Brand strategy company NewMediaMetrics has released its annual fall broadcast TV freshman series predictions, with CBS sitcom The Crazy Ones getting the highest probability of success and three ABC sitcoms tapped to be cancelled quickly.
The NMM projections are based on responses by more than 3,000 consumers who were asked to rate show concept statements and score their emotional attachment on an 11-point scale.
While the broadcast networks are all striving to put more comedy on their primetime schedules, the NMM data projects only a couple of freshman comedies will succeed, with dramas having a better chance to click.
Among the fall freshman series with a high probability to succeed, CBS, NBC and Fox each have three, while ABC and The CW have two each. On the downside, ABC has five freshman series with a high probability of failure, CBS and Fox have three each, NBC has two and The CW has one.
The new series with the strongest chance for success is The Crazy Ones, starring Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar, which scored 87.1% on the probability meter. Following close behind was the NBC sitcom The Michael J. Fox Show at 86%. Other freshman series projecting a high probability for success were Fox drama Sleepy Hollow (83.3%); NBC drama Ironside (78.4%); Fox drama Almost Human (76.3%); NBC drama The Blacklist (73.7%); ABC drama Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (73.5%); ABC drama Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (73.2%); The CW dramas Reign (67.4%) and The Tomorrow People (63.6%); NBC’s Dracula (63%); and Fox’s Junior MasterChef (61.1%).
“Series that score over 80% have the best probability of success, over 70% gives them a really strong chance, while over 60% is also good,” said Gary Reisman, NMM CEO and cofounder. “Series that score lower than 50% are likely to be cancelled.”
While NMM’s annual predictions always draw skeptics, particularly from the networks, over the past seven years the company has predicted the performance of the fall TV season with more than 80% accuracy.
“The networks and Hollywood studios basically have about a 90% failure rate each year with new programs,” Reisman said. “The networks put on what their executives think will work, instead of getting input from consumers around the country as to which TV shows they believe they can become emotionally attached to.”
ABC’s Super Fun Night Seen as the Longest Shot to Succeed
The new fall series that the NMM research predicts is most likely to fail is the ABC sitcom Super Fun Night, which received a success probability score of only 26.3%. Two other ABC sitcoms also scored low—Trophy Wife (33.8%) and Back in the Game (34.5%).
Other series projected to fail include CW drama The Originals (36.4%); NBC comedy Sean Saves the World (36.7%); CBS sitcom We Are Men (36.7%); Fox comedy Dads (36.9%); CBS sitcom The Millers (39.4%); Fox comedy Enlisted (45.2%); ABC drama Lucky 7 (46.1%); CBS sitcom Mom (46.5%); NBC comedy Welcome to the Family (46.5%); ABC sitcom The Goldbergs (46.8%); and Fox comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine (48.3%).
Reisman said among the low probability for success list there are a couple of caveats. While CBS sitcoms The Millers, We Are Men and Mom had low scores from viewers, their scheduling may save them from cancellation during the first season. Each has a better-than-average lead-in that could initially attract more viewers. The Millers will lead out of The Big Bang Theory, TV’s most-watched comedy. We Are Men will lead out of the final season of How I Met Your Mother, while Mom will follow Two Broke Girls, one of the highest-rated shows among viewers 18-49.
The NMM report also includes demographic data about the potential audiences of each new fall show. Here’s a sampling:
- ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D will skew highly toward men, almost by a two-to-one margin, with the highest interest among men 18-24 but drawing across the entire male 18-54 spectrum.
- Fox’s Sleepy Hollow will skew female, with the most interest coming from women 18-34 but also interest among women 35-54.
- NBC’s The Blacklist will skew a little more male and get the most attention from men 25-54.
- CBS’ The Crazy Ones will skew female with the most interest coming from women 35-54.
- ABC’s Once Upon a Time in Wonderland will skew female with a sizable interest among women 18-24 but of interest primary to women 18-34.
- CBS’s Hostages will have a mixed audience, with the most interest coming from men 18-24, women 25-34 and men 35-54.
- NBC’s Ironside appears like it will be most popular among men and women 35-54.
- The CW’s Reign will skew heavy female, with its most avid demo women 18-24.
NMM projects ABC’s Modern Family will be the highest-rated scripted show in households this fall and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D will be the second-highest-rated scripted show on the network. Once Upon a Time in Wonderland will fall in right behind Grey’s Anatomy and Once Upon a Time.
The Big Bang Theory and NCIS will continue to be the two top-rated series on CBS this fall, but NMM predicts that The Crazy Ones will draw the third-largest audience on the network. Hostages will pull in the ninth-largest audience on CBS, according to NMM data, higher than dramas NCIS: Los Angeles, Person of Interest and Elementary.
The Blacklist is projected to be NBC’s highest-rated scripted show and the third-most-watched in primetime behind Sunday Night Football and The Voice. The Michael J. Fox Show will be the network’s highest-rated comedy.
While NMM projects The Voice to grow its viewership significantly this season, it also predicts the second-year NBC sci-fi drama Revolution will experience a significant drop in ratings. The drop is due to an anticipated loss of interest in the series among men and women 18-34 and among females 35-plus. NMM data finds the series now appeals strongest to men 35-54.
On Fox, NMM is projecting that Sleepy Hollow will be the fourth-most-watched series this fall, ahead of The X Factor, and Almost Human will draw more viewers than veteran Fox drama Bones.
Emotionally Attached Viewers More Likely to Pay Attention to Commercials
Reisman said tapping into consumers’ emotional attachment to TV shows is much more predictive than what most content developers in Hollywood are currently doing to determine which programs are made into pilots and which make it onto network schedules.
“People who give shows high [emotional attachment] scores not only tune in when the show airs on TV, but they will also follow and chat about it,” Reisman said, adding that viewers are 57% more likely to DVR or follow a show to which they are highly attached to or access it on demand. They are also 40% more likely to talk about the show on social media and view a show 45% more often.
Of particular interest to marketers, Reisman added, is that viewers who are emotionally attached to a TV show pay as much as 2½ more times attention to commercials that run during those programs.