Mario Perez/ABC
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September 18, 2012 at 04:42 PM EDT

Nobody ever thought that CSI would become a huge hit. Certainly, when the show debuted on a Friday night in 1999, no one imagined that the show would inspire two spin-offs and a bottomless well of syndication cash. CSI was the first TV show from movie guru Jerry Bruckheimer and was the brainchild of newcomer Anthony Zuiker; its most familiar face was William Petersen, at the time a journeyman actor a decade away from his days as a big-screen leading man; and the whole concept of CSI seemed like a hard sell, taking the focus away from the detectives onto the science nerds dusting for fingerprints. But in television, a big risk can reap big rewards.

This Fall, we here at EW have put on our Consultant caps and done a risk-assessment on every new TV show hitting the broadcast networks. The result is our Fall TV Risk Factor, the most quasi-scientific and all-around number-crunchiest guide to the new TV season you’re likely to read this week. But just for fun, we decided to cast our net back through recent TV history and take a look at how some other shows would have performed according to our model. Lost and Glee were both huge risks when they debuted: One was an expensive serialized fantasy with no clear antecedent besides maybe X-Files; the other was a musical TV show at a time when the most recent musical TV show was Viva Laughlin.

Just for fun, we’ve also thrown in a few shows that wound up being less successful: Fox’s big-budget time-traveling drama Terra Nova, Aaron Sorkin’s starry behind-the-scenes dramedy Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, and Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, which was a show that actually happened. enjoy!

Lost

The Pitch: 5

The Stars: 5

The Team: 4

The Time: 2

Ken’s Risk Rating: 1

Risk Factor: 17/25

Glee

The Pitch: 5

The Stars: 5

The Team: 3

The Time: 4

Ken’s Risk Rating: 1

Risk Factor: 18/25

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

The Pitch: 3

The Stars: 1

The Team: 2

The Time: 2

Ken’s Risk Rating: 2

Risk Factor: 10/25

Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior

The Pitch: 1

The Stars: 2

The Team: 2

The Time: 1

Ken’s Risk Rating: 1

Risk Factor: 7/25

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

The Pitch: 4

The Stars: 4

The Team: 4

The Time: 3

Ken’s Risk Rating: 1

Risk Factor: 16/25

Also:

The Risk Factor: Rating this fall’s new TV shows

Follow Darren on Twitter: @DarrenFranich

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