CBS has picked freshman drama Elementary to follow the network’s broadcast of the Super Bowl on February 3. The networks occasionally opt to launch new series behind the Super Bowl, like Fox did with American Dad (in tandem with The Simpsons) in 2005, and CBS premiered Undercover Boss the last time it had the Super Bowl in 2010. But for the most part, the rule of thumb has been to put a young show on an upswing behind the big game to help it get to the next level. Recent examples include CBS’ Criminal Minds, ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, Fox’s Glee and NBC’s The Voice. (Overall, reality series have fared better than scripted following American TV’s highest-rated yearly telecast.)
Most shows have to wait until at least Season 2 to be considered for the plum post-Super Bowl slot, which was the case with Criminal Minds, Grey’s Anatomy and The Voice. In the case of CBS, its second-season Super Bowl hopefuls this year included comedy 2 Broke Girls, which could’ve landed a ratings punch in a combo with hit The Big Bang Theory; and drama Person Of Interest. All these series are from Warner Bros TV, while Elementary hails from CBS’ sibling CBS TV Studios.
While it hasn’t been a breakout hit, Sherlock Holmes reboot Elementary is the strongest of CBS’ fall batch of new series, and a Super Bowl boost could help it grow to have a respectable run on CBS and hopefully land an off-network syndication deal, which would represent a financial windfall for CBS Corp. Season to date, Elementary is averaging 14.2 million viewers and 3.5/10 in adults 18-49 in its most current ratings, which include sizable Live+7 boosts for the first four weeks of the season.