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Sunday, September 11, 2016

FALL PREVIEW 2016: The Sophomore Class

Check back tonight for the first review of the fall season: FOX's Son of Zorn!

Another TV season is almost here! All week, I will be previewing the upcoming season with night-by-night previews. But first, here is a look at the returning sophomore shows.

Past Sophomore Previews: 2015   2014   2013   2012   2011

This year I will be finally including The CW in my blog! However, it will not be included in the statistics below to keep it consistent with the other years. It's worth mentioning that Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and DC's Legends of Tomorrow are the CW sophomore shows returning. Here's how the sophomore shows have fared since the blog began in 2010:

40 new shows
10 returned for a second season (25%)
4 are still on the air and entering season seven: Blue Bloods, Hawaii Five-0, The Voice, Bob's Burgers

47 new shows
20 returned for a second season (43%)
6 are still on the air and entering season six: Once Upon a Time, Last Man Standing, Scandal, 2 Broke Girls, Grimm, New Girl

33 new shows
9 returned for a second season (27%)
2 are still on the air and entering season five: Chicago Fire, Elementary
** also Nashville on CMT and The Mindy Project on Hulu

43 new shows
12 returned for a second season (28%)
8 are still on the air and entering season four: The Blacklist, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Sleepy Hollow, Chicago PD, Mom, The Goldbergs, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Masterchef Junior

40 new shows
16 returned for a second season (40%)
11 are still on the air and entering season three: Empire, Gotham, How to Get Away with Murder, Scorpion, NCIS: New Orleans, Madam Secretary, Black-ish, Fresh Off the Boat, American Crime, Secrets & Lies (season 2), The Odd Couple

45 new shows
17 returning for a second season (43%)
And here they are!

CHICAGO MED (NBC) - Going into last season, there were tons of hit/buzzy shows returning for a second season including Empire, How to Get Away with Murder, and Black-ish. This year, there are the most shows coming back since 2012 but none of them were breakout hits. Perhaps the most successful show coming back is Chicago Med, but it has a tall order with a move to Thursdays at 9pm. It got to air after The Voice and had a successful first season but Thursdays have been rough on NBC lately and it's following a new comedy. Expect crossovers early and often to get it settled into its new timeslot. The Chicago franchise is very important to NBC especially with Chicago Justice arriving at midseason.

BLINDSPOT (NBC) - The biggest new hit at the beginning of last season was Blindspot. Airing in the coveted Monday 10pm slot, it had a fast start but the wind came out of its sails in a big way in the spring. Now, it gets the Revolution treatment as it has been banished to Wednesdays at 8pm. When that happened to Revolution, it actually performed better than I thought it would but is still ended up being cancelled. Blindspot seems a prime candidate to not see a third season especially with NBC having so much depth in the drama department.

SCREAM QUEENS (FOX) - Last year's biggest disappointment in the ratings from my perspective was Scream Queens. It came in with a lot of buzz but barely made a dent in the ratings. However, it did better in its target demo and it did alright on non-traditional platforms which was enough to get it renewed for a second season. Since it's an anthology, it will have an entirely new premise (set in a hospital) and some new cast members including John Stamos and Taylor Lautner. I don't see any reason this will do any better this year in traditional ratings but whether it gets renewed or not probably depends more on other factors.

LUCIFER (FOX) - Another FOX drama renewal was Lucifer, which was a surprise on Monday nights last season. First it followed the hit revival of The X-Files and posted decent numbers. Most, including me, assumed it would fall apart when The X-Files ended and it had to follow Gotham. Instead, it continued to post decent and incredibly steady numbers. That was enough to get it back and once again paired with Gotham on Mondays. I didn't think there was any way this show would work but it proved me wrong.

ROSEWOOD (FOX) - Rosewood had the benefit of being the lead-in to Empire for most of the year. Despite posting very weak numbers on the few weeks when it didn't have that lead-out, it still got renewed but a timeslot downgrade. It will now be tasked with leading off Thursdays nights, where it will lead into Pitch instead of Empire. Just like Blindspot, this strikes me as a show that seems unlikely to see a third season unless it can exceed expectations on Thursdays.

QUANTICO (ABC) - Another show that started hot out of the gate but ultimately fizzled some was Quantico. Airing in the tough Sunday 10pm slot, it spent its first several weeks outperforming expectations and getting some critical buzz. But it sputtered down the stretch and also seemed to lose its buzz. Its renewal was never in doubt because it did so well early on and built up enough goodwill but it seems like it'll have a hard time recapturing the early momentum. It's in a low pressure slot so a third season could go either way but it's not going to be the next big hit for ABC.

CODE BLACK (CBS) - One of the biggest surprise renewals was Code Black, which edged Limitless for a second season on CBS. It had a disappointing debut but ended up being a steady show and even showed a little bit of a spark in the winter before its early season finale in February. Meanwhile, Limitless was in a steady decline and CBS ended up giving the nod to Code Black. It will return to its Wednesday 10pm slot with somewhat of a creative overhaul including new cast member Rob Lowe. We'll have to see how it does here. If it did it once, it could defy the odds again.

SUPERSTORE (NBC) - NBC may have revived its comedy fortunes with Superstore. NBC has struggled for years to launch a successful comedy and it seemed to come out of nowhere when they got some mileage out of Superstore during its Voice hiatus. Now it's being sent to Thursday with a chance to help revive a night that NBC used to dominate with comedy. It will need to get off to a fast start because it will have to start facing The Big Bang Theory after a couple months. The threshold for comedy is low on NBC but this is still a gamble.

LIFE IN PIECES (CBS) - Life in Pieces had the cushy post-Big Bang Theory timeslot last season. At first, it seemed like it wouldn't be able to handle it or do well but it ultimately held pretty steady even in weeks when it followed a Big Bang rerun. However, it is getting a timeslot downgrade with a move to 9:30pm. Despite some signs that it had its own audience, this is a pretty tough task for Pieces especially with CBS seemingly moving back in a multi-cam direction with their comedies.

DR. KEN (ABC) - Despite critical thrashing, Dr. Ken was actually one of the most steady new shows last year. It fit like a glove with its Last Man Standing lead-in after three years of failed partners for the Tim Allen sitcom. As long as Last Man continues to run, it seems likely that Dr. Ken will too unless the wheels come off. Like its lead-in, it seems to be review-proof.

THE REAL O'NEALS (ABC) - ABC is expanding its comedy presence with another hour on Tuesdays and that probably played a role in the renewal for The Real O'Neals. The ratings were pretty anemic but it is on brand for ABC and will be given another chance following Fresh Off the Boat, but an hour later at 9:30pm. This show's chances seem slim because if ABC finds new hits with their new family sitcoms, it could be pushed out but if the comedies bomb, ABC may scale back its comedy presence.

SUPERGIRL (CW) - This is worth mentioning because it is a freshman that got renewed but it is headed to a new network. Supergirl was off-brand for CBS and it made a big splash at first but ultimately only did OK. It will now move to a more appropriate home on the CW with the same Monday at 8pm timeslot. While it will certainly not get the ratings it was getting on CBS, it could be a strong performer for The CW.


These shows are not scheduled for a fall slot but will be back at some point. Little Big Shots was a surprise hit and could be back on Sundays at midseason. Shades of Blue was remarkably steady on Thursday nights. Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders replaced Code Black and could do so again. The Catch was probably the biggest reach and surprise renewal but Shonda has power at ABC. The X-Files was not officially renewed yet because stars Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny are not on board yet but we all know it's coming back one way or another, maybe not until 2017-18 though.

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