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Monday, September 15, 2014

FALL PREVIEW 2014: Monday

My Fall Preview is finally here! Here is the Monday preview, a night that has some major changes for CBS, timeslot-sharing shows on CBS and NBC, and a highly anticipated new show on FOX.

Past Monday Previews: 2013   2012   2011   2010

8:00 Dancing with the Stars (19th edition)

10:00 Castle (7th season)
For a sixth year in a row, the ABC Monday lineup does not change and I actually think that makes sense this year though I also thought ABC should have moved Castle years ago. Dancing with the Stars had a surprising resurgence last year after declines for a couple years. However, I didn't think the new cast list was too appealing so I wouldn't be surprised to see it drop back a bit again. Castle held its own as a reliable second place behind The Blacklist and ahead of the CBS duds Hostages and Intelligence. But CBS has NCIS: Los Angeles this year and that could be some major competition for Castle. I wouldn't be surprised to see Castle regularly fall come in third in the timeslot, at least while The Blacklist is in the hour.

8:00 The Big Bang Theory (8th season)/2 Broke Girls (4th season)
8:30 Mom (2nd season)
10:00 NCIS: Los Angeles (6th season)
CBS is making big changes on Mondays as they are abandoning the 9pm comedy hour for the first time since the 1951-52 season (that year, I Love Lucy aired at 9pm but a game show followed at 9:30pm). The last time no comedies aired in the 9pm hour before this season was 1948-49, when CBS didn't air national programming on Monday nights. It is also the first time since 1985-86 that they won't air two hours of comedies on the night. In that 9pm slot is the new dramedy Scorpion about a crew of geniuses. It'll get a premiere after a one hour premiere of those other geniuses on The Big Bang Theory. Scorpion hasn't gotten much buzz though and despite lots of promotion, I think it'll be hard to CBS to get this to work. We might see Mike & Molly back sooner rather than later. Earlier in the night, Big Bang returns to Mondays for about a month thanks to football on Thursday nights. CBS will use TV's top show to bolster the new Monday lineup and especially sophomore sitcom Mom, which follows at 8:30pm. When Big Bang returns to Thursdays at the end of October, 2 Broke Girls comes back to 8pm on Mondays. It didn't do horribly in that slot in late spring but it'll be nowhere near Big Bang. The best move of the night was to get an established drama at 10pm after Hostages and Intelligence failed miserably here last year. After five years following its parent show, NCIS: Los Angeles finally branches out to its own night, taking over the Monday 10pm slot. While it's likely to be down from its Tuesday numbers, I have to think it'll be an improvement in the hour and could even snag first in the demo for the hour once The Blacklist is gone.

8:00 The Voice (7th edition)
10:00 The Blacklist (2nd season)/STATE OF AFFAIRS
NBC is starting off the season with the same Monday lineup but things will change in November. Reality hit The Voice continues to lead things off  with new judges Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams. The two new judges may breathe some life into a franchise that was showing some signs of slowing down last season. The top new hit from last year, The Blacklist, gets to keep the coveted Monday 10pm slot for awhile. It will air until November before it goes on a break and resurfaces in the post-Super Bowl slot and then on Thursdays at 9pm. Replacing it will be another thriller, the Katherine Heigl vehicle State of Affairs. The problem is that the show doesn't have a ton of buzz like The Blacklist does and it will be following The Voice when the show is weaker as that show is always strongest during its blind auditions. This scheduling decision by NBC seems to be more about giving The Blacklist the best chance to remain a hit than giving State of Affairs the best chance to succeed.

9:00 Sleepy Hollow (2nd season)
Most agree that it's going to be a rough fall for FOX but one of the nights where they actually have a chance is Mondays with one of the most anticipated new shows. The Batman origins story Gotham has been buzzy since even before upfronts. There is a lot of awareness of this show like Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. last year so a big premiere is expected even though it will have to face some big hits on other networks. The question is if it will stay strong or fade like Marvel and many other "big" shows have. It only has a 16 episode order though so FOX may be able to pull a similar move as they did with Sleepy Hollow last year and have it end its season before things get ugly. Speaking of Hollow, that show returns at 9pm. While it did fade towards the end, it had a lot of buzz and it potentially has a stronger and more compatible Monday companion in Gotham. With another shorter episode order, FOX is hoping a once buzzy show doesn't return after months off to a lack of interest the second time around like The Following or Under the Dome.

New Monday Show Survival Chances
Scorpion (CBS) - Poor. I just don't see this show meshing with the comedies before it or the drama after it. The premise doesn't seem appealing or all that accessible. No comedies in the 9pm hour won't last long.

State of Affairs (NBC) - Fair. It seems like it's trying to capitalize on The Blacklist and Scandal and that's not a bad thing, but I had to think if it was a good show, NBC would want to premiere it when The Voice is at its strongest in either September or February. I think the late start will make it pale in comparison to The Blacklist.

Gotham (FOX) - Good. I'm pretty high on Gotham for FOX. I think it'll draw more non-comic fans than Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and I hope it lives up to the intrigue creatively. It's great counter programming to sitcoms and reality competitions and I also see it having a big online/social media following.

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