All but one new fall series has made its premiere, and most of them have had a month or more to show their wares to audiences. Which means it’s time to rank them.
Introducing the TV by the Numbers new show power rankings. Each Wednesday you’ll see a list of how the new shows are stacking up. Same-day ratings (obviously) is the biggest component of that, but the rankings also take into account some slightly more subjective criteria, including DVR gains, audience and critical reaction and network support (or lack thereof) to come up with a list of shows that have the best chance at staying power.
The rankings are for scripted shows only (sorry, “Best Time Ever”). All ratings cited are same-day. Here are the inaugural rankings, in reverse order.
16 (tie). ‘The Player,’ ‘Minority Report,’ ‘Blood & Oil,’ ‘Truth Be Told’
These are the Dead Shows Walking. All four have had their initial 13-episode orders cut to nine (“The Player”) or 10 (the other three). All but “Blood & Oil” have 18-49 ratings below 1.0, and “B&O” is just barely above that at 1.08. There is next to no chance they’ll make it to a second season.
15. ‘Wicked City’
Even opposite a highly watched World Series game, even in what has been a black-hole timeslot for ABC in recent years, premiering at a 0.9 is inexcusable.
14. ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’
It’s ambitious and weird and messy and easily the most original show on broadcast TV this fall. But it’s also barely registering in the Nielsens, averaging a 0.27 in adults 18-49 through three episodes.
Although it’s the (slightly) better-rated of FOX’s two new comedies (see below), the network hasn’t pulled the trigger on extending its season yet. The fact that it’s not wholly owned by 20th Century Fox (ABC Studios co-produces it) could be a factor there.
12. ‘Code Black’
Ratings have been so-so at best. DVR lift is decent but not spectacular (0.8 average gain for its first two episodes). Critics were lukewarm. This either goes away by season’s end or is the top candidate for “that’s still on?” status each of the next four years.
11. ‘The Grinder’
FOX has handed out a full-season order for the show despite its marginal ratings. The live-action comedy roster at the network is not deep, but if “The Grinder” drops much more a one-and-done isn’t unlikely.
10. ‘Heroes Reborn’
When “Heroes” debuted in 2006, it was a breakout hit hailed as a breath of fresh air. By the time it ended in 2010, it was limping along in the ratings and reviled critically. Five years later, “Reborn’s” ratings are still modest, and the conversation about it has largely receded too.
It has a full-season order and ratings that aren’t half-bad in the current climate. Still, it’s hard not to suspect that it will fall hard if it’s ever away from “Empire.”
8. ‘The Muppets’
No new series so far has experienced a bigger dropoff from its premiere ratings — 2.9 to a low of 1.3 on Oct. 13. The Muppets are a big brand for Disney, and the team making the show is full of veterans who care deeply about it. But the more “grown-up” tone has put off a lot of Muppet fans.
7. ‘Scream Queens’
Ratings have been only so-so, but the heads of FOX are huge supporters of Ryan Murphy, and the idea of an anthology franchise (a la Murphy’s “American Horror Story” on FX) is an attractive one for the networks.
6. ‘Life in Pieces’
It hasn’t done an especially great job retaining its “Big Bang Theory” lead-in, but not a lot has in recent years. Ratings have been pretty steady in recent weeks, and it just scored a back-nine order. If it holds up after moving to Thursdays it should stay in the top tier.
5. ‘Dr. Ken’
Maybe the unlikeliest success of the fall, “Dr. Ken” has been remarkably stable on Friday nights and has earned a full-season order. If it stays in the range it is now, “Ken” will be back next season too.
Ratings have taken a bit of a hit since “Chicago Fire” returned to NBC in the same Tuesday timeslot, but it’s still a steady performer. And in an unthrilling crop of new shows overall, there’s something to be said for its crisp execution.
Its premiere rating of 3.1 is undeniably strong. It’s not higher because that’s only one episode. The true test will come in the subsequent weeks, where it will lead off Monday nights.
Yes, the fact that it follows “The Voice” is a huge help. But so did “State of Affairs” and “The Night Shift” for parts of last season, and neither of them drew ratings anywhere near what “Blindspot” is currently doing.
Consistent same-day ratings that build substantially on a weak lead-in, a breakout star in Priyanka Chopra and a huge DVR build suggest “Quantico” has some staying power. The biggest question now is whether ABC leaves it on Sundays all season.