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Hunter's Fall 2017 Schedule Predictions - December 2016

Like last year, I am combining my schedule predictions for all networks twice a year, in December and in April, and explaining why I put the shows where I did. For the December edition, I am leaving the new shows unnamed, because there are so many shows in the running at this point, and not all contenders are known at this time. The exceptions to this are ABC's The Inhumans and FOX's Orville, as they have already been ordered to series.


ABC

SUNDAY
7:00 America's Funniest Home Videos
8:00 Fresh Off the Boat
8:30 Speechless
9:00 Once Upon a Time
10:00 Designated Survivor
MONDAY
8:00 Dancing with the Stars
10:00 How to Get Away with Murder
TUESDAY
8:00 The Middle
8:30 new comedy
9:00 American Housewife
9:30 Black-ish
10:00 The Inhumans/Agents of SHIELD
WEDNESDAY
8:00 The Goldbergs
8:30 new comedy
9:00 Modern Family
9:30 Downward Dog
10:00 new drama
THURSDAY
8:00 Grey's Anatomy
9:00 new drama
10:00 Scandal
FRIDAY
8:00 Last Man Standing
8:30 new comedy
9:00 Shark Tank
10:00 20/20

Mid-season:
American Crime
The Catch
2 new comedies
2 new dramas

Reasoning:

What works on ABC? This year, the ratings have clearly pointed toward comedy. ABC is likely to renew at least 8 comedies, which could turn into 9 if a mid-season comedy is successful. One of the timeslots I predict to be open is Fridays at 8:30, so, if 8 comedies are renewed, and ABC keeps just 5 hours of comedy, there would only be room for one single-camera comedy on the fall schedule. This seems unlikely, and if a mid-season comedy is successful, the network would be unable to premiere any new single-camera comedies in the fall, unless they held a returning comedy for mid-season. This is why I am predicting expansion.

The hour that seems to make the most sense to expand to is Sundays at 8:00, because a flow of comedy to drama is better than drama-comedy-drama, and Thursday is taken up by Grey's Anatomy. Additionally, Sundays start off at 7:00 with the comedic unscripted show America's Funniest Home Videos. The next question is which comedies move. Fresh Off the Boat is an easy choice, with it being the weakest of the returning weekday comedies. One more comedy needs to move, and it is really between Black-ish, the next weakest show, or Speechless, the weaker of the two new fall comedies. Black-ish comes from ABC Studios, and, as a result, the network has protected it thus far, keeping it after Modern Family. Speechless, on the other hand, comes from an outside studio.

Without a spring schedule yet, it is extremely hard to predict how ABC's new mid-season shows will perform this year. I predict one renewal from the batch: Downward Dog. I predict this based on my scheduling prediction for the show: Wednesdays at 9:30. In turn, I predict this based on the fact that episodes of the show will be shown at Sundance Film Festival. ABC seems to be going after the critics with this one, and what better way to do that than air it after the show that has won many, many awards? If this plays out the way I expect it to, that leaves room for two new single-camera comedies on ABC's fall schedule.

Downward Dog would likely return to its spring timeslot, considering how past Wednesday at 9:30 shows have performed when moved to another night. Wednesday at 8:30 however is still open, so I would expect a comedy they are excited about to go there. Tuesday as well has room for one new comedy. I think that since the tone of American Housewife is more adult than The Middle (being more similar to that of Modern Family), ABC will move the show up to 9:00. Either of The Middle or American Housewife should be able to launch a show though, and even Black-ish could if the show was compatible, such as the high-profile project Libby & Malcolm.

The Inhumans has already been announced to air on Tuesdays this fall, but since the show is only 8 episodes, another show would need to premiere there in November. That seems too late for a new show, so I predict a returning show to take over the timeslot. Agents of SHIELD already airs there, and could air a final season there, perhaps wrapping up in February to make room for a new show to premiere there in spring. If Quantico improves enough on Mondays, it could find a new home in this timeslot instead of SHIELD, or even Once Upon a Time could air here if ABC wanted to launch a new drama on Sunday.

I predict two night changes for returning dramas: Designated Survivor and How to Get Away with Murder. The reason for both moves is the same: new shows. I think ABC will want to use Wednesdays and Grey's Anatomy to launch new shows. This is also why Scandal is at 10:00 on this schedule. How to Get Away with Murder makes more sense behind Dancing with the Stars due to the female skew of both shows, so that sends Designated Survivor to Sundays. It could actually work there, as Quantico is somewhat political and was successful there at the start.

ABC has continued to renew American Crime, so there is no reason for me to think they will not again, though scheduling may tell a different story when that is announced. I don't think that the network will cancel two Shonda Rhimes shows in the same year, so there is a battle between Still Star-Crossed and The Catch. Normally, I would think that the network would select the newer show, and try to build its audience through streaming, but I think that Still Star-Crossed will be such a flop that the network will have to go with The Catch one more time.


CBS

SUNDAY
7:00 60 Minutes
8:00 NCIS: Los Angeles
9:00 NCIS: New Orleans
10:00 Madam Secretary
MONDAY
8:00 The Big Bang Theory/Kevin Can Wait
8:30 new comedy
9:00 The Great Indoors
9:30 Mom
10:00 Scorpion
TUESDAY
8:00 NCIS
9:00 Bull
10:00 new drama
WEDNESDAY
8:00 Survivor
9:00 Criminal Minds
10:00 Doubt
THURSDAY
8:00 The Big Bang Theory
8:30 new comedy
9:00 new comedy
9:30 Life in Pieces
10:00 new drama
FRIDAY
8:00 MacGyver
9:00 Hawaii Five-0
10:00 Blue Bloods

Mid-season:
2 Broke Girls
2 new dramas

Reasoning:

CBS stayed away from single-camera sitcoms for a while, because their rare attempts were unsuccessful, but they finally got one to work with Life in Pieces, and it seems they want to head further down that road, as they have in development a single-camera spin-off of their biggest hit, The Big Bang Theory, titled Sheldon. They also have many other single-camera projects in development. This is why I think that The Big Bang Theory will be leading off a night of single-camera sitcoms in the fall, with Life in Pieces staying in its 9:30 timeslot, and two new shows airing between the two returning ones.

This would send all of the returning multi-camera comedies not named The Big Bang Theory to Mondays. As usual, The Big Bang Theory would start off the fall on Mondays, until Thursday Night Football concludes, and I think that, like this season, CBS will want to use The Big Bang Theory to launch two new comedies on two nights. Kevin Can Wait would then return to its timeslot when Thursdays open up for Big Bang.

The two other returning multi-cams that I expect to make the fall schedule are The Great Indoors and Mom. While its retention from The Big Bang Theory is unimpressive, it seems that The Great Indoors can stand on its own. I put Mom at 9:30 because, while Kevin Can Wait, The Big Bang Theory, and The Great Indoors all feature male leads, Mom has a female lead. I don't think that CBS will ditch 2 Broke Girls, but its ratings are weaker now, so I think they will use it as a spackle.

It's hard to predict when Elementary will end, because we don't know how many seasons its current syndication deal covers, a deal in which CBS makes a lot of money. I think that CBS will finally rid themselves of the show this year, or at least move it to Saturdays so that they can launch two new dramas in the fall. I'm kind of backing out of predicting this show right now, all I'm really predicting is that it doesn't air Sunday-Friday next fall. I can do that though, I don't run CBS Renew/Cancel. Jordan has that burden.

This creates an open timeslot on Sunday. NCIS is still very strong, Criminal Minds is not weekend ready quite yet, and CBS likely wouldn't move a show in season two there, so that leaves Scorpion and NCIS: New Orleans. Scorpion would fit in better on Fridays, with action-packed MacGyver and Hawaii Five-0, but the NCIS spin-off could join the other one on Sundays, so that is the show to move there. That also ends up moving Madam Secretary up to 10:00, so the two NCIS shows can air back-to-back.

Of the mid-season shows coming to CBS soon, the one I see surviving is Doubt. So, I predict it will keep its Wednesday night timeslot. I also predict cancelation for returning drama Code Black, because there is not enough room in the schedule for it. So, this leaves two open timeslots for new dramas. One of these timeslots is on Thursday, which also allows CBS to stagger the premieres of the two dramas. The other is on Tuesday. I think CBS will want to keep Bull behind NCIS for one more season, so I think that the new show goes to 10:00.


CW

MONDAY
8:00 Supergirl
9:00 new drama
TUESDAY
8:00 The Flash
9:00 new drama
WEDNESDAY
8:00 Arrow
9:00 Legends of Tomorrow
THURSDAY
8:00 Supernatural
9:00 Riverdale
FRIDAY
8:00 Jane the Virgin
9:00 Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Mid-season:
The 100
iZombie
2 new dramas

Reasoning:

This schedule really doesn't have many changes. In fact, the only shows in a different timeslot than where they are scheduled to end their seasons are Jane the Virgin and Legends of Tomorrow. For Legends of Tomorrow, I doubt the CW is going to keep it behind The Flash instead of premiering a new drama there. Arrow isn't all that strong anymore, so instead of launching a new show, it can lead-in to the weakest of the DC shows.

Jane the Virgin is pointless behind Supergirl, because the audiences of the two shows are so different. Jane the Virgin has aired with Crazy Ex-Girlfriend before, and that pairing makes way more sense. These are the two shows that the CW is keeping around more for acclaim than ratings, though Jane the Virgin is quite stable, so it makes sense also to put them on Fridays. Mid-season is also very similar to this year, except that The Originals and Reign are replaced by an additional new show. I think that the CW only needs 4 mid-season shows this year instead of 5 because Jane the Virgin may have more episodes than The Vampire Diaries' 16.


FOX

SUNDAY
7:30 Bob's Burgers
8:00 The Simpsons
8:30 Family Guy
9:00 Orville
MONDAY
8:00 Lethal Weapon
9:00 new comedy
9:30 Brooklyn Nine-Nine
TUESDAY
8:00 Star
9:00 new drama
WEDNESDAY
8:00 new drama
9:00 Empire
THURSDAY
8:00 MasterChef Junior
9:00 Hell's Kitchen
FRIDAY
8:00 Gotham
9:00 Lucifer

Mid-season:
New Girl
Shots Fired
1 new comedy
3 new dramas

Reasoning:

Of all five schedules here, FOX was the most difficult. This one has a lot of changes, but I have reasons for all of them. I'll go through the week in order, starting with Sunday. FOX has struggled with new animated comedies, and I struggled with where to put new drama Orville, which definitely seems like it will end up in the fall. So, I came up with a solution that solves both problems. Family Guy moves to 8:30 like it did when FOX aired Cosmos on Sundays, but instead this fall they will be airing something much more compatible, comedy-drama Orville, which comes from and stars Seth MacFarlane. It is much more compatible with Family Guy than any other hour-long series could ever be, and even more than some half-hour series.

Monday and Tuesday really have to be tackled at once here. I believe that FOX needs to use Lethal Weapon and Star to launch new shows (as long as Star isn't restricted to being an Empire bridge, which I sincerely hope it isn't). Lethal Weapon can launch a new comedy, as FOX has many action/police comedies in development, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine can air at 9:30. Star makes more sense to launch a drama. I chose to put the Lethal Weapon line-up on Monday because I didn't want it going up against NCIS, and Thursdays have been such a problem for FOX, so I think they should keep it as a cooking show night, which I will address in greater detail soon.

The third and final new drama in the fall would air on Wednesdays, before Empire, as FOX has done for the last two years. FOX has continued to struggle with Thursdays, and they have often sent their cooking shows to Friday, even though they perform well when aired on weekdays, especially MasterChef Junior. I think that FOX's mid-season scheduling of Thursday means they finally realize this, so I think they will continue it in the fall.

That leaves Friday open for Gotham and Lucifer, While Gotham and Lucifer aren't the weakest shows, if the cooking shows are given Thursday, and each of Lethal Weapon, Star, and Empire gets a night to launch shows, that leaves those two shows and Friday night. The shows could also do well on that night, like Grimm has in the past on NBC. Also, we don't know for sure when Gotham and Lucifer will return for the end of their current seasons, and Friday nights open up sooner than Monday (April 7 versus April 24 in the 8:00 hour, and the 9:00 hour depending on how many episodes APB has, April 17 if it has 10 episodes). So, it's possible that the two shows go to Friday even before next fall.

While New Girl is lower this year, I think that because it is produced by FOX, it will get one more short, final season. There isn't really a spot for it on the fall schedule, but FOX I'm sure can find a way to squeeze it in at mid-season. In addition, I think that Shots Fired will perform well enough behind Empire to get renewed, and I think it will be held for mid-season because it is a limited series, and FOX will have more room in 2018, plus bringing it to fall could create a long break between seasons in the future if it was held for mid-season in future years.


NBC

MONDAY
8:00 The Voice
10:00 new drama
TUESDAY
8:00 The Voice
9:00 new drama
10:00 This is Us
WEDNESDAY
8:00 Chicago Justice
9:00 Law & Order: SVU
10:00 Chicago PD
THURSDAY
8:00 Superstore
8:30 new comedy
9:00 The Good Place
9:30 Trial & Error
10:00 Chicago Fire
FRIDAY
8:00 Chicago Med
9:00 The Blacklist
10:00 Dateline

Mid-season:
Little Big Shots
The Wall
4 new comedies
6 new dramas

Reasoning:

The biggest thing people are probably going to disagree with here is putting This is Us at 10:00. Yes, it is not ideal. But I think it is the best option, unless The Voice were to move its Tuesday show to Wednesday. Think about it like this: If you had a new drama on NBC next fall, would you rather it air at 9:00 between high-rated The Voice and similarly rated This is Us, or would you rather it air at 10:00 out of This is Us? While the latter would provide a slightly larger lead-in, it would also put the show in a lesser-viewed hour. In addition, I believe there is a benefit to airing between two high-rated shows. It's like airing between The Middle in the past or The Goldbergs now and Modern Family, but with that 8:00 show being even higher rated.

NBC has three new comedies on their mid-season schedule. Powerless will be airing after Superstore, and Trial & Error and Great News will air after The Voice. I think that Powerless will fail, as when the trailer was leaked, reception was negative. NBC doesn't seem to have much faith in Great News, only ordering 10 episodes, and airing it for 4 weeks after lower-rated episodes of The Voice, then one week at 8:00, compared to Trial & Error, which has 13 episodes and will air after stronger episodes of The Voice.

So, I think that NBC will come out of the season with three returning comedies: Superstore, The Good Place, and Trial & Error. Since there are three, I think they will expand to two hours of comedy on Thursday, and since Trial & Error is untested on Thursday, I think it will air at 9:30, with The Good Place at 9:00 so Superstore can launch a new comedy at 8:30.

With This is Us going to 10:00, and comedy expanding on Tuesday, Chicago Fire and Chicago Med have been kicked out of their timeslots, and Chicago Justice can't return to Sundays in the fall because of Sunday Night Football. This means that these three Chicagos all need new homes. We don't know how Chicago Justice will perform when it premieres, but right now, Chicago Med is the weakest Chicago show, so I think it will go to Friday. I think that NBC will try to help Chicago Justice in season 2, after sticking it out on Sundays in its first season. This is why I have it on Wednesday, so it can be with NBC's other law-related shows.

Chicago Fire isn't weak, so I don't see it going to Friday unless NBC has to bring it there, or they wanted to use its strength to lead-in to Chicago Med or something. There is one more open timeslot then, Thursdays at 10:00. There is still the opening on Friday, and this is why I am predicting The Blacklist will return to the fall schedule. Many things could change this however. If NBC gets the Will & Grace reboot to work, and they have it ready for the fall, then I see them adding another hour of comedy, which means one show on the fall schedule will have to be removed, which would be The Blacklist. If NBC is able to acquire How I Met Your Father, which is available for all networks, I see the same situation as Will & Grace happening, or if a second mid-season comedy is successful. If a mid-season drama besides Chicago Justice works out, then that also sends The Blacklist off to mid-season.


What do you think of my schedules? Leave your thoughts in the comments!