Kevin K's Look at the 2016-2017 TV Season

Over the past week, the five main networks have been rolling out their schedules for the 2016-17 television season. Here’s a complete collection of their primetime schedule for each night they have new programs, with some analysis on how whether these new schedules will net more or less viewers than before.



8 – 10 PM: The Voice

10 – 11 PM: TIMELESS


NBC is sticking with its tried and true method of launching a new drama after the Monday episode of The Voice. This year’s new model is Timeless a drama about cops who must travel through time to stop a dangerous criminal. Even for the timeslot that launched out there shows like Revolution and Blindspot this sounds like an out there premise. We’ll see if it can reach the same splashy debut numbers and avoid the Spring ratings crash of its predecessors.


Fox (Fall 2016 and Spring 2017)

8 – 9 PM: Gotham

9 – 10 PM: Lucifer

Fox (Winter 2017)

8 – 9 PM: 24: LEGACY

9 – 10 PM: APB


Fox has clearly found its young and male skewing Mondays are working for it, as it decides to keep its current Monday schedule running in the Fall. This is the first of a lot of safe bets on the network, but the winter schedule is more interesting. Two shorter run shows will take over the night from February until mid-Spring. The 24 continuation 24: Legacy will debut after the Super Bowl and will be followed on its usual night by freshman drama APB, about a financially strained police department that receives help from a billionaire investor. It will be interesting to see if Fox can make the 2017 Monday night as big as this years’ when it had the splashy X-Files revival.



8 – 10 PM: Dancing With the Stars



It makes a lot of sense to replace the departing Castle with another procedural mystery series. Just like Castle before it, Conviction also has a geek friendly star in Hayley Atwell, star of the cancelled Agent Carter. It’s smart to keep the talented Atwell who has a huge fanbase on the network, hopefully that’s a good sign for Conviction remaining as stable a performer as its predecessor.



8 – 8:30 PM: The Big Bang Theory/KEVIN CAN WAIT


9 – 9:30 PM: 2 Broke Girls

9:30 – 10 PM: The Odd Couple

9 – 10 PM: Scorpion

After experimenting with a short lived Wednesday comedy hour and a midseason only Monday block, CBS is back to having four hours of sitcoms on both Monday and Thursday, a big sign of confidence in their new shows.  Another sign of confidence is briefly giving Kevin Smith vehicle Kevin Can Wait the ripe post-Big Bang Theory slot and then once football ends having it lead the hour on its own. All this schedule moving is coming at the expense of Scorpion, which moves down an hour into the less rated 10 PM territory.



8 – 9 PM: Supergirl

9 – 10 PM: Jane the Virgin


Supergirl moving to The CW from CBS is one of the stranger decisions of the season considering it was doing pretty well on CBS, but at least it gets to keep its timeslot the same. Also, on the surface it’s a good match for Jane the Virgin, both shows are centered on female protagonists and stress the importance of family. But Supergirl had a mostly male audience on CBS while JtV’s audience is very female, so they might not have as much viewer overlap as it looks like at first blush. We have to wait and see whether this is gonna be a compatible pairing.





8 – 9 PM: The Voice

9 – 10 PM: THIS IS US

10 – 11 PM: Chicago Fire


NBC seems to have given up using the Tuesday Voice to launch comedies now and is instead using that timeslot for the low-key drama This is Us. It’s bookended by solid performer Chicago Fire so it seems set up for audiences to check it out, though this is a tricky kind of show to get people to stick around for.


Fox (Fall 2016)

8 – 8:30 PM: Brooklyn Nine-Nine

8:30 – 9 PM: New Girl

9 – 10 PM: Scream Queens

Fox (Winter 2017)

8 – 8:30 PM: New Girl

8:30 – 9 PM: THE MICK


Fox (Spring 2016)

8 – 8:30 PM: Brooklyn Nine-Nine

8:30 – 9 PM: THE MICK

9 – 10 PM: PITCH


After the collapse of its two new Tuesday comedies last season, Fox is limiting themselves to one new show and splitting it with Tuesday returnees Brooklyn Nine-Nine and New Girl across two slots. This schedule shuffling is going to weaken those returning shows and the Winter launch is going to hold back the otherwise promising looking The Mick (which boasts a solid premise and a great cast), so it’s a curious move. But I guess it can’t be avoided if Fox wants to use the 9 hour for dramas. Said dramas, include sophomore series Scream Queens (which gets small ratings but is big on streaming and DVR), the buzzy new baseball drama Pitch, and survival competition Kicking & Screaming acting as filler in the middle. Hopes from the network don’t seem high on any of these, this looks like a clear surrender night.




8 – 8:30 PM: The Middle


9 – 9:30 PM: Fresh Off the Boat

9:30 – 10 PM: The Real O’Neals

10 – 11 PM: Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD


 ABC is pulling a big power move here, moving The Middle from the Wednesday slot it held for years to launch a new hour of comedy on Tuesday with new family comedy American Housewife. This makes sense, though ABC struggled in the drama department all its non-Muppets comedies did well last year and the comedy slate deserves to be expanded. Moving Fresh Off the Boat to the bigger 9 PM hour is a good reward for the great work it was doing last year. Moving SHIELD down an hour also solves ABC’s problem of the Tuesday 10 PM hour, where every new show they sent there quickly tanked. Now, SHIELD could quickly tank as well, but it will at least hold off a big loss in that slot for a year, and if it does retain its audience then it will be a huge win for ABC.



8 – 9 PM: NCIS

9 – 10 PM: BULL

10 – 11 PM: NCIS: New Orleans


CBS is breaking up its NCIS double block to sandwich a new show in the middle. Since trying to launch Limitless after both shows at 10 didn’t work out so well (the show is in limbo, waiting to see if a different network will pick it up) this might be a better strategy to getting eyeballs on new content. Bull’s procedural premise about a trial consulting service will fit right in with those shows.



8 – 9 PM: The Flash



The sketches of this decision make sense, why not pair the most confident pilot with the highest rated show so people watch it? But No Tomorrow, a female skewing romantic dramedy about trying to complete a crazy bucket list before the possible end of the world, is a poor fit for the male skewing The Flash. There probably won’t be a lot of audience overlap here, harming No Tomorrow’s chances for great ratings out of the gate.





8 – 9 PM: Blindspot

9 – 10 PM: Law & Order: SVU

10 – 11 PM: Chicago PD


It was clear Blindspot was going to give up its ripe post-Voice slot for a new show, as is NBC tradition, but the decision to move it to Wednesday is strange. It’s not very compatible with the more procedural and realistic Law & Order and Chicago PD, and the 8 PM hour is hardly a plum slot for what was a ratings darling last fall.


Fox (Fall 2016)


9 – 10 PM: Empire

Fox (Winter 2017)


9 – 10 PM: STAR

Fox (Spring 2016)


9 – 10 PM: Empire


Fox had mild success with Empire as a lead-out in launching Rosewood last year, and it’s clear it doesn’t want to move Empire to 8 and risk it losing any number of viewers. This is why Lethal Weapon makes some kind of sense as a pair with it. It has big enough name recognition that it could launch itself if it needed to, but the pairing with Empire helps give it an extra boost. It’s confusing from the perspective of genre though, going from action to soap opera isn’t the smoothest transition. Meanwhile, singing based soap opera Star, which looked like a natural fit for Empire is instead going to cover Empire’s midseason hiatus. I guess the logic is viewers will stick watching the same timeslot for a similar show even when Empire’s gone, but it’s really banking on Lethal Weapon being a success if it’s gonna have a chance.




8 – 8:30 PM: The Goldbergs


9 – 9:30 PM: Modern Family

9:30 – 10 PM: Black-ish



ABC still has a great Wednesday lineup on the comedy side, and they have a lot of faith in comedy Speechless to slot it in there. It looks like it will fit nicely. What will fit less nice is Designated Survivor, a heavy, political series that seems like a bad fit for the family comedies. It was the right time to put Nashville out to pasture, but it’s hard to say whether Survivor will match with the family oriented audience of the other shows.




8 – 9 PM: Survivor

9 – 10 PM: Criminal Minds

10 – 11 PM: Code Black


CBS is sticking with their fall line-up here and that’s a good call. There’s potential for Code Black to get pushed again for a new show in the Spring should it falter, and if it succeeds it can stay put among the Wednesday stalwarts.



8 – 9 PM: Arrow



This is a much more compatible night than The CW’s Tuesday. Arrow is a solid performer, and paranormal cop drama Frequency has a similar tone that makes it a good match.  






8 – 8:30 PM: Superstore


9 – 10 PM: Chicago Med

10 – 11 PM: The Blacklist


NBC is trying to reclaim Thursdays for comedy again, but after being so thoroughly trounced here by CBS in past years, I don’t know if that’s a good idea. Superstore was one of the surprise success stories of last year and The Good Place seems like a huge winner given its writers and cast, throwing them against The Big Bang Theory and its ilk seems like a suicide mission. It’s also strange to move The Blacklist down a peg to 10 PM, but I guess the network has more faith in its Chicago franchise than James Spader.



Fox (Fall 2016)

8 – 9 PM: Rosewood

9 – 10 PM: Bones

Fox (Winter 2017)

8 – 9 PM: Rosewood



Fox’s hold on Thursdays has been slowly slipping away, and like last year, they’re pairing the aging Bones with a young underperformer, in this case Rosewood. After Bones concludes its final season the network is trying something big though, getting viewers back on the night with another big revival miniseries in the vein of 24: Live Another Day and the more recent X-Files continuation. Prison Break was never as big as either of those shows, and is probably more comparable to NBC’s failed Heroes Reborn launch last year, so maybe the network should temper its expectations.




8 – 9 PM: Grey’s Anatomy


10 – 11 PM: How to Get Away With Murder/The Catch


Scandal isn’t coming back until Winter and that leaves a big hole in ABC’s schedule to fill in the Fall. Cable news soap Notorious is a good bet, even though it falls outside of the Shonda Rimes family. If it does poorly, Scandal can swoop in and save the timeslot. If it does well, it could play out more episodes in the 10 PM slot after Murder wraps for the season, taking The Catch’s spot temporarily. It’s a safe bet either way.



CBS (Early Fall)

8 – 11 PM: Thursday Night Football

CBS (Late Fall)

8 – 8:30 PM: The Big Bang Theory


9 – 9:30 PM: Mom

9:30 – 10 PM: Life in Pieces



A big advantage to expanding the number of Fall comedy hours is it means very little is held until midseason. This gets Mom and Life in Pieces on relatively early and gives room for a third new series. The Great Indoors has a good cast (Joel McHale and Stephen Fry!) so it’s worth keeping an eye on the reviews for it. The block is followed by Pure Genius, CBS’ latest attempt at having a great medical drama on its schedule. As with past years, Big Bang Theory is so strong CBS will win this night even if its freshmen tank, so the channel has a reason to be confident.




8 – 9 PM: Legends of Tomorrow

9 – 10 PM: Supernatural


Seeing Legends of Tomorrow in the Fall is only surprising because from a budget and premise perspective it doesn’t seem like the kind of show that could do 22 episode seasons. But it definitely had good enough ratings to land here, however long it sticks around, and paired with the immortal Supernatural makes this a safe night.





8 – 9 PM: Caught on Camera with Nick Cannon

9 – 10 PM: Grimm

10 – 11 PM: Dateline NBC


NBC is keeping their Friday outcast schedule the same, no point in fixing what isn’t broken.


Fox (Fall 2016)

8 – 9 PM: Hell’s Kitchen


Fox (Winter 2017)

8 – 9 PM: MasterChef Junior

9 – 10 PM: Sleepy Hollow


Starting The Exorcist on Fridays, pairing it with a non-compatible cooking show, and then banking on it being replaced with Sleepy Hollow in the midseason are all strong signs Fox doesn’t have much confidence in it. Speaking of Sleepy Hollow, it has a chance to carve out Friday as its niche the same way Fringe used to, but losing one of its stars means losing viewers too, so it’s in a bad position right now.\



8 – 8:30 PM: Last Man Standing

8:30 – 9 PM: Dr. Ken

9 – 10 PM: Shark Tank

10 – 11 PM: 20/20


ABC is also keeping their sitcom-Shark Tank-news program Friday block. With the addition of Dr. Ken last year the block reached a good level of stability, no reason to switch it up now.




9 – 10 PM: Hawaii Five-O

10 – 11 PM: Blue Bloods


Though the MacGuyver reboot is a more compatible fit for CBS’ crime procedural night than Fox’s The Exorcist it’s still disconcerting to see a new show debut on Fridays where it won’t have much room to grow. CBS shouldn’t be too concerned if it fails though, Hawaii Five-O and Blue Bloods have done well in Friday terms for years.



8 – 9 PM: The Vampire Diaries

9 – 10 PM: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

CW is using Friday for its traditional purpose as a dumping ground. The Vampire Diaries, whose ratings have deflated a lot in its old age, is staying put from last year to play out what might be its last season. Meanwhile, the only reason Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is on the Fall schedule at all is to make it more viable for awards attention, and this is the best night to put it on so it doesn’t take a better slot.






7 – 8:20 PM: Football Night in America

8:20 – 11 PM: Sunday Night Football


Sunday Night Football is one of the pillars that keep NBC as the #1 network. But the network has repeatedly failed to replace it with anything interesting in the Spring. Since the network gave no midseason info this week, we can only speculate which show waiting in the wings is doomed to be here later.


Fox (Fall 2016)

7 – 7:30 PM: NFL

7:30 – 8 PM:  Bob’s Burgers

8 – 8:30 PM: The Simpsons

8:30 – 9 PM: SON OF ZORN

9 – 9:30 PM: Family Guy

9:30 – 10 PM: The Last Man on Earth

Fox (Winter 2017)

7:30 – 8 PM:  Bob’s Burgers

8 – 8:30 PM: The Simpsons


9 – 9:30 PM: Family Guy

9:30 – 10 PM: The Last Man on Earth


Fox has a really good setup on Sunday nights, there’s no need to mess with it too much. After producing team Phil Lord & Chris Miller had success on the network with The Last Man on Earth, they get the chance to launch two new shows in the very cushy Simpsons-Family Guy sandwich slot. Son of Zorn has a great gimmick in its combination of live action and animation, but hacky jokes, while time travel comedy Making History seems more promising.



7 – 8 PM: America’s Funniest Home Videos

8 – 9 PM: Once Upon a Time

9 – 10 PM: Secrets and Lies/TIME AFTER TIME

10 – 11 PM: Quantico


ABC has solid bookends in Once and Quantico, but struggled last season to find a good occupant for the 9 PM slot. They get to defer the decision a bit this year by airing the second season of anthology series Secret & Lies, which has already been filmed for a debut this Spring but was delayed. It’s still going to try to debut a new show there in midseason, the supernatural series Time After Time that will pair well with Once Upon a Time, but then it will be able to focus more on promoting that without as many other new shows coming out at the same time.




8 – 9 PM: NCIS: Los Angeles

9 – 10 PM: Madam Secretary

10 – 11 PM: Elementary


Madam Secretary and Elementary staying put on Sunday make sense, but moving an aging NCIS spinoff here to get a ratings boost from the afternoon football game isn’t as logical. I guess the channel just ran out of real estate elsewhere, and even with the football boost Sunday has been a tough night for CBS. We’ll have to wait till Fall to see if it works.