HitFix

DVR Gridlock 2014-15: Sunday Nights

[As is my recent tradition, 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. It also assumes that you/I only have a dual tuner DVR (plus occasional access to a Slingbox on ET. Check out last year's DVR Gridlock installments and the DVR Gridlock segments for 2012.]

SUNDAY NIGHTS

7:00 p.m.
ABC: “America's Funniest Home Videos”
CBS: “60 Minutes”
FOX: “The OT,” “Bob's Burgers”
NBC: NFL Pre-Game

8:00 p.m. 
ABC: “Once Upon a Time”
CBS: “Madam Secretary”
FOX: “The Simpsons,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”
NBC: Sunday Night Football

9 p.m.
ABC: “Resurrection”
CBS: “The Good Wife”
FOX: “Family Guy,” “Mulaney”
NBC: Sunday Night Football

10 p.m.
ABC: “Revenge”
CBS: “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”/”CSI: Cyber”
NBC: Sunday Night Football

What's Changed: A lot, actually! Last year, the networks barely touched Sunday and even though nobody had a disastrous time on the night (other than NBC in the spring, I suppose), several networks felt the desire to shake things up dramatically. FOX, for example, has moved two live-action comedies — “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “Mulaney” — into a block that has been largely Animation Domination in recent years. CBS has moved “Madam Secretary” into the 8 p.m. slot and transplanted the still-reliable “CSI” to the 10 p.m. slot. (or, as I like to joke, the 8:37 slot and the 10:37 slot when you factor in football overrun and whatnot). ABC is sticking with its spring 2014 Sunday lineup and NBC has football, as always.

How the Ratings Race Is Impacted: In the fall, the impact is likely to be very slight. NBC will dominate every week in all measures. CBS will capitalize on football overrun to regularly finished second overall and usually finish second in the 18-49 demo. ABC will certainly be up over last fall, what with the absence of “Betrayal,” but how much improvement it will have year-to-year hinges on whether “Resurrection” stops the ratings attrition that followed its tremendous premiere in March. FOX's moves seem to be based on very marginally improving the hopes for “Brooklyn” and “Mulaney,” which will have healthier lead-ins than they might have gotten on Tuesday or, heaven forbid, on Friday, rather than improving numbers for the night, since it's unlikely that “Brooklyn” or “Mulaney” will offer vast boosts over what “Bob's Burgers” and “American Dad” did in those slots last year. CBS is in the most interesting of positions, because “Madam Secretary” is a new show in a volatile time period that will be taking the place of an established and reliable success in “The Amazing Race.” Although it remains TV's most-watched network, CBS hasn't had a great track record for new drama launches in recent years and although “Madam Secretary” looks to be very compatible with “Good Wife,” it's airing *before* “Good Wife” and it isn't like “The Good Wife” is some massive hit. Personally, I would be surprised if, by November, “Madam Secretary” is doing a better 18-49 number than “Amazing Race” was, though I wouldn't be shocked to see “Madam Secretary” doing a comparable or better overall number. [I also wouldn't be shocked to see “Madam Secretary” tank entirely, leading to an “Amazing Race” return in the spring, “Hawaii Five-0” to 8 p.m. on Fridays and “The Mentalist” at 9.] “The Good Wife” isn't likely to be impacted in any case and “CSI” will probably do basically the same number as “The Mentalist.”

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