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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

FALL PREVIEW 2014: Wednesday

Continuing my Fall Preview, I will now look at Wednesdays which has several new shows that seem to fit like a glove with the current programming on their respective networks. That doesn't mean they'll all be successful but three of the four networks definitely have a theme to their nights.

Past Wednesday Previews: 2013    2012    2011    2010

8:00 The Middle (6th season)
8:30 The Goldbergs (2nd season)
9:00 Modern Family (6th season)
10:00 Nashville (3rd season)
Now entering the sixth year of comedies on Wednesdays, it looks on paper like ABC has finally put together a very coherent lineup from top to bottom. Of course long time anchors The Middle and five time comedy series Emmy winner Modern Family remain the anchors at 8pm and 9pm. At 8:30pm is The Goldbergs in the slot it should have been in from the start last season. It floundered on Tuesdays but showed enough promise that ABC upgraded it to the Wednesday lineup and the numbers for reruns this summer have been promising. It seems to be the best fit between Middle and Family yet and seems ripe to see growth in its second season. The 9:30pm occupant is also, finally, another family sitcom as ABC is not going with another edgy urban show and instead going with black family comedy Black-ish. Reviews seem mixed but decent enough for this to be a player especially as it seems compatible with its three lead-ins. The only show that doesn't seem to be a great option is Nashville at 10pm. The show got a third season but is an underperformer. I don't see things going any better for this show than it did last year.

8:00 Survivor (29th edition)
9:00 Criminal Minds (10th season)
Wednesdays on CBS have been the same for three years but there will be a change at 10pm this season. Mainstays Survivor and Criminal Minds continue to lead off the night. Entering its 10th season, Criminal Minds has never aired in any other slot. For the first time ever, it gets an equally if not more creepy counterpart at 10pm in Stalker. The new drama is being called one of the creepiest shows to hit broadcast TV in years. This is an attempt by CBS to inject new life into a night that has been solid for them but is starting to show its age.

9:00 Law & Order: SVU (16th season)

10:00 Chicago PD (2nd season)
NBC is going with a crime themed night as a new crime drama replaces the incompatible Revolution. The dramedy The Mysteries of Laura starring Debra Messing takes over the 8pm slot. However, I think it's going to have a rough go of it with bad reviews and a difficult timeslot. If anything, another crime drama at 8pm might be worse than a totally different show like Revolution was. Two franchise shows follow in Law & Order: SVU and Chicago PD. Entering its 16th season, Law & Order: SVU had a remarkable resurgence last year, actually going up year to year. However, some of that could have been due to a popular arc featuring Mariska Hargitay's character. It could be down from that but we'll see. Chicago PD helped stabilize 10pm but it really only did well when it crossed over with Chicago Fire or Law & Order: SVU. It needs to prove that it can be a success in its own right.

8:00 Hell's Kitchen (13th edition)
FOX is the only network that doesn't really have a flow to its night as they seem to be putting their lineup together piecemeal and have to fill the huge vacuum left by The X Factor. At 8pm is Hell's Kitchen, which just finished its last season in the middle of the summer. It's always an OK performer though so that's better than some of FOX's shows. At 9pm is the new drama Red Band Society. It's one of the most critically acclaimed fall shows but it also is a tough sell. If it can avoid bombing instantly, FOX might be patient with this one.

New Wednesday Show Survival Chances
Black-ish (ABC) - Good. Some of the shows that I think have the best chances this fall are compatible shows in timeslots where they should succeed. Black-ish is one of those shows and I see it succeeding.

Stalker (CBS) - Fair. I'm reasonably high on this show but I'm not sure if the creepy factor will be a turn off or maybe it will be creepy early on and lose its buzz. That's why I'm just a bit skeptical.

The Mysteries of Laura (NBC) - Poor. I don't see this show working in a difficult 8pm slot. It's likely to skew ancient and NBC has a lot on the bench. I'd be surprised if this one makes it past the initial 13 episode order.

Red Band Society (FOX) - Fair. As I said before, FOX may very well be patient with this one because they don't have much else and the acclaim is already there, but it has to at least show some signs of promise in a very difficult timeslot.

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