2015-16 Freshmen Class: How Did They Do? Tables + Analysis


Though ABC didn't have the greatest of success with their freshmen slate, they still managed to renew four new shows: Sunday procedural Quantico, which started strong and sizzled out by the end of the season; Dr. Ken, Friday multi-cam and the first post-Last Man Standing comedy to ever get renewed; The Real O'Neals, midseason Tuesday entry that couldn't get out of the 0.8-1.1 range; and Thursday Shondaland entry The Catch, which most assume was only renewed due to the Shonda Rhimes name. The question now is if any of them will get out of their second seasons alive, or if ABC finds more promise in the 2016-17 freshmen class.


CBS had a little bit of success in the post-Big Bang Theory time slot this season with Life in Pieces, though it ended weak in the 9pm time slot, something that's not a good prospect for next season. They also had the high-profile Supergirl, which started huge but needed a CW show to boost the ratings, settling in the 1.2-1.4 range. That wasn't enough for CBS to keep this Warner Brothers-produced show, though viewers can now find it on The CW. Canceled on CBS were movie remakes Limitless and Rush Hour, the latter an obvious decision and the former murkier. They did renew medical drama Code Black, as well as Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders. Neither did anything to write home about in the Wednesday at 10pm time slot, so it will be interesting to see where they go from here. Finally, there was sitcom Angel from Hell, which must not have had a ton of internal support after being pulled from the schedule with respectable, but not great, ratings. Note: the 'finale' ratings listed for Rush Hour and Angel from Hell are the ratings they had in their time slot when they were pulled from the schedule.

The CW

If I didn't tell you that Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was renewed, you may have looked at that table and figured it premiered to a 0.3 and promptly got pulled from the schedule. Nope. The lead actress managed to win a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy, but it didn't really amount to any ratings bump. Meanwhile, limited series Containment did around the same as former time slot occupant iZombie, though Containment had its work cut out for it more, spring in the spring. As a limited series, I don't really think The CW ever really was talking about potentially renewing the show. Finally, they had new Berlanti/DC entry Legends of Tomorrow, which helped improve the Thursday at 8pm time slot and was a clear renewal.


FOX only had one show this season that refused to go fractional: DC production Lucifer, which enjoyed an X-Files lead-in for the start and Gotham throughout the rest of its run. While a success story for FOX, the rest can't be said for other shows. Scream Queens reportedly saw an abnormal jump from L+SD to C3, and was popular on streaming outlets, which justifies its renewal despite very low ratings (and it didn't even have to air in the spring). Rosewood enjoyed decent ratings thanks to airing before the huge Empire, but crashed without the Empire factor, ending its season on a 0.8. All signs point to a tough season ahead for it on Thursdays. They also went 0 for 4 in the comedy department; Grandfathered and The Grinder both started OK, but then became fractional for almost their entire runs; meanwhile, Cooper Barrett and Bordertown premiered low, rose in week 2 due to football, but then quickly lost their time slots and either got pulled from the schedule, or had to air at 7pm during Daylight Savings Time. They also had fall drama Minority Report, another movie-turned-TV show that was canceled this season, and Second Chance, which was quickly taken away from its post-American Idol lead-in after underperforming. I'm not counting The X-Files as a new show (nor will I count Heroes: Reborn on NBC).


NBC had a mixed season, and two of their successes were shows that enjoyed the post-Voice time slots. Blindspot started huge but ended modest, which isn't a good sign for next season away from The Voice. Chicago Med ended up as the third in a row success story for the Chicago brand, and NBC may hope next season that viewers watch it at 9pm after Grey's Anatomy--though it risks being killed by two-hour Grey's episodes. They also found modest success in the Thursday at 10pm slo with Shades of Blue, which though nothing to right hope about was an improvement of pretty much every flop that's aired there recently, including The Player and Game of Silence. Probably a smart decision for NBC to move a veteran there, like they did. The question is if too many viewers were only watching Shades of Blue because it was on after Jennifer Lopez's other show, American Idol, though they were on different networks. One of the biggest success stories in a season that lacked true breakout hits was Superstore, NBC's first comedy success in a while, even if it was only an average player. It has its work cut out for it next season though. The same success could not be said for other comedy entries Truth be Told, Crowded, and Telenovela.

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