There’s obviously nothing more important to the long-term success of a show than its ratings, but the numbers during a first season are notoriously unreliable. Typically what’s far more important than generating a huge number of viewers is carving out a niche of hyper-supportive people that will tune in weekly over the long haul. Take Joey and Big Bang Theory, for example. The former debuted to more than eighteen million viewers, but it slowly bled off its audience until Season 1 closed with less than nine million viewers. The latter premiered to nine million viewers and ended the season at about seven and a half. By the end of Season 2, Joey was cancelled and Big Bang Theory was actually growing its audience.
So, what new shows will wind up being Big Bang Theorys of this year? I’ve spent the past few days using my Patrick Jane-like non-psychic reasoning skills. I’ve examined ratings. I’ve searched around Internet fan boards, and I’ve used a healthy dose of common sense, mixed in with a wee bit of personal bias to come up with a group of eight I predict will be churning out new episodes five years from now.
Plaster on your best agreement or disagreement faces and get ready for the big reveals. These are seven shows that will make it over the long haul…
FOX’s Brooklyn Nine-NineCritical Response: Big Thumbs Up.
Ratings: Not Good. Holding Steady Between 3 and 4 million.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s ratings are borderline embarrassing. Ten years ago, similar numbers would have caused plenty of double takes and an immediate cancellation, but in 2013 on a network that’s floundering, they were enough to generate a back nine order and even enthusiasm. You see, the ratings might be terrible, but they’re the same level of terrible every single week. Since episode three, every new airing has generated somewhere between 3.34 and 3.84 million viewers, which means the show has found an audience and ideally will be able to build on it. In fact, the total viewers have been up marginally three weeks in a row.
Considering the show is hysterical, it was created by Office and Parks and Recreation producer Michael Schur and the demographics skew very young, there is every reason to think FOX will give the show as long as possible to find its footing and build a slightly bigger audience. If it can do that and hold steady around 5 million or so, there’s no reason to think it won't have a trajectory along the lines of Community, Raising Hope or if all of the stars align, 30 Rock.