Now that all five broadcast networks have revealed their schedules for next season, its time to pick the best and worst decisions. I’ve gone through the schedules and found what I believe are the three best and three worst decisions.
Criminal Minds and Stalker duo on Wednesday
The Criminal Minds / Stalker combination is one of the better decisions made by the networks this week. The two appear to be the perfect duo on paper; both are dark, procedural crime dramas. In addition, Criminal Minds is still one of the top lead ins on CBS, with most episodes doing between a 2.3 and 2.6 demo and over 10 million viewers. CBS also has the perfect opportunity to take control of the weak 10 o’clock drama competition of Chicago PD and Nashville. If Stalker can’t survive in this timeslot, I don’t think it would be able to survive anywhere else on the schedule.
Tuesday 8 o’clock comedy block on ABC
ABC decided to abandon their 9 o’clock comedy block after two seasons in favor of starting one at 8. Yet again they will program two freshman comedies, this time going with horribly-titled Selfie, and bland Manhattan Love Story. In my opinion, no two trailers were more irritating than these ones. With the move, many are already predicting one of the two comedies (or both) will be the first cancellation(s) of the season. There is no strong lead-in, there are no big names in either series, and as I already said, both look irritating. ABC has had trouble on Tuesdays in the past, and with these two that bad luck will only continue.
ABC’s lineup on Thursday
There is little downside to the big move ABC went with on Thursday nights. Moving Grey’s Anatomy to 8 o’clock solves their problem they’ve had with the timeslot for a long (very long) time. If the show loses some steam, it will still be a vast improvement over any series they’ve tried in the lead off spot. Buzzy Scandal inherits the 9pm hour, where competition will be much tougher than it was at 10, but still, Scandal should have little problem with it (at least until The Blacklist arrives). ABC will round out the night with How to Get Away with Murder, also from Shonda Rhimes. It sounds like the perfect lineup (similar to Criminal Minds and Stalker) that could give ABC a very strong night in the fall.
The Millers remains behind The Big Bang Theory
CBS seems stubborn on making The Millers work to try and sell it into syndication. It seems like a solid plan, but unless changes are made to the writing staff, it will never happen (at least for a deal in the range of The Big Bang Theory, or even 2 Broke Girls). CBS had the perfect opportunity to program a new comedy (The McCarthys anyone?) behind the number one comedy in all of television. Instead, they will waste the lead in of The Big Bang Theory yet again on dud The Millers. Already below a 2.0 demo this season, do not be surprised if The Millers falls even further in the new season. Hopefully CBS reverses course at midseason and brings in Matthew Perry led The Odd Couple.
NBC gives State of Affairs the lead in of The Voice
If NBC has done anything well over the past few seasons, its trying to find a hit series behind The Voice. Unlike ABC with Dancing with the Stars and Castle, NBC gives a series one year to prove itself, and then either cancels it or moves it to a new timeslot. The Blacklist has proven it can perform well without the lead in of The Voice, so it gave NBC enough confidence to make a big move next season (Blacklist to Thursdays at 9 – effective in February). Now NBC can use The Voice launch pad for new drama State of Affairs. It seems very similar to The Blacklist, and with a solid cast, State of Affairs should get some traction early on. It may not work without The Voice, but for now, the move makes sense and it gets ample opportunity to find an audience. I really like the fact NBC is trying to find new hits, and this drama does look good!
FOX Tuesday Lineup
I wanted to put the entire FOX fall lineup here, but I ultimately picked their worst one: the Tuesday lineup. Utopia is an unproven show that FOX seems to think will be the next big thing – and I’m not buying it. I don’t see people wanting to invest an entire year of their time for a reality series that is essentially Survivor, especially on two nights of the week (Utopia will also air on Fridays at 9). Following Utopia is the low-rated comedy block. New Girl somehow found a way to fall even further than the previous season, crashing down to as low as a 1.0 demo. Even The Mindy Project was able to out-deliver New Girl near the end of this season. Neither comedy is likely to grow this season, nor are there any signs the bleeding has stopped, basically making this a throw away night for the network.
Wednesday comedy block on ABC
ABC finally figured out that the best route on the night is four family comedies: The Middle, sophomore The Goldbergs, Modern Family, and freshman Black-ish. If Black-ish fails to catch on, ABC has equally compatible Fresh off the Boat waiting to air. This is probably the strongest the lineup has been since it launched in 2009.