Let's Talk Smoo About: The 2015-16 Network Ratings Predictions

The numbers are in, and it appears we have an (almost) certain final rankings for the 2014-15 season:
1. NBC (2.4)
2. CBS (2.3)
3. ABC (2.2)
4. Fox (2.0)
5. CW (0.8)
The only potential change I see is if ABC miraculously pulls a 2.3 to tie CBS, but that is a 30-percent chance at best. That aside, the dynamics shifted after a 3-year holding pattern, with ABC reclaiming 3rd place and Fox falling into the fireplace. For 3 years, NBC dominated 1st, CBS closely following with 2nd, then Fox followed by ABC, trailed by CW in 5th. Moving forward, I see another potential shift among the top 3 networks. NBC still has Voice and Football, but its scripted prospects remain grim at best. CBS is where Fox was in 2012, losing traction as Idol faded. Instead of its reality platforms faltering, CBS's sitcoms and dramas are withering on the vine, generating few hits and bigger holes in its schedule. It lost its stranglehold on Mondays, and now previous megahits Criminal Minds and NCIS are becoming accustomed to 1.7-2.0 showings.
ABC's heralded resurgence is ode in part not only to quality scripted series, but the right dose of shaking up a stale schedule. And Fox also shook up its schedule, but eroded and destroyed its solid evenings. Aside from phenomenal Empire's record setting pace, there was nothing to burn for fuel in the ratings. Finally, I have to get this rhyme out:
Are you ready kids "Aye Aye Viacom"
I Can't hear you "AYE AYE VIACOM!"
Who lives in a 5th pineapple under the sea
"CW's on the TV!"
Absorbant and stable as can be
"Someone's Watching TV!"
If heavy renewal nonsense is fans' wish
"CW's on the TV!"
Then drop on the deck and ratings don't swim with the fish
"Someone's Watching TV!"
"CW's on the TV!"
"CW's on the TV!"
"CW's on the TV!"
I think this poem should remain celebratory for CW, which finally caught critic's eyes and is taking bold strokes from the run of the mill formula of scheduling. It will be a good 4 seasons before CW may see 4th place, but they are the network with the most promise.
Moving forward, I predict the following ratings for the next season:
1. NBC 2.3
2. ABC 2.2
3. CBS 2.1
4. Fox 1.9
5. CW 0.9
It sounds conceptual, but here's where these numbers are coming from by network:
It is playing safe with most of its scheduling, keeping its prized Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings in tact. It has some promising pilots, and is finally learning to schedule low-budget filler series to bridge its unsavory scheduled times. Unless TGIT erodes and all of its pilots plummet, I see ABC plowing forward in a stable momentum. It is handicapped by a lack of sports inflation, but found its niche as the scripted king. It's sitcoms are heavy, wise as they can repeat with 70-percent retention. Reality platforms may not have a loud VOICE, but have updated their formats and are performing dandy. Tuesdays present a high chance for a renaissance, and its newly weakest evening, Sunday, seems to becoming abandoned by other networks who are buckling to sports and Walking Dead. Unless six of its heavy hitters endure a 20-percent drop in demos, a stable and solid season is forecast in the once stormy waters.
The Tiffany network appears to be tarnishing its mighty metals, as its two heralded evenings, Monday and Thursday, are no longer 1st place fares. The biggest detriment is risky scheduling which damaged its sitcoms. CBS may still house the number one sitcom in Big Bang, but spring 2015 showed considerable rusting after a long winter of oversaturated reruns, coupled with people downgrading TBBT from must see to "I'll record it and watch it later". It happens to aging sitcoms, but CBS hastened the rusting by relying on reruns. TBBT was the most discussed sitcom between 2010-13, but the shine only lasts so long. The often discussed Chinese Firedrill CBS se nt its sitcoms through on the schedule is damaging strong sitcoms, and shelving three of its sitcoms until mid season is a recipe for disaster. And its scripted dramas perform around 2.0 or less, so what will bolster the schedule besides sports? 3rd place, or a 2nd place tie at best, is in the cards until CBS finds its next breakout hit. The continued erosion seems inevitable.
So why did I give the 5th Place Pineapple Under the Sea an uptick? It's because CW sported stable ratings during an eroding season, and innovative programming choices. Flash hasn't hemorrhaged too much of its initial performance, and left the air with the network's prized 1.5 demo. To quote the penguin in Batman Returns: "What you flush down your toilet, I flaunt on my mantle." CW seems to slowly but surely be generating buzzworthy hits, and if its shows deliver pressed turkey instead of a Thanksgiving Feast, CW may let the shows ride the summer waves instead of washing ashore like a beached whale. I frequently labeled this network the most improved network of the 2014-15 season, and predictions show the happy pineapple will endure lower levels of ratings pollution the other networks are plagued with.
2007-08's 1st place winner still hasn't learned how to pay its utility bills, leading to a Frigid Fall and a Mean Winter in 4th place having to burn off its dead wood in the fireplace. I don't see the network experiencing considerable decline, but will still have a seat in the fireplace among the major four networks. The programming executives still are insistent on a forgettable fall followed by marvelous mid seasons, but Empire and Idol's final season cannot carry the network alone. Fox still hasn't received the memo about restoring its meal-ticket Sundays, and is top heavy on Mondays. The rest of the schedule is forgettable, and Empire is like a trip to the casino -- A winning streak sets the ratings on fire, but loss of ignition will only burn your bank account. Fox's fortunes seem to repeat its previous seasons' performance.
The last three seasons proudly displayed the 1st place gold, but its last season relied on Sports and Voice, like dieting on 5-hour Energy Crack drinks. And the caffeine crash will be triggered if Voice declines. The fall offering of returning favorites and new pilots are middling at best, and NBC's string of freshman failures doesn't appear to be ending in the near future. For a network which delivered more critically-acclaimed series than the other networks, NBC has had trouble ridding it's camp of a grisly serial and sitcom killer like the 80's had trouble ridding itself of Freddy Kruger, Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers. While CBS stands in risky position for 3rd place, NBC stands at a higher risk of losing its falsely inflated 1st place. But if the 200's didn't teach us anything, they could always result to scripting football like "reality" TV did with its "unscripted" series invasion in the last decade.
What are your predictions for the next season? Hit me with your best comments. But remember I am known for mixing trolls in with the cement in the bridge. Muhahaha....

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