DVR Gridlock 2015-16: Wednesday 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: “The Middle,” “The Goldbergs”
CBS: “Survivor”
The CW: “Arrow”
FOX: “Rosewood”
NBC: “The Mysteries of Laura”

9:00 p.m. 
ABC: “Modern Family,” “Black-ish”
CBS: “Criminal Minds”
The CW: “Supernatural”
FOX: “Empire”
NBC: “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”

10 p.m. 
ABC: “Nashville”
CBS: “Code Black”
NBC: “Chicago PD”

What's Changed: Wednesday is easily the most stable night of the week thus far. Eleven of the 15 shows airing on Wednesday night are the same shows that were airing in the exact same times last fall, while “Empire” and “Supernatural” both came over to their current time periods in the spring. I know you're capable of doing rudimentary math, but that means that 13 of 15 shows airing on Wednesday in the fall were airing here in the spring, with the only two exceptions being FOX's “Rosewood” and CBS' latest 10 p.m. drama “Code Black.” No other night can come close to this stability.

How the Ratings Race Is Impacted: So it stands to reason that, for the most part, the night won't be impacted especially. Even if you assume that it would defy all logic and precedent for “Empire” to somehow maintain its spring momentum after five or six months off the air, assuming that interested doesn't inexplicably plummet, “Empire” should do twice the 18-49 rating of any other show on this night, which would make FOX unbeatable in the key demo regardless of how “Rosewood” performs and my hunch is that “Rosewood” isn't going to be an especially large hit. It shouldn't matter, though FOX has had real difficulties keeping the embers hot for shows like “Gotham” and “Sleepy Hollow” in recent years. Of course, neither show is “Empire.” And remember that “Empire” drew over 16 million viewers for its finale. Even if that number isn't likely for a fall run, something somewhere near that will make FOX really tough to beat overall as well, again assuming that “Rosewood” is a middling performer, but not a disaster. If “Rosewood” comes out at 3.5 million viewers and below The Mulaney Line in the key demo? Not only will FOX have to make a move with absurd speed, but CBS will capitalize and easily win the night overall, since “Survivor” and “Criminal Minds” are as steady as it gets and it wouldn't surprise me to see “Survivor” get a tiny bump for the upcoming “Second Chance” season. “Code Black” doesn't feel like a hit to me, but CBS is accustomed to underperforming dramas in that slot and even what looks like an underperforming drama for CBS will still probably outdraw “Chicago PD” and “Nashville,” even if it finishes second or third in the 18-49 demo. ABC has to be wondering what the heck happened to “Modern Family” in the last few weeks of the season. It's not like the Emmy-winning smash has suddenly become an albatross and it's still easily the night's top comedy, but those ratings drops were occurring even with “Empire” gone. If “Modern Family” bounces back to near a 3.0 in the demo, ABC won't worry. Actually, ABC's probably not worried anyway, but it's still something to watch. And figure that “Mysteries of Laura” is just a placeholder here for the fall, airing and getting a reliable and low number and allowing NBC to concentrate its promotion elsewhere before the network tries doing better on Wednesdays at 8, but don't expect anything to change, even if the CopMom/MomCop balance is shifted, as will apparently be the case. But in summation, unless “Empire” immediately falls off a cliff, FOX will cruise here, just as it did through most of the spring, even if “Rosewood” probably won't do what “Idol” was doing.

My Predicted DVR: If I have nothing else to recap, I watch “Survivor” on ET, leaving “The Goldbergs” and “Arrow” as an easy-ish 8 p.m. hour. I'll give “Rosewood” a couple episodes, though. Maybe the bland trailer wasn't representative? “Empire” and the ABC comedies are my 9 p.m. shows. I want to note that by the end of the season, “Black-ish” was my favorite of the ABC Wednesday comedies. At 10 p.m. I record “Nashville” and then let it pile up on my DVR, but I'll also give “Code Black” a couple episodes in the hopes that, similar to “Rosewood,” it's better than the trailer, except that some people really loved the trailer. So… Yeah.

How have the new schedules impacted your Wednesdays?

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