With an order of 13 episodes for Season 4, there’s only 4 more episodes left to film. Meanwhile, CBS has started Fall TV Season with disappointing results.
(Minor Spoiler Alert: You will get spoilered about characters and storylines in Season 4 by reading this post and its comments or by clicking on the links provided! For daily news and to join the discussion and/or speculate away, you can find me on Twitter and head over to the MacGyverOnline Forums.)
Season 4 Overview
Before we revisit the filming days during the last two weeks, here’s the usual overview of the upcoming episodes so far (with the latest news about writers, directors and guest stars).
- 4×01: (title tba)
Directed by Alexandra La Roche
- 4×02: Fire + Ashes + Legacy = Phoenix
Written by Terry Matalas, directed by David Straiton
- 4×03: (title tba)
Directed by Lily Mariye
- 4×04: (title tba)
Directed by Eagle Egilsson
- 4×05: Soccer + Desi + Merchant + Titan
Directed by Duane Clark
- 4×06: (title tba)
Directed by Roderick Davis
- 4×07: Mac + Desi + Riley + Aubrey
Guest Appearances by Devon Sawa, by James Murray and by Tate Donovan (as James MacGyver).
- 4×08: (title tba)
Presumably directed by David Straiton
Guest appearance by Keith David.
- 4×09: (title tba)
Written by Brandon Botta and Casey Tollett Botta, directed by Mike Martinez
- 4×10: (title tba)
Presumably directed by Yangzom Brauen
To recap my last blog post about the ongoing production: Filming for Episode 4×07 had started around September 13; with the cast filming an Upscale Restaurant Scene and in an appartement. According to the blurry photo of the call sheet, the episode it titled “Mac + Desi + Riley + Aubrey”; with Aubrey being played by Leonardo Nam.
Working on Episode 4×08
Filming for Episode 4×08 started on September 24 and included shooting at Chattahoochee Hills and at the Yanmar Evo Center in Acworth. There was barely any BtS material uploaded for several days and no sightings of the cast but of Lucas Till and Tate Donovan; so the episode might be centered around the MacGyvers.
On September 30, Justin Hires was back on set, meaning the BtS Instagram Stories being uploaded immediately multiplied. They filmed scenes in the War Room for several days and also in MacGyver’s house. Both Justin and Henry Ian Cusick posted a nice photo with guest star Keith David. Generally, it’s more difficult to find photos with guest stars and extras this season.
Working on Episode 4×09 and beyond
Filming for Episode 4×09 started around October 5. We don’t have a title yet, but we know it’s written by Casey Tollett Botta and Brandon Botta and directed by Michael Martinez.
On October 4, they started filming in a very interesting building. They kept working until Saturday, but since Justin Hires wasn’t on set, we didn’t get much BtS material.
Filming continued in a “shady” location on Monday – and in the big storage hall being used for the Opening Gambit of Episode 1×17 (Ruler). As Tyhiela Gibson revealed, she will play a hacker in the episode. Again, there was not much BtS material for us to enjoy.
This week, the production has continued for several days in the Vogtle Nuclear Plant. The crew posted several short Instagram Stories of the cooling towers, but otherwise we haven’t seen much from the set itself. As seen on a photo by Chris Wimberly, the plant was renamed to “San Eurosia”. Crew Member Dan Emo had tagged his photo with “Chernobyl”, but there’s not much indication in what English-speaking country the location is supposed to be in.
They cast a lot of Plant Worker Extras for today. One of them is Jermaine Gibson who posted two short videos. Hopefully, we’ll get to see some more photos and videos soon.
Other Cast, Crew and Character News
The Guest Stars don’t seem to post much this season – and if they do, they don’t tag the posts so they’re not that easy to find.
In the last two weeks, Central Casting Georgia has been looking for Lab Techs, for Male Control Room Techs, for even more Techs in their late 20s, for Female Coders, for Plant Workers, for Upscale Business Women, for Police Officers, Chiefs and Fire Departement workers, for FBI, for Female Prisoners, for Prisoner Guards, for Caucasians filming a Party Scene and for Pedestrians. They also had Casting Calls for Phoenix Techs, for Agents and for Stand-Ins (e.g. for Delaney Williams or for Sea Shimooka).
ICYMI: Costumer Sarah Downer and her department colleagues introduced the Halloween Dress Up Days schedule and invited the fans to join in on the fun.
MacGyver in Germany and Austria
Overall, the ratings in Germany have been doing better than the recent ratings for Hawaii Five-0. Alas, they hit a new low for the second-last episode of Season 3. Episode 3×21 (Treason + Heartbreak + Gum) on October 1 had 1.28 million live-viewers with a demo of 5.5 in the target audience of 14-49-year-olds. That’s the second-lowest ratings of the season. An hour later, Episode 3×22 (Mason + Cable + Choices) got 1.47 million live-viewers with a demo of 5.8.
Overall, the S3 average was 1.48 million live-viewers per episode with a demo of 7.84 in the target audience. Despite the lower ratings at the end, the trend for S3 (green line) is upwards – and even stronger than for S2 (red line).
For comparison: For S2, it was 1.73 million live-viewers per episode with a demo of 8.62. For S1, it had been 1.78 million live-viewers with a demo of 9.99 per episode.
In Austria, the ratings for Season 2 are still rather unpredictable. To recap: Episode 2×07 (Duct Tape + Jack) got 47’000 live-viewers on September 21; followed by Episode 2×08 (Packing Peanuts + Fire) with 45’000 live-viewers. Episode 2×09 (CD-Rom + Hoagie Foil) on September 28 got 29’000 live-viewers. It was followed by Episode 2×10 (War Room + Ship) with 26’000 live-viewers. A week later, Episode 2×11 (Bullet + Pen) garnered only 16’000 live-viewers; followed by Episode 2×12 (Mac + Jack) with 29’000 live-viewers. The next day, they aired Episode 2×13 (CO2 Sensor + Tree Branch) to fill an empty slot. Sadly, the audience dropped down to 16’000 live-viewers again.
CBS Fall TV Season Ratings
Now that CBS aired at least one episode of all their Fall shows, lets take a look at the average ratings – especially the ratings of the hour-long rookie shows and the crime shows not cancelled yet. The fate of some shows will be decided in what’s called November Sweeps, but the rookies often get a full season order in October already (like MacGyver did back then). Why is this interesting for us? Simply put, the fate of the other CBS shows might determine what timeslot the Reboot might air in – and if it’s airing in January as hinted by Tristin Mays (although there hasn’t been anything official yet) or in Spring.
Of course, it’s still too early to make accurate predictions, but it’s fun to speculate about potential timeslots for the Reboot and to compare the speculations with the ones made on the “official” prediction sites.
- Rookie show All Rise (Monday 9pm) premiered with a demo of 0.7 and a live-audience of 6.03 million viewers. That’s rather disappointing for a pilot. At the moment, the average is a demo of 0.64 and 5.64 million live-viewers.
Verdict: The ratings are lower than the ones for Magnum PI in the same timeslot last year. If the show can’t get higher ratings (especially in demo) very soon, it’s probably done after the initial order of 13 episodes. MacGyver could be a candidate for this slot in January, but so could some of the other midseason shows.
- The new season of Bull (Monday 10pm) started with a demo of 0.7 and a live-audience of 6.42 million viewers. At the moment, the average per episode is a demo of 0.65 and 6.16 million live-viewers.
Verdict: If the ratings don’t drop too much, it will most likely stay in this slot. They could switch it to 9pm, but All Rise would fail at 10pm and Bull already lost a lot in ratings since its last move. CBS probably won’t dare moving the show within the season since it might be close to a syndication deal.
- The new season of NCIS (Tuesday 8pm) started very well with a demo of 1.3 and a live-audience of 12.57 million viewers. After three episodes, the average is still at 1.25 in demo and 12.09 million live-viewers.
Verdict: NCIS is the only show that gained in demo this season so far. Out of all 20 CBS shows this Fall Season, it’s also the one with the biggest demo. It’s getting old and expensive, but CBS will try to hold onto it for a bit longer. They could probably even move it to another slot; use it as a lead-in to boost other shows.
- FBI (Tuesday 9pm): The second season premiere had a demo of 0.9 with an audience of 8.83 million live-viewers. The average per episode is a demo of 0.90 and 8.99 million live-viewers.
Verdict: Compared to last season, FBI has the lowest demo-drop and is almost even in audience. At the moment, it seems to be the only crime show that could last longer than five seasons with more than 5 million viewers, so CBS will hold onto it as long as they can; not moving it around on the schedule.
- NCIS: New Orleans (Tuesday 10pm) did a bit lower than expected; managing a demo of 0.7 and a live-audience of 6.66 million viewers. The average per episode is a demo of 0.72 and 6.75 million live-viewers at the moment.
Verdict: Compared to last season, the losses are marginal. Its reruns could still get replaced with the FBI spin-off in Spring – or with FBI reruns so they can air the spin-off in the 9pm timeslot.
- SEAL Team (Wednesday 9pm) lost its second Executive Producer while being in the middle of filming Season 3. It premiered with a demo of 0.74 and an audience of 5.25 million live-viewers. At the moment, the average per episode is a demo of 0.67 and 5.01 million live-viewers.
Verdict: SEAL profited from being paired with SWAT. Last year, they put the show on a month-long hiatus to air something else in between. This led to a ratings drop that the show never recovered from, but according to this Deadline article from May, they might do it again this year for Criminal Minds. Personally, I think this will hurt SEAL Team even further. Unless they already have a syndication deal looking forward to, I’m not sure why they think this is a good idea.
The TV Ratings Guide predicts SEAL Team as likely to be renewed. SpoilerTV also put it into their looking safe section. Its fate might also depend on the future of SWAT (more for this show further down). They could continue airing SEAL Team with no break while putting a hiatus on SWAT for either MacGyver and/or Criminal Minds, for example.
- SWAT (Wednesday 10pm) had moved from Thursdays 10pm to make room for rookie show Evil. Apparently, fans didn’t like that too much, since SWAT premiered low with a demo of 0.6 and 4.03 million live-viewers. At the moment, the average per episode is a demo of 0.58 and 3.88 million live-viewers.
Verdict: There are 20 CBS Fall shows airing at the moment, and SWAT is at Rank 19 when looking at the demo. CBS rarely cancels crime shows before they reach Season 4 once they made it past the first season, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe from being demoted to midseason or having to endure a break so that Criminal Minds (and maybe MacGyver?) can air in between. These numbers are lower what CBS usually tolerates, but its fate might depend on the co-producing network. Also, taking over the 10pm slot in January is not what I would wish for MacGyver.
- The pilot of rookie show Evil (Thursday 10pm) premiered with a demo of 0.6 and 4.56 million live-viewers. That’s not very good, but it is also an unusual genre for a show on CBS and was probably misplaced; airing after a two-hour comedy block. At the moment, the average per episode is a demo of 0.57 and 4.16 million live-viewers which places it at Rank 16 (of 20) in demo.
Verdict: Since the entire Thursday isn’t doing well this season, they might completely change the entire line-up soon. Evil is the lowest-rated rookie show on CBS and might be the first show to get cancelled. Nevertheless, MacGyver isn’t a good candidate for this slot since it should be an 8pm show.
- Veteran show Hawaii Five-0 (Friday 8pm) took over the timeslot of MacGyver to make room for Magnum and function as a lead-in. It did its job quite well in the new slot; managing a demo of 0.68 and a live-audience of 7.03 million viewers for the season premiere. At the moment, the average per episode is a demo of 0.69 and 6.79 million live-viewers.
Verdict: Although H50 won the night with the premiere, it lost 12% in demo. Yet, it’s still the best show of the Friday line-up; even surpassing hit show Blue Bloods. It will probably be around for a few more years – and if CBS insists on keeping Magnum as well, they might let H50 stay in this slot. It will be interesting to see what happens after the Season Finale, though – usually, the Friday 8pm timeslot is occupied by non-scripted shows in Spring and Summer. They could temporarily move it to 9pm again for reruns, which would mean no reruns of Magnum.
- As you all know by now, Magnum PI (Friday 9pm) was moved from Monday 9pm to Friday; taking over the old timeslot of H50. While a ratings drop for the second season was to be expected, it was way worse than imagined. The show premiered with a whopping demo loss of 35%; reaching a demo of 0.57 and a live-audience of 6.4 million viewers. The average per episode is a demo of 0.59 and 6.25 million live-viewers at the moment; placing it at Rank 18 of all scripted CBS shows .
Verdict: While the demo in premiere week was the lowest of all the CBS shows, it still managed a rather good audience number. Still, it is probably at fault for the low demo of Blue Bloods, despite the more intense promo than for Friday shows in the past. If the ratings stay this low, CBS might have to decide if they’re really willing to sacrifice not only Bull (timeslot move to 10pm) and MacGyver (premiere move to midseason), but also Blue Bloods for a Fall show on the lowest ranks while still only being in its second season. Since it’s a co-production, it might depend on how long NBCU is willing to keep paying for it. But even a renewal might not keep it safe from being demoted to midseason, moved around on schedule with no reruns during hiatus or getting an order for a shortened season soon.
- Veteran show Blue Bloods (Friday 10pm) was allowed to stay in its old timeslot. It premiered with a demo of 0.6 and an impressive live-audience of 7.85 million viewers. At the moment, the average per episode is 0.60 in demo and 7.65 million live-viewers. It’s only Rank 17 (out of 20) when looking at all the scripted Fall shows sorted for demo, but Rank 4 when looking at audience.
Verdict: While the audience loss compared to last season is marginal, the demo dropped by 24%. Magnum is not a good lead-in for it, probably dragging it down. CBS might have to decide soon which show is more important to them. Blue Bloods is old and expensive, but it has international and syndication deals in place. Magnum won’t make it past Season 4 without a syndication deal, so keeping BB is probably more lucrative for CBS.
- Veteran NCIS: Los Angeles (Sunday 9pm) started the season with a demo of 0.76 and 6.44 million viewers. At the moment, the average is 0.73 in demo and 6.57 million live-viewers per episode.
Verdict: The show does well enough on a rather difficult timeslot. Apart from NCIS, it’s the highest-rated veteran crime show on the CBS schedule when compared for demo.
- Madam Secretary (Sunday 10pm) is already cancelled and will be done after airing 10 episodes.
Verdict: The show will have vacated its timeslot by January. It’s possible CBS will put another show there that isn’t doing well this season so they don’t have to cancel it yet – or choose a midseason show for it. Nevertheless, it’s not a good slot for MacGyver.