May 20, 2013

THE SKED’s Fall TV Ratings Predictions – Monday


The Upfronts are over, which means the real Upfronts are about to begin–that is, the networks’ advance sale of advertising time (usually about 80% of the season’s total) for the Fall 2013 TV season.  Although last week’s Upfront presentations now serve a marketing and publicity purpose as well, their original–and still most important–goal is to convince advertisers to buy the new schedule and buy big.  As part of this arduous and ever-more-complicated process (which now includes negotiating what time period after initial airing and what platforms an ad buy should include), every ad agency and time buyer in the business is estimating just what the ratings will be in every timeslot, so they can value what they’re buying and what they’re willing to pay.

We’re doing the same.  All this week, we’ll be bringing you our fearless ratings estimates for next fall’s primetime network TV line-up, based on the schedules announced last week and the trailers the networks have released for each of their new shows.  (We’ll review the pilots themselves as they become available, but since the trailers cherry-pick the best moments from each pilot, if anything we’re likely to be overestimating their quality for now.)   As always, these estimates are put together by Mitch Metcalf, former head of Scheduling at NBC, and Ted Frank, NBC’s former head of Current Programming, as well as myself.

Let’s kick things off with Monday:

Fall 2013 Ratings Estimates MON


8PM:  The only major change in this hour is CBS’s addition of the sitcom WE ARE MEN at 8:30PM.  We’re about as enthused with that pilot as we were with last year’s Partners, which barely made it to midseason.  The result is an hour that should look very much like it did last season, with some marginal erosion of the numbers for the veteran shows.  (Note:  ALMOST HUMAN will replace BONES on FOX late in the fall, we think to little effect in the timeslot.)  THE VOICE should continue to dominate the first 2 hours of the night.

9PM:  CBS and FOX have new shows in this hour, the comedy MOM and the supernatural thriller SLEEPY HOLLOW.  We’re less impressed with Mom than the conventional wisdom would have it–as much of a critics’ darling as Anna Faris is, we don’t think she’s going to mean as much to the CBS audience as Melissa McCarthy did in Mike & Molly–and with the shakiness of 2 BROKE GIRLS this past spring, we think CBS is going to be significantly weaker in the 9PM hour than it was a year ago.  The good news for FOX is that we believe Sleepy Hollow will fare much better than last fall’s bomb The Mob Doctor, although nowhere near the numbers FOX was pulling this past spring with THE FOLLOWING in this hour.

10PM:  Both NBC and CBS are launching new thrillers here, THE BLACKLIST and HOSTAGES.  We give the solid edge to The Blacklist , which will have a much better lead-in, and has a far more promotable hook with what amounts to James Spader as a less murderous Hannibal Lecter.  It may not get off to the big start that Revolution had coming off last year’s Summer Olympics, but it should hold better throughout the fall instead of suffering Revolution‘s consistent decline.  All this change should help CASTLE hold steady, even with a declining lead-in, especially because it’s the only female-skewing show in the hour.

What do you think?  Let us know in the Comments if you’re reading the night differently than we are.

Predictions for other nights:


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."