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
Quick 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: Elementary, How to Get Away with Murder (until 2/26) / American Crime (beginning 3/5)
Analysis: NBC is hoping for big things with its Blacklist–Allegiance 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)
Quick Premise: Set in the 1990s, a Taiwanese family moves to Orlando.
Timeslot: Tuesdays at 8/7c
Lead in: Local programming
Competition: The Flash, Hell’s Kitchen, NCIS, Parks 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)
Quick 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 Anatomy, The Slap, The Vampire Diaries
Analysis: After the failures of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Mr. 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 Gentleman, Rob!, 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)