Every May, the broadcast TV networks unveil their fall programming schedules — and every year there are questions, concerns and discussions about what was cancelled, what was renewed and what is being scheduled where.
This year is no different — although I wish it were.
So below is my annualish takedown of the broadcast networks’ fall schedules — which are always subject to change between now, premiere week and beyond…
– Cancelling Undateable. It was a very funny show that was never funnier or more fun as a whole than the live episodes that made up its third and now-final season. But with the show airing on Friday nights, it should have gotten far more ratings leeway than it did — though there really shouldn’t have been any expectations at all unless it was airing out of a live episode of The Voice. Additionally, the show’s twitter presence and fan interaction was second to none among NBC shows. Lastly, Undateable would have paired well with the rightfully renewed The Carmichael Show given that both are cast with stand-up comedians. The live possibilities alone for both would have been a boon for both series.
– Cancelling The Mysteries of Laura. It’s this year’s Harry’s Law — solid viewership, but low demo numbers. When will they learn? It can’t be about the demos anymore because there are NO NUMBERS in them!! Giving up 7 million viewers in a trouble time slot (Wednesdays at 8pm — where NBC hasn’t had a successful show in 22 years) is ludicous. We’ll see how Blindspot does.
– Moving Blindspot from Mondays at 10pm after The Voice to the 8pm anchor position on Wednesday nights in place of the cancelled Laura. This is where Resurrection, which also launched after The Voice in the fall of 2012, was sent to die the following season.
– Launching a new series after The Voice (this year it’s going to be Timeless) has to stop. NBC launches a new show after its flagship show to give it a solid springboard, but the audience doesn’t always follow it to their new time slot (Best Time Ever). Or, a new show airs its first season after The Voice and then is tasked to shore up a trouble time slot with no track record for surviving on its own without its flagship lead-in — or time to solidify its audience base (Blindspot). Either way, its ratings suffer and a top hit one season is cancelled the next (Revolution). Granted, The Blacklist, which originated out of The Voice, has managed to survive — but it was relocated in the MIDDLE of its second season to THURSDAYS at 9PM instead of a troublesome time slot where 39 shows over those 22 years have struggled.
– Rebooting MacGyver. Targeting younger viewers by attempting to capitalize on the brand recognition of a 30-year-old show makes no sense to me.
– Scheduling MacGyver in the 8pm anchor position on Friday nights when it should actually serve as the hammock between fellow remake Hawaii Five-O (the Top 25 show currently scheduled for 9pm) and Blue Bloods, the night’s top show (which ranked 10th for the 2015-2016 TV season).
– Scheduling NCIS: Los Angeles in the 8pm anchor position on Sunday nights instead of 9pm or 10pm where it has always aired. Madam Secretary has done well on its own at 8pm, so moving it to the former Good Wife time slot at 9pm makes little sense outside of helping to grow Elementary at 10pm — which would itself be better served in the more protected 9pm hammock position between Madam Secretary at 8pm and NCIS: Los Angeles at 10pm or leading out of NCIS: Los Angeles.
– Cancelling Nashville. Granted, the show was not a ratings hit and was never going to be, but its passionate and loyal viewers deserved a fifth and final season — however abbreviated — to close out storylines. When there’s such backlash over a cancellation, a new entertainment chairwoman needs to find a better way to make her mark. Fortunately, for fans, the show has been picked up by CMT with a day-after replays on Hulu.
– Cancelling the low-rated Grandfathered and the even lower-rated The Grinder in a highly-competitive time slot opposite #3-ranked NCIS on CBS, #12-ranked The Voice on NBC, Fresh Off the Boat / The Real O’Neals on ABC and The Flash on the CW on Tuesdays at 8pm. Credit is due to the network for airing the full seasons of each despite coming in last place for the night for most of the season and even revamping their Tuesday night lineup at midseason so that Grandfathered would have a lead-in with Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Grinder would have a better lead-in with New Girl. Regardless, Grandfathered as a concept had stories to tell for several seasons and The Grinder really came into its own by midseason. So unless FOX has better comedy offerings for next season (which, with the possible exception of the horribly-titled The Mick, they don’t), then Grandfathered and The Grinder each deserved a second season despite their ratings — which might have actually improved in season two if given the chance to do so.
As has been the case for the last few years, there was more to pick on with NBC, but ABC made the most egregious transgression. We’ll see how it all shakes out this fall and if Caught on Camera, Blindspot, Designated Survivor, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and New Girl respectively fare better than Undateable, The Mysteries of Laura, Nashville, Grandfathered and The Grinder.
My respective predictions are possible, unlikely, certainly, most likely and most likely.