There are four new series debuting in late March, with every major broadcast network (excluding ABC) debuting a new series.
Here is the scale that will be used (numbers are % chance of becoming a success):
Very Poor (19-0) – A terrible performer, cancellation inevitable
Timeslot: Wednesdays at 9/8c
Lead in: Arrow
Competition: American Idol, Criminal Minds, Law and Order: SVU, Modern Family, and Mixology
Analysis: If any midseason show has a chance of making it to a second season, it is The 100. Reviews have been pretty positive, with both Maureen Ryan (Huff Post) and The Washington Post giving the pilot a thumbs up. In addition, The 100 has been given the lead in of Arrow, one of the CW’s highest rated series. The Tomorrow People was unable to stay afloat in the hour, but if anything, The 100 is much more compatible with Arrow than The Tomorrow People. Competition is certainly not light in the hour, but I think the show can carve out its own audience. If The 100 can do at least an 0.5 or 0.6 A18-49 demo, and I think it will be able to, it is a done deal on a second season.
Chance of Success: Very Likely
Timeslot: Sundays at 8/7c
Lead in: Dateline NBC
Competition: The Amazing Race, Family Guy, The Simpsons, and Once Upon a Time
Analysis: American’s love home renovation shows (just see Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Trading Spaces, or HGTV). American Dream Builders is a twist on those shows, in that two architects renovate a clients house, and two judges pick which one is better, based off what the homeowner wanted. It is a pretty cool concept, but I do not see it working. Sunday nights are already hard to get the foot in the door with, especially with a “feel good” reality series. Had this aired in the summer, and with some lead in support (America’s Got Talent) I would say it could do okay. We saw how both Believe and Crisis performed on the night and they had a much larger promotional push. On such a busy night (one that NBC has had trouble with post-NFL), and with a weak lead in, I do not see American Dream Builders doing all well.
Chance of Success: Very poor
Timeslot: Mondays at 830/730c
Lead in: How I Met Your Mother (premiere only) / 2 Broke Girls (effective 4/7)
Competition: Bones, Dancing with the Stars, Star-Crossed, The Voice
Analysis: CBS has promoted Friends with Better Lives non-stop since they announced its premiere date a few months back. In addition, CBS is giving it the best lead in possible not named The Big Bang Theory: the series finale of How I Met Your Mother. Those two factors are working in favor of Friends with Better Lives, but there are a number of factors working against it as well. Perhaps the most noticeable is the loss of lead-in after How I Met Your Mother finishes its run. We saw how 2 Broke Girls did in the 9 o’clock lead off spot, so a similar result, if not worse, should be expected at 8 o’clock. Then there is a little thing I like to call the CBS midseason comedy curse, referring to the trouble the network has had launching a new comedy after the fall season. The last time CBS renewed a midseason comedy was way back in 2007, when Rules of Engagement debuted. On that fact alone, I feel obligated to call this a cancellation, but then again, I do not remember the last time CBS pushed a mid-season comedy this much. In the end, I think Friends with Better Lives will have a pretty big debut, fall hard in week two (especially having to air at odd times because of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship) and then eventually level off.
Chance of Success: Okay
Timeslot: Thursdays at 930/730c
Lead in: American Idol (results show)
Competition: The Crazy Ones, Grey’s Anatomy, Hollywood Game Night, and Reign
Analysis: The post-American Idol timeslot has rarely helped a series flourish, with House probably the most successful of the many (many) attempts. That was when American Idol was huge; now it’s just a shell of its former self. American Idol has done okay airing in the 9 o’clock half-hour, with its most recent episode doing a 2.1 A18-49. The most recent series to air in the post-American Idol slot, Rake, was banished to Fridays after only a few episodes. History is working against Surviving Jack, which does not bode well for the new series. FOX is also notorious for low rated comedies, with season one of New Girl the closest thing they’ve had to a hit in years. Then again, being low-rated may not be the worst thing for Surviving Jack, especially if it hits in the young demos (similar to Brooklyn 99). There is, of course, the recognizable face of Chris Meloni, who starred on Law and Order: SVU for years, but as we have seen a number of times, that does not translate into success. The competition is fairly light in the hour, with nearly-decade-old Grey’s Anatomy its stiffest competition. In the end though, I do not see Surviving Jack becoming a success. FOX has renewed enough low-rated comedies, and they do not need another one dragging down their schedule.
Note: An earlier version incorrectly displayed Surviving Jack as airing at 830/730c, not at 930/830c. Corrections have been made. Thank you to commenter Liv for noticing the error.