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Ratings Predictions - Fall TV Preview - CW Edition

Hello everyone. So, as promised, after a week of hiatus, here I am back again, this time to preview the very much asked-about CW fall shows! As always, please let us know in the comments below whether or not you agree with my predictions and what are your own predictions, both for the seasonal averages (what I predict here) and the seasons premieres!

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (New Show)
Timeslot: CW, Mondays at 8pm
Lead-in: Local Programming
Lead-out: Jane the Virgin
Episode Order: 13 episodes (possible 22 episodes extension)
Competition: The Voice, Dancing with the Stars | The Bachelor, Super Girl, Gotham | The X-Files, Monday Night Football
- This is the CW’s sole newbie on the whole fall schedule. That give is a powerful marketing advantage that no other CW show has benefited from!
- It is possible that last season’s Jane the Virgin got the CW on the map for people who enjoy these type of shows, which would increase the odds of more people giving this one a shot.
- It should fit like a glove with Jane the Virgin.

- It has to self start from local programming against the voice and dancing with the Stars. Yeah.
- Jane the Virgin may have gotten a lot of awards love and attention but ratings wise it was never a good performer in A18-49, save for some winter heat. So being very comparable to that show isn’t exactly a plus.
- The CW is increasingly known for its genre/ super hero shows. A step back into the pure feminine driven shows isn’t exactly a good fit for the channel’s main audience right now.

Bottom Line I think this will go a lot like Jane the Virgin last year, which means it will not go particularly well in the ratings department, regardless of how much acclaim and renewals it gets. I see this actually going a tad worse since local programming should have less of a fit than The Originals and because the slot has generally lower PUT levels. I cannot decide whether or not that is enough for a backorder on the CW superpacked schedule but I am going to decide yes for the sole reason that I don’t know what else the CW would pair with Jane the Virgin and I doubt they would send it to Fridays this early on. 0.3944

Jane The Virgin (0.48 Last Year)
Timeslot: CW, Mondays at 9pm
Lead-in: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Lead-out: Local Programming
Episode Order: 22 episodes
Competition: The Voice, Dancing with the Stars | The Bachelor, Scorpion, Minority Report | Lucifer, Monday Night Football

- This is the biggest critical darling show the network has ever had. That makes it exceptionally well positioned to be a candidate to summer binge watch which could mean a sophomore bounce is on the way.
- The show’s weaker run last year seemed to be the early one in the fall. That means it can make up some ground year to year early on!
- Since the CW only has one new fall newbie which happens to be paired with this and to be thematically similar to this, the marketing effort on this show has been very much a priority for the network!

- Jane the Virgin never really was a good A18-49 performer last year. Why would that suddenly change?
- Unlike popular’s belief, most critical darlings aren’t actually rating winners. Besides, this didn’t even make that much noise during the summer with critics as seen by the lack of Emmy love.
- Crazy Ex-Girlfriend will most likely be a substantial downgrade from The Originals as a lead-in. Even if it is more compatible, the volume effect will just matter a lot.
- It’s not like The Voice and Dancing with the Stars are getting any easier as competition.

Bottom Line I think people have sort of got carried away with all the acclaim this show accomplished that they look at its ratings performance as being any sort of a winning one when it really wasn’t (unless we look at the W18-34 numbers). I don’t really think that will change much this year but I do think there is enough momentum here to prevent losses, especially accounting for last fall’s underachievement. I think it is slightly up for most of the fall and even-ish/ down in the winter and the spring, all of that amounting to a decline that is actually a tad bit less than the league average. 0.436 (-8%)

The Flash (1.44 Last Year)
Timeslot: CW, Tuesdays at 8pm
Lead-in: Local Programming
Lead-out: iZombie
Episode Order: 23 episodes
Competition: The Muppets & Fresh Off the Boat, NCIS, Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris | The Voice, Grandfathered & The Grinder

- This show held up so well during the entire course of last season that it is very tough to expect a meltdown to suddenly take place.
- Legends of Tomorrow is coming midseason and that has potential to lift even more all DC boats on the CW.
- This show, much like Jane the Virgin, benefitted from only one freshman show on the CW fall schedule, which allowed the network to devote to it a lot more promotional energy!

- Arrow also held up damn well during the first year but that didn’t prevent it from dropping on the second one.
- The Flash seemed to hit all the right notes creatively one after the other last year, with very few missteps, judging by the consensus. While that is promising for the future of a show, it usually also means that some misstep is bound to happen at some point.
- The Muppets on ABC is much more formidable competition than Selfie was last year.

Bottom Line I don’t really think the show will implode creatively all of the sudden and I was extremely impressed with how well it held up during the course of the entire season, even as viewing levels dwindled throughout spring. The momentum may cool off a bit this fall but I think it’s still big enough and, in any case, I see the arrival of Legends of Tomorrow as a big plus for both Arrow and Flash as a means to keep the momentum alive. While it can’t probably avoid to be down in the early weeks from the huge opening last year, it pretty much stabilizes at the same level down the line and maybe builds up a bit in the winter when Legends is launched. Roughly league average drop as a whole 1.265 (-12%)

iZombie (0.65 Last Year)
Timeslot: CW, Tuesdays at 9pm
Lead-in: The Flash
Lead-out: Local Programming
Episode Order: 13 episodes (possible 22-23 episode extension)
Competition: Marvel’s Agents of Shield, Scream Queens, NCIS: New Orleans, The Voice | Chicago Med

- Unlike last year, it will get to air in the winter and fall when viewing levels are much better than in the spring!
- Since it is premiering right after The Flash’s initial episodes, it should find an even stronger lead-in when it premieres than it had last spring!
- It just had a full summer of repeats exposure which actually performed very respectably!
- As a procedural, it should have a much easier time benefiting from casual viewing favorable factors (like higher viewing levels) than serialized efforts like The 100.

- It finished on a series low note. That is never a good thing.
- The Voice will loom much more frequently in the 9pm hour this fall, which likely cancels out the benefits of the higher viewing levels.
- This is very similar to the Season 1 trajectory of the 100 and that didn’t really work out well last year.
- This show has been shockingly forgotten by the CW’s promotional department for such a young show!
- The fit with The Flash really only got worse last year as the season progressed (meaning a more pronounced female skew). That means the benefits of a high rated lead-in are limited now.

Bottom Line I cannot look at this and not think The 100 due to all the similarities. Sure, this is a procedural so it should be better positioned to take advantage of the better conditions from the fall but on the other hand, it should also be less compatible to The Flash than The 100 was to Arrow. So I think this has a very similar Season 2 trend, 0.56 (-14%)

Arrow (1.01 Last Year, up 11%)
Timeslot: CW, Wednesdays at 8pm
Lead-in: Local Programming
Lead-out: Supernatural
Episode Order: 23 episodes
Competition: The Middle & The Goldbergs, Rosewood, Survivor, The Mysteries of Laura

- Excluding the final truncated season of Hart of Dixie, no drama on broadcast was up as much last year as Arrow was. A clear resurgence was happening. Why should it stop this year?
- If we are to believe that Flash’s momentum helped to increase Arrow’s heat last year, which seems very logical to me, then there is no reason not to expect upcoming Legends of Tomorrow to keep bringing that heat to Arrow this year!
- The hour remains shockingly easy competition wise!

- Although I personally do not agree, the online consensus seems to be that Season 3 was a weak one in terms of quality. That didn’t seem to have any bearing on last year’s ratings, but maybe the impact is felt one year later?
- While the arrival of Legends of Tomorrow could indeed bring increased heat for the franchise as a whole, it could also mean that people simply trade off Arrow by the flashier new thing!

Bottom Line As much as the fan in me wants to, predicting this show to keep growing at the shockingly high pace from last year is simply something I cannot justify. But I also do not see any compelling reason to imagine it suddenly giving back all of last year’s gains, especially in a year when Legends of Tomorrow is arriving. So I say it is dead even once we account for the league average decline. 0.90 (-11%)

Supernatural (0.81 Last Year, down 19%)
Timeslot: CW, Wednesdays at 9pm
Lead-in: Arrow
Lead-out: Local Programming
Episode Order: 23 episodes
Competition: Modern Family & Black-ish, Empire, Law and Order: SVU, Criminal Minds

- The show underachieved last year from having to face the extremely male skewing Agents of Shield. No such competitor this time on Wednesday!
- If the show gets lucky, it may get to avoid a midseason move this time, which should allow for more stability during the season!
- Two years ago, the show overachieved so much post The Originals that last year’s so called losses could be seen as nothing more than coming back to earth and “correcting” for that overachievement. That should stop now.

- Being against Empire is a position no show should wish to be in, regardless of the different audiences they are attracting.
- Arrow has the same demographic profile of The Flash, but it is weaker in volume. So why should Supernatural benefit more?
- It is very nice to imagine Supernatural managing not to move midseason, but the CW has a huge bench of stuff waiting for a slot and no open slots. The odds of yet another Supernatural move are super high.

Bottom Line Here’s my thoughts on this show: I think it has a super dedicated, loyal male audience that tends to stick with it regardless of where it moves. The female audience? That one seems to be much more casual driven. That is, in my opinion, why the show was able to spike so much when it was post Originals (it had the best of two worlds as it had its core male viewership watching and was able to retain a large part of the originals’ female audience) and why it disappointed last year post Flash (when the viewers its lead-in were giving it were the ones it was already going to get anyway). So I think that being post Arrow and against Empire really won’t do this any favors and a midseason move does seem likely, especially if the CW wants to avoid having Legends go up against Agents of Shield. Still, that damn loyal base audience of this show should continue to be there and to avoid anything dramatic from happening. Ties what it did post Arrow the first time around in this slot, after accounting for the league average decline. 0.66 (-18%)

The Vampire Diaries (0.72 Last Year, -29%)
Timeslot: CW, Thursdays at 8pm
Lead-in: Local Programming
Lead-out: The Originals
Episode Order: 22 episodes
Competition: Grey’s Anatomy, The Big Bang Theory & ??, Bones, Heroes | ???

- The loss of the lead character could very well be what this show needed to revitalize itself. Maybe the creative stuff just finds a second life and that allows for a much better in-season trend during the year!
- Much has been said about the damaging effects of the loss of a lead character on a show but just this year, Grey’s Anatomy has shown how little that really matters.
- The pairing with The Originals could very well create synergies that help the mothership too!
- After so much underachievement, isn’t it bound for some stability?

- This show has trended so horribly for the last two years that it is very, very tough to expect it to get any better as it grows older!
- The slow is even harder this year, now that NBC has decided to get on the map, and with a genre show nonetheless!
- The loss of the lead-character on a show whose main plot for the last years were variations of a romantic triangle with said lead character has potential to have pretty huge damaging effects.

Bottom Line When the CW first announced that Nina Dobrev was leaving, I thought a major collapse was on the way. I still don’t think it will help the show at all, but since then I have kind of started to believe the effect could be smaller than what I had initially anticipated. I think there is some legitimate potential for the show to improve creatively with this, but I am still very much unsure of how much that will help with actual viewership in a show like this. And while the Grey’s Anatomy comparison is nice, I think the importance of the roles were different enough for it not to be conclusive. I think it will hold up better across the season (probably after a sharp post premiere drop) but, as a whole, the season is still down considerably. 0.525 (-27%)

The Originals (0.59 Last Year, -34%)
Timeslot: CW, Thursdays at 9pm
Lead-in: The Vampire Diaries
Lead-out: Local Programming
Episode Order: 22 episodes
Competition: Scandal, Mom & Angel from Hell, The Blacklist, Sleepy Hollow | ??

- The Vampire Diaries is straight up the best lead-in this show could ask for. While it may actually be a hair lower than local programming, it will more than make up for that in compatibility!
- Scandal is tough female competition but really isn’t any more scary than the combo of Dancing with the Stars and The Voice this show was used to face!
- Airing at 9pm may mean this show finally is able to endure those pesky spring drops better than for the past two years!

- This show hasn’t stopped bleeding since mid Season 1. Pairing it with yet another bleeding show won’t solve that.
- If The Vampire Diaries’ fans wanted to watch this, they would already be watching it. Putting it after the mothership could potentially not change that!
- The reality combo on Monday is tough competition but it may be that this show actually shares more audience with all the scripted stuff Thursdays at 9!

Bottom Line Last year, this show was on that weird Monday island with incompatible Jane the Virgin and while The Vampire Diaries is well past its prime, if there is any show it should still be able to help, it is this one. So I think it will have stellar retention out of the mothership in most nights but sadly, said motership should be too low to begin with to allow for any real upgrade for this show, even if it should, once again, improve the timeslot it was sent to. 0.49 (-17%)

Reign (0.39 Last Year, -34%)
Timeslot: CW, Fridays at 9pm
Lead-in: Local Programming
Lead-out: America’s Next Top Model | ??
Episode Order: 18 episodes (?)
Competition: Last Man Standing & Dr. Ken, Undateable & Truth Be Told, The Amazing Race, ???

- To say that Hart of Dixie, on a very similar situation, overachieved last year, would be the understatement of the year. And even previous efforts like The Carrie Diaries didn’t totally melt down.
- Local programming might actually be an upgrade lead-in wise for this show.
- The competition certainly is easier than it was on Thursday.

- The viewing levels are simply much lower here than they were on Thursday.
- Local programming might be an upgrade volume wise over The Vampire Diaries (but that is not even a sure thing) but it certainly won’t be one compatibility wise!
- When shows that were bleeding as much as this show was last year are moved to worse slots, it doesn’t really tend to go well.

Bottom Line I have been impressed enough by what Hart of Dixie and The Carrie Diaries did here not to expect a total meltdown. But I think both of those shows were coming from worse situations leading off Mondays than this show was after The Vampire Diaries on Thursday, so I don’t think we will see the same effect to its full extent. 0.26 (-3%)

So, what do you think about how these shows will do? Am I too pessimistic about the Thursday shows? Will The Flash take a bigger hit than I am expecting? Will CW Mondays surprise? Hit it off in the comments below!