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: Female Secretary of State tries to balance work and family.
Timeslot: Sundays at 8/7c
Lead in: 60 Minutes
Competition: Brooklyn Nine-Nine, NBC Sunday Night Football, Once Upon a Time, The 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)
Quick 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 Boy, Agents of SHIELD, Marry Me, The Mindy Project, New Girl, Supernatural
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)
Quick Premise: A group of geniuses help solve problems in the world.
Timeslot: Mondays at 9/8c
Lead in: Mom
Competition: Dancing with the Stars, Jane the Virgin, Sleepy Hollow, The 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)
Quick Premise: Detectives investigate stalking incidents in Los Angeles.
Timeslot: Wednesdays at 10/9c
Lead in: Criminal Minds
Competition: Chicago PD, Nashville
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)