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Rating Analysis - Updated Predictions for Broadcast Shows + A Look at Winter Shows

Hey everyone.

It's been a while since we've done of these. With the Winter Olympics ahead of us and few broadcast shows daring to go with originals for the next could of weeks, I thought it was a good point to check on the status of our shows. I will start by briefly talking about all the midseason entries which I didn't get a chance to talk about back when I did this in December and then I will summarize the main changes in predictions since we've last spoken.

A Look at the Midseason Entries
Because I am doing this all at once and not network by network, I will just leave here the most recent averages for each category so that you can interpret the relative values for each show:
- CBS Comedy: 2.80
- CBS Drama: 1.90
- ABC Drama: 1.80
- ABC Comedy: 1.80
- FOX Drama: 1.80
- NBC Drama: 1.70
- FOX Comedy: 1.30
- NBC Comedy: 1.00
- CW Drama: 0.70

Tier 2:
- Chicago PD

Number of Episodes at the End of the Season: 16
Syndication: No
Production Company: NBC
Ratings Average: 1.70 (100%)
Chicago PD started out very well ratings wise, but I actually do not think the ratings for that episode were particularly telling, as the show was facing unusually weak competition and airing out of an usually high rated SVU. Its performance in subsequent weeks though, together with NBC's general softness in the drama department (there is a reasonable chance it finishes up the season as NBC's number #4 drama and two of the ahead are voice lead-outs), has been much more impressive. NBC's vote of confidence by giving it some additional episodes, which is rare for midseason shows, only shows that they are happy with its performance and that NBC is seriously invested in the Chicago franchise, which was evident last year at the upfronts when they moved Fire to the post Voice slot anyway. I think there is still some chance that PD's ratings collapse after the Olympics while other NBC bubble dramas hold their own, but I think that's an unlikely situation and 100% is a good place for a newbie show to be at. Chicago PD is a likely renewal for NBC! (and, so far, the only midseason success story we've had)

- Suburgatory
Number of Episodes at the End of the Season: 57
Syndication: No
Production Company: Not ABC
Ratings Average: 1.60 (90%)
Suburgatory returned to its original slot with ratings in line with what it was doing here at the end of last season. While I can certainly see the argument that it should be doing better in the slot sandwiched between The Middle and Modern Family, I think things could be far worse too. One thing that is important to note is that the 85% include just the 4 episodes aired, two of which are extremely deflated due to extraordinary circumstances (airing against the premiere of American Idol which saw all of ABC Wednesday hit lows and airing amidst repeats), which skews the whole average downwards. Still, even if we take the 90% as the actual average, I gotta think that's good enough for a third year comedy, even if it's on ABC, aka, the channel that has showed the most bias towards its owned shows, which Suburgatory is not. With ABC hurting so badly everywhere, I gotta think 90% will be good enough, even if it's just for the 8h30 Friday slot after Last Man Standing or for another midseason order to replace a failed comedy. I am saying likely renewal for now, on the hopes of not getting burned by ABC canning it because they don't own it.

Tier 3:
- Community
Number of Episodes at the End of the Season: 97
Syndication: Yes
Production Company: NBC (yes, and others, but NBC is also part of it unlike popular opinion)
Ratings Average: 1.10 (110% of NBC Comedies, 70% of NBC scripted shows)
Community has been pronounced dead multiple times before, yet here it is again fighting for its sixth season. To be honest, I do not think the show ever had such a hard battle as it has this year; certainly not last year in which I thought its renewal was fairly obvious with the 88 episodes threshold so close. This year, things are different. On the one hand, I am pretty sure NBC would rather have the low 1s from Community that at least give it additional syndication revenues (or a lower license fee, however you prefer to think about it), than to have the sub 1s that new comedies can give them (as seen this year). However, performing at 70% of NBC's overall average is still quite bad and if NBC decides to blow up the Thursday comedies and keep Parks as a back up, in theory they shouldn't need a second backup which would mean Community is a goner. It's really a tough nut to crack and it could go either way. My guess is that it will come down to syndication economies and how much an additional episode can bring them. I think the fact that they haven't quite reached the 100 episodes may help them, but again, it's too close to make a call right now - Community is a true bubble show!

- The Following
Number of Episodes at the End of the Season: 30
Syndication: No
Production Company: Not FOX
Ratings Average: 2.00 (110%)
The Following is probably one of the biggest disappointments of the seasons ratings wise, considering that we are talking about last year's regular season highest rated new show and one of the overall highest rated dramas. However, as I've said back in the fall when I analyzed Agents of Shield, I think it's important to separate what are expectations and what is necessary to survive. While The Following is certainly disappointing, what it is doing now is certainly still more than good enough for survival. The show is performing at 110% of FOX's drama average and 125% of FOX's overall scripted average and I would think that there is a decent chance the show ends up the year as FOX's third overall show (behind American Idol and Sleepy Hollow). Remember: relative ratings are all that matter, not the absolute numbers. However, I am still having the show placed on the third tier, destined for bubble shows. Why? Well, because we've only seen the rating for two regularly scheduled episodes and they have yet to face the biggest competition in the slot. If The Following stops falling now or doesn't fall much more, I am certain it will be renewed. Yet, if the show continues do deteriorate when facing the Olympics and, later on, The Voice, then things could look bleak to the show. This is really one of those cases in which I am confident that I will have a prediction by season's end, it's just a matter of me wanting to see more data points (unlike say, Community, in which I doubt more data points will be all that helpful). Until then, I am declaring The Following a bubble show!

Tier 4:
- Enlisted
Number of Episodes at the End of the Season: 13
Syndication: No
Production Company: FOX
Ratings Average: 1.00 (75% of FOX comedy average, 65% of FOX overall scripted average)
Much has been said about how horribly FOX has scheduled Enlisted. I don't have much more to add to that story and I think it's really puzzling that a network that is bleeding so much in so many places decided to sacrifice such a well reviewed show that they produced like this. However, regardless of what could have been, reality is that Enlisted is performing awfully on Fridays, no matter how we spin it. Perhaps the only question is why haven't I moved the show to certain cancellation then? Well, that's just because I think there is a chance, albeit very very small, that FOX tries something else with the show, particularly now with Rake collapsing on Thursdays (an American Idol/Surviving Jack/Enlisted maybe?). However, as said, I think chances of that happening are very small, the show is very much likely to be cancelled!

Tier 5:
- Rake
Number of Episodes at the End of the Season: 13
Syndication: No
Production Company: Not FOX
Ratings Average: 1.20 (65%)
Rake performed very poorly out of the gate, even on a night in which it had basically no serious competition from any network, and things have only gotten worse since then. This is one of those cases in which everything was done right, by the book by FOX. Airing it on a slot with little competition? Check. Lots of promotion? Check. Airing it after a high rated lead-in? Check. Why didn't it work? The audiences simply weren't interested in sampling the show and, from those who did, a big portion didn't even come back. It's unfortunate for FOX, but it does happen. Nothing else to add here, the show is certain to be cancelled and the only question is whether or not it gets to air all 13 episodes.

- Intelligence
Number of Episodes at the End of the Season: 13
Syndication: No
Production Company: CBS
Ratings Average: 1.50 (80%)
Intelligence opened up pretty decently (albeit non spectacularly) in its Tuesday special preview but it quickly hit an awful 1.2 the following week on its regular Monday timeslot. Even though things have improved a bit in the last couple of weeks (probably because Mom has been higher rated and because it competition has eased down, with either Castle or The Blacklist sitting out the night), the results are still pretty dire. There is no way CBS keeps a first year drama that is being beaten by all the Friday and Sunday shows. Therefore, even if the show were to stay at this 80% level, which would be hard to do when the competition comes back in full force, the show would still be certain to be cancelled!

- Killer Women
Number of Episodes at the End of the Season: 8
Syndication: No
Production Company: ABC
Ratings Average: 0.70 (40%)
Apart from the quickly pulled The Assets, no other midseason show has done as horribly as Killer Women, which is performing at a miserable 30% of ABC's drama average. To be fair, the show was thrown to a horrible situation from the beggining (10pm slot, horribly rated and incompatible lead-in, serious competition from both CBS and NBC), but none of that matters when the level is this low. ABC has already reduced the number of episodes it will air, so some claim that the show has already been cancelled. I think it's a matter of semantics but, regardless, the show is certain to be cancelled!

Changes since December

As the season progresses and we get more data points as well as information about the performance of more midseason shows, the situations of most shows get more clear and, as such, I am able to adjust my predictions. These changes include moving shows that were once "To be determined" to Tier 2 (likely renewal) or Tier 4 (likely cancellation), as well as upgrading or downgrading shows from likely to certain (from Tier 4 to Tier 5 and from Tier 2 to Tier 1). Here are some highlights:
  • Grey's Anatomy was previously on the Tier 2 out of conservatism since there was a tiny possibility that costs were too large to bring back the show. However, not only have the show's relative ratings improved since then, but most importantly, the shows' main pair has resigned for two more seasons, leaving no doubt about its return. It's certain to be renewed now.
  • Castle has kept its ratings well above the network average (its ratings are the same as they were at the beginning of the season while mostly everything else is down) and is likely ABC's best source of syndication income. It's certain to come back.
  • Agents of Shield may have disapoiting ratings for some but it's a new show performing at 130% with no lead-in against the highet rated drama on television. It's certain to be renewed and those saying it's a pity renewal are folling themselves!
  • Revenge has not only improved its relative ratings, now performing at 90% of ABC's drama average, but has done so airing against the big awards shows on Sundays. While I think it could be wise to wait for some 10pm airings before moving it, the syndication argument on top of some very strong 90% performance are enough for me. It's certain to be renewed!
  • The Goldbergs, which I had already called ABC's most successful sitcom back then, has been able to capitalize from the absence of The Voice and showed promise on multiple occasions. I said when I wrote my initial article on it that I would move it to stabilize around the 80%-90% level and that is exactly what the show has done, currently performing at 90% of ABC's comedy average. While I don't think this result is amazing, especially considering the show is a freshman and not ABC produced, I think it's good enough seeing how everything else is crumbling, so I am saying likely renewal for now!
  • I've elaborated before on how I thought we were heading for a The Good Wife vs. Blue Bloods situation if Intelligence succeeded. A lot of stuff has happened since then. For starters, Intelligence flopped hard, which were the best news each show should have gotten! Could CBS still cancel one of them? Maybe. But if they cancel The Mentalist and Intelligence, they could already premiere 2 new dramas then, and I also think we're getting to a point in which cancelling the 4th comedy hour may be better for them than to can another drama if they want to premiere a 3rd new drama which is, by itself, a pretty big if!  On top of all that, they always have the possibility of holding Undercover Boss to when a show flops (they certainly could have used it this year with the whole Hostages/Intelligence situation), which would also open room for a 3rd new drama. Bottom line: yes, CBS could still cancel another one out of Blue Bloods/The Good Wife, but the likelihood of that happening is small enough that I feel comfortable placing both as likely renewal. On top of that, Blue Bloods has also scored a syndication deal and the show is also quietly having one of its best seasons in terms of year to year comparisons, now performing at 100% of CBS's drama average, both of which have me inclined to even move it to certain renewal. I am leaving both shows on Tier 2 for now though, but in any case, both Blue Bloods and The Good Wife are now likely to be renewed!
  • Hawaii Five-0 and it huge syndication deal already had it as likely renewal back in the fall when the show was posting very solid ratings for Friday. With the show now posting excellent Friday ratings (now performing at 105% of CBS's drama average) and with the 100 episodes threshold still to come, I've moved to show to a certain renewal!
  • Elementary, already a likely renewal in the fall, has improved its relative ratings a bit ever since Scandal went off the air and, most importantly, has scored an incredible syndication deal that make next season a sure thing. The show is now certain to be renewed.
  • The Crazy Ones is now the worst performing CBS comedy. Considering the show is currently airing against no competition, that it has a decently rated lead-in and that its consistently outperformed by its lead-out, I think there are few excuses that we can make here. In a way, the show probably had an uphill battle since the beginning, since how it was always the odd man out, hence having more to prove. I could probably keep the show on the bubble for a little while longer, since it's not totally over for it, but I think the turnaroud it would require at this point is just not likely, so I am saying a likely cancellation.
  • The Tomorrow People is performing on Wednesdays at a level that I doubt would give the CW much incentive to bring it back. However, that's not even half of its problem. I suppose it would have a chance if it were to keep doing what it's doing until the end of the season. But the show is moving to Mondays soon and I have very few doubts that it will not be able to keep its numbers there once moved (there is probably no other show as much compatible with it as Arrow). On top of that, I even have doubts about said numbers being enough for a renewal to begin with! The CW is certain to renew one out of Reign, The Tomorrow People, The 100 and Star Crossed, possibly two (but they don't even need to do two) and, for now, I cannot imagine how TTP will be the chosen one. The show is a likely cancellation!
  • Parks and Recreation has, as predicted, improved its relative ratings once paired up with Community and moved to 8h30 away from The Big Bang Theory! Performing at 75% of the network's scripted average is not brilliant at all, but considering that means the show is performing at 120% of NBC comedy average, I gotta think it will be enough for, at the very least, a spackle order for spring. The show is a likely renewal now!
  • Dracula's relative rating got worse as the season progressed. Even though a lot of people were calling it dead ever since its third week, I advised caution considering how the show was an international co production that would likely have different ratings requirements to be profitable, much like what happened with Hannibal last year. However, I think the absolute ratings got too low for NBC to need to do this, especially considering that a second hour of Dateline would likely do better and be even cheaper. I still thin the 65% can be enough to bring it back due to it being a co production, but I think that as far as a renewal for regular season is concerned, that is now unlikely. For that reason, I am saying the show is now likely to be cancelled!

This leaves our bubble section with exactly 11 shows! Some are shows for which I need to see some more data points (ex. Mom) but I am already leaning towards one way. Others are shows that depend on how spring shows do (ex. Reign). Others are true bubble shows for which making a prediction will be a pain (ex. Two and a Half Men). Regardless, I will be making predictions for all of them at one point, even if I leave them as Tier 3, you will get an indication of which is the direction I expect it to go.

Thanks for reading!

Tracking Table


Previous Articles:
ABC Fantasy Schedule
State of CBS and NBC Comedies
State of ABC and FOX Comedies
State of FOX and NBC Dramas
State of CW Dramas
State of CBS Dramas
State of ABC Dramas
ABC Sundays
Renewals and Cancellations Decisions and TV Numbers 101 [FAQ]

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