Ratings Premiere Predictions: Family Guy, The Simpsons, and Bob's Burgers

The Ratings Junkie Friday, June 12, 2015
Segment #3 of Ratings Premiere Predictions will take a look into FOX's three fall animated shows: Family Guy, The Simpsons, and Bob's Burgers. The first two, especially The Simpsons, will be incredibly hard to predict due to football. Here goes:

Family Guy

Network: FOX
Time SlotSunday at 9
Competition: Sunday Night Football, Blood and Oil, The Good Wife, The Walking Dead, more
Lead-in: Brooklyn 9-9
Lead-out: The Last Man On Earth
2013 Premiere: 2.6 A18-49
2014 (Non-Crossover) Premiere: 1.9 A18-49
2015 Finale: 1.3 A18-49

I consider Family Guy to be the strongest show in FOX's Sunday line up. It is not always the #1 show of the night for them, but that is because The Simpsons several times has been boosted by massive football lead-ins, which as a result may also make Brooklyn 9-9 look stronger than Family Guy as well. Based on these recent ratings figures, I don't see how Family Guy could possibly do much than a couple of tenths better or worse than The Simpsons. It's tough to decide which one. As a result, I will give them both the exact same ratings range.

Range: 2.2-2.9
Prediction: 2.6

The Simpsons

Network: FOX
Time SlotSunday at 8
Competition: Madam Secretary, Sunday Night Football, Once Upon A Time
Lead-in: Bob's Burgers
Lead-out: Brooklyn 9-9
2013 Premiere: 2.9 A18-49 (after 4.7 from The OT)
2014 (Non-Crossover) Premiere: 2.0 A18-49
2015 Finale: 1.3 A18-49

The Simpsons has been all over the place in ratings lately. Even though it recently wrapped up its 26th season, it is still affected greatly by facing awards shows and special events. That is not to say the show is not strong--since some of these shows, such as the SNL40 special, hit a similar demographic to The Simpsons, who would blame them for watching the live special event and tape the 26-year-old cartoon?

The Simpsons does tend to premiere at relatively high numbers, and most likely see a better lead-in than last year's 1.4 from Bob's Burgers (more on that below). Plus, it usually grows from its lead-in. There is usually a chain affect in FOX's Sunday line-up when football does better than usual, which extends at least until the 9pm hour. 

Range: 2.2-2.9
Prediction: 2.5

Bob's Burgers

Network: FOX
Time SlotSunday at 7:30
Competition: America's Funniest Home Videos, NFL Pre-Game, 60 Minutes
Lead-in: The OT
Lead-out: The Simpsons

2013 Premiere: 2.2 A18-49 (aired at 8:30)
2014 Premiere: 1.4 A18-49 (after The Simpsons-R)
2015 Finale: 0.9 A18-49 (after The Simpsons-R)

Smell that? No, it's not the smell of a burger made by Bob, it's the smell of all three animated shows declining massively in the ratings since their 2013 premieres. Family Guy was down the least, at *only* 50%. All three shows really fluctuate based on the competition and event. For example, the Simpsons Guy crossover episode, strangely missing Bob's Burgers, hit a rating double than the second episode of the season for both shows.

The scheduling for this show has been all over the place. In spring 2014, FOX moved it to 7pm to make room for Cosmos (see my Animation Domination article for more on that). It was originally slated to air the entire 2014-2015 season at 7:30; however, after its first episode it got preempted for football overrun through the rest of October, and after that FOX used it as Mulaney's temporary replacement at 9:30. It finally went back to its 7:30 time slot when The Last Man On Earth premiered in March.

What Bob's Burgers has going for it this season is instead of airing after reruns of The Simpsons for the season premiere, it airs after The OT, FOX's post-game NFL football show. (Note: the reruns of The Simpsons had a 0.6 A18-49 rating for both Bob's 2014 premiere and 2015 finale) Now, I'm not sure if Bob's Burgers ever aired after The OT before.  Assuming it actually does air at 7:30 and doesn't get preempted, I'm going to have to make my prediction for this season's premiere a bit above its more recent numbers. As mentioned earlier, when The OT led off at 7:30 with a 4.7, The Simpsons returned with a 2.9. However, that game hit a bit above what NFL games normally do, so I wouldn't expect numbers quite that high.

Range: 1.9-2.9
Prediction: 2.1

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