Moving into Monday night’s premiere of Manifest, should we have expectations that this is the next big hit?
We know that for NBC, there are certainly some high expectations out there that this show could be something special. For starters, it feels like it’s been a minute since we’ve had the high-concept drama in this vein on TV. Back when Lost was on the air, these were shows that you were getting on a near-constant basis. Now, we’re not seeing it anywhere near as much. (There are some pretty easily comparisons between Manifest and Lost, in particular when it comes to the airplane setting.)
To go along with this, we also do think that this show has one of the network’s best lead-ins following two hours of The Voice on Monday night. Save for maybe airing after This Is Us, there’s no better way in order to kick-start a series out there. We’re going to have a chance to see Manifest start off with a big potential audience, and whether or not it keeps them is based on quality.
So what could hold it back? We think that there are a few different things, starting with the competitiveness of the 10:00 p.m. Eastern timeslot this fall. Manifest is going to be airing against two other very-popular shows in The Good Doctor and Bull that each are going to have rather-large audiences; it is going to have to find its own way to navigate through this and get people watching every week. This Is Us is showing that you can be a serialized drama and still perform well, but that was a once-in-a-generation show. Manifest is the sort of series that we could see performing very well on a Netflix or an Amazon where binge-watching is valuable. As for whether or not that works for NBC, time will tell.
As of right now, we’re expecting Manifest to premiere with a 1.5 rating in the 18-49 demographic. If it does manage to fare better than that, it may have enough momentum to make it to a second season.
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