DVR Gridlock 2015-16: Monday Nights

[As in years past, this week, 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. I'm also probably gonna ignore that I have a fancy new six-tuner DVR that means that I really don't have to make choices anymore. This will assume that I make choices for my own sanity.]


8:00 p.m.
ABC: “Dancing with the Stars”
CBS: “Big Bang Theory”/”Life in Pieces” (through October) and “Supergirl”
The CW: “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”
FOX: “Gotham”
NBC: “The Voice”

9:00 p.m.
ABC:  “Dancing with the Stars”
CBS: “Scorpion”
The CW: “Jane the Virgin”
FOX: “Minority Report”
NBC: “The Voice”

10:00 p.m.
ABC: “Castle”
CBS: “NCIS: Los Angeles”
NBC: “Blindspot”

What's Changed: The night's biggest change is conceptual, since you may not be a regular “2 Broke Girls” or “Mike & Molly” viewer, but this is the first time since 1949 that CBS has had a comedy-free Monday. Or at least it will be once Thursday Night Football ends and CBS isn't airing “Big Bang Theory” and “Life in Pieces” here. Will “Supergirl” prove to be a family friendly blockbuster return to the comic book world for CBS? We'll see. After “State of Affairs” failed post-“The Voice” and “Night Shift” didn't do well enough to lock down that slot going forward, NBC is looking to something a bit more “Blacklist”-y to attempt to draw back the “Blacklist” audience. FOX continues to struggle to put together a cohesive and stable Monday block, with “Gotham” returning, but “Minority Report” trying to capitalize on brand recognition that FOX thinks exists, but probably doesn't without Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise. And The CW may not be making a big play for ratings, but at least “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” and “Jane the Virgin” are likely to be more topically compatible than “Jane” and “The Originals” were last year.

How the Ratings Race Is Impacted: “Dancing with the Stars” just completed a season with almost no stars and almost no buzz and yet the overall audience remained old-but-intact. ABC's overall advantage over the Monday field is huge and that's unlikely to change. While the aforementioned failure of “State of Affairs” and sluggishness of “The Night Shift” made things close in the key 18-49 demographic, NBC still generally won the night there and is more likely than not to remain the case, though continued declines for “The Voice” make it at least semi-imperative for “Blindspot” to boost the 10 p.m. hour. The “Voice” fade has been significant and barely remarked up in the media and it won't be remarked upon this fall as long as football keeps NBC on top. CBS will start the fall strong with “The Big Bang Theory,” but the X-factor is the success of “Supergirl.” If “Supergirl” premieres huge, siphons a largely number of female viewers from “The Voice” and helps “Scorpion” build or remain flat in its second season, CBS could make a play for the 18-49 demo for the night. FOX will continue to perform strongly at least with young men, but the network blew nearly 25 percent of the “Gotham” audience over a lengthy midseason hiatus that saw Live+Same Day key demo ratings go from a 2.0 to a 1.5 in the space of an episode. The network is high on “Minority Report,” but based on trailers it looks more like “Almost Human 2.0” than the Spielberg movie. The CW's hopes of improvement on Monday don't hinge at all on the star-free “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” but rather rest on the Television Academy. If “Jane the Virgin” wins an Emmy for Gina Rodriguez and somehow picks up an Outstanding Comedy Series nod, that could help “Jane” grow in Season 2. Otherwise, The CW will just be floating an off-brand night.

My Predicted DVR: In the 8 p.m. hour I'll have “Gotham” and CBS going. “Supergirl” I'm looking forward to and could probably set a season pass for now, while “Life in Pieces” will probably have its Monday run to convince me it's worthwhile before it goes to Thursday. Dunno on “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” but I'll give it a few episodes. “Jane the Virgin” is a favorite and “Scorpion” is an innocuous piece of background entertainment that's proven more capable of delivering an unwatchable clunker than a truly great episode, but I'll stick with it. Chances are good that I'll watch “Minority Report” for at least a little while, but my interest has yet to be piqued. “Castle” remains a laundry folding show for me and I'll give “Blindspot” a few episodes.

How have the new schedules impacted your Mondays?

Last year's DVR Gridlock series