We hosted an investor meeting with an industry expert aimed at gaining insights into how the 2015–2016 Fall television season is setting up. The bullets below summarize the views of the expert. In summary, though, remember there are only two networks where results could potentially move the needle on the stocks -- Fox and CBS. And all eyes are on Fox in that respect. Fox's ratings appear to have nowhere to go but up. CBS is taking the most chances -- single camera comedies and Supergirl are "off brand", but look good and could bring a younger audience in for sampling. More broadly, overall 2+ viewership is stable, but declines in key demos will likely occur again (though probably won't accelerate).
No Place to Go for FOX But Up–FOX ratings are expected to be up, primarily due to the replacement of disappointing Utopia with Empire in the Fall season. (Empire debuted in the Spring season last year.) Wednesday ratings are expected to be up dramatically as Empire and new show Rosewood replace American Idol. Tuesday's are also expected to be better following a complete overhaul, with Grandfathered, The Grinder and Scream Queens replacing Utopia, New Girl and The Mindy Project.
CBS Expected to Maintain Pole Position, Benefit from Some Risk Taking–Overall, the CBS schedule is expected to be solid and the network is expected to maintain both its total viewers ratings and number one ranking. CBS is launching Supergirl on Monday night after Thursday Night Football ends and Big Bang Theory is moved back to Thursday night. In a season where not many chances are being taken, Supergirl is viewed as a somewhat risky move as it breaks up CBS's Monday night comedy block, which the network has had for decade. Even more out of precedent, this will be the first time since 1949 that CBS doesn't have a Monday night comedy. However, bringing in Supergirl - which is expected to do modestly well from a ratings perspective - is viewed as a strategic positive as it should attract a younger demographic and drive more social media buzz. On the sitcom front, CBS is launching two new single camera comedies - Angels from Hell and Life in Pieces - that are a break from the traditional multiple camera CBS comedies. The ratings for Angels from Hell aren't expected to be much better than the show it is replacing (the canceled McCarthy's). Life in Pieces, which is reminiscent of Parenthood, is expected to be solid and benefit from Big Bang Theory flow through (which it will follow on Thursday night post-Thursday Night Football).
Solid Outlook for ABC but Missing Opportunities–ABC is expected to maintain its ratings after the strong results last year. Most of the week isn't being changed with the exception of Tuesday - where The Muppets is expect to be solid - and Sunday - where Oil and Of Kings and Prophets replace Resurrection and Revenge. Key lynch pins - the Thursday Shonda night and Dancing with the Stars - are expected remain strong. However, the overall view was that, while ABC has a good schedule, the lineup is too "safe" and they could have done more.
Should Be Smooth Sailing for NBC-NBC ratings are expected to remain stable on the backs of Sunday Night Football and The Voice. While The Voice has likely already peaked, ratings are expected to remain fairly stable, particularly given the move to switch judges. Moving The Blacklist from Monday to Thursday helped the Thursday night line up, but hurt the show as it lost 30% of its audience. However, it is still viewed as a hit and the ratings have stabilized at the lower levels. While the Neil Patrick Harris variety show is expected to do well, the view was the show may have been better positioned on Sunday night. The current Tuesday night slot could make it feel like a place holder until Chicago Fire starts after the 10 week run of the variety show.
All values in USD unless otherwise noted.