CLEAR AND UPFRONT DANGER '17
FALL 2017 Bold predictions
We are just days away from the big reveal of the broadcast network's new 2017 fall schedules. It is when we learn which bubble shows are coming back and which popular shows may be on the move.
Every year executives throw in a few scheduling curve balls to keep things fresh. In anticipation of the news, here are a few bold predictions of what could be revealed during the presentations.
Remember they are bold for a reason.
Prediction: ABC will shake things up in an unpredictable way
The last few years have not gone swimmingly for ABC and with network head Channing Dungey now having a full year under her belt expect some big moves. Granted Dungey went big last year by taking an axe to the schedule and cutting lose established series “Castle” and “Nashville,” so with that in mind I don’t expect her to go easy the second time around. With the potential addition of “American Idol” to its midseason schedule real-estate may be even pricier at the network come September.
RESULT::TRUE - Dungey took out the axe and swung for the fences.
Prediction: “This Is Us” moves to Wednesday’s at 8pm and takes down NBC’s death-slot
Wednesday’s at 8pm has become NBC’s white whale. The slot has taken down a number of shows over the years including “The Mysteries of Laura,” “Revolution” and for a while it looked like it would claim “Blindspot.” Ultimately though the action-drama slipped through and will be back for a third season, but that doesn’t mean NBC should keep it in a slot where it has lost the bulk of its viewers. “This Is Us,” was the breakout show of last season and seems like it would be rock-solid wherever it airs. Watch NBC move “Us” to shore up its Wednesdays and shift “Blindspot” elsewhere – including potentially midseason.
RESULT: FALSE - I was right in that NBC moved the show, but was off by the night (and time), but my reasoning was sound.
Prediction: CBS will renew ‘2 Broke Girls,’ ‘Code Black’ and ‘Elementary’ but only one will be back in the fall
When CBS announced its massive slate of renewals the other month it was easier to list what hadn’t made the early cut. Now just a week away the picture is getting clearer and the re-worked Sunday night drama line-up (post “60 Minutes”) should stay intact including first time bubble show “Elementary.” I also expect “2 Broke Girls” to get the (shortened) swan song season it deserves – but starting at mid-season, where “Code Black” may also find itself unless one of CBS medical pilots fail to charm.
RESULT: FALSE - "2 Broke Girls" was ultimately cancelled but it was a close call and both "Code Black: and "Elementary" were held back.
Prediction Fox holds “Empire” for midseason and moves “Star” to the fall
Okay realistically this will NEVER happen, but these are bold predictions, so I’m going bold. “Empire” was an outlier in its first season as it gained viewers week-to-week whereas most shows shed them. Fox then got greedy and expanded the show from 13 to 18 episodes and the ratings have since suffered. This year’s approach of a 9-9 fall/spring split with Lee Daniels’ “Star” in the middle was a step in the right direction but still not the best approach. Putting “Empire” against the Olympics in January would be a big power move, but likely just a pipe dream for now.
RESULT: FALSE - Fox instead went with a "Empire"/ "Star" combo - which is the network's answer to ABC's "TGIT."
Prediction: All 5 Dick Wolf series will return – though not all at once and two could be merged
A few industry sites has speculated not all four of Dick Wolf’s “Chicago” shows will get the greenlight for the 2017-2018 season. However these shows have ultimately been the backbone of NBC’s lineup and support them while “Sunday Night Football,” “The Voice” and “The Blacklist” suffered some form of rating erosion (some more than others). Ultimately I think NBC decides to bring all four back, plus “Law & Order: SVU” which deserves a proper final season when the time comes. Though I would venture NBC finally flips “Chicago Med” and “The Blacklist’s” timeslots to try and bring back the magic when “ER” aired at 10pm. I also wouldn’t be shocked to see “Chicago Justice” held for midseason as the pairing of that and “Shades of Blue” has been a stable presence – however am I only that doesn’t see the potential of merging of “Chicago P.D.” and “Chicago Justice” into one show?
RESULT: TOO EARLY TO CALL - Four of the shows came back with "Chicago Justice" still in limbo and "Med" was held for mid-season.
Prediction: Fox moves “Lethal Weapon” to Tuesdays or Thursdays
The premise here is simple in that “Empire” helps support its neighbors, but what’s rare is that it does it as a lead-out, not a lead-in. “Empire’s” success is what helped launch “Rosewood” and “Lethal Weapon” and I suspect Fox will want to try it again with a new rookie, but that means moving “Weapon.” While “Rosewood” faltered on Thursdays (and could be down for the count), I don’t see the same scenario befalling “Weapon” which could help Fox gain footing on what’s been a tough night for the network. Granted the same can be said for Tuesday’s where “Scream Queens” will leave a big gaping hole at 9pm.
RESULT: TRUE -"Lethal Weapon" was shifted to Tuesdays.
Prediction: CBS will pair “NCIS” and “NCIS: New Orleans” shifting “Bull” to 10pm.
For years CBS thrived on Tuesdays with “NCIS” and spin-off “NCIS: Los Angeles” airing back-to-back. Eventually “LA” shifted to Sundays and “NCIS: New Orleans” filled the gap. Yet last year CBS shifted “NOLA” to 10pm to help launch former “NCIS” star Michael Weatherly’s new series “Bull.” Now with “Bull” launched and on solid-ish footing, the time could be right to challenge NBC’s “Chicago Fire” for timeslot supremacy and at the same time help “NOLA” regain some of its viewers.
RESULT: FALSE- CBS opted to keep it status quo.
Prediction: Not all the DC super-hero series return in the fall – and that’s a good thing
I’m a big fan of The CW’s super-hero series but with all four confirmed to return and a fifth likely coming (“Black Lighting”) having a hero-a-night may be overkill. That said “Lightning” may not be ready for the fall so it could be help for midseason, but I’m guessing either “Supergirl” or “Legends of Tomorrow” could also be held back. The CW has a stronger than normal pilot slate and it will likely add more shows than usual so shifting a superhero to the winter/spring could serve a few purposes – not the least of which being less skip weeks late in the year. I also do a scenario though where “Supergirl” flies to Fridays to pair with “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” thus freeing up “Jane The Virgin” to help launch a new show.
RESULT: FALSE - The CW brought all four back in the fall with newbie "Black Lightning" held for winter.