Upfronts Week -- Time Slot Battles


The network schedules are out, and now it's time to prepare for fall. I looked at the roundups for each network earlier this week, and yesterday I looked at my picks for the best and worst new shows. Today, I'm looking at the biggest time slot battles on each day.

Monday Nights at 10 p.m.
Shows: "The Brave," NBC; "The Good Doctor," ABC; "Scorpion," CBS
About: "Scorpion" is the only veteran show in the time slot, but it hasn't been lighting up the ratings of late. And its lead-in is arguably the weakest. Elsewhere, two new shows are entering the fray. "The Good Doctor" follows "Dancing With The Stars" on ABC, while "The Brave" gets the plumb post-"Voice" slot on NBC. I've previously mentioned that I don't think "The Good Doctor" will be a good show, but it will likely get a decent number of viewers its first week. The key will be to see if any of these new shows resonate with audiences.
Prediction: "The Brave" wins week one, "Scorpion" is the highest rated of the three for the season.

Tuesday Nights at 9 p.m.
Shows: "Superstore" and "The Good Place," NBC; "The Mick," "Brooklyn Nine Nine," FOX; "Black-ish," "The Mayor," ABC; "Bull," CBS; "Legends of Tomorrow," The CW
About: "Bull" was a strong new entry last year, but the time slot winner here in the 2016-2017 season was "This Is Us," which has since relocated. Now this creates an interesting competition. Three networks have gone with comedies, the strongest of which is "Black-ish," which moves from Wednesday nights, and is paired with the promising new comedy "The Mayor." NBC re-locates its Thursday shows, and it will be interesting to see how they do with "The Voice" as a lead-in. FOX also has comedies, now following "Lethal Weapon." Then there's The CW with one of its many superhero series.
Prediction: "Black-ish" and "The Mayor" end up with the top rating in the time period, closely followed by "Superstore" and "The Good Place."

Wednesday Nights at 8 p.m.
Shows: "The Blacklist," NBC; "Empire," FOX; "The Goldbergs," "Speechless," ABC; "Survivor," CBS; "Riverdale," The CW
About: This is an interesting battle. Prior to last season, "Empire" was one of the hottest shows on TV. But last season it slipped quite a bit. "The Blacklist" started as the hottest show on NBC, but its stint on Thursday nights didn't do it any favors. Now both have re-located to a new time slot. They'll compete against "Survivor," a seemingly ageless wonder, and family comedies on ABC. And The CW has moved "Riverdale" into the time slot this year, too, replacing "Arrow," which long held the slot. Wednesdays at 8 p.m. has gone from a shoulder shrug to one of the most packed hours on the schedule.
Prediction: "Empire" won't reach its previous heights, but it will still be good enough to win the time slot. "The Blacklist" will tick up, too, and the biggest loser will be ABC, which will see its comedy ratings in the hour decline.

Thursday Nights at 9 p.m.
Shows: "This Is Us," NFL, NBC; "Mom," "Life in Pieces," NFL, CBS; "Scandal," ABC; "The Orville," FOX; "Arrow," The CW
About: This is THE toughest time slot on the new fall schedule, as all the networks appear to be trying to make a move to claim the night. NBC is trying to restore its Must-See TV glory, and it's doing it with the hottest show of last TV season, "This Is Us," and the NFL. CBS, meanwhile, has its comedy block and the NFL. ABC returns its TGIT lineup, including the final season of "Scandal," while The CW moved veteran staple "Arrow" to the night. And, finally, FOX sends in my favorite new show of the fall, the "Star Trek" spoof "The Orville" from Seth Macfarlane. Get the DVRs ready, this is gonna be a tough one.
Prediction: Nothing beats the NFL when it's on, but "This Is Us" finishes as the top scripted show of the night. With "Will & Grace" and a new "Law & Order," NBC will take back Thursday nights.

Friday Nights at 8 p.m.
Shows: "Blindspot," NBC; "Hell's Kitchen," FOX; "Once Upon A Time," ABC; "MacGyver," CBS; "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend," The CW
About: Fridays aren't exactly a ratings hot spot, but with a number of shows moving around, things are getting interesting. "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" is a critical fave that no one watches, while "Hell's Kitchen" and "MacGyver" have been steady performers. NBC is moving "Blindspot," which struggled in its sophomore season, to battle in the time slot while ABC cancelled its long-running comedies in order to move the veteran "Once Upon A Time," which has a smaller but dedicated following.
Prediction: "Once Upon A Time" doesn't rebound to its heights, but it takes the lead on Friday nights. "Blindspot" continues to slump, while the rest remain on par with last season.

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