Thursday, May 15, 2014

2014 Fall Matchups

Here's a lineup of every fall 2014 timeslot (except Saturdays) and some really quick reactions to how the matchups look. 

New shows (plus NCIS and CSI!) in ALL CAPS.

Here are the previous editions: 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013


8:00 8:30 9:00 9:30 10:00 10:30
ABC Dancing with the Stars Castle
CBS Big Bang Theory
2 Broke Girls
NBC The VoiceThe Blacklist
Fox GOTHAM Sleepy Hollow local
CW The Originals JANE THE VIRGIN local

8:00: Gotham will be good drama counter-programming, but it should still be a bit worried about having to duel with The Big Bang Theory. Ideally, the network would hold off till November to launch Gotham (seems very unlikely) or start it a week or two before the beginning of the regular season.

9:00: From the end of Friends in 2004 all the way through Two and a Half Men's move to Thursday in 2012, this hour pretty consistently housed the #1 comedy hour on television. But with CBS' surprising pull-out, there's suddenly nothing there in that department. Will anyone try to capitalize? ABC tried several comedies at 9:30 after Dancing in the past, and that looks like an even better strategy now (especially given the conservative choice at 10:00). I'm also not sold on Scorpion as a show worth blowing up a comedy hour for, so maybe even CBS could get back in later in the season, combining Mike and Molly with whatever needs to be shuffled around to put The Odd Couple after Big Bang on Thursday.

10:00: ABC and CBS both probably feel better about having medium-priority veterans here now that The Blacklist will be sticking around for awhile. But ABC should still be looking at this as an opportunity going forward.


8:00 8:30 9:00 9:30 10:00 10:30
NBC The VoiceMARRY MEAbout a BoyChicago Fire
Fox UTOPIA New GirlThe Mindy Project local
CW THE FLASH Supernatural local

8:00: Since they don't have something like Suburgatory in reserve, ABC is probably going to have to blow this comedy hour up completely if it doesn't work. Shifting Agents of SHIELD back to 8/7c and launching something like The Whispers at 9/8c would've seemed like a viable plan, but without a reliable 10/9c show (like Castle), the network could still have a lot of trouble even in that scenario.

9:00: Both of the new shows here are pretty high-stakes. CBS would be thrilled if the new NCIS can do ratings reminiscent of the long-time previous occupant Los Angeles. And NBC really needs Marry Me to be something better than previous comedy lead-outs like Go On and About a Boy. (My heart says yes, but my head is skeptical.)

10:00: Both shows technically have genre ties, but Forever just doesn't feel like something that is gonna connect with Agents of SHIELD viewers. I still wonder if this wasn't a last-minute change after NBC kept The Blacklist put...


8:00 8:30 9:00 9:30 10:00 10:30
ABC The MiddleThe Goldbergs Modern FamilyBLACK-ISHNashville
CBS Survivor Criminal MindsSTALKER
Fox Hell's Kitchen RED BAND SOCIETY local
CW Arrow The 100 local

8:00: If The Mysteries of Laura bombs, it certainly won't be able to blame the competition. Drama counter-programming looks like a very nice idea here in theory. But Laura doesn't particularly appear to have the goods to capitalize. Something like Constantine may have been the best bet to attract attention here, but DC Comics may have nixed that showdown with Arrow.

9:00: Once again, new shows Black-ish and Red Band Society look like sensible alternatives to the procedurals on other networks. It's up to the shows themselves to capitalize.

10:00: Chicago PD earned its renewal, but it's still one of NBC's weaker returnees. Coupled with ABC defaulting to a mega-conservative approach here due to the 22-episode Nashville renewal, that presents what seems like a huge opportunity for Stalker. Based on lead-in and competition dynamics, it seems like one of the fall's best newbie bets.


8:00 8:30 9:00 9:30 10:00 10:30
CBS The Big Bang Theory The MillersTwo and a Half MenTHE MCCARTHYSElementary
NBC The Biggest LoserBAD JUDGEA TO ZParenthood
Fox Bones GRACEPOINT local
CW The Vampire Diaries Reign local

8:00: Aside from Sunday 10/9c, this is the only hour without a new show scheduled for the whole fall. And yet, three networks are moving returnees here. How Grey's Anatomy holds up is most interesting to watch, but whether The Biggest Loser can gain any traction on NBC's worst night of the week is of importance as well.

9:00: If Scandal's move to 9/8c disappoints, that's gonna be all on Scandal. Period. This is a pretty favorable slate of competitors. Even if the new comedies manage to overachieve, they're largely targeting different audiences.

10:00: Same goes for How to Get Away with Murder. It at least has some established drama competitors, but both are toward the bottom of their respective networks' renewed slates.


8:00 8:30 9:00 9:30 10:00 10:30
ABC Last Man StandingCRISTELAShark Tank 20/20
CBS The Amazing Race Hawaii Five-0Blue Bloods
Fox MasterChef Junior UTOPIA local
CW Whose Line Is It Anyway? America's Next Top Model local

8:00: Not that it's much of a surprise, but ABC's comedies are again the only scripted options in the whole hour. Still, The Amazing Race and MasterChef Junior are family viewing options, so ABC's success is not quite a given.

9:00: Pretty boring hour with lots of incumbents returning. And Fox's second Utopia night reportedly won't last for very long, so we could end up with Fox reprising last year's occupant (a regularly-scheduled repeat) in short order as well.

10:00: The 0.8/0.9ish deliveries from Dracula and Hannibal won't cut it here. Constantine needs to make improvement, and the opportunity should be there; its target audience probably won't be that interested in either of the competitors.


8:00 8:30 9:00 9:30 10:00 10:30
ABCOnce Upon a TimeResurrection Revenge
NBC Sunday Night Football
Fox The SimpsonsBrooklyn Nine-NineFamily GuyMULANEY local

8:00: Not sure it's possible to make something like Madam Secretary into a viable adults 18-49 draw, but I'm fairly convinced this (with NFL overrun help) is pretty much the only scheduling that will give it a reasonable shot. Guess you could kinda say the same thing about Brooklyn Nine-Nine...

9:00: Resurrection is the biggest returnee wild card of the fall, to the point that it's practically a new show. Will it keep most of its late spring audience or pull a The Following?

10:00: I'm doubtful that CSI will ultimately make any real improvement on The Mentalist, but then Hawaii Five-0 exceeded expectations in its own downgrade. If anything can hold up surprisingly well in this kind of spot, it's an old CBS procedural.


Spot said...

The cancellation of Suburgatory seems like a head-scratcher to me. I have no horse in the race, but it wasn't doing that badly and it feels like it would be a more than viable mid-season option. Only two 16 episode seasons away from syndication too.

Spot said...

I can literally smell Suburgatory going to some cable network. Because it seems to be so different case.

Nashville / Last Man Standing / Parenthood:
Here initial studio offer was unacceptable for network, their projected numbers were showing series would actually make loss to them. Surely they exaggerated it for purpose of having leverage in negotiations. But, yes, I believe their numbers showed (at best) breaking even at current cost, and indicating it's better for them to take risk with newbie. So they negotiated for 2-3 days, reached some middle ground, and renewed those shows.

For Mentalist, what I think happened is: WB offered discount, but CBS
said: That's a nice offer, but because of opportunity cost we'll rather
risk with newbies. Then something went terrible wrong with HIMYD. CBS
looked at their very underwhelming comedy development slate. Then looked
on the other side, very promising drama slate... and decided to cut
back comedies for an hour. Now that they needed more dramas, they
made calls to producers of both Mentalist and CSI: Cyber, picked those
two a day after their initial bunch of picks day before.

Here it seems to me studio didn't fight at all for its show. Like, ABC network said: "It can return only if you lower airing fee for xy%." And production company was like: "Can't do. It's being nice doing business with you." End. No drama at all. That makes me suspect producers already have Plan B in work.

Spot said...

Personally, this is the first time in a while where the broadcasters haven't created a DVR logjam for me before I even put cable into the mix. So at least it works out for me. :)

What's particular to me is that ABC only has Fresh Off the Boat as a backup comedy. So even if the network thought to try shrinking Dancing with the Stars to fit a sitcom, it's near impossible to do since they cut Suburgatory loose. The only way I see that happening, and being remotely successful, is if they move older-skewing Last Man Standing to Mondays at 9:30 and pair Boat with Cristela on Fridays. Given how ABC feels about LMS, you can count that out.

This is The CW's make-or-break hour for its whole schedule. And I think they picked the right one since SHIELD moved, Utopia is a wild-card, The Voice is weaker on this night, and NCIS skews older. I think this will still be ABC's problem night but they at least took a step in the right direction by not having the 10:00 drama completely fend for itself.

For the love of a showrunner, please change the name of The Mysteries of Laura. To the average person it'll be a mystery what the show is about on title alone. Most of the new shows here should at least post year-over-year time period improvements (Black-ish, Stalker, The Goldbergs).

I'm amazed that the 8:00 hour has the longest-running shows on most networks programmed. But the more I look at it the more I like Grey's Anatomy moving here: Bones and The Vampire Diaries took real damage this season, and TBL lost some heat once it aired without The Voice in January. There's a possibility ABC could go from also-ran to second place in the hour, which would be a real positive.

At minimum, Cristela will post improvement over The Neighbors. But with so much stagnation here I wouldn't be surprised to see the night dip a little more than the league average unless Constantine just rockets out of the gate. And if that happens, NBC would have to move it to better utilize something that pricey.

If CBS was going to put a new drama here, they really should have announced that on NFL overrun weeks 60 Minutes will be preempted or truncated so the rest of the night can start on time. But can Resurrection and 9-9 sustain enough to make it to season three? I'm doubtful about the former since it didn't stop wilting until the end of its run. As for 9-9, it'll get more of the Sunday football crowd here than at 9:30. Unless Fox wants it for prestige reasons, it has to succeed for Fox to start really getting out of the animation business.

Spot said...

Suburgatory feels like it'll most likely move to TBS. It's wacky like Cougar Town, but with the added advantage of being from the cable network's sister studio.

Spot said...

ABC knew they were moving the Goldbergs here and already ordered a full season, so they didn't need a replacement. It did not fit with Last Man Standing, shown to show very little growth from a Modern Family lead in, and not strong enough to launch a Tuesday comedy block. I like the show, but the network didn't have a use for it.

Spot said...

My likely totally off-base predix for T15 returning shows, based on this season's rates of decline (or for new/rising shows, decline/increase from the first half of the season vs. the second half):
Sunday Night Football 7.69, Walking Dead 7.06, Big Bang 4.87, Game of Thrones ?, Voice 3.39/3.00, Scandal 3.06, Modern Family 2.91, Sons of Anarchy 2.6, Blacklist 2.48, Millers 2.47, Bachelor 2.38, NCIS 2.37, Under the Dome 2.36, Grey 2.35, 2.5 Men 2.35.

My schedule:
M The Voice I suppose, maybe a bit of The Blacklist.
Tu Selfie/Manhattan, more the latter since even John Cho doesn't prevent the former from looking somewhat disastrous.
W Um...American Horror Story.
Th A to Z, How to Get Away with Murder.
Not a super-packed broadcast slate for me.

Spot said...

Of course, the big match-up everyone is looking forward to is Blacklist vs. Scandal in the winter, though I must admit I'm still not sure how much of an audience they share.

Monday: Someone needs to try new comedies come January, because it is going to be wide open.

Tuesday: Thank goodness ABC was smart enough to switch the comedies with SHIELD. I was fully expecting them to be just as stubborn as NBC and FOX and insist on single-cams at 9PM. I'm also interested in seeing whether NCIS might go up a little bit now that SHIELD is out of the picture.

Wednesday: I think the placement of the new dramas on this night is interesting. If Mysteries of Laura isn't too grisly, it could prove to be a decent watch. I have no clue about Red Band Society. Stalker is my choice for breakout new drama. The true test will be how well SVU and Criminal Minds hold up against each other. If they drop another 15%, then these "good-not-great" line-ups will just look "not-great".

Thursday: It really is about the move made and the move not made. ABC pushing their dramas back an hour to give How To the most momentum possible is probably the best move of the upfronts. CBS not moving The Millers from Big Bang's halo is easily the worst. It would actually have to grow about 10% for me to call it a success, because that's what I would expect a new hangout comedy to have gotten in that same spot with no other comedy competition.

Friday: If Cristela, Utopia or Constantine become hits, do they move in-season? That's what happened to CSI and Everybody Loves Raymond. It's just that all of the scheduling feels like an afterthought, which is weird since we've seen how competitive the night has become. I also don't think this night will end with five scripted hours.

Sunday: I'm really surprised that CBS has gone back on Sundays being their surrender night. New shows are debuting. CBS and ABC dramas going head-to-head are likely going to play second fiddle to whatever's on cable,

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