So CBS just announced the winner of the post Super Bowl slot will be their freshmen Sherlock Holmes drama Elementary. On a certain level it makes sense for CBS to want to give a new drama a big boost, and out of all their new shows, it’s the one doing the best – by far. It regularly is getting a 2.3 in the demo and adds another 1.2 in L7. It’s their most critically acclaimed drama, and one of the best liked among all the nets new offerings. It’s also performing the best of any new drama not Revolution. With at least 100 million guaranteed to watch the Super Bowl, it makes sense that CBS would want to showcase this drama and hopefully get a boost for it in weeks to come.And yet, I think they could have picked something else that would guarantee to benefit their bottom line much more than Elementary.
All evidence has shown that when procedurals run after the Super Bowl, the shows don’t get any kind of bounce in their regular slot. CBS used 2007s post SB slot to highlight the dark and gruesome Criminal Minds (a bad fit if there ever was one) and when the show aired in its regular slot it got no boost. Even when FOX chose House in 2008, at its height, it didn’t result in a larger audience for the show after. (In all fairness that was the year of the writer’s strike and the show didn’t return with a regular run of new eps for a few months).The post Super Bowl shows that have gotten the biggest boost in the last decade have been reality shows. CBS used it twice to bring Survivor mega ratings. Last year The Voice parlayed their post Super Bowl S2 premiere to a 6.7 the next night in its regular slot. The last time CBS had the Super Bowl in 2010, they smartly used it to launch the mass appeal, Undercover Boss. The show had a massive debut, with almost 40 million viewers and more importantly it gave CBS a big hit on Sunday for the rest of that season, on a night they weren’t doing much business from 9-11. The next week the show had a very large 5.0, against the Olympics no less. A few weeks ago I suggested CBS take a page from their own book and use the post SB slot for their just greenlit version of BAKE OFF, an American version if the mega UK hit.(scheduling-thoughts-bake-off-last-resort-private-practice-and-more).Like UB, its the kind of show that should be appealing to everyone from ages 6-86. CBS could then air it regularly Sundays at 9 and possibly give them a huge hit on Sundays (while giving one of their dramas a hiatus).
As much as I understand CBS wanting to expose Elementary to more eyeballs, I just don’t see an older skewing procedural getting a big boost from it in the long run. Frankly, as much as 2 Broke Girls isn’t the best fit, as its more adult, it would stand to get a much bigger long-term boost. It could certainly use one, as it’s CBSs Monday anchor and down from its numbers last season. The night after the Super Bowl it would then air another new ep in its regular slot. (CBS could possibly air an hour ep post SB or even air another new ep of TBBT after it that night). With NBCs The Voice on hiatus til March 25th, this could be a big boost to CBS Monday.
It’s possible Bake Off wouldn’t be ready by the beginning of February and either way, airing Elementary after the SB won’t hurt and could possibly add viewers to its ratings tally in weeks to come, from people who would have never watched it otherwise. My gut (and the evidence from past years) suggests that a procedural, even a really good one, won’t get a long term ratings spike. What’s more surprising to me is that there are at least 2 other shows that are a better fit and will more likely get a bigger long-term boost and thus better help CBSs bottom line.