The broadcast TV industry has just finished up their Pilot Casting Season, where all the networks fight over the same talent pool to pick up the actors that will star in the majority of the pilots that are competing for a spot on next year’s schedule.
TVbytheNumbers has long adopted the policy of ignoring development until those shows are formally picked up. On one hand, that’s a wise move, as every season there’s at least one sure thing that isn’t. (Last year at this time, everyone assumed Beverly Hills Cop would be airing Mondays @ 10 on CBS this season. Then again, how much worse could it have rated than what actually aired there?)
On the other hand, can we glean any insights on the networks’ goals from the number of pilots each has casted? Everyone should have seen the number of (and talent involved in the) comedy pilots for CBS last season and known that they were seriously considering expanding their comedy hours.
Over the next few weeks, I thought I’d review what each network’s pilot situation looks like, and see what we can guess from it.
(One quick disclaimer – don’t take any of the specific past numbers as gospel, as the history of failed shows gets cloudy fast. In addition, the number of straight to series orders and international co-productions has made things increasingly murky. For instance, two years ago NBC picked up the domestic rights to The Firm long after they had casted their pilots. So while the number of pilots didn’t change, it is likely NBC picked up one less midseason series that year than they would have otherwise.)
2014 Pilots: 12 Drama, 13 Comedy
2013 Pickups: 7/13 Drama Pilots (54%), 5/12 Comedy Pilots (42%), 6 New Fall Hours (4 Dramas, 4 Comedies)
2012 Pickups: 5/11 Drama Pilots (45%), 4/12 Comedy Pilots (33%), 4 New Fall Hours (3 Dramas, 2 Comedies)
2011 Pickups: 8/14 Drama Pilots (57%), 5/10 Comedy Pilots (50%), 5.5 New Fall Hours (4 Dramas, 3 Comedies)
2010 Pickups: 5/10 Drama Pilots (50%), 3/12 Comedy Pilots (25%), 4.5 New Fall Hours (4 Dramas, 1 Comedy)
2009 Pickups: 7/13 Drama Pilots (54%), 5/14 Comedy Pilots (36%), 5 New Fall Hours (3 Dramas, 4 Comedies)
Needs: T@9:30, T@10, W@9:30, Th@8. F@8:30
Wants: W@8:30, W@10
This week ABC made some of those Needs explicitly clear, by pulling Mind Games off the schedule and announcing next week as Once Upon a Time in Wonderland’s series finale. The ABC Death Slots continue to live up to their name.
This makes the fate of ABC’s Want in Nashville so tough to predict. Let’s say ABC moves the show to Tuesdays @ 10. Even if Nashville dropped over 25% from this week’s series low in the move, to a mere 1.0… it would still top all but Lucky 7’s and Mind Games’ premieres in the timeslot this season! Can ABC realistically expect any better in the slot from a freshman, especially with Nashville’s syndication money on the horizon? I’ve moved the show to “Renewal Predicted”.
No surprise that recent comedy seasons resulting in merely The Goldbergs likely, The Neighbors unlikely, and Suburgatory possibly, surviving into next year have led to the largest comedy pilot slate since ABC created their Wednesday comedy block in 2009. I would expect all the comedy blocks to survive as is.
With up to 4 new comedies, the only spackle/pilot failure option in Suburgatory would make its renewal likely (even while the show continues to sabotage its case, now dropping to mid 1s even with new episodes of The Middle as its lead-in). I’ve moved it as well to “Renewal Predicted”.
I’m predicting ABC airs 2 new dramas and 4 new comedies in Fall, for a total of 4 new hours. This is on the low end of their recent history, but not shockingly so.
This week’s notable events:
Believe and Crisis settled into the low 1s in their second Sunday airings. An eternity away from syndication, there’s no reason to expect another season for either.
Surviving Jack premiered to an underwhelming 1.3 rating this week. On one hand, that’s no worse than what Brooklyn Nine-Nine and New Girl did this week. On the much larger hand, there’s no reason to expect the show to hold at that rating, and Fox has every reason to get the most out of their American Idol salaries by expanding Idol back to an hour. Expect a very short leash.
Enlisted was pulled off the schedule. Good money would be on an Enlisted / Surviving Jack Friday burnoff combo in July, once Kitchen Nightmares ends.
Tom Shaw is a computer programmer from Milwaukee, WI. Bereft of Lost theories to argue about, he's spent too much time attempting to figure out the TV industry.
Save yourself from hibernating bears! Direct your criticisms to @tvtomshaw instead!
Note: only scripted shows that have aired at least one episode this season are in the table below.
|Back In The Game||ABC||Canceled|
|Once Upon a Time in Wonderland||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|
|The Michael J. Fox Show||NBC||Canceled|
|Sean Saves The World||NBC||Canceled|
|Welcome To The Family||NBC||Canceled|
|The Neighbors||ABC||Cancellation Predicted|
|Super Fun Night||ABC||Cancellation Predicted|
|Trophy Wife||ABC||Cancellation Predicted|
|The Crazy Ones||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|
|Surviving Jack||Fox||Cancellation Predicted|
|The 100||CW||On The Bubble|
|Growing Up Fisher||NBC||On The Bubble|
|Hannibal||NBC||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|
|Hart of Dixie||CW||Renewal Predicted|
|Family Guy||Fox||Renewal Predicted|
|About a Boy||NBC||Renewal Predicted|
|Law & Order: SVU||NBC||Renewal Predicted|
|The Big Bang Theory||CBS||Renewed|
|The Good Wife||CBS||Renewed|
|Mike & Molly||CBS||Renewed|
|Person of Interest||CBS||Renewed|
|Two and a Half Men||CBS||Renewed|
|2 Broke Girls||CBS||Renewed|
|The Vampire Diaries||CW||Renewed|
|The Mindy Project||Fox||Renewed|
|Parks and Recreation||NBC||Renewed|