[Over the next six days, I’m going to be glancing, night-by-night, at how the primetime schedules have changed after the network announcements at upfronts. I’ll be looking at how the various changes will impact the ratings races on each night, as well as my own DVRing habits. Readers can chime in on how their own DVRs will be impacted. And yes, this brief series assumes that anybody still watches TV on their TVs. I’m old-fashioned. Check out last year’s DVR Gridlock installments.]
ABC: “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
The CW: “The Originals”
FOX: “Dads,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”
NBC: “The Biggest Loser”
ABC: “The Goldbergs,” “Trophy Wife”
CBS: “NCIS: LA”
The CW: “Supernatural”
FOX: “New Girl,” “The Mindy Project”
NBC: “The Voice”
ABC: “Lucky 7”
CBS: “Person of Interest”
NBC: “Chicago Fire”
What’s Changed: Well, if you’re ABC, *everything* has changed, as the network is going down the rare path of an entire night of newly introduced original scripted programming, all anchored by perhaps the most anticipated premiere of the fall, assuming you trust the Interwebs. Yup. Kids online are *psyched* for “The Goldbergs.” After trying to launch a slew of new dramas out of “NCIS” and “NCIS: Los Angeles,” CBS bucked conventional pre-upfronts wisdom and moved established hit “Person of Interest,” rather than ordering “NCIS: Red.” NBC is doubling up on reality by moving “The Voice” to 9 p.m. and putting in “Biggest Loser” at 8 and then hoping to turn “Chicago Fire” from NBC-sized hit to bona fide hit. FOX is keeping established success “New Girl” and established ratings failure “The Mindy Project” at 9 p.m. but leading into the two female friendly comedies with a pair of male-friendly comedies. And, finally, The CW is putting “Supernatural” on yet another new night, hoping that it’ll combine with “Vampire Diaries” spinoff “The Originals” to produce a big bump. But really… It’s all about “S.H.I.E.L.D.” Duh.
How the Ratings Race Is Impacted: Everybody I know is psyched for “S.H.I.E.L.D.” Everybody you know is psyched for “S.H.I.E.L.D.” But honestly, are we making a big assumption that just because “The Avengers” was a mind-boggling smash that there’s a mammoth mainstream audience out there eager to watch a not-exactly-superhero drama fronted by Clark Gregg and featuring a grand total of “zero” of the established Avengers? It’s an astoundingly big question mark and it all comes down to a matter of scale, particularly when it comes to perception. Is “S.H.I.E.L.D.” going to be a true phenomenon — i.e. 15 million viewers and a 4+ rating in the 18-49 demo? Is it going to be a reasonable hit — 10+ million and a 3+ rating in the 18-49 demo? Or is it going to get clobbered by “NCIS” and then have to pick up a huge DVR bump in order to be considered any kind of success at all? If it’s either of the two formers, it could set up a good comedy block for ABC, but what are the odds that that will ripple all the way through to 10 p.m. with a no-name ensemble drama about lottery winners? Very low, I’d guess. CBS will continue to be a total viewer juggernaut thanks to the “NCIS” double-dose and “Person of Interest” has a fanbase of its own after two strong seasons of growth on Thursdays. Even if “PoI” falls from Thursday in a time period with lower TV usage and whatnot, it’s certain to improve on both the audience and key demo numbers for “Vegas,” “Golden Boy,” “Unforgettable” and “Good Wife,” among recent time period “favorites.” So that makes CBS tough, while NBC will also be tougher, with “Chicago Fire” showing real growth potential with a boost from “The Voice.” Heck, even The CW is going to be bigger, since even if “The Originals” doesn’t approach “Vampire Diaries” levels, it only needs to approach “Hart of Dixie” level, while “Supernatural” will definitely improve on “Emily Owens” and “Cult” from last season. All of that means that with the other four networks growing, FOX could be in trouble. On the bright side, “New Girl” should be steady and “The Mindy Project” probably will be as well, although that’s not so bright. “Dads” is going to struggle to even do steady “Raising Hope”-level ratings. So FOX’s entire hope for improvement hinges on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” which puts a lot of pressure on Andy Samberg, since as awesome as he is, we know Andre Braugher brings more positive reviews to the table than viewers.
My Predicted DVR: I haven’t been overtaxed on Tuesdays for a while, but a bit of a logjam could be forming. “S.H.I.E.L.D.” is a lock to get a DVR slot and I’ll watch “The Originals” as a “Vampire Diaries”/Phoebe Tonkin fan. So that means “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” will have to be a Hulu/OnDemand regular. I’ll stick with FOX’s comedies at 9 p.m. and maybe add the ABC comedies depending on how they progress. In the 10 p.m. hour, with “Person of Interest” and “Chicago Fire,” I have two series recordings, both both for what are effectively laundry shows. I’m not sure I do that much laundry.
How have the new schedules impacted your Tuesdays?