The Bridge: How Will It Do?

FX is hoping to find its next critically acclaimed series that is also able to attract a large audience.  Can The Bridge live up to the challenge?

The following information regarding The Bridge is for the premiere only.  My prediction for how the series will premiere, among total viewers and in the 18-49 demographic, is after the information presented below.

Timeslot: Wednesdays at 10/9c (airs until 1130)
New Competition: Blood and Oil (Discovery), Camp (NBC), The Challenge: Rivals II (MTV), Couples Therapy (VH1), The Exes (TV Land), Futurama (Comedy Central), Hot in Cleveland (TV Land), I’m Having Their Baby (Oxygen), Paranormal Witness (Syfy), The Soul Man (TV Land), The Soup (E!), Top Shot All Stars (History)
Analysis: Up until I did some research for this post, I had no idea the Wednesday 10 o’clock timeslot was filled with this much competition!  The only broadcast series is the series premiere of NBC’s Camp, and with no previous ratings to go by for the series, it could be easy for competition for The Bridge.  On the cable side of things, nothing stands out all that much, with Futurama most likely the highest rated series.

Lead In: True Grit (movie)
Analysis: This is the first series in the ‘How Will It Do?’ feature not to have an original episode as a lead in.  Instead, FX will be going with an old reliable friend: a movie from its large collection.  Movies, especially ones that performed well at the box office and among critics (such as True Grit), provide a large enough lead in for an original series.  When The Americans premiered, a movie (sorry, I do not have the title) put up 1.93 million viewers and 0.8 A18-49.  The movie to debut in front of American Horror Story: Aslyum (once again, I do no have the title) performed with a similar 1.75 million viewers and 0.8 A18-49.

Recent Timeslot Occupants: The Americans and American Horror Story
The Americans
Premiere (January 30th) – 3.22 million, 1.3 A18-49
Finale (May 1st) – 1.74 million, 0.6 A18-49

American Horror Story: Asylum
Premiere (October 17th) – 3.85 million, 2.2 A18-49
Finale (January 23rd) – 2.29 million, 1.3 A18-49

Analysis: The Americans was the most recent series premiere in the Wednesday 10/9c timeslot, where FX has been placing their newest dramas as of late.  The Americans got a huge promotional push from the network; similar to what The Bridge is receiving this time around.  The onslaught of promotions worked and the series debuted quite big.  After the premiere, viewers quickly fled, causing the show to lose half of its audience.  Despite the drop, the premiere was big, and that is all that matters in this feature.

American Horror Story: Asylum is more of a unique case as it was the second season of the series.  It debuted in the time frame before The Americans and put up some of the largest numbers FX had ever seen.  Like The Americans, it quickly shed half of its audience by the time the finale rolled around.

With these two series, its a case of big premiere and audience erosion thereafter.  If the same were to happen for The Bridge, I do not think FX would be all too disappointed, as both series were given renewals for an additional season.  The Bridge will, however, have to debut in line with The Americans (maybe a tad lower, since its airing in the summer) in order to not be dubbed a failure, at least in my opinion.

What does all of this mean?
How will The Bridge do?
The Bridge is a police drama, which typically perform well.  The FX series adds a bit of a twist by throwing in the serial element, as well as the fact the series focuses on one detective from the United States and another from Mexico.  The series was one of six upcoming summer and fall series to be named the Most Exciting New Series in the Critics’ Choice Television Awards (for the entire list, head to their official website).  With all of the information above, I believe The Bridge will premiere to 3.10 million viewers and 1.2 A18-49.  There is no evidence the series will do worse than previous FX series premieres (nothing as bad as Terriers a few years back), so I think my prediction is very reasonable, even if it is airing in the summer.

How do you think The Bridge will premiere?  Sound off below!

Next show to be featured: Camp (post coming Monday 7/8/13)

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