Sunday, May 28, 2017

Pilot Review: Love Connection

Love Connection (Thursdays at 9:00 on Fox)

I have vague recollections of the original Love Connection, which ran for over 2,000 episodes in syndication over more than a decade. I think it was on around the same time as Supermarket Sweep, so as a kid I would catch bits here and there. From what I can recall, Fox's reboot stays true to the format, for better or worse, while modernizing it just enough that you don't feel like you're watching a rerun from the mid-90s.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

2017 Fall Schedule: The CW


8:00 - Supergirl
9:00 - Valor (NEW)

This is a very, very strange pairing: a female-led superhero show with a military drama. Yes, Supergirl is a good ratings performer so it makes sense to pair a new show with it... but why not one of the female-skewing ones, like Dynasty or Life Sentence? All I can think is that perhaps Valor will produce a shortened season, freeing up the timeslot at midseason for something that would pair better with Supergirl.


8:00 - The Flash
9:00 - DC's Legends of Tomorrow

Seems likely that, with Legends producing shorter seasons, Black Lightning will get The Flash lead-in at midseason. (Although this night would have been a better option for Valor, I think.)


8:00 - Riverdale (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Dynasty (NEW)

This will be the first time since it premiered in 2012 that Arrow isn't airing on Wednesdays at 8:00. Riverdale is on the move to Oliver's timeslot, paired with the reboot of Dynasty for a soap-themed night. The good news for Dynasty is that it will not be going head-to-head with Empire, which shifted up an hour.


8:00 - Supernatural
9:00 - Arrow (New Timeslot)

This may be the schedule that really tests whether or not the CW is immune to programming on other networks. For the most part, their shows don't seem to be affected by what other networks are airing; the ratings are pretty consistent no matter the competition. But Arrow will be against some toughies: football potentially claiming some of its male audience and This Is Us potentially claiming some of its female audience.


8:00 - Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Jane the Virgin (New Timeslot)

I predicted this lineup on this night, and for The CW, it's not necessarily a bad thing to be put on Friday nights. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend mostly held its audience in its move to Friday this past year (it never went any lower than it already had on Monday, anyway), and I expect Jane will be able to do the same. It didn't garner any higher ratings this year, even with the network's second-highest-rated show as a lead-in, so Friday seems like a fine option, especially if The CW doesn't want to debut a new show there.


New shows at midseason are the new DC series Black Lightning and Life Sentence. The 100, iZombie, and The Originals will also return.

The CW is rather stable these days, and with the other broadcast networks falling in the ratings, it's interesting to see so much of their roster steady. The biggest move here is changing Arrow's night and time. It has never been tried anywhere else on the schedule, and it's one of the only CW shows to have shown significant decline this season, so its chances on Thursdays are a huge question mark. Riverdale will also have the unenviable task of leading off Wednesday nights (against Empire, no less) and launching a new show. As I mentioned earlier, I don't see the logic in putting Valor after Supergirl, as I don't foresee much overlap between the audiences. Part of me wonders if it and Dynasty were originally scheduled in each other's slots and then switched when CBS announced yesterday that their military drama, SEAL Team, would air on Wednesdays at 9:00.

Click after the jump for descriptions of The CW's new 2017-2018 series.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

2017 Fall Schedule: CBS


8:00 - The Big Bang Theory (New Timesot)
8:30 - 9JKL (NEW)
9:00 - Kevin Can Wait (New Timeslot)
9:30 - Me, Myself & I (NEW)
10:00 - Scorpion

Monday (Beginning October 30)

8:00 - Kevin Can Wait (New Timeslot)
8:30 - 9JKL
9:00 - Me, Myself & I (New Timeslot)
9:30 - Superior Donuts
10:00 - Scorpion

Football already complicates CBS's schedule, but they always seem to make decisions that make it even more complicated than it needs to be. Here's a prime example of that. Launching two new comedies on the same night is ambitious but not ridiculous, especially with The Big Bang Theory being used to lead into one of them before moving to Thursdays. But once football ends, this schedule makes some unnecessary moves. Putting Kevin Can Wait back in its 8:00 timeslot makes sense, but why move Me, Myself & I, an untested property, into the 9:00 anchor slot? Why not just put Superior Donuts there? It's unnecessary.


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

No changes here, which is kind of surprising. I would have probably moved NCIS: NO to Thursdays, since new shows haven't been too successful there in recent years.


8:00 - Survivor
9:00 - SEAL Team (NEW)
10:00 - Criminal Minds (New Timeslot)

I think this was a missed opportunity for CBS to pair S.W.A.T., starring former Criminal Minds lead Shemar Moore, with the show that made him famous. They had success pairing Michael Weatherley's new show with NCIS last year...


8:00 - Thursday Night Football (September 28 - October 26)

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

As expected, Big Bang will lead into its new spin-off, with the rest of the comedy block remaining in tact. Rather than moving a veteran series, CBS will try again at 10:00 with another freshman, a remake of S.W.A.T.


8:00 - MacGyver
9:00 - Hawaii Five-0
10:00 - Blue Bloods

CBS found a lineup that worked.


7:00 - 60 Minutes
8:00 - Wisdom of the Crowd (NEW)
9:00 - NCIS: Los Angeles (New Timeslot)
10:00 - Madam Secretary (New Timeslot)

This is a weird one. Why CBS is attempting to launch a new drama at 8:00 on Sundays, when that hour is so commonly delayed because of football overrun, is baffling. Sundays are a bit of a graveyard for CBS because of interruptions, so it's a little odd. Unsurprising is the 10:00 time period for Madam Secretary; that's the program that will run outside of primetime whenever programming starts late, so it's the place where shows get thrown to the wolves, and the low-rated political drama has been an underwhelming (though steady) performer for years now, so it gets sacrificed. Curiously absent is Elementary, which barely registers in the ratings anymore but managed a renewal for next season. I'm surprised it and Code Black aren't sharing the 10:00 slot.


New shows joining at midseason include comedy By the Book; drama Instinct; and the returns of Elementary, Code Black, Man with a Plan, The Amazing Race, and Undercover Boss.

No major changes to CBS's schedule, which is a testament to their stability. Mostly this is minor timeslot shifts and slotting in where canceled shows once were. With Big Bang still the biggest comedy (though nowhere near its ratings of even a year ago), CBS will have a couple more seasons, most likely, of stability before they will have to really start restructuring. Stalwarts like NCIS, Blue Bloods, and Criminal Minds are aging quickly, and at some point they will simply become too expensive to continue. For the network's sake, I hope it's not at the same time that Big Bang ends, which would put an enormous chasm in the schedule. The Young Sheldon spin-off is a clear attempt to keep the story and characters of Big Bang going, hopefully grooming it as a potential replacement when the parent show is put out to pasture. Other than that, it's another year of seeing which procedural will stick: the military one (SEAL Team) or the cop one (S.W.A.T.).

Click after the jump for descriptions of CBS's new 2017-2018 season.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

2017 Fall Schedule: ABC


8:00 - Dancing with the Stars
10:00 - The Good Doctor (NEW)

Conviction was the first show since Castle premiered way back in 2009 to air at 10:00 on Mondays... and it bombed. The Good Doctor looks more feel-good and uplifting and should pair well with the lightheartedness of DWTS, but 10:00 is a very unsure time period for ABC.


8:00 - The Middle
8:30 - Fresh Off the Boat (New Timeslot)
9:00 - black-ish (New Timeslot)
9:30 - The Mayor (NEW)
10:00 - The Gospel of Kevin (NEW)

This is quite an ambitious schedule for ABC. Moving black-ish to form a new African American-targeted comedy hour at 9:00 makes sense on paper, but it'll be going head-to-head with at least two other comedy blocks on NBC and Fox. black-ish was also routinely the lowest-rated show in the Wednesday block this past season, so it'll be interesting to see how it holds up as an anchor. The Middle, ever the stalwart, is the only show to remain put. After taking a year off from trying a new show at 10:00, ABC is going back to the drawing board after Agents of SHIELD continued dropping. It's risky to try two new shows back-to-back, especially after the troubles the slot has given ABC in the past.


8:00 - The Goldbergs
8:30 - Speechless
9:00 - Modern Family
9:30 - American Housewife (New Timeslot)
10:00 - Designated Survivor

Mostly staying the way it was this year, only American Housewife, which was a moderate success on Tuesdays at 8:30, moves into the lineup. It shows a kind-of faith in the entire lineup that nothing really needs to change (and with so many holes to fill and fires to put out elsewhere on the schedule, it makes sense), and having Modern Family as a lead-in should ensure American Housewife, at the very least, doesn't fall any further and perhaps even gains some new viewership.


8:00 - Grey's Anatomy
9:00 - Scandal
10:00 - How to Get Away with Murder

No changes here for what will be the last season with this particular lineup: Scandal is ending after this year. I would have probably moved it to another night, like Sunday, to help rebuild somewhere that needs it, but I guess there is some strong marketing to be had in advertising the last season of traditional TGIT.


8:00 - Once Upon a Time (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Marvel's Inhumans (NEW)
10:00 - 20/20

This pairing is shocking to me. With such a high-profile acquisition as Inhumans, which will premiere in IMAX theatres ahead of the pilot's broadcast on ABC, I'm surprised it's landed on a low-profile night like Friday. I assume this is also where Agents of SHIELD will end up when it premieres at midseason.


7:00 - America's Funniest Home Videos
8:00 - To Tell the Truth
9:00 - Shark Tank (New Timeslot)
10:00 - Ten Days in the Valley (NEW)

There have been rumors that ABC's revival of American Idol will air on Sunday nights, which makes this schedule make a little more sense: Ten Days in the Valley is a limited season of 10 episodes, and the other reality shows can easily be held for other times to clear Sunday nights for Idol. Going for all-reality in the fall is relatively smart, though, considering how low the scripted series on the night went this spring.


ABC will be making big moves at midseason, particularly with its biggest addition to the schedule when American Idol, which ended just a year ago on Fox, comes to the network. Other new shows at midseason include comedies Alex, Inc. and Splitting Up Together; an 8-episode revival of Roseanne; new dramas The Crossing, DeceptionFor the People and an as-yet-untitled firefighter spin-off of Grey's Anatomy; new reality/alternative series Dancing with the Stars Junior (which will likely push Dancing with the Stars back to a single season, airing this fall) and The Bachelor Winter Games; and returning series Agents of SHIELD and Quantico. Special event programming includes ABC's first shot at the live-musical trend, an animation/live-action hybrid production of The Little Mermaid Live! in October and Rolling Stone 50, a celebration of the magazine airing in February.

This is a crazy schedule. A lot of it makes sense (black-ish with The Mayor, reality Sundays) but a lot of it is head-scratching (Fridays, Tuesdays at 10:00, reviving American Idol so soon). ABC will need to do a good deal of rebuilding, with Scandal ending after this season, Once Upon a Time completely rebooting its story, and losing its long-standing Friday night sitcom Last Man Standing, among other things. But is it really wise to hedge bets on Idol, which was awfully rated in its final few seasons (the final season on Fox reportedly lost the network $60 million) and hasn't been gone long enough to incite the nostalgia factor? I don't know. That'll also leave a huge chunk of ABC's schedule full of reality competitions with both Idol and DWTS Junior potentially airing at the same time. Then you add in low-rated returning shows like SHIELD and Quantico, and you have to wonder how exactly this new year is going to turn things around for the network. They have a clever bit of counter-programming to the Olympics with this new Bachelor Winter Games series, but if American Idol doesn't take off the way ABC is hoping, I don't see this being a successful year for them.

Click after the jump for descriptions of ABC's new 2017-2018 series.

Monday, May 15, 2017

2017 Fall Schedule: FOX


8:00 - Lucifer (New Timeslot)
9:00 - The Gifted (NEW)

Middling performer Lucifer shifts up an hour to lead into the new Marvel X-Men series, directed by the film franchise's Bryan Singer, The Gifted at 9:00. Time will tell if this is a smart move (after all, a series based on such a high-profile property should be able to find an audience on its own), but launching a male-skewing series against Monday Night Football doesn't immediately strike me as the smartest move.


8:00 - Lethal Weapon (New Timeslot)
9:00 - The Mick (New Timeslot)
9:30 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine (New Timeslot)

A night full of minor changes. Lethal Weapon proved this spring that it could do okay without Empire by its side (which is more than could be said of sophomore failure Rosewood), so it gets to lead off a new comedy night. Now that the sitcoms will air an hour later, they'll go head-to-head with NBC's Superstore and The Good Place, and possibly with another sitcom block from ABC.


8:00 - Empire (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Star (New Timeslot)

Someone at Fox got the memo that these shows should be paired together and made it happen; why they waited a full year until Empire's ratings sunk is the question.


8:00 - Gotham (New Timeslot)
9:00 - The Orville (NEW)

An all-genre night, Gotham will lead into the new sci-fi Seth MacFarlane dramedy The Orville, which will have the unfortunate distinction of going head-to-head with This Is Us and Thursday Night Football (and possibly the final season of Scandal, unless ABC moves it or holds it for midseason). In other words, this pairing isn't a bad idea, but Thursday is probably not the best night for it.


8:00 - Hell's Kitchen (New Timeslot)
9:00 - The Exorcist

This lineup is the same as it started last season, before Hell's Kitchen was moved to Thursdays in January, so I have to think this is the one case in which Fox just gave up. The Exorcist was an excellent adaptation that almost no one watched, so I'm not sure how it even managed a second season, but when you have as many ratings woes as Fox currently does, you have to worry about other areas of the schedule first, I guess.


7:30 - The OT/Bob's Burgers (New Timeslot)
8:00 - The Simpsons
8:30 - Ghosted (NEW)
9:00 - Family Guy
9:30 - The Last Man on Earth

Another consistent schedule from the network, with utility player Bob's Burgers again sacrificed to the football gods in the 7:30 slot to make way for new comedy Ghosted. Fox hasn't had the best luck with launching new shows in the 8:30 slot, especially in the fall when football overrun is common, but maybe this one will be the one that sticks.


Unlike last year, Fox has not released a preliminary midseason schedule. They will have two new dramas, The Resident and 9-1-1; a new 10-episode season of The X Files; new comedy LA to Vegas; the final season of New Girl; and the returns of Masterchef and Masterchef Junior. Also joining at midseason is the Steve Harvey-hosted Showtime at the Apollo. Fox will also air a live musical event in December, A Christmas Story, based on the beloved film and stage musical by Oscar winners Pasek and Paul. In the spring, they will air a live production of Rent, celebrating the musical's 20th anniversary.

It's slim pickings over at Fox these days, with many returning shows being mediocre ratings performers and few new shows ordered for 2017-2018. I will say they took some risks with this schedule, with almost no lineup remaining the same from this current season. But not all of those risks feel like they'll pay off. Obviously this is just my knee-jerk reaction, but it seems like placing your highest profile new show on a busy night (Monday) up against some of the week's biggest telecasts (football, The Voice) isn't the best decision. Seeing NBC's schedule yesterday might have given me pause if I were Fox about launching a brand-new show on Thursdays at 9, seeing as that's when This Is Us will air, not to mention another night of football.

Furthermore, it's time to start thinking about what happens to this network when Empire runs its course. This wasn't an issue this time last year, but since then Empire has fallen back to Earth with consistently-dropping ratings since it returned to the air in March. It is still Fox's highest-rated show and it's in no danger of going anywhere, but it's got to be a reality check for the network. With this fall schedule, they're clearly trying to groom Star as something of a successor. The Gifted may take off (though we saw with Gotham and Agents of SHIELD that even if it has initial curiosity, shows don't typically sustain those stratospheric numbers), but what else here is there? Lucifer is entering its third season and is unlikely to attract new viewers. The Exorcist may improve Friday ratings over the abysmal Rosewood-Sleepy Hollow pairing of the spring, but its highest ratings are still nearly fractional. The Sunday night lineup is nothing like it used to be, with The Last Man on Earth particularly struggling as it enters a fourth season (though the addition of Kristen Wigg may help things a bit). At this point, Fox really only has Empire to depend on, so they have to be hoping and praying that something goes right with these new shows and moves... I just don't see it happening to the degree it needs to.

Click after the jump for descriptions of Fox's new 2017-2018 series.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

2017 Fall Schedule: NBC


Continuing with the oddness that has been NBC's scheduling department, Taken has been removed from the fall schedule. Following a massive overhaul which includes a new showrunner (Person of Interest's Greg Plageman replaces Emmy winner Alex Cary) and an almost entirely new cast (six of the eight regulars from season one were fired, with only leads Jennifer Beals and Clive Standen remaining), Taken has been pushed to midseason and replaced with a second hour of Dateline. Blindspot remains at 8:00pm.

About two weeks after announcing their fall schedule, NBC has changed their minds and released a heavily revised lineup for two nights: Tuesday and Thursday. In this new schedule, This Is Us stays put on Tuesday, moving Superstore and The Good Place back to their fall 2016 timeslots and displacing Chicago Fire, which will now air on Thursday nights. This decision is odd, considering NBC is citing football as the reason for This Is Us retaining its former slot. I'm not buying that, though... they knew football would be airing on Thursdays when they announced their schedule. Why suddenly is that a problem? This Is Us was often preempted last season for election coverage, and it did fine, so why the sudden concern that interruptions will erode viewership? I'm not pretending to understand the real reason here, except maybe that they got cold feet about Tuesdays with their comedies going up against other comedy blocks and/or not being strong enough to withstand the move. Either way, it undoes all the big moves NBC was poised to make this fall.


8:00 - The Voice
9:00 - This Is Us
10:00 - Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders (NEW)


8:00 - Superstore
8:30 - The Good Place
9:00 - Will & Grace (NEW)
9:30 - Great News (New Timeslot)
10:00 - Chicago Fire (New Timeslot)

The rest of the lineup remains as announced on May 14.



8:00 - The Voice
10:00 - The Brave (NEW)

Once again, a new drama is slotted into the 10:00 timeslot after The Voice, which has begun to fade this past year. This time it's the military drama The Brave following the singing competition, which will introduce two new judges this fall: Jennifer Hudson and Kelly Clarkson.


8:00 - The Voice
9:00 - Superstore (New Timeslot)
9:30 - The Good Place (New Timeslot)
10:00 - Chicago Fire

NBC's moderately successful pairing of Superstore and The Good Place remains intact, just now on a different night. They'll likely be going head-to-head with ABC comedies (barring any big shakeups in that network's Tuesday night schedule), but This Is Us proved last season that NBC can successfully launch a new show in the timeslot... maybe they can boost some existing ones too.


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

The Blacklist is on the move yet again, to its earliest hour yet in the troublesome 8:00 timeslot. Blindspot occupied the spot this past season and crashed, so an established show like The Blacklist is at least a bit less of a gamble, but it's not going to help rebuild the night either.


8:00 - Will & Grace (NEW)
8:30 - Great News (New Timeslot)
9:00 - This Is Us (New Timeslot)
10:00 - Law & Order: True Crime - The Menendez Murders (NEW)

Thursday Night Football (November 9 - December 14)

NBC is touting this as "the return of Must See TV," and I can't really disagree with that. After more than a decade off the air, Will & Grace becomes the latest nostalgia renewal on broadcast television, leading off what could be a really big night for NBC. Last year's breakout hit This Is Us moves to the 9:00 anchor, and barely-renewed freshman Great News (which will feature producer Tina Fey as a guest star in season two) gets the plum spot between a returning favorite and the biggest drama on TV. Dick Wolf also debuts the limited series off-shoot of his Law & Order franchise, an American Crime Story-esque docudrama about the Menendez brothers. Left out of the party is his other Chicago series, Chicago Med, which gets evicted from the fall schedule entirely.


8:00 - Blindspot (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Taken (New Timeslot)
10:00 - Dateline

I fully anticipated Blindspot moving to Fridays, and it should pair well with Taken, as both are action-driven series, but this is a rather unexciting night, yet again, for NBC.


Sunday Night Football


At midseason, NBC has new dramas Good Girls, Reverie, and Rise; new comedies A.P. Bio and Champions; new alternative series The Awesome Show, Ellen's Game of Games, Genius Junior, and The Handmade Project; plus returning dramas Chicago Med, Shades of Blue, and Timeless, as well as returning alternative series Little Big Shots and The Wall. Additionally, their annual December live musical will be Bye Bye Birdie Live!, starring Jennifer Lopez. At Easter, NBC will also air the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Jesus Christ Superstar Live!

It's interesting to note that, once again, NBC is debuting very few new shows in the fall. Aside from the 8-episode Menendez Murders limited series, NBC ordered four new dramas, but only one made the cut for fall, and there are no new comedies either (not counting Will & Grace, which is technically the show's ninth season). I don't know if this is a trend across all networks that we'll see, with fewer and fewer new series making it to the schedule, or if NBC is just playing it safe in the fall, as they did in 2016. But with football taking up three hours of the entire fall schedule each week, plus another three hours for five weeks during November sweeps, I guess you don't need to screw around too much. NBC will additionally have the Winter Olympics to help promote its returning and new midseason series, though that didn't work out too well for the new shows of midseason 2014 (only About a Boy managed a second season, which never completed airing). Also interesting to me is the potential state of the Chicago franchise: only two of the four series made the fall lineup. NBC made no mention of Chicago Justice at all during its renewal/cancellation announcements, and it's left off both the fall and midseason schedules; are we to assume it's been silently canceled, or are negotiations ongoing for its return? Chicago Med was renewed last week and is mentioned as a returning series in NBC's schedule press release, but there are no concrete plans announced for it. Will it be getting a shortened order or simply a late start? Something clearly happened this season that made NBC rethink its commitment to the franchise, though their relationship with Dick Wolf is clearly thriving: he has a new limited series on the fall schedule next to Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., and the nineteenth season of Law & Order: SVU.

As expected, NBC is seriously high on the success of This Is Us, trusting it to launch an entirely new lineup on Thursdays against Thursday Night Football on CBS before taking a six-week hiatus while the NFL airs on NBC, returning January, and then airing after the Super Bowl on February 4 (it looks to be a lot of on-off, off-on for the Thursday night lineup on NBC because of the dates the NFL games fall on). They're hedging their bets on it and the return of Will & Grace (which, I suppose, could become another regular series rather than a 12-episode limited run) to boost what is a notoriously difficult night for the network to program. I'm interested to see what happens with Thursdays at midseason when W&G, This Is Us, and Menendez Murders complete their seasons and will have to be replaced by a totally (or nearly so) schedule.

Click after the jump for descriptions of NBC's new shows for the 2017-2018 season.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

2017-2018 Broadcast Season: New Series Pickups

Click after the jump for log lines of the new shows ordered to series by broadcast networks so far. Updated frequently as new information becomes available. Updated May 13, 3:30PM.