UPDATE: Tues 9/22 1:51PM. – Clearly I got A LOT wrong (Although if you’re keeping score I pretty much called ABC, NBC minus THE EVENT, and CBS minus H50, but I was completely wrong on FOX). I was wrong on the 3 major new dramas, by A LOT, so I am out of the ratings predicting business. Feel free to read what my predictions were and why, if you like.
Monday night is the first night of the ’10-’11 TV season. Every network is showing up with their big guns. I actually expect every network to have something to be proud of. I’m gonna take a shot and attempt to predict the actual numbers for all 4 major networks (in the 18-49 demo). I will make my guesses based on ratings trends from the past, buzz, and my gut. I don’t expect to get this on the nose. The beauty of TV is that it’s unpredictable. In comparing this to the first night of last season, it’s worth noting that HOUSE aired a very highly publicized 2 hour premiere that knocked the wind out of everyone. This year it’s a one hour episode, also one that breaks format, but the CBS comedies won’t face it at 9pm this year. Last year NBC aired a 2 hour Heroes & Leno and came in 4th. I think NBC has a much better shot this year. So here we go, each network in alphabetical order:
ABC – Dancing With The Stars/Castle
The only net with the exact same lineup as last year. I expect ABC to be up over last year on this night, but how much is a guess. Last Fall’s edition of DWTS was their lowest rated ever as was their premiere night. They had too many couples and the casting was boring. ABC seemed to learn from it and the Spring had the fewest couples in years and the casting was buzzworthy. Last Fall DWTS had a 4.1 on premiere night. The Spring edition had their highest rated premiere ever with a 6.3. Though this year’s casting hedges closer to the Spring edition, in March they are the only premiere on the night, having been off for 4 months. In the Fall everyone has been off for 4 months and I think there is interest for other shows too. So my guess for DWTS will be in the middle of both editions from last year. I’m gonna say at most a 5.0 with a 5.5 in the last half but I a m gonna guess the half hour breakdown over 2 hours as such: 4.0/4.5/5.0/5.5 so it should get a 4.8 over the two hours. I assume ABC will put the most buzzworthy contestants – Bristol Palin (with a shot of Mom in the audience) and The Situation as the final 2 performers and promote them all show long.
Castle last year had a 2.3. They will definitely be up, but their biggest night ever was a 3.5 and that was after March’s mammoth premiere of DWTS which had a 7.0 in the final half hour. It also faced CSI:MIAMI and not the premiere of one of the most buzzed about new shows. I don’t foresee DWTS having more than a 5.5 in final half, so I’m gonna say Castle will get between a 2.8-3.0
CBS – How I Met Your Mother/Rules Of Engagement/Two And A Half Men/Mike & Molly/Hawaii 5-0
I expect the 8p hour of HIMYM/Rules to be close to last year and both shows get around a 3.7
Two and A Half Men should get a 5.0 at least (up from last year). I’m gonna say Mike & Molly will drop some from lead in and will still get a strong 4.0
10p – Hawaii 5-0 – this show and THE EVENT are the two shows tracking the best in all those pre season polls. I expect them both to open big. I’m gonna guess H5-0 will open bigger as 1) there’s the recognition factor 2) 10p no huge competition 3) CBS has a bigger, more loyal audience than any other net 4) V’s reboot last year got a 5.2 on premiere night against major competition.
H5-0 was on for 12 years (way bigger than original V). You have all those fans of the original. You have Alex O fans. You have LOST fans.You have Battlestar Fans. You have a stellar advertising campaign by CBS. I’m gonna say the shows debuts to at least a 5.7.
FOX – House/Lone Star
HOUSE – I don’t foresee it being as big as last year as it’s not 2 hours and even though somewhat non traditional again, just doesn’t have the same movie vibe as last year’s ep. However fans most definitely will want to see the coupling of House and Cuddy so I’m gonna guess between a 5.0-5.5, so let’s say 5.4
LONE STAR – I think this show has a shot at finding an audience, unfortunately that 9p hour is filled with hits and of the new shows I expect THE EVENT to premiere stronger. That doesn’t mean it will be the bigger long-term hit, just on premiere night. I still think this show will debut decently, and losing much of its HOUSE lead in this week will be due more to its competition. I expect it to get a low or mid 3. Let’s say 3.5 which is a great start for this quieter show and way above what LIE TO ME was averaging in this hour last year.
NBC – Chuck/The Event/Chase
I’m gonna say CHUCK will be close to its levels last Spring and debut with a 2.2.
THE EVENT – Pre season tracking is huge. NBC mounted a huge and impressive campaign. I expect people to show up on night 1. Whether they stay is a guess, but certainly night 1. Flash Forward debuted to a 4.0 last year. Considering that 9p there are higher HUT, I’m gonna say the show debuts with a 4.7
CHASE – considering the competition in this hour I will say the show debuts with the same 2.8-3.0 as CASTLE, a good score considering H50 is in the hour.
Based on this, here are my predictions for nightly averages for the nets:
CBS – 4.6
FOX – 4.4
ABC – 4.1
NBC – 3.3
By no means do I think this is exactly how it will shake out and I’m curious to hear other, even dissenting opinions, and why, so feel free to leave a comment.