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Monday, September 12, 2016

FALL PREVIEW 2016: Monday

Here is my Fall Preview for Monday nights, a night that finally sees a change on ABC after many years, a return to comedy on CBS, a new drama on NBC, no changes on FOX, and the flight of Supergirl to The CW.

Past Monday Previews: 2015   2014   2013   2012   2011   2010

ABC
8:00 Dancing with the Stars (23rd edition)
10:00 CONVICTION
For the first time since the 2008-09 season, ABC is not going with a Dancing with the Stars/Castle pairing on Monday nights. Castle has been cancelled and in its place is a new procedural drama, Conviction starring Hayley Atwell. This show has gotten some positive buzz and has one of the best timeslots on TV with strong lead-ins year round from Dancing to The Bachelor and back to Dancing again. It is also the only procedural premiering this year on ABC and that is a stated goal of the new leadership team. Everything is set up for it to succeed. On Dancing, the new cast has some interesting contestants like Ryan Lochte and Rick Perry but I don't think it'll do much better or worse than last season.

CBS
8:00 (Sep) The Big Bang Theory (10th season)/(late Oct) KEVIN CAN WAIT
8:30 (Sep) KEVIN CAN WAIT/(late Oct) MAN WITH A PLAN
9:00 2 Broke Girls (6th season)
9:30 The Odd Couple (3rd season)
10:00 Scorpion (3rd season)
Last year was the first year since the 1940s that CBS did not regularly air comedies on Monday night, instead going with the drama trio of Supergirl, Scorpion, and NCIS: Los Angeles. This year, they are completely reversing course going back to four comedies on the night for the first time in three years. As usual, The Big Bang Theory will have a brief run on Mondays while football takes up Thursdays. It will air for five weeks and will be a lead-in to the new Kevin James sitcom Kevin Can Wait. When Big Bang heads back to Thursdays, Kevin will move up to the old King of Queens slot - Mondays at 8pm. As part of a retro hour, it will lead in to the new Matt LeBlanc sitcom Man with a Plan. These sitcoms seem like they could be a good pair but they'll have to be the type of show that is review-proof. Expect a lot of promos during football throughout the fall. At 9pm is another hour of sitcoms, 2 Broke Girls and The Odd Couple. Girls has bounced all around the CBS schedule but has always struggled in an anchor slot. It was in this exact slot four years ago and didn't last very long there. The Odd Couple didn't air until April last season and then aired twice a week as a near-burnoff. But it exceeded expectations and got a third season thanks to that and the expansion of CBS comedy. It's still in a tough position but CBS doesn't currently have any comedies on the shelf which helps its case. I wonder if CBS will play up the fact that former Friends Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry are in shows on the same night? Seems like they will. In fact, a crossover wouldn't shock me. The show that seemed to get the most hurt by this transition back to comedies is Scorpion, which has gone from a prime CBS show at 9pm to an afterthought at 10pm. It's lackluster second year didn't help matters and I think more big drops are likely this season.

NBC
8:00 The Voice (11th edition)
10:00 TIMELESS
NBC is once again putting its muscle behind a big new action drama airing after The Voice. The Voice is getting older but it might get a shot in the arm with new coaches Miley Cyrus and Alicia Keys. Cyrus seems like she could be a draw to a show like this. The new show that gets the Smash/Revolution/The Blacklist/State of Affairs/Blindspot slot is Timeless, one of several time traveling shows premiering on the broadcast networks this year. With the exception of State of Affairs, all these shows have started well in the fall though Timeless won't get to start until the third week of The Voice thanks to a presidential debate the second week of the season. It also seems to be dwarfed by the attention this summer given to the Tuesday lead-out, This is Us. Still, all but one show in this slot has been renewed for a second season so the odds are in its favor.

FOX
8:00 Gotham (3rd season)

9:00 Lucifer (2nd season)
For the first time since 2009, FOX will not premiere a new drama in the fall on Mondays. Instead, it is sticking with the combo that aired at the end of last season. Gotham returns for a third season at 8pm. At first, it seemed like it was going to have a major tumble last year but it ultimately ended up being pretty steady throughout the year even though year-to-year comparisons were rough. Lucifer was a revelation in the spring with a surprisingly very steady performance. These two shows are going to be OK for FOX. They're not going to elevate FOX to being a major player on the night but they'll also prevent the bottom from falling out here. They seem to be a good pair.

CW
8:00 Supergirl (2nd season)

9:00 Jane the Virgin (3rd season)
After a year being out of place on CBS, Supergirl is headed to the network where it probably belonged the whole time - The CW. Supergirl's arrival in its former CBS timeslot gives The CW a superhero show to lead off four of their five nights of programming. It was a modest success for CBS and it won't see those numbers again but I think it could be one of the top CW shows and there are no doubt plenty of crossovers ahead for these superhero shows. Supergirl will lead into the third season of critical darling Jane the Virgin. Jane has always had minuscule numbers but Supergirl will certainly be an improved lead-in from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend so it might be put up or shut up time for Jane.

New Monday Show Survival Chances
Conviction (ABC) - Good. The time seems right for this show to work on ABC. Its lead in goes from being one of TV's top shows in viewers (Dancing with the Stars) to a top show in the demo (The Bachelor). It also seems easy to digest and has an appealing lead. This is a coveted timeslot that hasn't been available for years. Time for Conviction to make the most of it.

Kevin Can Wait (CBS) - Good. I'm pretty high on this show from a ratings perspective. I don't understand it but Kevin James does seem to appeal to the masses. It gets a Big Bang lead-in for several weeks and then I think it'll be ready to be a capable lead-in.

Man With a Plan (CBS) - Fair. I'm less convinced about this one than Kevin Can Wait. First of all, it seems to be the worse of the two from what critics have said so far and Matt LeBlanc is not as big a draw. Plus a late October slot is not always a good thing. It's chances go up if Kevin is a hit.

Timeless (NBC) - Fair. This is a timeslot that has almost always been good to NBC but I'm a little more down on this show than some of their other lead-outs. It seems like it doesn't have as much of a pull to viewers like The Blacklist and Blindspot did. In another slot, I think it would be an instant bomb. Its timeslot gives it a fighting chance.

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