Chances of New Series: April 2015

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

american odysseyQuick Premise: International military conspiracy centers around a stranded female solider.
Timeslot: Sundays at 10/9c
Lead in: A.D.: After the Bible
Competition: Battle CreekRevenge

Analysis: If you don’t recognize American Odyssey, it’s because NBC changed the title from Odyssey just a few weeks prior to its scheduled debut.  In either event, a title change won’t help this series breakout.  The ads for American Odyssey have been weak and the critics have been “meh” toward the series.  While I have no doubt lead in A.D.: After the Bible will attract a substantial audience (at least for its premiere), American Odyssey will ultimately struggle.  Winning its timelsot will not be difficult, but if it wins with a 1.0, it is still only a 1.0.
Prediction: 
WEAK (2)

the messengersQuick Premise: A group of strangers are responsible for preventing an impending apocalypse.
Timeslot: Fridays at 9/8c
Lead in: Whose Line is it Anyway?
Competition: Dateline NBCHawaii Five-0, and Shark Tank

Analysis: The CW has been quite lucky with its new series this season:  The Flash debuted huge, Jane the Virgin received critical acclaim, and iZombie has been solid through three weeks.  The Messengers, on the other hand, will struggle from the start.  Airing on Friday nights will be of no help for The Messengers even with Whose Line is it Anyway? as a lead in.  The entire concept is boring and maybe even slightly odd.  I do not think there is any audience asking for this kind of series and The CW’s late start spells doom.
Prediction: BOMB (1)

Chances of New Series: Late March 2015

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

one big happyQuick Premise: A man marries one woman, while his lesbian best friend is having his baby.
Timeslot: Tuesdays at 930/830c
Lead in: Undateable
Competition: Agents of SHIELD, iZombie, NCIS: New Orleans, and Weird Loners

Analysis: NBC is giving the multi-camera comedy genre another chance to succeed on their network.  From Ellen DeGeneres, NBC has been pushing One Big Happy for a couple of months now.  Unfortunately, most of the ads have been painfully unfunny.  One Big Happy may receive some help from The Voice airing 30 minutes prior, although most of the audience may flee during last summers low-rated Undateable.  Luckily, however, the competition in the hour is pretty weak as nothing else in the timeslot is similar to One Big Happy.  In the end, the weak lead in, as well as weak premise, will lead to the demise of yet another comedy on NBC.
Prediction: BOMB (1)

izombieQuick Premise: Based on the comic book, a medical student eats the brains of the dead to help solve their murder.
Timeslot: Tuesdays at 9/8c
Lead in: The Flash
Competition: Agents of SHIELDNCIS: New Orleans, New GirlOne Big HappyUndateable, and Weird Loners

Analysis: Hoping to cash in on the zombie craze, The CW brings us iZombie from Rob Thomas.  The network gave iZombie the best chance possible to succeed, placing it behind The Flash, one of the strongest new series of the season.  The premise is a bit odd, but I do believe there are enough people interested to give this a solid preview.  Like One Big Happy, there is nothing else on in the hour that will drain viewers from iZombie.  Once viewers settle in, I am predicting iZombie will be another The 100: nothing special, but a stable 0.5-0.6 performer.
Prediction: SOLID (3) – renewed for second season

weird lonersQuick Premise: Four single friends live in a townhouse together.
Timeslot: Tuesdays at 930/830c
Lead in: New Girl
Competition: Agents of SHIELD, iZombie, NCIS: New Orleans, and One Big Happy

Analysis: No other comedy will have a harder time launching than Weird Loners.  FOX is burying it behind low-rated New Girl, at the end of March, with a six episode order.  All of these strikes against Weird Loners make me very wary on the chances of success for the new comedy.  In addition, the premise is very outdated, and I have not seen many ads for the show.  Weird Loners feels like a major bomb.  It will be interesting to see if all six episodes even air.
Prediction: BOMB (1)

Chances of New Series: Early March 2015

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

american crimeQuick Premise: The first season of this anthology crime drama follows a racially charged murder and trial.
Timeslot: Thursdays at 10/9c
Lead in: Scandal
Competition: Allegiance and Elementary

Analysis: There is no better place on the ABC schedule for American Crime than airing behind Scandal.  A 2.8-3.2 lead in each week will do wonders for the show and give it ample support (at least for a premiere).  ABC is stressing the fact the series from John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) and stars Felicity Huffman and to an extent, Timothy Hutton.  Gracepoint, which debuted earlier this season, also featured a murder of a young boy and cancelled after its low-rated run.  That makes this a real toss-up in terms of how American Crime will perform.  There is no chance it touches the heights of How to Get Away with Murder, but I do not see a big bomb here either.
Prediction: SOLID (3) – but cancelled after one season

battle creekQuick Premise: A police detective and FBI agent work cases together in Michigan.
Timeslot: Sundays at 10/9c
Lead in: The Good Wife
Competition: Dateline NBCOdyssey (effective 4/1) and Revenge

Analysis: From David Shore (House) and Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad), CBS is hoping for a stronger Sunday night lineup with Battle Creek.  There certainly won’t be an immense amount of lead in support with The Good Wife, but its higher-income (and older) viewers will certainly be of help.  CBS viewers tend to reject the cookie-cutter cop shows, and CBS has been stressing this is not the average cop show.  It will be interesting to see if the average CBS viewer watches this series, or the average CBS Sunday night viewer tunes in.  In the end, airing on Sundays at 10 makes this feel like a burn-off.
Prediction: WEAK (2)

last man on earthQuick Premise: The last man on Earth searches for others.
Timeslot: Sundays at 930/830c
Lead in: Family Guy
Competition: AD: Before the Bible (effective 4/1), The Good WifeSecrets & Lies

Analysis: Reviews for The Last Man on Earth have been surprisingly positive, with a solid score of 77 on Metacritic.  The debut for the new single-camera comedy is one hour, following a new episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, before shifting to 930, following Family Guy, next week.  As of late, the Sunday night lineup on FOX has struggled, so it has me a bit concerned as to how well The Last Man on Earth can perform.  In addition, the entire premise of the entire series has me worried.  Can this really be sustainable as a weekly comedic series or is it better off as a movie?  I think The Last Man on Earth will be sampled, but long term success seems doubtful.
Prediction: WEAK (2)

csi cyberQuick Premise: The fourth series in the CSI franchise takes a look at cyber crimes.
Timeslot: Wednesdays at 10/9c
Lead in: Criminal Minds
Competition: Chicago P.D. and Nashville

 Analysis: Just a few weeks ago, CBS aired what could be the final episode of the CSI mothership, and now we get a new series in the franchise!  CSI: Cyber mixes up the basic CSI formula in that the cases begin on the internet and are then solved in the real world.  The built-in name should at least give CSI: Cyber an initial boost, but whether that boost is large enough remains to be seen.  The timeslot competition is certainly not difficult, although Chicago P.D. could take away some of the audience.  Stalker really struggled in this timeslot in the fall, so the bar for CSI: Cyber is not too high.  I think CSI: Cyber should do at least three to four tenths better and any timeslot improvement is a positive.  CSI: Cyber won’t be a huge hit, but it’ll be enough to come back for another season in the fall.
Prediction: SOLID (3) – renewed for second season

Chances of New Series: February 2015

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

allegianceQuick Premise: A rookie CIA analyst learns his family his part of a Russian spy group.
Timeslot: Thursdays at 10/9c
Lead in: The Blacklist
Competition: ElementaryHow to Get Away with Murder (until 2/26) / American Crime (beginning 3/5)

Analysis: NBC is hoping for big things with its BlacklistAllegiance Thursday night lineup.  Unfortunately, this feels like another misfire from NBC this season.  First off, are viewers of The Blacklist really going to stick around for another dark drama?  It’s almost as if something lighter is needed for the Allegiance lead in.  Secondly, The Blacklist as unproven as a tentpole hour, especially against the number one veteran drama on television in Scandal.  Will there be many viewers of The Blacklist to funnel interest into Allegiance?  Third, Allegiance will have to go up against the top 10 o’clock drama, How to Get Away with Murder for the first few weeks.  That in itself is tough to stand up against, but it may be possible.  Finally, Allegiance appears to be the broadcast version of The Americans (on FX).  With more standards to follow, will viewers really attach on to a water-downed version when they barely watch The Americans?  NBC certainly tried with its lineup here, but I think they will be in for a rough midseason.
Prediction: WEAK (2)

fresh off the boatQuick Premise: Set in the 1990s, a Taiwanese family moves to Orlando.
Timeslot: Tuesdays at 8/7c
Lead in: Local programming
Competition: The FlashHell’s KitchenNCISParks and Recreation (until 2/17), The Voice

Analysis: On the heels of the success of Black-ish, ABC is looking for lightning to strike twice with Fresh off the Boat.  Had the ABC Wednesday comedy block been weaker, there is no doubt Fresh off the Boat would have earned a spot on the night.  Luckily for ABC, the comedy block is gelling, so there is no reason to mess with it.  That mean Fresh off the Boat will have to try and survive for itself on Tuesdays.  Fresh off the Boat will, however, debut as part of the Wednesday night lineup, with one episode at 830 (following The Middle) and another at 930 (following Modern Family).  The timeslot previews should certainly help Fresh off the Boat get started, but once its on Tuesdays, it will be another story.  ABC has had a lot of trouble on Tuesdays, and I don’t see their fortunes changing with Fresh off the Boat.  The timeslot competition is all over the place with an older-skewing drama, reality, and comedy – probably enough to hurt the comedy.  Fresh off the Boat has some time to find an audience before The Voice returns, however, I think it will be too late for the newest ABC comedy at that point.
Prediction: WEAK (2)

the odd coupleQuick Premise: A remake of the 1970s series, where two opposite men become roommates.
Timeslot: Thursdays at 830/730c
Lead in: The Big Bang Theory
Competition: American Idol (until 3/19), Bones (beginning 3/26), Grey’s AnatomyThe SlapThe Vampire Diaries

Analysis: After the failures of Studio 60 on the Sunset StripMr. Sunshine, and Go On, Matthew Perry stars in his first multi-camera comedy since Friends ended in 2004 (eleven years ago!).  The Odd Couple, a remake of the popular 1970s television series, follows the number one comedy on television, The Big Bang Theory.  The lead in itself should be enough to get The Odd Couple off the ground.  Past post-Big Bang lead outs (Shit My Dad Says, How to Be a GentlemanRob!, and The Millers) all flamed out quickly, so to break the streak would mean a lot for CBS (and Matthew Perry).  Competition is fairly light, with American Idol and Grey’s Anatomy currently averaging low to mid 2.0 demos, giving The Odd Couple room to be successful in the timeslot.  Whether or not this new version of The Odd Couple is funny remains to be seen and is essential to success.  I really do not have much to go on here, and past history is telling me this is a bomb, but my gut is telling me otherwise.  I do believe CBS may have something special with The Odd Couple.
Prediction: SOLID (3)

Chances of New Series: January 2015

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

agent carterQuick Premise: A new series within the Marvel franchise.
Timeslot: Tuesdays at 9/8c
Lead in: Encore programming
Competition: About a BoyMarry MeThe Mindy Project, NCIS: New Orleans, New GirlSupernatural

Analysis: Agents of Shield certainly has not been a huge hit, but it has done solid numbers in its two season run.  In either event, I doubt Agent Carter will have as big of a debut as Agents of Shield, and in the long run, ratings will likely be a tick or two lower for Agent Carter.  ABC only order eight episodes, so Agent Carter doesn’t have much time to make a name for itself.  Still, it should be a positive run, prompting ABC to order another season.
Prediction: Solid (3)

backstromQuick Premise: A comedy-drama focusing on an odd detective (Rainn Wilson).
Timeslot: Thursdays at 9/8c
Lead in: American Idol
Competition: A to Z and Bad Judge (for two weeks), The Blacklist (starting 2/5), The McCarthys, ReignScandal (starting 1/29), Two and a Half Men

Analysis: It’s been a long run for Backstrom to make it to television.  CBS ordered a pilot in 2012, only to pass on it shortly after.  20th Century FOX shopped the series around, and it landed at FOX with a 13 episode order.  Two and a half years after shooting its first pilot, Backstrom is finally debuting.  Unfortunately for the series, it will air in the most competitive timeslot on television, against The BlacklistScandal, and the final five episodes of Two and a Half Men.  Trying to carve out its own audience against the stiff competition is not going to be easy.  Years ago, airing behind American Idol would have been enough to give Backstrom a boost, but not anymore.  If you recall, Rake debuted behind American Idol last season and struggled mightily.  Despite a promotional push, FOX does not have a hit on its hands here, just another Rake.
Prediction: Bomb (1)

empireQuick Premise: A powerful family owns a hip hop empire.
Timeslot: Wednesdays at 9/8c
Lead in: American Idol
Competition: The 100Black-ishCriminal MindsModern FamilyLaw and Order: SVU

Analysis: A lot seems to be riding on the latest music series from FOX, with it being given the lead in of American Idol and a huge promotional push.  Unfortunately, American Idol is no longer a beast and the promotions for Empire have been pretty awful.  I do, however, believe Empire will have a solid debut, just because of people will want to see what this show is all about.  The debut will be the only redeeming piece of ratings data for Empire, however, as people will quickly flee for other offerings in the hour.  Since FOX is having a miserable season, I’m sure all 13 episodes will air, although nothing past those initial episodes.  Sorry FOX, but you’re bad luck isn’t going to end with Empire, it’ll only continue.
Prediction: Weak (2)

galavantQuick Premise: A fairy-tale comedy following Galavant, a man set out to seek revenge on a King who stole his true love.
Timeslot: Sundays at 8/7c (back-to-back episodes)
Lead in: America’s Funniest Home Videos
Competition: Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Dateline NBC, Madam SecretaryThe Simpsons

Analysis: I have to give it to ABC, Galavant is probably the most original new offering of the season.  The way ABC is airing Galavant, however, makes me wonder how much faith they have in the series.  Back-to-back episodes for only a few weeks screams burn-off.  Once Upon a Time was able to flourish in the timeslot, so perhaps ABC is hoping to make magic strike twice.  Galavant may be able to carve out its own audience in the hour, simply because competition is so light (other than football-fueled Simpsons – at least for the debut episode).  Then again, could the series be way too quirky for the average viewer?  I think Galavant is an interesting series to watch ratings wise, and if it does well enough, ABC may order a series similar to it for next season.  The only problem?  I expect the series to fall flat, prompting ABC to cancel Galavant after its initial eight episodes.
Prediction: Bomb (1)