to Get Away with Murder will be a 15-16 episode season, so were basically looking forward to season two here.  Without a doubt, this should be the easiest call of the season.
Prediction: BREAKOUT (5)

Which Returning Comedies Will Return Next Season?

Right in line with last season, there are 15 comedies returning to the broadcast networks this season.  CBS has six of the returning comedies, ABC is close with four, FOX brings back three, and NBC rounds out the list with only two.  As of September 2014, two of those comedies, Parks and Recreation, and Two and a Half Men, have already been announced for final seasons, and one, The Big Bang Theory was renewed for three seasons back in January.  That means 12 comedies have their fates yet to be determined.

The list is sorted alphabetically, by network (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC), and then by series on the network.

goldbergsThe only comedy to return from ABC’s 13-14 slate is The Goldbergs.  The show did well enough for itself on Tuesdays to be upgraded to the Wednesday night comedy block, airing behind The Middle.  While never a great indicator of success, repeats in its new timeslot have been very positive for The Goldbergs, with the show going above a 1.0 A18-49 on a number of occasions.  It seems unlikely that The Goldbergs will suffer this season, especially since its airing between The Middle and Modern Family.
Chances of Returning: 95%  

Last_Man_Standing_intertitleNow heading into its fourth season, Last Man Standing find itself in a tough spot.  The show isn’t owned by ABC and ratings are slowly falling.  In fact, Last Man Standing was the final comedy to be renewed last season.  If ratings don’t perk up, or at least stay the same, ABC may be ready to call it quits.  Depending on how many episodes were ordered for this season, Last Man Standing will be around 80 episodes after its fourth season ends, enough for syndication.  Ultimately; however, ABC has a Friday night lineup that works, and I don’t see anything changing (at least yet).  The renewal decision will come down to the wire, but in the end, it should all work out.
Chances of Returning: 55%

LOGO_TheMIddle-onairIf any show has been under-rated these past few years, it would be The Middle.  The comedy has quietly put up solid results since the beginning, yet never receives the same acclaim as Modern Family.  With five seasons under its belt, and a sixth season underway, there seems to be nothing in the way of The Middle extending its run in the Wednesday 8 o’clock lead off spot.  Look for The Middle to be on the air for at least another two seasons.
Chances of Returning: 100%

Modern_FamilySometimes I wonder if doing a post for every returning broadcast series makes sense.  After all, does anyone really think Modern Family is going to end after this coming season?  Absolutely not.  The show is still a ratings hit (although down) and recently won its fifth consecutive Emmy for Outstanding Comedy.  Instead of taking bets on if Modern Family will, how about we bet if it will win its sixth straight Emmy next year?!
Chances of Returning: 99.9%

2_Broke_Girls_logoNext up: what I (and many others) consider to be one of the worst comedies on television, 2 Broke Girls!  Heading into its fourth season, 2 Broke Girls will wait on the bench to start, which will occur upon completion of NFL Thursday Night Football on CBS.  While not a hit, 2 Broke Girls has performed okay on Monday nights.  It hit a 2.0 A18-49 for its season finale in May, which is its low point.  However, many expected it to fall even further, so a 2.0 isn’t horrible.  CBS will likely wait for 2 Broke Girls to hit syndication (including TBS) and see if the show experiences any ratings lift.  Until then, 2 Broke Girls will remain an option for CBS.
Chances of Returning: 90%

Mike_&_Molly_intertitleUp to this point, most of the shows on the list seem like sure-fire renewals.  The biggest question mark I see (and again, only to this point) is Mike & Molly.  For the second consecutive season, Mike & Molly will start its season on the bench.  Unlike last season, its hard to imagine the comedy returning to the airwaves by early November.  Mike & Molly began its run on syndication this month, in both local markets, as well as FX.  It will be interesting to see if the show receives a bump when it returns to CBS later this season.  I’ve heard rumors the casts contracts are up at the end of this season, so that throws another question mark into the equation.  Mike & Molly will either (A) be cancelled at the end of the season, or (B) fill the role of Rules of Engagement (air wherever CBS needs it).  This is a tough call.
Chances of Returning: 51%

The_Millers_intertitleFor the second year in a row, The Millers will air in the post-Big Bang timeslot.  Given its from CBS Studios, CBS is unlikely to let The Millers go anytime soon – even if ratings fall.  CBS will continue to push The Millers until it is sold into syndication.  Its still at least two seasons away from syndication, but nothing points to CBS ending it anytime soon.
Chances of Returning: 99%

momThe other freshman comedy set to return on CBS this season is Mom.  CBS has a great working relationship with its creator, Chuck Lorre.  In addition, CBS is pushing Mom big time this season.  First, Mom is airing behind encores of The Big Bang Theory on TBS, leading up to its premiere on CBS.  Second, Mom will follow new episodes of The Big Bang Theory on CBS for the first few weeks of the season.  Airing behind the number one comedy on television will mean extra exposure (until 2 Broke Girls returns to the timeslot).  Mom didn’t have great numbers in its first season, but it held well throughout the season.  If those numbers were acceptable last season, I don’t see any argument as to why they wouldn’t be this season.  Oh, and it helps that Allison Janney won an Emmy for her work on Mom.
Chances of Returning: 100%

img-allshows-brooklyn-nine-nineOkay, my hatred for Andy Samberg and Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been known since the series was announced over a year ago.  I was bummed when it was renewed (one of the few times I root against a series), but I’ve gotten over it.  FOX loves Brooklyn Nine-Nine and nothing is likely to stop that outpouring of love.  Sure, viewership isn’t great, but the acclaim is pretty solid.  The series earned two unexpected Golden Globes, including for Best Comedy, and was nominated for an Emmy (Andre Braugher).  For its second season, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is on the move to Sundays at 830, following The Simpsons.  Despite running for 20+ years, The Simpsons is still very strong  and will given Brooklyn Nine-Nine ample support in the timeslot.  Unless Nine-Nine loses a large portion of its lead in, chances are good for it to return (good for fans, bummer for me).
Chances of Returning: 85%

The_Mindy_Project_intertitleThe Mindy Project has been low-rated since the beginning.  Why FOX continues to renew it baffles me (although apparently its due to the very young skew of the series).  Heading into its third season, the episode order for The Mindy Project has been reduced (to 15) .  Of course, it could always be increased, but why not do that out of the gate, especially for a veteran series?  FOX doesn’t own The Mindy Project, so they don’t have much incentive to keep it around.  If the ratings remain even year-to-year, I could see FOX renewing the comedy.   If there are any ratings drops; however, the low-rated Mindy Project will come to an end.
Chances of Returning: 49%

new girlWhen it debuted in September 2011, New Girl was the surprise hit of the season.  The comedy pulled in a massive 4.8 A18-49 demo, enough to be the highest rated show on the night.  When season three finished airing in May, New Girl had dropped a whopping 75% of its A18-49 audience – yikes!  Despite the ownership by 20th Century FOX, nothing says “keep New Girl on the air” – even its huge syndication deal on Netflix, TBS, and MTV.  I’ll probably be wrong with this prediction, but my gut continues to tell me New Girl is dunzo.
Chances of Returning: 10%

 

Predictions for New Comedies: NBC

Here is the NEW scale that will be used this season:
Breakout (5) – Strong out of the gate; one of the highest rated new series
Hit (4) – Ratings are high, but not one of the highest rated new series
Solid (3) – Neither strong nor weak, simply puts up average numbers
Weak (2) – Not a bomb, but puts up consistently low numbers
Bomb (1) – Fails to catch on; one of the lowest rated new series

a-to-zQuick Premise: Two polar-opposites are matched on an online dating website, and begin falling for each other.
Timeslot: Thursdays at 930/830c
Lead in: Bad Judge
Competition: GracepointReignScandal,
Thursday Night Football

Analysis: Hey, it’s that girl who played ‘The Mother’ on How I Met Your Mother!  Yes, other than that, not much else separates this sitcom from past romantic sitcoms on television.  The lead in, Bad Judge, is unproven and the competition is tough.  Scandal is one of the biggest series on television right now, and that will likely continue.  Given the huge draw of Scandal in the women demographics, it will take a lot of potential audience away from A to Z.  Thursday Night Football is unlikely to have any crossover with A to Z, but more females are watching football these days, so its possible more audience is drawn away.  There is simply too much working against A to Z for it to move forward.
Prediction: WEAK (2)

bad judgeQuick Premise: A partying judge tries to change her ways when she sends the parents of an 8 year old boy to prison.
Timeslot: Thursdays at 9/8c
Lead in: The Biggest Loser
Competition: GracepointReignScandal
Thursday Night Football

Analysis: The plot is pretty blah, but star Kate Walsh is a bit of a draw (at least to some viewers).  She actually has some pretty solid comedic chops, especially after spending a lot of television time on Grey’s Anatomy and spinoff Private Practice.  The Biggest Loser is a shell of its former self, yet still puts up 1.7-2.0 in the A18-49 demo.  Whether or not The Biggest Loser can perform that well remains to be seen; however, it’ll be a good lead in for Bad Judge.  Like A to Z, competition for Bad Judge is rough.  Scandal will drain a majority of the female audience, and males will be watching Thursday Night Football.
Prediction: WEAK (2)

marry meQuick Premise: After a number of marriage proposals gone wrong, a couple decides to wait on marriage.
Timeslot: Tuesdays at 9/8c
Lead in: The Voice
Competition: Agents of SHIELDNCIS: New Orleans, New GirlSupernatural

Analysis: Created by David Caspe, and starring Casey Wilson, Marry Me contains two pieces of ABC’s former comedy, Happy Endings (which, despite some love, was low-rated and not all that great).  Comparisons will likely be made between the two for at least the first few weeks of the television season.  Marry Me has a big advantage in The Voice.  No lead in on NBC is stronger than The Voice, so NBC has a lot of confidence in Marry Me to give it this launch pad.  The competition for Marry Me is fairly light.  New Girl is the biggest option for younger females in the timeslot, and its way (way) down from previous seasons.  Agents of SHIELD is targeted at males, and NCIS: New Orleans for older audiences.  Marry Me can, essentially, carve out its own audience in the half hour.  In any other timeslot, chances would be slim, but NBC programmed Marry Me in the perfect timeslot for success.
Prediction: SOLID (3)

* For what its worth, I would have ranked A to Z as “solid” if NBC placed it following Marry Me.

Coming Friday: Returning Comedies

Predictions for New Comedies: FOX

Here is the NEW scale that will be used this season:
Breakout (5) – Strong out of the gate; one of the highest rated new series
Hit (4) – Ratings are high, but not one of the highest rated new series
Solid (3) – Neither strong nor weak, simply puts up average numbers
Weak (2) – Not a bomb, but puts up consistently low numbers
Bomb (1) – Fails to catch on; one of the lowest rated new series

mulaneyQuick Premise: The focus is on a comedian living in New York City and his friends.
Timeslot: Sundays at 930/830c
Lead in: Family Guy
Competition: The Good WifeNBC Sunday Night FootballResurrection

Analysis: On paper, Mulaney sounded like a solid comedy…and then the trailer was released.  The jokes were forced, unfunny, and Seinfeld rip-off references were made online instantly.  I can get over the Seinfeld rip-offs, since basically every show on broadcast television is like a series before it.  Jokes are typically unfunny in a comedy pilot anyway too, so no big deal.  However, Mulaney just doesn’t scream FOX comedy, and being on the wrong network can be a major negative.  Had this been a CBS comedy, chances might be a bit higher.  Mulaney does benefit from a strong lead in with Family Guy, although the two series don’t really fit one another.  The last time FOX debuted a live action sitcom after Family Guy was in 2010 with Sons of Tuscon.  That series held onto only 60% of Family Guy‘s audience, and was quickly cancelled.  The same thing could happen here with Mulaney.  Finally, competition will be tough against NBC Sunday Night Football, although FOX gets some solid results thanks to NFL Overrun earlier in the night.  Mulaney won’t perform all that week, but it won’t bomb either.  Still, a low result seems expected.
Prediction: WEAK (2)

Coming tomorrow: NBC comedies

Note: Initially, CBS was supposed to be posted today.  However, they only have one new comedy this fall (The McCarthys) and it doesn’t premiere until October 30th.  For that reason, FOX was bumped up one day and the post for CBS will wait until October.  In addition, no post will be published on Thursday (as NBC is now tomorrow).  My predictions for the returning comedies will be posted on Friday, as originally planned.