DVR Gridlock 2015-16: Sunday 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.]


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: “Blood and Oil”
CBS: “The Good Wife”
FOX: “Family Guy,” “The Last Man on Earth”
NBC: Sunday Night Football

10 p.m.
ABC: “Of Kings and Prophets”
CBS: “CSI: Cyber”
NBC: Sunday Night Football

What's Changed: There's a reasonable amount of sameness here. CBS is bringing “CSI: Cyber” into the 10 p.m. hour, but if you'll recall, that's actually what CBS initially announced for last season before some tweaking took place. Oh and if you live on the East Coast, you can count on everything starting at semi-random times depending on the week and the football matchup. FOX is sticking with its spring lineup with “The Last Man on Earth” in the place originally set for “Mulaney” last fall before “Mulaney” went all “Mulaney.” And ABC is keeping the resilient “America's Funniest Home Videos” and “Once Upon a Time” to start the night, but two new dramas — “Blood & Oil” and “Of Kings and Prophets” will try to launch in the second half of primetime. And NBC will dominate the fall with football, before scheduling some dramas for the spring that nobody will watch. Business as usual! 

How the Ratings Race Is Impacted: NBC will, as I already said, win each and every Sunday night of the fall. Football is powerful and we saw last year that even with CBS getting its own football game on Thursday, there's no sign that viewer appetites are anywhere near sated. CBS will finish a solid and reliable second overall every week, but the network will also probably finish fourth every week in the 18-49 demo and I don't see any reason why “CSI: Cyber” is likely to do better than “CSI” and “The Mentalist” and whatever else aired in this slot did last season. In fact, I think we can safely guess it'll do worse, because “The Good Wife” is basically useless as a lead-in. CBS is obviously hoping that the fall will see gains on Monday from “Supergirl” and Tuesday with “Limitless” and the network is OK with a couple of nights that probably will dip a little. ABC also is likely to struggle. Personally, I think “Blood and Oil” looks pretty good and it almost certainly won't do worse than “Resurrection,” but it also won't do better than “Secrets and Lies,” probably. And seeing how “A.D. The Bible Continues” has disappointed on Sundays this spring despite Mark Burnett's signature and whatnot, I don't see how “Of Kings and Prophets” is a good idea. But what do I know? One network that will probably get fall improvement next season is FOX, assuming that last fall's deficit of original “Family Guy” episodes was an anomaly and not a future trend. For some reason, FOX was left grasping at straws in the fall because the network didn't have new “Family Guy” episodes ready to go and that hurt “Mulaney,” hurt FOX's overall Sunday and also hurt “The Last Man on Earth” in the spring. A regular “Family Guy” schedule would boost everything.

My Predicted DVR: Sunday tends, of course, to be heavy on cable dramas and sports and that's what I'm most likely to be watching. I'll do “Simpsons” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” in the 8 p.m. hour, but 9 p.m. becomes much more chaotic, since I watch “Good Wife” and the FOX comedies — No clue why I still watch “Family Guy,” but it records and then I half-watch it later in the week — and I'm pretty sure that “Blood and Oil” is going to be one that I'll watch. I like a lot of the “Blood and Oil” stars and I'm intrigued by its world and its creative auspices. And then at 10 p.m. I'll give “Of Kings and Prophets” a few episodes, if only to be disappointed that it isn't a new version of NBC's “Kings.” But probably AMC and Showtime and HBO are going to be my viewing priorities on Sundays.

How have the new schedules impacted your Sundays?

DVR Gridlock 2015-16: Friday Nights
DVR Gridlock 2015-16: Thursday Nights
DVR Gridlock 2015-16: Wednesday Nights
DVR Gridlock 2015-16: Tuesday Nights
DVR Gridlock 2015-16: Monday Nights
Last year's DVR Gridlock series