During the next month, 20 new shows will debut, and half of them will be lucky to make it to a second season. As I wrote at Quartz, CBS is trying its best to beat the odds:
Its new shows are almost carbon copies of a beloved long-running series in time slots immediately before them (known as a show’s lead-in) or after them (its lead-out), in an effort to capture as much of the returning show’s audience as possible.
At TCA summer press tour, I spoke with CBS Entertainment Chairman Nina Tassler about her strategy that paired Criminal Minds with Stalker, Madam Secretary with The Good Wife and (duh!) NCIS with NCIS: New Orleans:
“It may not be where people end up consistently watching a show, but when you’re in this ‘discovery’ phase—when audiences are trying and sampling—that’s when I think lead-in matters more than anything,” Tassler told Quartz.
One of the reasons I love writing for Quartz is being able to do stories like today’s: an explanation why the broadcast networks are being more patient than ever with new shows, as they rely more heavily on Nielsen’s “live plus seven” ratings. As I wrote,
Delayed-viewing is “significantly higher” than last year, CBS research chief David Poltrack told USA Today, adding that even older viewers, historically late adopters of new technology, are jumping on board. “The world has definitely changed,” says Poltrack.
I’m happy that delayed-viewing ratings have boosted the fortunes of several of my favorite low-rated series, like Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Bridge and The Americans.
At Parade, I spoke with Dylan McDermott and Toni Collette about their new CBS drama, Hostages. McDermott admitted to me that he was concerned at first whether the show’s kidnapping premise could be sustained over a whole series:
It’s a concern of everybody’s, but that’s the coolest thing about the show, that people are asking that. Because it means people are paying attention. All the looming questions will be answered, and it will go on for multiple seasons because of those answers.
At TCA summer press tour in July/August, I spent a lot of time speaking to the stars of fall’s most anticipated series — including several of my favorite freshman shows, like The Blacklist, Masters of Sex and Brooklyn Nine-Nine — for this Parade roundup of Fall’s Top 10 New Shows. Look for more extended Q&As with each star in the weeks ahead.