Monday ratings analysis: ‘Hostages’ struggles, ‘Blacklist’ impresses

Y’all may have noticed that I didn’t do analysis for Sunday’s ratings. 
The reasons were two-fold: There’s nothing to say about Sunday Night Football, while football overrun wreaked havoc on both FOX and CBS’ numbers. Then either I didn’t get Final numbers, or I got them too late and I was on to other things. Apologies.
Some VERY quick Sunday hits: “Betrayal” is, predictably, DOA, coming in way below the launch for “Pan Am” and slightly below the launch for “666 Park Avenue.” There were only two premiere week dramas that came in entirely stillborn — “Lucky 7” and “Betrayal” — and both were on ABC and both creative by David Zabel. Ugh. 
Actually, nothing else was meaningful. “Revenge” and “Once Upon a Time” were both below last fall, but above last spring. So that’s OK. And “The Good Wife” and “The Mentalist” came in really low among young viewers. REALLY low. “The Mentalist” was almost certainly in its last season anyway. I’m not sure what CBS is supposed to do about “Good Wife.”
But anyway, I’m actually here to give a quick look to the numbers from Monday, September 30, which feature a lot of good news actually. Unless you’re CBS. In that case? Not-so-good news.
Bulletpoints after the break… 
*** I’m skeptical at FOX’s ability to stay ahead of CBS overall and perhaps at ABC’s ability to stay tied with CBS in the 18-49 demo, but for today? CBS is last among the Big 4 in viewers and tied for third in the key demo. That’s not good if you’re CBS.
*** The linchpin worry for CBS is “2 Broke Girls.” Yes, it’s usually pretty awful, but it’s been a hit for CBS and not a qualified, lead-in boosted hit. It’s been a genuine, self-starting hit. And suddenly, it’s doing under 7.6 million viewers and a 2.4 in the key demo, which is all fine and dandy if you’re FOX or NBC or ABC, but if you’re CBS, those are Bubble numbers. Coming into this season, CBS must have figured “2 Broke Girls” was a long-term player with three or four more seasons in it. Suddenly? It’s falling off precipitously and the difference in syndication value for a show with five or six seasons is vastly different than for a show with three or four seasons, even if “2 Broke Girls” already has that syndication deal in place with TBS. CBS can’t risk having this property diminished and as long as CBS has a weaksauce 8:30 show, “2 Broke Girls” is going to suffer, because it isn’t self-starting like it used to. And that, in turn, is hurting “Mom,” though for CBS, it’s simultaneously encouraging and discouraging that “Mom” stick really close to its lead-in with 6.9 million viewers and a 2.2 key demo. If you’d told CBS two weeks ago that “Mom” would be within 600,000 viewers and a 0.2 of “2 Broke Girls,” folks would have been PSYCHED. 
*** If I were CBS, which I am not, I would give “We Are Men” one more episode and then pull it as fast as possible. Again, “We Are Men” did a bigger audience than any FOX comedy and a bigger 18-49 demo number than any FOX comedy other than “New Girl,” but CBS has different standards. And “We Are Men” is going to fall. Because it’s not good. Losing more than 50 percent of the only good lead-in CBS has is bad business. With “Bad Teacher” and “Mike & Molly” and “That Ensemble Thing With James Van Der Beek,” CBS has reinforcements, but nothing that’s going to be ready soon. The sad reality is that a “Big Bang Theory” repeat would probably draw 7 or 8 million viewers in that time slot and a better demo number than “Men” will do next week.
*** Yup. I’m just going to keep harping on CBS. Sorry. Over the weekend, I wrote really positive stuff about “Hostages.” “A 50 percent Live+3 DVR bump! in the 18-49 demo! A bump up to 10 million viewers! Who says “Hostages” is a dud? With is why we report on Live+3! Blah blah blah.” That was fun, wasn’t it? And now back to bad news. “Hostages” is getting crushed in Live+Same Day ratings by both “Castle” and “The Blacklist.” When you get down to a 1.5 in the key demo for a drama, that’s David Zabel Territory. [Poor David Zabel. I hated “Betrayal.” I didn’t hate “Lucky 7” at all. Bad week for the guy.]
*** On to positives! Yes, I’d guess “Blacklist” is going to slip a tiny bit in Finals from its current 12.1 million and 3.6 in the key demo. “The Voice” ran pretty deep into that 10 p.m. hour. However, that currently stands as only a 5 percent dip in the key demo from its premiere. That’s insane in today’s TV business. It’s much better than “Smash” or even “Revolution” did. And “Blacklist” did robust Live+3 numbers, too. Two weeks is a small sample, but I’d expect a Back-9 pickup in the next couple weeks. NBC’s challenge? How to handle that gap between “Voice” seasons with “Blacklist.” The long hiatus only hurt “Revolution” a little, but it definitely hurt. NBC wants to nurture this one. 
*** And FOX is feeling good about “Sleepy Hollow” and who can blame them? I talked about the retention for “Blacklist” being impressive, but “Sleepy Hollow” did a 3.4 in Fast Nationals for its premiere and it’s still at a 3.0 against a full roster of competition. The overall audience has dropped a bit more than that, but FOX probably isn’t worried. And the network now has two weeks of great Live+3 ratings for this one. A Back-9 seems inevitable except for a wee complication: “Sleepy Hollow” is in a time period that has already been promised to “The Following” at midseason. That’s a high class problem and it’s only a problem if “Almost Human” hits.  And if “Almost Human” hits, that’s a challenging complication FOX would love to have.
*** “The Voice” is popular. “Castle” is steady. “Bones” is fairly steady.