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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

FALL PREVIEW 2016: Wednesday

Here is my Fall Preview for Wednesday: a night with mostly minor changes as most networks are aiming for the same target audience. The biggest changes are coming to ABC.

Past Wednesday Previews: 2015   2014   2013   2012   2011   2010

8:00 The Goldbergs (4th season)
9:00 Modern Family (8th season)
9:30 Black-ish (3rd season)
With ABC moving to two hours of comedies on Tuesdays, Wednesdays was bound for a shakeup. The Middle has been sent to jump start the Tuesday lineup which means it's time for The Goldbergs to take over the slot its been groomed for the past two years: Wednesdays at 8pm. It has done very well nestled between The Middle and Modern Family but now it needs to jump start the night. It struggled as an anchor back in its first season but that was a long time ago before it found its audience and creative footing. I think it's ready to be an anchor. It leads into Speechless. Like the Tuesday newbie American Housewife, it seems straight from ABC's wheelhouse. How it does probably depends a lot on how well The Goldbergs transitions to 8pm. Modern Family continues at 9pm in the only slot it has ever known. It's far past its peak but it remains the highest rated of the block heading into its eighth season. Black-ish is coming off a critically acclaimed season and three major Emmy nominations. It has had to withstand Empire and will again though. The biggest change on ABC is Nashville is gone to CMT after four years and in its place is one of the most anticipated new dramas of the season: Designated Survivor starring Kiefer Sutherland. The Wednesday 10pm slot is pretty open and this has gotten a lot of buzz so I think it could get off to a good start and should certainly be an improvement on Nashville.

8:00 Survivor (33rd edition)
9:00 Criminal Minds (12th season)
10:00 Code Black (2nd season)
This seemed unlikely in Fall 2015 but Fall 2016 will look the same for CBS on Wednesdays. Stalwart Survivor remains the 8pm lead-off. At 9pm is Criminal Minds in the same slot it has been in all 12 years. However, it is undergoing some major changes with star Thomas Gibson fired during the summer and Paget Brewster returning full time to the show. This drama had a rebound after a rough start last season but this is another major test for a show that's getting up there in years. At 10pm is Code Black, the little show that could coming back for an improbable second season. It has gone through some creative retooling including the addition of Rob Lowe and other cast members. As I said before, the Weds 10pm slot is pretty open right now. If it can even be steady with last year, it might have a shot at a third season.

8:00 Blindspot (2nd season)
9:00 Law & Order: SVU (18th season)
10:00 Chicago PD (4th season)
After two years of The Mysteries of Laura, NBC is going in a different direction at 8pm. They are bringing Blindspot over from Monday nights and given it the unenviable task of leading off the night. As I mentioned in my Sophomore Class Preview, this is similar to the treatment that Revolution got three years ago. It didn't work out for Revolution and it is a very tough task for Blindspot, especially with a lot of dramas waiting in the wings for NBC. The 9-11pm hour stays the same again with the successful pairing of Law & Order: SVU and Chicago PD. SVU is heading into its 18th year (!) and is still a pretty healthy show. PD continues to be a vital cog in the Chicago franchise and has been a steady performer since day one.


9:00 Empire (3rd season)
The biggest show on TV is back for FOX but it doesn't have the heat it had heading into last season. Empire is still a giant but it's unbelievable highs seen at the end of season one and very early in season two seem behind it now. It is still a major show on broadcast and a centerpiece to the FOX schedule. Rosewood has been sent away from the 8pm slot and the new Lethal Weapon reboot will take its place at 8pm. It doesn't seem all that more compatible with Empire than Rosewood except people may think this show is more "fun." It will probably have to at least be around Rosewood's numbers to have a chance to succeed but FOX must be hoping for more or they wouldn't have moved Rosewood.

8:00 Arrow (5th season)
The CW is keeping Arrow as its lead-off on Wednesdays where it continues to be a strong show for the network, although not as strong as The Flash. At 9pm is a new drama that seems more compatible with its lead-in than Tuesday newbie No Tomorrow does. Frequency, based on the 2000 film, is a sci-fi drama with darker tones and could be a good fit out of Arrow if it is a quality show. It seems a little more promising than No Tomorrow but it's in a tougher slot with a weaker lead-in. As I mentioned in the Tuesday preview, CW has a lot waiting in the wings if Frequency doesn't cut it.

New Wednesday Show Survival Chance
Speechless (ABC) - Fair. I'm a little more down on this show only because I think it's still a little bit of a wildcard how The Goldbergs does at 8pm and I think the premise is a little inaccessible for some. I'm really rooting for it but I'm skeptical.

Designated Survivor (ABC) - Good. I think this has a lot of buzz and people like Kiefer Sutherland. I think this could get some nice buzz and will certainly be a big improvement in its timeslot.

Lethal Weapon (CBS) - Fair. If this was in any other slot, I would give it a "poor" chance. But it leads into Empire, and we saw last year how that could help even the most basic show. So it could help Lethal Weapon enough to give the newbie a second season.

Frequency (CW) - Fair. I like this one's chances a little more than No Tomorrow but I also think both new CW dramas could struggle and are not completely on brand for the network, which is important for them.

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