TV Advertisers Bet Big on ‘X-Files’ Revival to Lead Freshman Shows

X Files Mulder
Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, the lead characters of TV’s “The X-Files,” have been known to unearth any number of rare things, like extraterrestrials, an odd religious sect and a creature known as a Flukeman. In 2016, they may be able to find something else equally unique in today’s TV landscape – ratings success.

A Variety survey of commercial-ratings projections for the 2015-2016 TV season finds ad buyers believe a revival of “The X-Files” slated to debut on Fox in January will generate the most commercial viewership among freshman scripted programs. The survey, constructed from estimates from as many as three large media-buying agencies, examines the primetime grid for the most viewers of commercials between the ages of 18 and 49, the demographic coveted most by advertisers.

Each 18-to-49 ratings point in the 2014-15 TV season was the equivalent of 1.269 million adults.

No other freshman program is expected to garner as much “C3,” the term given to the ratings because they measure average views of commercial breaks watched up to three days after a program originally airs. The metric has been the foundation upon which ad prices are established since 2007, when Madison Avenue forced a measurement change on the industry to accommodate the rising amount of viewing done with the help of digital video recorders.

Ad buyers are also banking on “Blindspot,” a serialized NBC drama slated to air on Monday nights after “The Voice,” and “The Catch,” a new drama from executive producer Shonda Rhimes that will fill in for another of her Thursday-night dramas, “How to Get Away With Murder.”

The only new comedy to make it on to the list is CBS’ “Life in Pieces,” and ad buyers have higher estimates for the show during a limited Monday-night run slated to take place before the program moves to Thursday nights later in the season.

Fox has the most freshman series on buyers’ list of top “C3” shows. Other programs expected to fare well in comparison with first-season programs are the network’s “Scream Queens,” “Lucifer” and “Frankenstein Code.” CBS’ “Supergirl” and “Limitless” are also getting top bets from ad buyers.

Among the freshman projects not on the list is NBC’s “Heroes Reborn,” a much-anticipated revival of the cult-favorite NBC sci-fi drama that ran between 2006 and 2010.  Ad buyers project “Heroes Reborn,” slated to debut on one of NBC’s more troublesome nights, will generate a C3 18-to-49 rating of 1.41 – below even the 1.48 ad buyers expect from CW’s “The Flash” on Tuesday nights.

Variety’s list of the projected top freshman programs for “C3” in the 2015-16 season follows below (the scheduling days for some of the programs have not been formally announced, but are based on buyer expectations):

1) “The X-Files,” Fox Monday 3.07

2) “Blindspot,” NBC, Monday 2.99

3) “The Catch,” ABC Thursday 2.97

4) “Scream Queens,” Fox, Tuesday 2.48

5) “Supergirl,” CBS, Monday 2.46

6) “Limitless,” CBS, Tuesday 2.07

7) “Lucifer,” Fox, Monday 2.03

8) “Frankenstein Code,” Fox, Wednesday 1.94

9) “Life in Pieces,” CBS, Monday 89

10) “Minority Report,” Fox, Monday, 1.82

The rankings do not necessarily guarantee success. Ad buyers bet big on the NBC drama “State of Affairs,” starring Katherine Heigl, but that program will not be on the gird come autumn. Of last year’s top 10 “C3” freshman programs, only five made it to a second-season renewal. Below, projections from Variety for the top “C3” shows among audiences between 18 and 49 for the 2014-15 season:

1)Thursday Night Football,” Thursday CBS 4.62

2) “State of Affairs,” Monday, NBC 2.51

3) “How to Get Away With Murder,” Thursday ABC 2.36

4)Mulaney,” Sunday, Fox 1.99

5) “Gotham,” Monday, Fox 1.93

6) “NCIS: New Orleans,” Tuesday, CBS 1.92

7) “One Big Happy,” Tuesday NBC 1.77

8) “Marry Me,” Tuesday, NBC 1.7

9) “Black-ish,” Wednesday, ABC 1.74

10) “Allegiance,” Thursday NBC 1.73

 

 

 

 

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