[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: “Dancing with the Stars”
CBS: “How I Met Your Mother,” “We Are Men”
The CW: “Hart of Dixie”
FOX: “Bones”/”Almost Human”
NBC: “The Voice”
ABC: “Dancing with the Stars”
CBS: “2 Broke Girls,” “Mom”
The CW: “Beauty and the Beast”
FOX: “Sleepy Hollow”
NBC: “The Voice”
NBC: “The Blacklist”
What’s Changed: After Sunday’s really dull schedule and limited alterations, Mondays are somewhat overhauled. At least ABC is keeping things simple with “Dancing with the Stars” and “The Bachelor.” NBC’s got “The Voice,” but after using the reality hit to unsuccessfully launch “Smash,” “NBC” thought it had a genuine hit with “Revolution” this year, but after a spring of declines, “Revolution” is off to fend for itself on Wednesdays and the James Spader thriller “The Blacklist” is at 10 p.m. CBS is using “How I Met Your Mother” and “2 Broke Girls” to launch a pair of new comedies in “We Are Men” and “Mom,” while “Hawaii Five-0” has been shipped off to Fridays in favor of an innovative, by CBS standards, revolving limited drama wheel of “Hostages” and then “Intelligence.” Similarly, FOX will shift “Bones” to Fridays post-baseball and will then go with two new dramas in “Almost Human” and “Sleepy Hollow,” at least until “The Following” returns at midseason, at which point anything could happen. And, finally, The CW has shifted “Hart of Dixie” back to Mondays, where it will be paired with the totally incompatible “Beauty and the Beast.”
How the Ratings Race Is Impacted: On the surface, it would be fair to assume that the basics of the ratings race won’t change. “Dancing with the Stars” will, barring a big drop, keep ABC in first overall, while “The Voice” will, barring a big drop, keep NBC in first overall. It’s unlikely that “Dancing” will fall enough for any shifting to ensue there, though that franchise continues to skew older and older with each passing installment. Probably for one season, “Dancing” might get a bump — or at least “Dancing” might stabilize — as ABC rolls results into a lone Monday telecast. As for “The Voice,” the perception is that NBC’s singing show is on the upswing and FOX’s “American Idol” is on the downswing and while that isn’t untrue, the audience for “The Voice” loves the spinning chairs and likes every subsequent step progressively less to the point where recent live shows have been basically on par with spring performance installments of “Idol.” While that’s not a glowing trend, there’s no reason to think the spinning chairs will decline any time in the near future, especially with the revolving mentor panel keeping things semi-fresh. Similarly, if it’s any good, “The Blacklist” should be able to do what “Revolution” has been doing in recent weeks, which is “good enough.” If it’s not good, NBC has several midseason dramas ready to fill in there. CBS is the network taking the big risks, which will either lead to big rewards or create several gaping holes. “We Are Men” doesn’t seem like an especially smooth companion to the final season of “How I Met Your Mother,” but CBS has several midseason comedies — “Bad Teacher” and “Friends with Better Lives” — that might be more compatible if it fails. “Mom,” on the other hand, looks like a good, broad match for “2 Broke Girls” and, if successful, could boost either the off-brand “Hostages” or the on-brand “Intelligence” as the season progresses. And The CW’s Monday was such a disaster last year that almost anything will be an improvement, with “Hart of Dixie” sure to outdraw what “Gossip Girl” and “Carrie Diaries” did last year. The CW’s decision to renew “Beauty and the Beast” was already slightly silly, but the choice to put the sure-to-struggle drama on Mondays guarantees what could be a big collapse.
My Predicted DVR: It’s funny that in the 8 p.m. hour, the show guaranteed to have DVR space is The CW’s pleasing-and-low-pressure “Hart of Dixie,” which isn’t “Gilmore Girls,” or even “Bunheads,” but it remains an effective-enough version of the old WB formula. I’ll probably suffer through the last season of “How I Met Your Mother,” while watching the FOX dramas on Hulu (or “Almost Human” proves worthwhile). The 9 p.m. hour has become really soft, suddenly. I continue to actively hate half of “2 Broke Girls” and to only periodically enjoy the other half, but it’ll keep its DVR space, while I’ll be able to give “Sleepy Hollow” a while to either settle into its lunacy, or to spiral further out of control. I’ll keep watching “Castle” at 10 p.m. and I’m sure either “The Blacklist” or “Hostages” will claim my second 10 p.m. DVR slot, though it may take a few weeks of Hulu co-viewing to determine which one I drop. Or maybe “The Blacklist” and “Hostages” will both be awesome and I’ll have to figure out a full Hulu/OnDemand rotation. Or maybe they’ll both stink and I’ll be able to do other things. Hope springs eternal!
How have the new schedules impacted your Mondays?