May 22, 2014

NIELSENWAR 2014-15: SHOWBUZZDAILY’S Fearless Fall Ratings Predictions – Full Network Week


Here are our night-by-night ratings predictions for the Fall network television season:  Monday,  Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday,  Fridayand Sunday

Now that we’ve gone through each night’s Fall ratings, let’s pull back and take a look at the big picture for each of the broadcast networks.

Full Week Fall 2014 Nightly Average Estimates

ABC:  Standing still isn’t necessarily a bad thing in the world of broadcast television these days, and while most of its competition heads downward, we think ABC will show strength by staying even.  Gains on Thursday (a triple-feature of Shonda Rhimes dramas), Friday (the continued strength of Shark Tank and 20/20, and an upgrade at 8:30PM with Cristela), and Sunday (Resurrection considerably more potent than last year’s Betrayal) will be off-set by standard erosion for Dancing With the Stars and Castle on Monday and the absence on Tuesday of anything like the initial burst of enthusiasm for Agents of SHIELD.  ABC will still be in 3rd place this fall with a 1.8 primetime average, but that’s because it doesn’t air NFL football.  Considering the huge cost of that programming, the network’s bottom line should belie its ranking.

CBS:  The network’s modest 3% rise for the fall to 2.1 can be explained in 3 words:  Thursday Night Football.  That will give CBS a huge 39% boost on Thursdays, which will paper over the deeper problems the network will continue to have.  Mondays will be up only because the Thursday football games allow CBS to move The Big Bang Theory there for 5 weeks; after that, the night will slump.  All the other nights of the week are likely to be down, although Sunday merits an asterisk, since CBS is switching the successful The Amazing Race with the much riskier Madam Secretary with its eyes open and presumably a larger strategy in mind.  It’ll be football, though, that puts CBS in 2d place for the fall.

NBC:  The network will once again win the fall with a 2.4 primetime average, and you can guess why:  Sunday Night Football will more than double NBC’s results on any other night of the week.  In fact, with the exception of CBS’s football Thursdays, it’ll more than double the results of any network on any night.  Because NBC pays roughly $50M per Sunday for the right to show those games, its ranking has very little to do with its financial health.  And the rest of the week is far less pretty.  The downward slide of The Voice will hurt both Mondays and Tuesdays (in addition, Tuesday’s sitcoms appear headed for medium-level success at best), and the only reason Thursdays are slightly up is because the network will be shoring it up with the venerable Biggest Loser, a show with little upside.

FOX:  It’s not going to get any easier for FOX, which will follow its lousy May sweeps result with an ugly 4th place fall and a 1.7 primetime average.  Only Gotham looks promising among its new shows, and Tuesday (Utopia and 2 floundering sitcoms) and Wednesday (Hell’s Kitchen and Red Band Society) are particularly scary, with Thursday (Bones into Gracepoint) not far behind.  In order to avoid this disaster, FOX will need more than Gotham to succeed in the fall.

CW:  This netlet operates in a different ratings universe from the others, and it should hold fairly stable in the fall with an 0.7 average.  Big upticks on Monday and Friday (with the additions of The Originals and Whose Line Is It Anyway, respectively) will balance out some age-driven erosion on Wednesday and Thursday.

Are we crazy?  Let us know in the comments below!

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."