May 20, 2014

NIELSENWAR 2014-15: SHOWBUZZDAILY’S Fearless Fall Ratings Predictions – Wednesday


SHOWBUZZDAILY has taken a look at Monday and Tuesday, and now we’ll pay an early visit to next fall’s network TV Wednesdays and stick out our necks with some early ratings predictions.  As we’ve noted, the period we’re covering is September 22-December 7, when all the networks will be introducing their new shows and airing mostly fresh episodes of the veterans.  With respect to the new arrivals, our outlook is based on the track records of those involved and the trailers shown by the networks at last week’s Upfront presentations.  Without further ado, here’s what Wednesday looks like:

Wednesday Fall 2014 Estimates and 2013 Actuals

ABC:  It’s been bizarre to watch ABC fumble year after year with a line-up that includes the second-biggest sitcom on network television, and we think that ABC has finally put together an 8-10PM line-up that makes sense.  THE GOLDBERGS fits with THE MIDDLE in the night’s opening hour and should thrive with another family comedy as its lead-in.  After several mystifying efforts to couple MODERN FAMILY with comedies about anything except other families (Happy Endings, Don’t Trust the B____, Super Fun Night, Mixology), BLACK-ISH may finally be the match Family has been looking for, and Anthony Anderson could be one of the fall’s breakout stars.  Sadly for ABC, Modern Family is past its peak at this point, so Wednesday won’t be as big as it could have been a season or two ago, but better late than never.  At 10PM, NASHVILLE is what it is, likely to slip an acceptable amount from last season and continue to barely stay alive.

CBS:  SURVIVOR and CRIMINAL MINDS are two of the most stable series on any network, and both will barely slip.  It’s not likely that STALKER will be a big win at 10PM versus last season’s CSI, but it’s still a change worth making.  For one thing, its relative youthfulness could give NBC’s Chicago PD a stronger challenge, and in strictly practical terms the series is probably less costly to the network than CSI, which has a large ensemble cast and a writing/producing staff that’s been getting yearly salary increases for more than a decade.  (Coming from Kevin Williamson, creator of The Following, Stalker may be considerably more violent than CSI, but that shouldn’t bother viewers who’ve just been watching Criminal Minds.)

NBC:  We don’t see much future for the Debra Messing comedic cop vehicle MYSTERIES OF LAURA, which resembles a basic cable series and will lose some of the older female audience it seems to be targeting to ABC’s comedies.  SVU required some much-publicized budget cuts in order to stay on the air, and the part of its audience that hasn’t aged out of the demo will stay with it.  The 10PM slot comparison is slightly misleading, because CHICAGO PD didn’t launch until midseason–PD is already a big step up from last fall’s flop Ironside and will continue to be, but it’s a marginal success in its own right.

FOX:  HELL’S KITCHEN has been a dependable if unexciting performer for FOX and should remain so.  The network’s 9PM arrival is an oddity:  RED BAND SOCIETY is perhaps the least-publicized of the new fall series (FOX didn’t even release a full trailer for it, just a short behind-the-scenes featurette), and it’s about a group of teens who become friends in a hospital ward, some of them with grave diseases.  (The narrator is a boy in a coma.)  It’s certainly different, but sounds like it might have found a better home at CW or ABCFamily, where the ratings demands are lower.  If it isn’t the fall’s sleeper, it will quickly be wearing a red band of its own.

CW:  ARROW and THE 100 have done very nicely together all spring, and should continue to work as a pair.

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."