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Jess's Take: Battle of the Big Four Network Schedules

Hey folks, this is Jessica. Welcome to another installment of Jess’s Take. This is where I talk about the schedules released during Upfront Week. I now have all the schedules from the Big Four broadcast networks. I gave initial grades for all of them during the live stream. On this installment, I will give my reasoning behind my final grades. 

ABC
New president Channing Dungey took huge risks and came up with the 2016-17 schedule as we now know it. 

The Highlights
The Middle moves to Tuesdays in an expanded comedy block. 
Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD moves to the Tuesday 10pm death slot.
A non-Shonda show gets the post-Grey’s Anatomy slot.
Secrets & Lies returns to its Sunday time slot after a 16 month hiatus.

Analysis: Could an expanded comedy block be the solution to fixing Tuesday nights? Maybe, but I think The Middle’s move to Tuesdays could pull off in the long run. Some much needed moves needed to be made. TGIT is dwindling, and Scandal is being held for midseason. Now things could change for midseason as Shonda will have more Shonda shows than slots. Notorious could possibly get a full backorder. Conviction gets the post DWTS slot, as it should. Designated Survivor gets the Wednesday at 10pm slot. 

Overall, I think this is a pretty good schedule. I can’t wait to see what happens come fall. However, I am not so sure putting The Catch back in TGIT in midseason at its same time slot is such a good idea. Nonetheless, this is a case where everything could pull off.

Grade: A

NBC
The network made some bold moves, with the return of the Thursday comedy block. 

The Highlights
Timeless, Taken and This is Us get post The Voice slots.
Superstore moved to Thursday at 8pm, paired with The Good Place.
Blindspot moved to The Mysteries of Laura’s old slot. 
Caught on Camera with Nick Cannon returns to Fridays. 

Analysis: I made a mistake when I gave a low grade initially for the schedule. Now that I have analyzed the schedule, the only big misses for me are NBC Wednesdays, NBC Thursdays, and NBC Fridays. On Thursday, I can see Superstore pulling Community numbers, while I see The Good Place going fractional. Not to mention, The Good Place is not getting a backorder. Not a vote of confidence. Fridays with Caught on Camera could mean a much weaker Grimm. Blindspot at Wednesdays at 8 could end up with Revolution numbers, but it could also hold its own. I see Blindspot as a better fit with The Blacklist to be honest. 

It also could depend on the success of This is Us, which is getting huge numbers for the Facebook trailer all on its own. Will this translate into high ratings for NBC? 

Overall, this is an okay schedule, but obviously, I think there needs to be some room for improvement.

Grade: B-

FOX
I’m surprised that FOX went conservative with the schedule with a lot of shows keeping their timeslots. 

The Highlights
Empire keeps its Wednesday 9pm timeslot. 
Gotham and Lucifer stay on Mondays.
Rosewood is paired with the final season of Bones, then paired with Prison Break.
On Fridays it seems to be the reality and supernatural night. 

Analysis: Brooklyn Nine-Nine is back on Tuesdays paired with New Girl, and then it takes a long hiatus. That is not going to work out well. The way FOX scheduled Tuesdays, Wednesdays in winter, Thursdays, and Fridays seems like it is a giving up period. It hasn’t been given a good reception. The only good things I saw on the schedule is putting Shots Fired with Empire. 

Overall, this schedule needs improvement. The only good day I see is Mondays. Sundays are okay, but the rest of the schedule smells like a disaster in the making. Putting Lethal Weapon and Empire is a clear mismatch but it won’t be enough for the CW to make an impact until winter. Putting The Exorcist on Fridays is not a good sign for the show.

Grade: C-

CBS
More bold moves. 

The Highlights
Scorpion moves to 10pm on Mondays.
Code Black keeps its timeslot.
MacGyver is on Fridays at 8pm, where rookies have not had much success.
NCIS combo is broken up.
NCIS: LA moves to Sundays 8pm.

Analysis: I am thoroughly convinced that Glenn Geller is the new Dawn Ostroff. The schedule is very low on diversity. Supergirl got moved to the CW because it was too young, and the Nancy Drew pilot was passed on because it was deemed “too female”, and people took to Twitter, including Supernatural fans, to poke fun at CBS for that reasoning. Limitless was effectively canceled because it was too young skewing, with fans and other SpoilerTV commenters marking it as the most painful cancelation since Almost Human and Forever. 

Now on to the schedule. The whole schedule seems to be a complete mismatch from Sundays onto Fridays. NCIS: LA is completely incompatible with Madam Secretary. MacGyver is on Fridays at 8pm, and rookie shows have a terrible track record at that timeslot. A Gifted Man and Made in Jersey were notable cancelations from that hour. 5 weeks into comedy, The Big Bang Theory leads in to Kevin Can Wait. Then Kevin Can Wait is transformed as a lead in. Not a good idea to have your Monday comedies fend for themselves when 2 Broke Girls doesn’t get to start the night and The Odd Couple is at 9:30. But Scorpion at 10pm? That’s a sure way to kill the show and move it to syndication farm land (Sundays or Fridays). On Tuesdays, both NCIS and NCIS: NO are broken up. Bull is sandwiched into both NCIS’s. In a way, this could also shorten the lifespan of NCIS: NO. Wednesdays are okay, but CBS loses points with Code Black in the 10pm spot where Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders could’ve been used. Thursday is okay, but Life in Pieces at 9:30 seems to be a mismatch. If MacGyver flops on Fridays, this could kill Hawaii Five-0’s chances to get renewed for another season. 

Overall, this schedule is a complete disaster. There are no comedy backups in case one fails. Even the CW could pull numbers out of a hat and make a better schedule than what CBS made. I’m sorry, but I cannot justify CBS winning next season with this mess of a schedule. In a way, this makes NBC and FOX look better. 

Grade: F

To be honest, ABC wins hands down out of the other three networks. I can't wait to see what happens next season.