May 21, 2012


The new fall schedules have been announced by the broadcast networks and the new series have been picked up, so it’s time to reveal the SHOWBUZZDAILY FALL RATINGS ESTIMATES for the upcoming television season.  Today we begin a week-long series examining the audience potential for each network night-by-night, and the trends versus last year.  Like the Nielsen week, we’ll  start with Monday. 

We are forecasting that CBS will win Monday nights again this fall, despite declining significantly from last fall’s torrid pace.  NBC will move from an embarrassing fourth place Monday last fall to a very competitive second place, thanks to The Voice expanding to fall.  ABC should fall from second to third place by doing nothing on the night, while FOX should drop from third to fourth place on the night as The Mob Doctor attempts to replace House.    



CBS ran away with Monday nights last fall by casting an already well-known television comedy star to replace Charlie Sheen on the flagship Two and a Half Men (as opposed to NBC’s thoroughly bungled Steve Carell transition on The Office) and introducing a new hit in 2 Broke Girls.  CBS also benefited from limited competition from NBC, which tried to promote The Sing-Off from a short-run holiday special to be the centerpiece of its Monday night.  Well, this fall NBC is showing up with a proven hit series, and Two and a Half Men is off to Thursday night to end its long run.  

CBS‘s Monday begins as it did last year with How I Met Your Mother.  Another year older and facing stiffer competition from the beginning of The VoiceMother should average a 4.1 rating with Adults 18-49 (original episodes only), down from a 4.4 last year.  At 8:30 the new comedy Partners should act more like typical satellite comedy than 2 Broke Girls did last year, falling from its lead-in to a still very credible 3.7 rating (compared to the 4.5 rating 2 Broke Girls posted last fall in the time period).  The Mutchnick/Kohan comedy Partners (basically the writers’ own story, a gay and straight pair of best friends who work together, but as architects instead of TV writer/producers) looks compatible with Mother, but its audience, like its protagonists, will probably skew a bit older.  At 9:00, 2 Broke Girls will take over the anchor position from Two and a Half Men and should average a 4.3 rating (down from the 5.3 Men averaged last fall and down a bit from the 4.5 Girls averaged at 8:30).  Remember, last fall’s numbers for the entire CBS Monday line-up were inflated by the first few weeks when the Ashton Kutcher version of Men premiered with a mammoth 10.7 rating and pulled a 7.4 rating in week two.   Girls is a solid show, but it might not have the male appeal to push it into high-4 ratings consistently.  At 9:30, Mike & Molly keeps chugging along, probably with a 3.9 rating (down from a 4.2 rating last year).  The night concludes with Hawaii Five-O with a 2.7 rating (still in first place, but down from the 3.1 it averaged last fall with the help of a rejuvenated Two and a Half Men).  The night adds up to a 3.6 rating, down 13%  from the 4.1 last year but still a nightly win for CBS and one of the strongest nights of the week on any network.


NBC is back in business on Monday nights.  You’d have to go back to the heyday of Heroes to find an NBC Monday with this much promise.  Moving The Voice into the fall would seem to have been a no brainer, but NBC did not do it last year when it first had the chance, probably for a mix of logistic reasons and concern about wearing the show out.  But after a long season without any real hits, NBC had no choice this time around.  The Voice should average a 4.0 rating from 8-10 pm (a 3.9 at 8 pm and a 4.1 at 9 pm), a vast improvement over The Sing-Off and its barely-there 1.5 rating.  Like most shows, The Voice will probably premiere much higher than its average rating (most likely a high-4), but week in and week out, look for a high-3 or very low-4 rating.  At 10 pm, NBC turns to JJ Abrams and Revolution.  While not a Playboy Club fiasco (1.3 rating in the time period last fall) or a Rock Center debacle (1.1 rating Monday at 10 pm in its first of many time periods), Revolution will probably average a more credible 2.2 rating, third in the hour but virtually doubling last year’s incumbents.  Revolution should get off to a good start, thanks to its Voice lead-in and what’s sure to be a heavy promotional push, but sci-fi genre shows like this (think V, Jericho, No Ordinary Family, etc, not to mention Heroes itself) can have a hard maintaining a broad audience, and the story of a post-apocalyptic world without electronics could quickly lose its juice.  For the night, NBC Monday should be up 143% (from a 1.4 to a 3.4 this fall).        


ABC is standing pat with Dancing with the Stars and Castle.  Again, age and The Voice will take its toll on Dancing, most likely drifting down to a high-2 rating from a 3.3 last year (similar to its performance this spring when it faced The Voice the first time for a full cycle).  Similarly, Castle should lose a few tenths, moving from a 2.6 last fall to a 2.4 this fall.  (Revolution on NBC will likely premiere relatively high, beating Castle out for second place in the hour the first few weeks of the season, but Castle should regain second place sometime in October.)  Across the night, ABC should be down about 14% to a third-place 2.7 rating (compared to a 3.1 last fall).      

FOX returns Bones to 8 pm, which should provide a reliable but unspectacular 2.1 rating.  Although there is no long-term upside for a show as established as Bones, the best news for FOX is that the show will provide a ratings floor in the hour.  The same cannot be said for The Mob Doctor at 9 pm.  The materials released so far are unexciting, without the distinctiveness that made House a long-running hit–and it’s unlikely FOX can allow the story (about a young Chicago doctor forced to provide medical services to the mob) to go as dark as a cable network would   We are giving Mob Doctor a 1.8 average rating for the fall, which would make it the lowest rated network program on Monday.  That 1.8 estimate might be high, and it could very well be gone by Election Day.



Please keep in mind that these estimates for the new shows are based on the trailers produced for the advertiser upfront presentations.  As the actual pilots become available and the networks start their marketing campaigns for the new shows, we reserve the right to adjust our projections here and there.     

Check out ratings predictions for each night of the week this fall: Monday  Tuesday  Wednesday  Thursday  Friday  Saturday  Sunday

About the Author

Mitch Metcalf
MITCH METCALF has been tracking every US film release of over 500 screens (over 2300 movies and counting) since the storied weekend of May 20, 1994, when Maverick and Beverly Hills Cop 3 inspired countless aficionados to devote their lives to the art of cinema. Prior to that, he studied Politics and Economics at Princeton in order to prepare for his dream of working in television. He has been Head of West Coast Research at ABC, then moved to NBC in 2000 and became Head of Scheduling for 11 years.