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The Major Scheduling Changes and What They'll Need to Break Even in the Ratings

I'm going to take a look at a few of the major shake-ups this season and analyze around what A18-49 demo number the average will need to be for said schedule changes to be considered a success from a ratings-only viewpoint.

Some of you are familiar with SpottedRatings, whose major claim to fame is the introduction of the 'Plus' metric, which gives ratings with respect to the Big 4 league average. For example, a show with a 100 Plus is an average-rated show, while a show with a 130 Plus rates at 130% of the league average. I'll be using that metric in the discussion below. So, let's take a look! Please be sure to leave your insights below!

1)
Network: ABC
Notable Change: Adding a 2nd comedy hour on Tuesday by moving The Middle, The Goldbergs, Fresh Off The Boat, and The Real O'Neals.
Question #1: What will the shows need to average in order for the comedies to remain the same in cumulative Plus?
Question #2: What will the shows need to improve Tuesday 8-10 and Wednesday 8-10?

Last season, the six returning weekday comedies cumulatively averaged a 122.17 Plus. For convenient math let's call the league average this season a 1.3, which would be a reasonable 11% decline. To get a 122.17 Plus this season, the 8 comedies will need to average a 1.59.

However, it is best to add Marvel's Agents of SHIELD into this, as comedy will be taking over the hour it previously occupied. As an hour-long show at just an 80 Plus, this drags the goal down to a 101.63 Plus, or a 1.32. Now that's not as hard to beat, at least with Modern Family in the picture.

So the lesson is, while it may be a challenge for ABC's weekday comedy brand to perform better than it did last season with this move, it shouldn't be as hard on average to improve Tuesday/Wednesday 8-10pm. Of course, some half-hours will be down in the process, in fact there's a small, yet still possible, chance that almost all of last season's comedy slots are down in Plus, the fact that SHIELD and its 80 Plus are averaged into this make it easier to see improvement. So there's really two ways of looking at this if the weekday comedy average is a 1.4 A18-49 L+SD rating. You can say it's a failure because comedy as a whole is down year-to-year as a result of the change, or you can say it's a success because overall the Tuesday and Wednesday 8-10pm slots are overall improved over what was there last season.

2)
Network: CBS
Notable Change: Adding 2 new hours of comedy on Monday by moving 2 Broke Girls and The Odd Couple and transferring Supergirl over to our favorite 10-hour network, as well as moving Scorpion back to 10pm.
The Question: What will the shows have to average to improve Monday nights?

Last season, Supergirl, Scorpion, and NCIS: LA averaged a cumulative 109 Plus. A 109 Plus this season, provided the league average is a realistic 1.3 demo rating, would be a 1.42 demo rating.

Also last season, the cumulative average for 2 Broke Girls, Scorpion, and The Odd Couple was a 110 Plus; something 2 Broke Girls has never done and The Odd Couple's average is deceivingly high due to a fair share of post-Big Bang airings. Meaning that not only will all three of these shows need to stay even in Plus, but Kevin Can Wait and Man with a Plan will also have to perform above average in order for this schedule change to break even in the ratings. The good news? This is presumably a much cheaper option than renewing Supergirl.

3)
Network: NBC
Notable Change: Moving Superstore and Chicago Med to Thursdays while pushing back The Blacklist to 10pm.
The Question: What will the cumulative average need to be in order to improve Thursday nights?

Lots of shows aired on Thursday last season for NBC, but the final line-up of NBC's Thursday last season consisted of reality show Strong at 8pm, The Blacklist at 9 (the only constant for what seemed like a much longer time than it was), and Game of Silence at 10. That adds to up a 65.33 Plus! Or, in what's likely to be this season's standards, around a 0.85 A18-49 rating.

Based on premiere numbers, they shouldn't have all that much trouble clearing that with this season's numbers; though there were some stronger shows in the mix like Heroes: Reborn and Shades of Blue, neither set the ratings world on fire and only one got out of the season alive. So, if NBC sees 1.0s across the board this season from their new Thursday line-up, they'll have an improvement, and Chicago Med will be making backend revenue in no time. Not to mention ad rates for the night will probably be up significantly.