We live in a transitional time and many businesses are being forced to rethink their traditional ways of doing business and TV is certainly one of them.  In the past, it was easy for networks to know almost instantly which shows were hits and which were misses and were quick to pull the plug on those that failed to attract viewers right off the bat.  Nowadays, networks have to factor in delayed viewing on DVR, on demand and streaming, protracting the process considerably.  Many shows this fall have seen their original ratings, from live viewing, double with once these other methods of viewing are tallied (case in point, the #2 most successful new show, ‘Quantico’).  This may be a great thing for shows that are currently underperforming, as they are given a little more time to grow an audience.

There has only been one freshman show this fall that has already officially been cancelled, crime thriller ‘Wicked City’.  But the number of solid hits is about equal. Here is a quick run down of genre-related shows and how they are faring so far this season:

  • Blindspot (NBC) – Starring ‘Thor”s Jaimie Alexander, this ‘Memento’-esque mystery is the only “slam dunk” new show of the fall season.  The show averages 12.8 million viewers and a 3.8 rating (meaning that of all TVs turned on at that time, 3.8% were watching this show, averaged over the season).  ‘Blindspot’ is the only new show that ranks among the Top 10.
  • Supergirl (CBS) – Managing a 2.8 for the season is ‘Supergirl’ but this one is a shakier result.  This was the most highly anticipated new show according to pre-season polling and indeed, the first episode was the highest rated debut of all the fall.  But numbers sharply dropped off with the second (after losing lead-in ‘The Big Bang Theory’) and have steadily declined week after week.  ‘Supergirl’ Rumor has it, CBS is considering a May sweeps crossover with The CW’s ‘The Flash’ in an effort to boost interest.  Even so, the network is likely to order a full season, bumping ‘Supergirl’ from 13 to 22 episodes.

  • Limitless (CBS) – Based on the Bradley Cooper movie about a man who can boost his mental ability after consuming a special drug, once again, CBS had high hopes.  The show has a 2.5 rating and has already been picked up for a full season, but these numbers are far from “limitless.”
  • Heroes Reborn (NBC) – This was released as a limited run series, so whatever happens, this season should have a succinct ending.  This reboot has a 2.3 rating, after just barely trailing ‘Supergirl’ as the most anticipated new show of the season.  The ratings aren’t terrible, but this reboot is definitely not the watercooler show that the original was in its first season.  NBC may return with another installment next year, since a ho-hum reboot is safer than a pricey new property that could potentially crash and burn.

  • Scream Queens (FOX) – The biggest shock of the season was the poor performance of ‘Scream Queens’ considering the big name producers (Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk), cast (which includes former Murphy-stars Emma Roberts and Lea Michele) and an inescapable presence on social media.  Perhaps the show’s campy tone scared off those looking for something closer to Murphy and Falchuk’s established fright fest ‘American Horror Story’.  Despite a weak 2.1 rating, FOX has an ongoing relationship with Murphy who created the former zeitgeist-capturing phenomenon ‘Glee’, so word has it a second season is a lock and the show will be rebooted with any surviving cast members as ‘Scream Queens: Summer Camp’.  (Er, maybe it’s the CAMP that’s the problem, folks.)
  • Minority Report (FOX) – Another rather astounding dud, this Steven Spielberg-produced sci fi crime series based on his 2002 film of the same name only managed a 1.2 rating (and that’s an average– the ratings have slipped well below 1% per episode) and though FOX hasn’t officially axed it, it did CUT the number of episodes for the first season down from 13 to 10.  That’s certainly not a GOOD sign.

Overall, this fall season didn’t seem as exciting as some in the past.  While most of the new shows are just doing okay, there also haven’t been any spectacular duds either.

Also, a show’s longevity isn’t strictly based on the numbers.  Those listed are averages over the span of all episodes aired.  In many cases, the actual per episode ratings can be significantly lower; premiers tend to rank much higher than subsequent episodes with ‘Supergirl’ being a prime example.  If you look strictly at numbers, ‘Supergirl”s 2.8 average is equal to that of ‘Quantico’, yet ‘Quantico’ is viewed as the second most successful new show, whereas ‘Supergirl’ is seen as struggling a bit.

‘Supergirl’ is a risky departure for CBS which excels with by-the-numbers sitcoms and police procedurals.  ‘Quantico’ on the other hand easily fits within the ABC brand. It was NOT created by Shonda Rhimes, but could easily be mistaken for a Shonda show (‘Grey’s Anatomy’, ‘Scandal’, ‘How To Get Away With Murder’).  Therefore, it likely has more fans among ABC’s corporate bigwigs.  In the long run, it will cost ABC less to keep ‘Quantico’ on the air than it will for CBS to continue with ‘Supergirl’.  Just food for thought.

Ultimately, if your favorite new shows are ‘Blindspot’ or ‘Quantico’ lay back and enjoy.  Those shows are a lock to carry on after this season.  And despite weak ratings, the same is true for ‘Scream Queens’.  But for fans of that show and those in the middle, you may want to start watching more regularly and drumming up interest among your friends and family.  As for fans of ‘Minority Report’… well, you were in the minority.

What were your favorite new shows of the fall?  And how did they do?

Source: Entertainment Weekly