The 10 Must-Watch New Fall TV Shows, According to's 600,000 Watchlist Users

Surge of New Mobile Users Adds To a Virtual Focus Group For New Shows

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Last month Ad Age kicked off an informal editorial partnership with to present a snapshot and analysis of its Watchlist feature, a customizable entertainment guide that lets users make a list of their favorite shows, actors, movies and so on. Watchlist then alerts these fans to upcoming broadcasts, streams, on-demand availability, etc.

We're interested in Watchlist because it functions as a sort of massive focus group. When we kicked off the first installment of this charticle on Aug. 10, Watchlist had half a million users. But then on Aug. 23 launched a massively upgraded new mobile app for iOS and Android devices, backed by sponsors including A&E, Fox and eBay Mobile, and it's been such a hit that more than 100,000 people created new Watchlists in just 14 days, bringing the Watchlist community to more than 600,000.

As we explained last time, when new shows are announced by the broadcast and cable networks, studying Watchlist activity can help us gauge not only the buzz surrounding them, but probably the likelihood of tune-in too. When shows just can't hack it on Watchlist, well, that may be a canary in the coalmine. Doing great on Watchlist obviously isn't a guarantee of success, but last fall eight of the Top 10 Watchlist users' picks were picked up for full seasons.

So be sure to watch for the next update of this chart, in early October, when the fall season will have begun shaking out and we can assess how well these user picks fared.

For the purposes of this chart, the data was locked in 24 hours ago; the right-hand column shows change in momentum since Aug. 9, the data-collection cut-off for our last charticle.

Some additional context on a few of the more notable shows on our chart, courtesy of Mickey O'Connor, editor-in-chief at

  • "Revolution" on NBC (No. 1). "Last time we talked about the ubiquity of Olympic promos for this show, which pushed it to No. 4," O'Connor says. "It's at No. 1 now, and I credit NBC's liberal early-sampling policy. Entertainment prez Bob Greenblatt, who spearheaded a similar strategy at Showtime, has already put the first episode of most of the network's new shows online."

    "Now when the show premieres on Sept. 17," he adds, "there's a built-in audience who gets the premise (a global blackout returns Earth to its agrarian roots) and wants to see more of the awesome ninja sword-fighting on display in the pilot."

  • "Nashville" on ABC (No. 9). "It must be said: Connie Britton is on a roll," Connor notes. "She charmed y'all as Mr. . Coach on 'Friday Night Lights' and broke our cold, black hearts as the doomed expectant mom Vivien Harmon on 'American Horror Story.' And now the actress who can do it all returns to play … a country music star? Yes! Putting aside for a second the demographic pervasiveness of a musical genre that this show puts front and center, 'Nashville' is also an epic soap opera that features a dastardly political subplot, a nifty documentary aesthetic and Hayden Panettiere of 'Heroes' as a conniving crossover singer whose rising star clashes with Britton's fading one. It's going to be juicy, y'all!"
  • "Beauty and the Beast" on The CW (No. 10). "Green-lighting this remake of CBS's 1987-1990 hit starring Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman was a no-brainer for the female-skewing network," O'Connor says. "It's a police procedural, sure, but the central mythology deals with a brewing romantic story line between a comely crime-fighter and a damaged vigilante. Bonus: In this version, since it's The CW, those leads are played by former 'Smallville' fan-favorite Kristin Kreuk and Kiwi newcomer Jay Ryan -- and the extent of his beastliness appears to be a tiny scar on his cheek."

Watch for an update on this chart early next month. In the meantime, follow on Twitter.

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Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. Follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

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