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

Show Network Status
Back In The Game ABC Canceled
Killer Women ABC Canceled
Lucky 7 ABC Canceled
Mind Games 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
Raising Hope Fox Canceled
Ironside NBC Canceled
The Michael J. Fox Show NBC Canceled
Sean Saves The World NBC Canceled
Welcome To The Family NBC Canceled
Betrayal ABC Cancellation Predicted
Mixology ABC Cancellation Predicted
The Neighbors ABC Cancellation Predicted
Super Fun Night ABC Cancellation Predicted
Trophy Wife ABC Cancellation Predicted
The Crazy Ones CBS Cancellation Predicted
Hostages CBS Cancellation Predicted
Intelligence CBS Cancellation Predicted
The Mentalist CBS Cancellation Predicted
Beauty & The Beast CW Cancellation Predicted
The Carrie Diaries CW Cancellation Predicted
Star-Crossed CW Cancellation Predicted
The Tomorrow People CW Cancellation Predicted
Almost Human Fox Cancellation Predicted
Dads Fox Cancellation Predicted
Enlisted Fox Cancellation Predicted
Rake Fox Cancellation Predicted
Surviving Jack Fox Cancellation Predicted
Believe NBC Cancellation Predicted
Community NBC Cancellation Predicted
Crisis NBC Cancellation Predicted
Dracula NBC Cancellation Predicted
Parenthood NBC Cancellation Predicted
Revolution NBC 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
Castle 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
Nashville ABC Renewal Predicted
Once Upon a Time ABC Renewal Predicted
Resurrection ABC Renewal Predicted
Revenge ABC Renewal Predicted
Scandal ABC Renewal Predicted
Suburgatory 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
Blue Bloods CBS Renewed
Criminal Minds CBS Renewed
CSI CBS Renewed
Elementary CBS Renewed
The Good Wife CBS Renewed
Hawaii Five-0 CBS Renewed
Mike & Molly CBS Renewed
The Millers CBS Renewed
Mom CBS Renewed
NCIS CBS Renewed
NCIS: LA CBS Renewed
Person of Interest CBS Renewed
Two and a Half Men CBS Renewed
2 Broke Girls CBS Renewed
Arrow CW Renewed
The Originals CW Renewed
Reign CW Renewed
Supernatural CW Renewed
The Vampire Diaries CW Renewed
Bob’s Burgers Fox Renewed
Bones Fox Renewed
Brooklyn Nine-Nine Fox Renewed
The Following Fox Renewed
Glee Fox Renewed
The Mindy Project Fox Renewed
New Girl Fox Renewed
The Simpsons Fox Renewed
Sleepy Hollow Fox Renewed
The Blacklist NBC Renewed
Chicago Fire NBC Renewed
Chicago P.D. NBC Renewed
Grimm NBC Renewed
Parks and Recreation NBC Renewed

Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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