This week’s notable data points:
Last week, I said The Following‘s strong showing after the NFC Championship game had me reconsidering the Smash-esque ratings arc I had predicted for the second season. Then the show dropped to a series low this week – and that’s before The Voice rumbles back into the picture. Given all the strangeness at Fox (we’ve already had the first hiccup with Fox’s new process, as there are issues with The Middle Man), I’m not downgrading the show yet – but the situation bears watching.
The larger point, that we don’t have any history on how to judge broadcast limited series, bears emphasizing. It’s unlikely many, possibly any, shows putting out ~15 episodes a year will hit the “standard” syndication number (88) before they are cancelled. Will that lead to limited series having a shorter leash than usual, as the networks need to cut their losses as quickly as possible, or will greater international sales buy them extra time?
Bones was renewed, and will move back to Mondays at 8 once Almost Human ends its run in March. It is ironic that after years of Fox threatening to move Bones to Fridays, they finally go through with it, only to announce the move back after half a dozen episodes. I think the move this year was legitimate – Fox both thought Almost Human might succeed and wanted to see how Bones would do on Fridays, and I would not be surprised in the least if Bones starts off the year on Fridays next season.
Almost Human, in no surprise, did not receive a backorder. While it has done better in recent weeks, that’s a ‘better’ that’s only against weaker competition. I’m not going to declare it “de facto canceled” due to the previously mentioned weirdness at Fox, but as previously covered, the odds of Fall shows that end early surviving are extremely low.
Sean Saves The World was canceled this week. The show’s been a dead show walking since episode two or so, and NBC replacing it after The Olympics are over makes perfect sense. Frankly, I hadn’t been watching the episode count that carefully – I had assumed the backorder was just to get it to this week to begin with, and I’m not sure why NBC ordered more than that.
Tom’s NFL Round-Up
I’ll be honest, I’ve been pretty terrible when it comes to responding to comments for these posts. The reason is simple – these articles post on Sundays, and Sundays for me have long been reserved for watching NFL games. So forgive me for this week’s NFL-flavored bits:
Location, Location, Location – Except in the NFL
One of the most interesting aspects to this NFL season was watching the historically weak Western divisions continue their resurgence. Not only did the NFC and AFC West end up with the first playoff seeds, (Seattle and Denver, who both advanced to the Super Bowl), but the two divisions also picked up 3 out of the 4 Wild Card slots (the Arizona Cardinals were the runner up for that fourth Wild Card, as well).
Those worried that such a geographically limited Super Bowl would affect ratings shouldn’t be – in recent years the Super Bowl has been essentially match-up proof, on a generally upward trend regardless of the teams involved. The 2011 Super Bowl, for instance, featuring demographically small Pittsburgh and Green Bay/Milwaukee, was still the second most watched Super Bowl. This year’s matchup between the #1 offense in Denver and the #1 defense in Seattle should well be in the running for most watched program ever.
Expanding – or Watering Down – The Field?
Speaking of the Arizona Cardinals missing the playoffs, there’s been increased talk (up to near acknowledgment) that the NFL is considering expanding the playoff field, adding an additional Wild Card team and game to each conference. Whether that expansion is good in any sense other than financial is another story. Taking a look at the records those additional Wild Card teams would have had since the current eight division organization was established in 2002, 25% of the time those games would have featured an 8-8 team, 46% a 9-7 team, 25% a 10-6 team, and 4% an 11-5 team. It’s tough to argue that many of those 8-8 or 9-7 teams “deserved” a shot at the playoffs - some of those Wild Cards would have been decided on tiebreakers between three or even four teams with identical overall records to begin with.
On the other hand, as I just said, some of those Wild Cards were decided on tiebreakers between three or four teams. The final few games for those teams, and more, would have suddenly become much more relevant (and likely viewed). Much more importantly, there would be two more playoff games in that first playoff weekend. If those extra games end up being scheduled on Monday or Friday in primetime, that could be a huge bonus to their networks. (My personal opinion is to have back-to-back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday, starting at 1 PM Eastern, and have ~35 hours of pure football madness.)
Tom Fixes the NFL
Frankly, the NFL could improve in a number of areas by making one tweak: Adding a second bye week. Eliminate the fourth pre-season game, and start the regular season one week earlier. Schedule the second bye before each team’s Thursday Night Football game so that every team playing in them has ~10 days of preparation on each side of the game to create a premiere matchup.
The end result? Players get an extra week of rest in the season, the networks get an extra week of ad revenue, and the NFL gets Thursday Night Games that aren’t complete afterthoughts. The only “downside” is that the owners get half a game less of pre-season football they charge season ticket holders full price for. I think that’s a fair trade-off.
There’s a lot of ways the Seattle Seahawks could win. The weather could be windier than expected, favoring their run game; their stout defense could hold the Denver Broncos to field goals in the red zone while a couple bombs to Percy Harvin result in touchdowns; the referees could be lax on calling pass interference, allowing them to mug Manning’s receivers. But I don’t think any of those cases are likely, so I am going with Denver 27 – Seattle 21.
Note: only scripted shows that have aired at least one episode this season are in the table below.
|Back In The Game||ABC||Canceled|
|How I Met Your Mother||CBS||Final Season|
|We Are Men||CBS||Canceled|
|Nikita||CW||Final Season Finished|
|American Dad||Fox||Moving to TBS|
|Sean Saves The World||NBC||Canceled|
|Welcome To The Family||NBC||Canceled|
|Killer Women||ABC||Cancellation Predicted|
|The Neighbors||ABC||Cancellation Predicted|
|Once Upon a Time in Wonderland||ABC||Cancellation Predicted|
|Super Fun Night||ABC||Cancellation Predicted|
|Trophy Wife||ABC||Cancellation Predicted|
|The Good Wife||CBS||Cancellation Predicted|
|The Mentalist||CBS||Cancellation Predicted|
|Beauty & The Beast||CW||Cancellation Predicted|
|The Carrie Diaries||CW||Cancellation Predicted|
|The Tomorrow People||CW||Cancellation Predicted|
|Almost Human||Fox||Cancellation Predicted|
|The Mindy Project||Fox||Cancellation Predicted|
|Raising Hope||Fox||Cancellation Predicted|
|The Michael J. Fox Show||NBC||Cancellation Predicted|
|The Crazy Ones||CBS||On The Bubble|
|Mom||CBS||On The Bubble|
|Two and a Half Men||CBS||On The Bubble|
|Brooklyn Nine-Nine||Fox||On The Bubble|
|Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.||ABC||Renewal Predicted|
|The Goldbergs||ABC||Renewal Predicted|
|Grey's Anatomy||ABC||Renewal Predicted|
|Last Man Standing||ABC||Renewal Predicted|
|The Middle||ABC||Renewal Predicted|
|Modern Family||ABC||Renewal Predicted|
|Once Upon a Time||ABC||Renewal Predicted|
|The Big Bang Theory||CBS||Renewal Predicted|
|Blue Bloods||CBS||Renewal Predicted|
|Criminal Minds||CBS||Renewal Predicted|
|Hawaii Five-0||CBS||Renewal Predicted|
|Mike & Molly||CBS||Renewal Predicted|
|The Millers||CBS||Renewal Predicted|
|NCIS: LA||CBS||Renewal Predicted|
|Person of Interest||CBS||Renewal Predicted|
|2 Broke Girls||CBS||Renewal Predicted|
|Hart of Dixie||CW||Renewal Predicted|
|The Originals||CW||Renewal Predicted|
|The Vampire Diaries||CW||Renewal Predicted|
|Family Guy||Fox||Renewal Predicted|
|The Following||Fox||Renewal Predicted|
|The New Girl||Fox||Renewal Predicted|
|Chicago Fire||NBC||Renewal Predicted|
|Chicago PD||NBC||Renewal Predicted|
|Law & Order: SVU||NBC||Renewal Predicted|
|Parks & Recreation||NBC||Renewal Predicted|