May 23, 2013

THE SKED’s Fall TV Ratings Predictions – Thursday


We’re continuing our survey of the fall primetime schedule (our merry band includes former head of NBC Scheduling Mitch Metcalf, former head of NBC Current Programming Ted Frank and myself) with Thursdays, when CBS will finally do what people have been expecting for the past several seasons and expand to a 4-sitcom night.  (Here are our predictions for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.)   Note that we’ve judged the new series on the basis of the trailers released by the networks, which are designed to make them look as watchable and hilarious as possible.

Fall 2013 Ratings Estimates THU


8PM:  Only FOX is standing pat in this hour with THE X FACTOR, and we think that despite the tumult elsewhere, that show will continue to be a stable 2nd place in the hour.  CBS will hold its lead on the back of its blockbuster THE BIG BANG THEORY, but we’re not particularly strong believers in the new 8:30PM sitcom THE MILLERS, despite its pedigree of creator Greg Garcia and cast members Will Arnett, Margo Martindale and Beau Bridges, and we see a steep drop from the numbers 2 1/2 MEN was doing in that slot. PARKS & RECREATION and the new WELCOME TO THE FAMILY may lift NBC a couple of ticks from last fall’s 30 Rock/Up All Night, but that’s not saying much.  Thursday 8PM has been a wasteland for ABC in recent years, and while we don’t see ONCE UPON A TIME IN WONDERLAND coming close to winning the hour, its presold brand should at least make the network respectable.

9PM:  CBS’s decision to anchor its new comedy hour with THE CRAZY ONES is based on a simple proposition:  America will tune in to see Robin Williams.  Based on the trailer, we’re doubtful viewers will stay with the show for long, though, and while 2 1/2 Men will do better at 9:30PM, it will be at a level far below where it was with Big Bang as its lead-in.  In all, we see the hour as more or less equal to what CBS was doing with Person of Interest there last fall.  Meanwhile, it’s hard not to see NBC’s decision to place THE MICHAEL J. FOX SHOW, with its huge on-air commitment, at 9:30PM as indicating some concern about the show.  SEAN SAVES THE WORLD, with Sean Hayes, hardly seems like a powerhouse for the 9PM slot.  Still, the pairing of Must-See-TV vets Hayes and Fox should keep the lights on, and at least in the short term, NBC’s numbers shouldn’t dip too badly from the final, diminished season of The Office this past fall. GREY’S ANATOMY and GLEE should only suffer normal erosion, and ABC should duke it out with CBS for bragging rights in the hour.

10PM:  NBC’s introduction of PARENTHOOD to the hour shouldn’t affect the competition much–the show has a loyal (and long-suffering) audience, but not a particularly large one.  SCANDAL became a phenomenon midway through last season, and ended not only with a series high rating but a giant cliffhanger–as long as Shonda Rhimes can keep making jaws drop all over the country with her every lunatic plot twist, it should continue to dominate ELEMENTARY and the hour.  The real question may be how long ABC can keep Grey’s bundled with Scandal when the network has so many holes elsewhere on its schedule.

Our next stop will be Fridays, not the most watched night of the week but one with a few interesting changes next fall.


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."