The Upfronts are less than a month away and yet many pilots have yet to screen for their respective nets. In fact, a number aren’t even completed yet. Lots of pre upfront buzz on what new shows are looking hot has begun and there’s a lot of conjecture, even among people in the know. Many sure things at this point last year considerably cooled by the time it counted and vice versa. There’s really no way to make an accurate prediction, unless you’re lucky to be in those scheduling room meetings. But, there are a fair amount of things that would appear to be safe bets, in terms of each nets respective needs and where they might make some moves. I freely admit I am just (educated) guessing here, but hopefully I am not way off base in my thought process.
The one thing that seems likely at all 4 networks is we are in a comedy boom and I assume every network will expand in that area, as A) they are working the best right now B) the upside on when they work is huge – great repeatability, syndication, etc. I wouldn’t be shocked to see FOX and NBC add many extra comedies, maybe even airing new comedies in blocks. Before you say that won’t work, remember that almost 3 years ago, ABC introduced an entire new Wednesday night and 2 of those comedies are now the anchors of said night. Comedies that are well executed, fresh and have relatablity would seem to have more of a chance to break out now than any other genre.
With the next few posts, I’ll attempt to look at each net and I’ll start with the easiest and one with fewest needs – CBS. (Actually in a way it’s a bit more difficult as this network is so strong it’s kind of hard to find places to slot new shows, but here goes).
4 Comedies on Mon and Thu:
It feels more than safe to assume they will expand to 4 comedies on Thu as a The Big Bang Theory rerun won its time slot with a 3.1 last week in these diminished spring ratings. It’s hardly difficult to imagine TBBT pulling a 6.0 at 9p in the fall. The way I see it, CBSs 2 strongest comedies are 2 Broke Girls and TBBT. 2BG has broken out this year and like most sitcoms should see a really nice 2nd year spike. Earlier in the year I expected TBBT and 2BG to be the Thursday anchors, but over the course of the season it has seemed to me that 2BG should be the Mon 9p anchor which then gives CBS two huge shows to center their Mon and Thu nights around.
Currently at 8:30 2BG is only slightly lower than Two And A Half Men. One might make the argument that the reason the latter show has remained as strong in its 9th season is as a result of 2BG being a tremendous lead in. Plus 2BG is in its infancy and will only grow while 2.5 Men is only going to age more. I feel confident that 2BG is the successor to the Monday anchor slot. The question is if it’s gonna happen next season or not. Does CBS pull the trigger now? I say yes. Now assuming this does indeed happen how does CBS rearrange the rest of those nights?
My thinking is they move as little as possible. Sliding TBBT to 9p Thu is simple. Sliding 2BG down a half hour is also not a huge deal. I am guessing they leave HIMYM at 8p Mon. So that would leave 2.5 Men as the show to move to Thu 8p to leadoff the night. Do I think this will for sure happen? No. CBS might opt for a safer route and just flip 2BG and 2.5 Men so 2BG assumes the anchor position now and their Monday night still remains unstoppable. but then what goes Thu at 8p. I’m just assuming their strongest 4 comedies assume the 8p and 9p slots on those days. I do think CBS is the rare net that can afford to make this move. I’d be shocked if 2.5 Men didn’t get a 3,0 something at 8p and even if it’s on the lower end, TBBT at 9 and Person of Interest at 10 should likely keep the net far in the win column. I could see Mon and Thu possibly looking like this:
8:30 – Super Fun Night – new Rebel Wilson comedy
9p – 2 Broke Girls
9:30 – Mike & Molly
10p- Hawaii 5-0
Wouldnt be shocked to see CBS try Super Fun Night at 9:30 (and Mike and Molly to 8:30) if it turns out great and they feel potential.
8p- 2.5 Men
8:30 – Oh F**K It’ s You – Joanna Garcia/David Walton/Greg Berlanti and Greg Malins comedy (*or maybe Louis CK/Spike Ferestein comedy – I could see any 2 out of the three new comedies mentioned here used somewhere 8:30 or 9:30)
9p- The Big Bang Theory
9:30 – Partners – Mutchnick/Kohan comedy allegedly getting good buzz with the wonderful Michael Urie.
1p0- Person Of Interest
Why do I think they put 2 new comedies here as opposed to Rules of Engagement at 8:30? Because 2.5 Men/ROE are two older shows and by setting one of their stronger new half hours in between 2.5 and TBBT, they potentially grow the next big new hit and make the night stronger. Plus with TBBT and POI on this night they are already strong and can afford to take a shot, especially if their comedies come out well. I also wouldn’t be shocked to see CBS pick up the Ben Falcone project, since his wife won an Emmy for the net last year and is a hot commodity in features now as well.
In a previous post I outlined what I think would be a smart CBS Tue schedule:
8p – NCIS
9p – Ralph Lamb
Read here for my thinking: https://bigtvfan.wordpress.com/2012/04/15/the-rare-programming-hole-that-is-10p-tuesday/
I honestly see no reason to mess with Wednesday. It’s a very competitive night and the shows are all very consistent. Even in year 12, CSI ahs become one of the strongest 10p shows anywhere on the TV sked. If CBS wanted to try something new here, the opportunity might be in Jan, between Survivor cycles. For fall, I think their best bet is to leave it as it is, especially if they make moves on other nights.
Two thirds of Friday are clearly set as Undercover Boss and Blue Bloods do great. The question mark is does Blue Bloods move to 9p with a new show at 10 or is that The Good Wife’s slot.
Which brings us to ,
The Good Wife question:
The Good Wife is the prestige that eludes CBS amidst all its success. Its their critically acclaimed drama, their Emmy winner for Juliana, the only broadcast drama repeatedly up for Best Drama at the Emmys in a sea of cable nominees. They were obviously gonna renew it, but its the only CBS 9p performer with a 1.8 (albeit one that commands large ad rates). They won’t likely leave it Sun at 9. So where does it go? There are 3 options I think:
1) Sun 10p-this way they don’t really move it off Sunday. In the fall, the NFL delays their schedule most weeks, and the higher numbers earlier in the evening offset the lower numbers it gets, plus there are those large ad rates I referred to.
2)Fri at 10p – putting it here probably sets it up for a longer run as it probably will still get at least a 1.5 on Fri and it would fit well out of Blue Bloods. I just wonder if the network will move it to another night for the 2nd year in a row. It would likely be perceived that it’s being dumped on Friday, (despite the net saying how strong they are on Friday, yada yada ) although airing on Friday probably extends its life (unless it really tanks, which I don’t think it would).
3)The final option is delaying it til January and finding a slot where it runs uninterrupted. That’s how CBS would spin it and it would open up the real estate to try something new on Sunday and/or Friday, likely the only other days for a new drama.
The Mentalist likely goes to Sunday:
It’s still a strong 10p performer for CBS. Despite what many speculate, I don’t see it going to Friday because it still pulls really good numbers on a weeknight. The only places for it are Tue and Sun and since I think CBS might try something new on Tue, that leaves Sun. If The Good Wife moves to Friday, The Mentalist goes to 10p Sun and a new drama gets the shot between that and TAR (or vice versa). I could also see The Mentalist 9p Sun followed by The Good Wife. I just think CBS might want to try to launch another new drama and Sun seems a good place. I could see trying Sherlock Holmes drama, Elementary, before or after The Mentalist.
On Friday, I could see CBS trying that Carol Mendelsohn’s Widow Detective after Blue Bloods.
I guess the Fri and Sun slots depend on what they do with The Good Wife and I’m honestly not sure yet. Will have to revisit.
Finally, there’s CSI: NY and MIAMI question mark, which actually still perform more than respectably on their respective nights. One could make the argument for both returning, other than their large price tags for the aging shows and the lack of real estate for new shows on successful CBS. One will definitely come back, I think. I’d even suggest 13 orders for both and maybe do a CSI wheel for a slot on the schedule but I guess that would keep 2 separate crews working and raises the price tag. Honestly not sure. Maybe CBS just keeps a CSI (or two) and Rules of Engagement for midseason or to fill in should something tank early.
If I havent mentioned it (Rob, Unforgettable) I don’t see it returning.
Up Next: FOX