Tuesday, March 20, 2018

2018 Pilot Trends

Several trends in broadcasting pilots that I thought would've died are still, sadly, alive and well this 2018 season. The revival renaissance, sparked by the return of The X-Files in 2016, is still in full swing, though this season there seems to be more of an interest in rebooting old properties (a la CBS's Hawaii Five-0, which has been on the air since 2010) rather than bringing back older shows, like NBC has done with Will & Grace and ABC is set to do in March with Roseanne. Movies are still being turned into pilots. Popular formats are being aped a season or two too late. And despite the acclaim and excitement of serialized dramas from streaming and cable networks, the broadcasters are still hedging bets on legal, medical, and, especially, police procedurals.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Pilot Review: 9-1-1

9-1-1 (Wednesdays at 9:00 on Fox)

The thought of a Ryan Murphy-produced procedural is a confusing one. When 9-1-1 was first announced by Fox back in May, ordered straight to series with barely even a concept given at upfronts, Fox's decision was mildly puzzling, because the creator/director/writer/producer of such disparate fare as Glee, American Horror Story, The People vs. OJ Simpson, and Scream Queens hardly feels like the right choice to head a Dick Wolf-esque case-of-the-week drama following first responders. And even after the pilot of 9-1-1 has aired, those concerns linger.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Pilot Review: LA to Vegas

LA to Vegas (Tuesdays at 9:00 on Fox; Premieres January 2)

Executive producer and pilot director Steve Levitan (a multiple Emmy winner for Modern Family) recently gave an interview to Variety in which he suggested LA to Vegas, Fox's new single-cam comedy, was a kind of spiritual successor to Cheers and Taxi. Like these classics, LA to Vegas takes place mostly in a confined space with a relatively large ensemble rotating leading roles; unlike these classics, LA to Vegas does not have a memorable cast and is not funny.

Friday, December 29, 2017

2018 Midseason Schedule: The CW

UPDATED January 7 (Full Schedule)


8:00 - Supergirl (Beginning January 15)
8:00 - Legends of Tomorrow (New Timeslot - Beginning February 12)
8:00 - Supergirl (Beginning April 16)
9:00 - Valor
9:00 - iZombie (New Timeslot - Beginning February 26)

Valor did not receive an order for additional episodes; it returns with new episodes on New Year's Day and airs its finale on January 29. Following the Olympics, iZombie returns for its fourth season, airing outside of its Tuesday timeslot for the first time.  The bigger story, though, is that Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow will share the 8:00 timeslot, pushing the end of Supergirl's third season into the summer months.


8:00 - The Flash
9:00 - Black Lightning (NEW - Beginning January 16)
9:00 - The 100 (New Timeslot - Beginning April 29)

The Flash returns on January 16 to lead into the newest addition to The CW's comic book canon, Black Lightning. CW President Mark Pedowitz has said that the show will not, at this time, be integrated into the Arrowverse with the four other DC shows, however. After the rookie superhero's season ends, The 100 returns for season five, airing on Tuesdays for the first time; like Supergirl, original episodes will continue into the summer.


8:00 - Riverdale
9:00 - Dynasty
9:00 - Life Sentences (NEW - Beginning March 7)

Dynasty received a full season order despite low ratings, and it returns alongside Riverdale on January 17. However, come March it will be on the move to Fridays, making way for the new Lucy Hale dramedy Life Sentence.


8:00 - Supernatural
9:00 - Arrow

The only night to remain fully intact is Thursdays. The lineup returns January 18.


8:00 - Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
8:00 - Dynasty (New Timeslot - Beginning March 9)
9:00 - Jane the Virgin
9:00 - The Originals (New Timeslot - Beginning April 20)

Critical darling Crazy Ex-Girlfriend returns January 5 and will see its third season end on February 16. It will be replaced by Dynasty. Jane the Virgin returns January 26 to air the latter half of its 17-episode fourth season, and the final season of The Originals replaces it in late April.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

2018 Midseason Schedule: ABC

UPDATED January 25 (Grey's Anatomy spin-off title)


8:00 - The Bachelor (Beginning January 1)
8:00 - American Idol (NEW - Beginning March 12)
8:00 - Dancing with the Stars (Beginning April 30)
10:00 - The Good Doctor
10:00 - The Crossing (NEW - Beginning April 2)

This is a mess of a schedule throughout, but Mondays got off pretty easy. After The Bachelor completes its season, American Idol begins airing on back-to-back nights Sunday and Monday. Once it is scaled back to Sundays only, the new season of Dancing with the Stars, which will feature only athletes, begins and will air into the summer months. Freshman The Good Doctor has only an 18-episode order, so it is replaced by The Crossing in April.


8:00 - The Middle
8:00 - The Bachelor Winter Games (NEW - February 13 & 20)
8:00 - Roseanne (NEW - Beginning March 27)
8:30 - Fresh Off the Boat
8:30 - The Middle (New Timeslot - Beginning April 3)
9:00 - black-ish
9:30 - Splitting Up Together (NEW - Beginning March 27)
10:00 - Kevin (Probably) Saves the World
10:00 - For the People (NEW - Beginning March 13)

Another messy night for ABC. With The Mayor unceremoniously pulled from the schedule last week, repeats of Modern Family occupy the 9:30 slot until late March, when new comedy Splitting Up Together takes over. The Roseanne revival gets a one-hour premiere that same night, with The Middle returning the following week at 8:30. Fresh Off the Boat finishes its season on March 20. On the drama side, the new Shondaland production For the People succeeds Kevin at 10:00 on March 13, rather than moving into a vacant TGIT slot.

As counter-programming to the Winter Olympics, ABC will also air The Bachelor Winter Games for two episodes at two hours each in February while the regular lineup takes a brief hiatus.


8:00 - The Goldbergs
8:30 - Speechless
8:30 - Alex, Inc. (NEW - Beginning March 28)
9:00 - Modern Family
9:30 - American Housewife
10:00 - Match Game (Beginning January 3)
10:00 - Designated Survivor (Beginning February 28)

Match Game takes over for Designated Survivor while it goes on an extended hiatus, similar to last season. The rest of the lineup returns with Match Game on January 3. Speechless will wrap its sophomore season early, on March 21, before being replaced by the new Zach Braff vehicle Alex, Inc.


8:00 - Grey's Anatomy
8:00 -  The Bachelor Winter Games (NEW - February 15 & 22)
9:00 - Scandal
9:00 - Station 19 (NEW - Beginning March 22)
10:00 - How to Get Away with Murder
10:00 - Scandal (New Timeslot - Beginning March 29)
10:00 - Quantico (New Timeslot - Beginning April 26)

TGIT returns on January 18, and that's about as simple as ABC's Thursday night gets. The Grey's Anatomy spinoff Station 19 will debut with a two-hour premiere on March 22, following Murder's season finale. Then Scandal shifts back an hour for its final four episodes, with its series finale airing on April 19. Then Quantico moves into the 10:00 slot the following week.

As counter-programming to the Winter Olympics, ABC will also air The Bachelor Winter Games for two episodes at two hours each in February while the regular lineup takes a brief hiatus.


8:00 - Child Support (NEW - Beginning January 5)
8:00 - Once Upon a Time (Beginning March 2)
9:00 - Marvel's Agents of SHIELD
10:00 - 20/20

While Once Upon a Time is on hiatus, new alternative series Child Support joins the lineup.


8:00 - America's Funniest Home Videos (Beginning January 7)
8:00 - American Idol (NEW - Beginning March 11)
9:00 - Shark Tank
10:00 - Deception (NEW- Beginning March 11)

Through January and February, repeats will occupy quite a few nights on the ABC schedule, though America's Funniest Home Videos and Shark Tank originals are sprinkled throughout. ABC's rebooted version of American Idol, with new judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Ritchie, returns the week after the Oscars, leading into new drama Deception at 10:00.

The only series missing from this schedule is the proposed Dancing with the Stars Junior, which is either not happening or will be pushed into summer.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

2018 Midseason Schedule: NBC

UPDATED January 25 (Sunday)


8:00 - The Wall (New Timeslot - Beginning January 1)
8:00 - The Voice (Beginning February 26)
9:00 - Better Late Than Never (Beginning January 1)
10:00 - The Brave
10:00 - Good Girls (NEW - Beginning February 26)

The Brave, which did not receive a back-order for its first season, airs its final three episodes starting on January 8. The week before, The Wall and Better Late Than Never return for their second seasons, airing up until the Olympics on February 5. Following the 2018 Winter Olympics coverage, The Voice returns for its spring cycle leading into the new black comedy Good Girls.


8:00 - Ellen's Game of Games (NEW - Beginning January 2)
8:00 - The Voice (Beginning February 27)
9:00 - This Is Us
9:00 - Rise (NEW - Beginning March 20)
10:00 - Chicago Med

This Is Us and Chicago Med continue their seasons beginning January 9 and 2, respectively, with the new Ellen Degeneres vehicle Ellen's Game of Games leading off the night (it already previewed on December 18 to big ratings). The scripted shows go on hiatus for the Olympics and pick back up on February 27. This Is Us's season finale will lead into the premiere of Rise at a special time on March 13 at 10:00.


8:00 - The Blacklist
9:00 - Law & Order: SVU
10:00 - Chicago P.D.

No changes to the night, which returns on January 3.


8:00 - Superstore
8:30 - The Good Place
8:30 - Champions (NEW - Beginning March 8)
9:00 - Will & Grace
9:30 - Great News
9:30 - A.P. Bio (NEW - Beginning March 1)
10:00 - Chicago Fire

The fall lineup returns on January 4, with The Good Place and Great News ending their seasons just in time for the Olympic hiatus on February 1. The latter is replaced by A.P. Bio, which gets a special preview on February 1 before becoming a regular part of the lineup on March 1. Champions, from Mindy Kaling, debuts a week later.


8:00 - Blindspot
9:00 - Taken (New Timeslot - Beginning January 12)
10:00 - Dateline NBC

Dateline shifts back an hour to make room for the delayed second season of Taken, which returns with the rest of the lineup on January 12.


8:00 - Little Big Shots (Beginning March 18)
9:00 - Genius Junior (NEW - Beginning March 18)
10:00 - Timeless (New Timeslot - Beginning March 11)

Little Big Shots returns with a two-hour episode (beginning at 7:00) on March 18, followed by the new Neil Patrick Harris-hosted game show Genius Junior. The 10:00 slot goes to the second season of the little-viewed Timeless, which eked out a renewal after it had already been canceled last year.

Still awaiting scheduling are new drama Reverie; new alternative series Making It (formerly The Handmade Project) and The Awesome Show; and the returns of Shades of Blue and Trial & Error.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

2018 Midseason Schedule: Fox



8:00 - Lucifer
9:00 - The Gifted
9:00 - The Resident (NEW - Beginning January 22)

The Gifted ends its first season on January 15 with a two-hour finale, while the extra-long third season of Lucifer (26 episodes) continues holding down the 8:00 hour (with new episodes resuming on the 1st). It leads into the new medical drama The Resident, which will receive a special premiere on January 21 following the NFC Championship Game, before shifting to its usual timeslot the following night.


8:00 - Lethal Weapon
9:00 - LA to Vegas (NEW - Beginning January 2)
9:00 - New Girl (Beginning April 10)
9:30 - The Mick (New Timeslot - Beginning January 2)

Brooklyn Nine-Nine goes on hiatus to make room for the new series LA to Vegas, with The Mick shifting back a half-hour. The eight-episode final season of New Girl debuts on April 10, with a one-hour finale airing on May 15.


8:00 - The X-Files (Beginning January 3)
8:00 - Empire (Beginning March 28)
9:00 - 9-1-1 (NEW - Beginning January 3)
9:00 - Star (Beginning March 28)

While the musical series are on hiatus, the newest installment of The X-Files (this one longer than the last at 10 episodes) and a new procedural from Ryan Murphy take over Wednesdays.


8:00 - The Four: Battle for Stardom (NEW - Beginning January 4)
8:00 - Gotham (Beginning March 1)
9:00 - Showtime at the Apollo (NEW - Beginning March 1)

A new singing competition, The Four, will air in two-hour blocks for six weeks in January and February. The new series is hosted by Fergie and features a panel of experts led by Diddy, DJ Khaled, Meghan Trainor, and record executive Charlie Walk.

Once the Olympics end, Gotham returns from hiatus, paired with the new variety series Showtime at the Apollo, hosted by Steve Harvey.


8:00 - Hell's Kitchen
8:00 - Masterchef Junior (Beginning March 2)
9:00 - Repeats

Hell's Kitchen returns January 5, followed by repeats. A new season of Masterchef Junior returns with a two-hour premiere on March 2 before settling in at 8:00 the following week. Encores of 9-1-1 continue at 9:00.


7:30 - Bob's Burgers
8:00 - The Simpsons
8:30 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine (New Timeslot - Beginning March 18)
9:00 - Family Guy
9:30 - The Last Man on Earth

The entire fall lineup airs January 7 and 14, when The Last Man on Earth airs its winter finale.

UPDATE: Ghosted was set to air the final five episodes of its first season beginning March 11, but it'll be let off the schedule in favor of the return of Brooklyn Nine-Nine on March 18.

Still to be scheduled are the return of Ghosted  and the premiere of the new alternative series Gordon Ramsay's 24 Hours to Hell & Back.

Friday, December 1, 2017

2018 Midseason Schedule: CBS

UPDATED January 11 (Monday & Wednesday)


8:00 - Big Brother (February 12 & 19)
8:00 - Kevin Can Wait
8:30 - Man with a Plan
9:00 - Superior Donuts
9:30 - 9JKL
9:30 - Living Biblically (NEW - Beginning February 26)
10:00 - Scorpion
10:00 - Elementary (New Timeslot - Beginning April 30)

Most of the late fall lineup stays intact in the new year, though 9JKL, which only received a partial backorder, will be replaced by the new multicam comedy Living Biblically (which is reverting to its original title, before it was changed to By the Book at upfronts). The fall lineup returns January 2

Before then, however, CBS will be airing a special celebrity edition of its summer stalwart Big Brother opposite the Olympics on NBC. Big Brother will air four nights a week for three weeks, beginning on Wednesday, February 7 and finishing up on Sunday, February 25.

The sixth season of the very low-rated Elementary returns on April 30, with less than a handful of episodes airing in-season and the rest airing in summer.


8:00 - NCIS
9:00 - Bull
10:00 - NCIS: New Orleans

Tuesdays stay entirely as is.


8:00 - The Amazing Race (New Timeslot - Beginning January 3)
8:00 - Big Brother (February 7, 14 & 21)
8:00 - Survivor (Beginning February 28)
9:00 - SEAL Team
9:00 - The Amazing Race (2 Hours - February 7, 14 & 21)
10:00 - Criminal Minds
10:00 - Code Black (Beginning May 2)

Wednesdays get complicated for CBS. The new season of The Amazing Race will air one hour a week throughout January before being double-pumped behind episodes of Big Brother in February, with a season finale airing February 21. The new season of Survivor takes over the following week with a 2-hour premiere, leading into a new episode of freshman drama SEAL Team, which will take a short hiatus opposite the Olympics along with Criminal Minds.

The third season of ratings-challenged medical drama Code Black airs beginning May 2, with most of its episodes airing in summer.


8:00 - The Big Bang Theory
8:00 - Big Brother (February 8 Only)
8:30 - Young Sheldon
9:00 - Mom
9:30 - Life in Pieces
10:00 - S.W.A.T.

Except for one special showing of Big Brother on February 7, the fall lineup remains for Thursdays.


8:00 - MacGyver
8:00 - Big Brother (2 Hours - February 9, 16 & 23)
9:00 - Hawaii Five-0
10:00 - Blue Bloods

Big Brother airs double episodes for three weeks while the rest of the lineup is on hiatus.


8:00 - Big Brother (February 11, 18 & 25)
8:00 - Instinct (NEW - Beginning March 18)
9:00 - NCIS: Los Angeles
10:00 - Madam Secretary

Newly-canceled Wisdom of the Crowd airs its finale in early January and is replaced by three weeks of Big Brother before the new Alan Cumming vehicle Instinct joins Sundays on March 18.

CBS is aggressively counter-programming the Winter Olympics with Big Brother and The Amazing Race, and it'll be interesting to see if it pays off. Other than that, this is hole-filling, with a new comedy replacing a canceled one on Monday and a new drama replacing a canceled one on Sunday. The only program still unscheduled is Undercover Boss.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Pilot Reviews: Valor & Dynasty

After a couple seasons of home runs in new programming that gave the network some genuine hits and/or critical successes (The Flash, Jane the Virgin, The 100, iZombie, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), The CW hit a bit of a snag last year with only one of its three pilots returning for a season two with Riverdale. Both fall freshmen failed last year (No Tomorrow, Frequency), and if the pilots of the two newbies this season are any indication, it could be another rough year for non-superhero shows on The CW.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Pilot Review: The Mayor

The Mayor (Tuesdays at 9:30 on ABC; Premieres October 3)

Raise your hand if you're in the mood to watch a show that fictionalizes and pokes fun at the very situation our country currently finds itself in. Yeah, me either. I was not looking forward to The Mayor based on its premise of a celebrity being shockingly voted into office without any clue how to handle his new position. I see that horrifying sitcom played out everyday. Thankfully, though, The Mayor is more than that, more hopeful than that at least.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Pilot Reviews: 9JKL and Me, Myself & I

I watched the premiere of Me, Myself & I last week and didn't care for it. I found it schmaltzy and inconsequential, a perfectly adequate addition to the comfortable CBS sitcom lineup with an interesting hook but no depth or stakes.

Then, last night, I watched the premiere of 9JKL and realized that, compared to this steaming turd, Me, Myself & I could be considered must-see-TV.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Pilot Review: Ghosted

Ghosted (Sundays at 8:30 on Fox; Premieres October 1)

On paper, there's a lot right about Ghosted, Fox's only new comedy on its fall schedule. You have two beloved, respected, funny leads in Craig Robinson (The Office, Mr. Robot) and Adam Scott (Parks & Recreation, Big Little Lies, Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later). You have a paranormal premise debuting just in time for Halloween. You have an offbeat director in Jonathan Krisel who's created some of the most meme-worthy content of the past several years on Portlandia.

But when it comes to comedy, just because it works on paper doesn't always mean it works on screen, and Ghosted is a prime example of this.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Pilot Reviews: The Brave & SEAL Team

Of the three military dramas premiering this fall, two made their debuts this week on NBC and CBS: The Brave and SEAL Team, respectively. One is definitely more worth the investment than the other.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Pilot Review: The Good Doctor

The Good Doctor (Mondays at 10:00 on ABC)

The Good Doctor sounds like a title a kindergartener may have come up with, and I can't tell if that's the point or not. Of course, it would have been a hard sell if the title more accurately described the show (something like Autistic Doogie Howser), but it would at least prepare you for the mawkishness you were set to endure. Reading more like an extended after-school special, or even an employee training video on tolerance, The Good Doctor instead makes a spectacle of its lead's disorder and gives itself a nice pat on the back for inclusivity while still being completely absurd.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Review: The Orville

The Orville (Thursdays at 9:00 on Fox)

The last time Fox attempted to resurrect the sci-fi drama/space opera genre popularized by the Star Trek series, we got a brilliant, witty, oddball mix of genres that failed to attract an audience of live viewers and was canceled after three months on the air.

The year was 2002, and the show was Firefly.

Now, fifteen years later, Fox is trying again with Seth MacFarlane's The Orville. And while this newest space exploration series isn't blending genres in the way Firefly did, a major criticism the show faced upon its premiere, The Orville is blending comedic with dramatic tones in a way that may similarly put casual viewers off it the same way Whedon's show did previously.