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Thursday, September 15, 2016

FALL PREVIEW 2016: Thursday

Here is my Fall Preview for Thursday, a night that sees the end of TGIT (for now) and new shows on each of the big four networks - the only night with that claim - with the biggest changes coming on NBC and FOX.

Past Thursday Previews: 2015   2014   2013   2012   2011   2010

ABC
8:00 Grey's Anatomy (13th season)

9:00 NOTORIOUS
10:00 How to Get Away with Murder (3rd season)

TGIT is no more at least for the time being as it will not be all Shonda shows on ABC Thursday this fall. Due in part to Kerry Washington's pregnancy and part to its decline recently, Scandal is being held until January. So the night will still start with Grey's Anatomy, still one of TV's top dramas heading into season 13. It will also still end with How to Get Away with Murder, heading into its third season after a disappointing sophomore run. In between is Notorious, a show that's about as close to Shondaland without being from Shondaland. It seems like a good fit on the night and it benefits from following Grey's. However, in addition to Scandal there are also two other Shonda shows in reserve: season two of The Catch and the Romeo and Juliet drama Still Star-Crossed. So, Notorious really needs to make an impression if it wants to continue to run with the Shonda shows.

CBS
(Sep) 

8:00 Thursday Night Football

(late Oct)
8:00 The Big Bang Theory (10th season)
8:30 THE GREAT INDOORS
9:00 Mom (4th season)
9:30 Life in Pieces (2nd season)
10:00 PURE GENIUS
CBS will once again have Thursday Night Football for the first several weeks before their Thursday night lineup premieres on October 27. When it comes back, it will be the same format but with two new shows. The Big Bang Theory continues to be one of TV's biggest shows heading into season 10. It will lead into the new Joel McHale comedy The Great Indoors. This is a multi-cam comedy and shows that follow Big Bang tend to at least get a second season because they do well enough. It's about as close to a coveted timeslot in today's time-shifting environment. Mom continues to anchor the 9pm hour and it will be followed by Life in Pieces, which is losing the post-Big Bang slot after one year. It did well enough to continue but 9:30pm and following Mom is a much tougher task. It will also be a tall order for the new medical drama Pure Genius to succeed in a slot where Elementary struggled for several years before moving and Rush Hour tanked in the spring. It comes from Jason Katims who is beloved from Friday Night Lights and Parenthood, so we'll see if it can tap into those loyal (albeit small) audiences. CBS has added some new blood to this night but I'm not convinced they are improvements and the late October start is never a great thing for new shows.

NBC
8:00 Superstore (2nd season)
8:30 THE GOOD PLACE
9:00 Chicago Med (2nd season)
10:00 The Blacklist (4th season)
NBC is shaking up its Thursday lineup once again as they've had a ton of trouble on this night for quite awhile. Comedies are back on the night for the first time since Fall 2014 starting with promising sophomore Superstore. It has a tall order as a lead off that will eventually have to face The Big Bang Theory, but this show surprised many with its Monday performance last year. It will be followed by the new Kristen Bell-Ted Danson comedy The Good Place, which has gotten lots of promos. I don't know if this comedy block will work but it seems like it has a little more potential than recent comedy hours on NBC. At 9pm, Chicago Med will make a big move to Thursdays. The Chicago franchise has been great for NBC but this is a tall order. Still, the 9pm slot is pretty wide open and if it can make a difference here, then NBC may be able to start rebuilding Thursdays. After a year and a half at 9pm, The Blacklist heads to 10pm. It should be an improvement in that hour but its best days are behind it. It has had to be on an island in recent years so a solid Chicago Med could be its best lead-in since it left Monday nights. NBC Thursdays will also be preempted for several weeks in November and December as NBC has the second half of the Thursday Night Football package.

FOX
8:00 Rosewood (2nd season)
9:00 PITCH
FOX is revamping Thursdays with lighter dramas. Rosewood moves over from Wednesdays. It didn't exactly inspire confidence that it could be on its own when it didn't have Empire as a lead-in last year, but we'll see. It has a pretty tall order here. 9pm was originally supposed to be Bones, but in the early summer it was changed to push up the premiere date of Pitch. The baseball drama has a tall order so it needs to rely on critical acclaim and good word of mouth to succeed. As I said before, this 9pm hour is open but it's hard to imagine FOX really competing here. Maybe this show will be able to capitalize on the fall baseball playoffs?

CW
8:00 DC's Legends of Tomorrow (2nd season)
9:00 Supernatural (12th season)
For a fourth straight night, the CW will start with a superhero show. However, DC's Legends of Tomorrow is also likely to be the lowest rated of the four superhero shows on the network as it didn't really catch fire in its debut season last year. It is followed by Supernatural, the CW's longest running show of all time which is heading to another timeslot. It seems to do OK wherever it lands but it seems like it's not going to be around too much longer.

New Thursday Show Survival Chances
Notorious (ABC) - Fair. This seems like it will fit in well with ABC Thursdays and it gets to follow one of the biggest dramas on TV. However, I'm not convinced a close-but-not-quite Shonda show will actually work in a night that has become known as Shonda's night.

The Great Indoors (CBS) - Fair. The Big Bang Theory almost always seems to give its lead-out a second season so it's hard to bet against The Great Indoors. However, the late start gives me pause while

Pure Genius (CBS) - Poor. This is the first "poor" rating I've given all week but I am pretty down on this show. It seems to have a confusing premise, it doesn't start until late October, and it's in a slot that's been getting increasingly tough for CBS. I don't see this working.

The Good Place (NBC) - Poor. And this is the second "poor" rating. Even if Superstore can stay afloat, I don't think this show is going to work. It feels like a niche comedy and it will be preempted various times in the fall. NBC has several comedies on deck, I think they'll find something else for midseason.

Pitch (NBC) - Fair. I don't think the ratings will be there but I think the critical acclaim and FOX's general lack of successful shows will help its case to possibly getting a longer leash.

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