Fall TV Reviews: Prodigal Son (Fox)

Hello to my maybe three blog readers, one of whom is definitely my mother. Remember four months ago when I said I was going to regularly update this blog? That was a simpler time. A naive version of me who was in denial about the fact that I’m a social worker and my mental energy is typically depleted by around 3:00 p.m. every day.

Knowing all that, I set out a new challenge for myself. I’m going to review the pilot of each new broadcast television show airing this fall. 17 new shows. Only 7 of which I planned on watching. Ambitious? For me, absolutely. Realistic? …We’ll see.

I would like to especially thank Fox for making the pilot of Prodigal Son available on YouTube a week early because once all my shows premiere, it’s going to get rough to complete this plan.

Premise: Malcolm Bright (Tom Payne) is a criminal psychologist for the FBI who specializes in finding serial killers. After an encounter with a local sheriff goes poorly, the FBI fires Malcolm for fear he is psychotic. Malcolm is then recruited by old friend Gil (Lou Diamond Phillips) with the NYPD to help with a profile of a serial killer in New York City. Malcolm got into criminal psychology because of his interest in a particular serial killer known as The Surgeon (Michael Sheen). And oh yeah, The Surgeon is actually his father.

The Good: Michael Sheen was born to play this role. He has such nice guy energy with an undercurrent of pure psychosis. You want to spend hours with him because he is so charming, but you also fear he’ll murder you at some point. Every scene with Michael Sheen is absolutely electric. Bellamy Young plays Malcolm’s mother Jessica Whitly and is just as phenomenal here as she was on Scandal.

The Bad: The great Michael Sheen, Bellamy Young, and Lou Diamond Phillips are not the stars of this show. Tom Payne is. In most scenes, he’s with acting giants and is generally outperformed by all of them. He comes across as your general generic “Very Special Genius” (think Bones, Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock, Shaun on “The Good Doctor” etc.). He is not written as if he has autism like most Very Special Geniuses tend to be, but he does supposedly have “the serial killer gene,” so it is vaguely similar to the Disability Superpower Trope. It is only the pilot, so there is still a strong chance he’ll grow into this role.

Overall Impression: This was my most anticipated new drama of the season and this does not disappoint. Michael Sheen is beyond phenomenal in this role. I’m somewhat skeptical on Tom Payne, but I hope he’ll grow into his part. I’ve heard some early comparisons to “The Following,” but “Prodigal Son” does not have the overwhelming gloom “The Following” did. My fear is that as they settle into more of a “case of the week” format, it will become more difficult to organically integrate Michael Sheen into the story. I hope Fox will keep this to a 10- or 13-episode season to allow for tighter storytelling. It feels odd to pair this with “911” on Monday nights, since “911” is more pure batshit craziness. I almost feel this could be a better fit with “Empire” on Tuesday nights. Regardless, this is staying on my weekly watch list.

The pilot of “Prodigal Son” is available now on YouTube, or you can catch the series premiere on September 23 on Fox.



Fall TV Schedule Reactions: CW

The last of the major broadcast networks revealed their fall schedule today. The CW, a.k.a. the show where I watch the highest percentage of their lineup, rolled out their preview. Since they renewed every single one of their shows that hadn’t already been announced as ending (RIP iZombie, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and Jane the Virgin), it looks a lot like last year. However, they did a ton of shifting around. Here’s how it shakes out.


7:00 Batwoman
8:00 Supergirl

The fifth entry in the Arrowverse lineup will kick off a night of female-based superhero shows with Supergirl following. Supergirl was already airing on Sundays in the 7:00 hour, so will just move back an hour. Personally, I would have kept Supergirl at 7:00 and put Batwoman at 8:00. I’m expecting Batwoman to be a little bit grittier and darker than Supergirl, so think it would benefit from the later time slot. I was already planning on skipping Batwoman. I’m thrilled Ruby Rose is in the lead role and think it’ll be a great chance for a different take on the story. However, I really hate everything to do with Batman and his universe. The trailer looks like it is going to be perfect for people who do enjoy that particular series. I’m just not among them.


7:00 All American
8:00 Black Lightning

At first, I thought this was a really weird attempt to just pair the two “Black” shows together, even though they don’t have anything else in common. As I thought more about it, this does make a lot of sense. Both shows deal a lot with issues of alienation and the problems of the “inner city.” All American is the most “WB” show of the lineup, in that it reminds me of old-school WB shows like Dawson’s Creek, Everwood, etc. But with some of The OC mixed in to it. I really enjoyed the first season. I’ll be very interested to see if this pairing works. I don’t think having All American after Riverdale this year helped it very much, so this could be a great move for it. I don’t know if I’m sticking around for Black Lightning’s third season because I was just getting bored with it. This is probably the night of television on a network I am most interested in seeing the results.


7:00 The Flash
8:00 Arrow

Tuesday is going to continue to be the biggest night for The CW. The Flash is their highest-rated show. They’re reuniting it with its flagship show, Arrow, which is going into its final season. They’re teeing things up for their epic crossover event ever. Tuesday is going to be as close to a blockbuster night as The CW ever gets. This pairing is the easiest call of the network. It’s going to be interesting to see what they put in this spot after Arrow ends at midseason because that will be a major show of confidence from the network.


7:00 Riverdale
8:00 Nancy Drew

This pairing was also very much a no-brainer. Riverdale is such a weird little show in that it’s very Twins Peaks-y. I both love and hate the show. I scream at the television at least once an episode about how they’re supposed to be juniors in high school, but they’re investigating cults, running underground speakeasies, or owning their own gym. I’m not going to stop watching the show ever. The trailer for Nancy Drew shows this is going to be a nearly perfect pairing. There have been a lot of attempts at Nancy Drew properties (television and movies) in recent years, but I think this one might actually last. It’s a newer take that seems to be staying true to its roots. I’m on board for the entire night here.


7:00 Supernatural
8:00 Legacies

This is the sole night that is completely untouched. Supernatural is going into its fifteenth and final season, so I would expect ratings to go up slightly. Legacies continues The Vampire Diaries brand, which is really important to the CW. Leaving it behind Supernatural shows they want to continue to give it a chance to grow.


7:00 Charmed
8:00 Dynasty

Friday continues to be their “miscellaneous” night. Charmed and Dynasty are both very low-rated and most people who do watch don’t do it live. I don’t think this is a great show of confidence for Charmed, but we’ll see. The CW is probably the best network for letting shows complete their story. It’s how Jane the Virgin and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend lasted five years and four years, respectively. Charmed is the same creator as Jane the Virgin, so that’s a huge point in its favor. I don’t really know why Dynasty is still on, but they want to continue their story. I watch so many of the CW shows because I know they’re willing to give shows a chance.

Coming at midseason: The 100, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, In the Dark, Katy Keene, Roswell New Mexico

My Final Fall Broadcast Schedule:

Sunday: Supergirl

Monday: 9-1-1, All American, Prodigal Son, The Good Doctor

Tuesday: The Flash, The Resident, Empire, black-ish, New Amsterdam

Wednesday: Riverdale, Modern Family, Not Just Me, Nancy Drew, Single Parents

Thursday: Superstore, Grey’s Anatomy, Perfect Harmony, The Unicorn, The Good Place, A Million Little Things, Sunnyside, How to Get Away with Murder, Evil

Friday: Fresh Off the Boat

Fall TV Schedule Reactions: CBS

The CBS upfront is typically a non-story to me. I haven’t regularly watched a show on CBS since the 2015-16 season when Supergirl aired its first season there. This year, there are two fall shows and a midseason show I’m planning to watch. It’s a super weird feeling.

The story of CBS is largely the same. It’s dominated by the NCIS franchise with a slew of other procedural crime dramas. They’re trying to turn FBI into their next franchise with a planned spinoff for midseason. Comedies continue to be almost entirely broad multi-cams with Chuck Lorre attached in most cases. There’s just not a whole lot of change here. I don’t expect there to be. CBS has extremely highly-rated shows, so there’s no incentive for them to change. If it’s working, I can’t begrudge them for that. Let’s break down the schedule.


7:00 God Friended Me
8:00 NCIS: Los Angeles
9:00 Madam Secretary

There’s not a single change here from last year’s fall schedule. It worked okay for them. The only story here is they announced a final season for Madam Secretary, which is not particularly shocking.


7:00 The Neighborhood – The sole survivor of CBS’s comedy premieres from last season comes back to the same spot. It didn’t do great, but it got a second season. We’ll see if it grows at all next year.

7:30 Bob Hearts Abishola – There is a law of the universe which states CBS must have at least three Chuck Lorre shows on at any given time. With The Big Bang Theory ending this year, a new Chuck Lorre show must replace it. Hence this show. Billy Gardell (of Mike & Molly, a.k.a. another Chuck Lorre show) stars as a cardiac patient who stalks his nurse. Or a romantic comedy where a cardiac patient falls in love with his Nigerian nurse. Look at it however you want. I was basically doing a risk assessment during this trailer and thinking Abishola needed to get a restraining order. So, this show really isn’t for me. It will probably be a hit and run for a decade.

8:00 All Rise – A new judge on her first day wants to shake things up. This is apparently different than any other procedural law drama because the judge is a black woman? Or because the bailiff and law clerks are actual characters instead of set dressing? I don’t know. There’s star power in Marg Helgenberger as the stuck in her ways senior judge. Wilson Bethel plays one of the attorneys and I would normally watch him read the phone book, but this just looks like every other generic law show.

9:00 Bull – Back for a fourth season because there are no consequences for repeat sexual harassment. Moving on.


7:00 NCIS
8:00 FBI
9:00 NCIS: New Orleans

No change from last year. It’s a night that works for them and I never have to worry about wanting to watch something on CBS on Tuesday nights.


7:00 Survivor
8:00 SEAL Team
9:00 S.W.A.T.

Little change from last year. S.W.A.T. is moving into the 9:00 slot since the final season of Criminal Minds is slated for midseason. Nothing really to talk about here.


7:00 Young Sheldon – No shock here. Young Sheldon is taking over the Thursday night leadoff position that The Big Bang Theory held for years. It’ll continue to be a hit. I’ll continue to watch Superstore and Grey’s Anatomy instead.

7:30 The Unicorn – This is one of the two CBS sitcoms I’m actually going to watch next year. I haven’t watched a sitcom on CBS since How I Met Your Mother ended. This show has an interesting premise. Walton Goggins stars as a widower who starts dating again and doesn’t realize he’s like stupid hot. Michaela Watkins co-stars as one of his friends, along with a few other people I don’t recognize but think are really funny. The show is single-camera, meaning not taped in front of an audience and more serialized than a multi-camera. I have no idea what it’s doing on CBS, but this was one of my favorite sitcom trailers I’ve seen. It’s going up against Perfect Harmony on NBC, which is one of the other new sitcoms I really want to watch.

8:00 Mom – Continuing in its 8:00 slot. No story here.

8:30 Carol’s Second Act – Patricia Heaton stars as a med student. It’s funny because she’s old. Since Patricia Heaton is starring, it’ll be on for at least a decade for reasons I will never understand. I think the saddest thing is Kyle MacLachlan is going to be totally wasted here.

9:00 Evil – Again, I don’t know what this is doing on CBS, but I’m actually super pumped for this show. It comes from the creators of The Good Wife and The Good Fight, so it’s got a strong pedigree. Mike Colter and Aasif Mandvi star alongside Katja Herbers as a team that investigates potential possessions to see if there is something paranormal or the person is just insane. Michael Emerson is also on as some sort of foil for them. There is so much I already love about this show. My biggest fear is it will turn into a by-the-numbers procedural because that’s mainly CBS knows how to do. I just really want it to be good.


7:00 Hawaii Five-O
8:00 Magnum P.I.
9:00 Blue Bloods

Hawaii Five-O is moving up an hour. Magnum P.I. is relocating from Mondays and MacGyver is on the bench for midseason. Nothing else to see here.

Coming at midseason: The Amazing Race, Broke, Criminal Minds, FBI: Most Wanted, MacGyver, Man with a Plan, Tommy, Undercover Boss

CBS is the only network that has made trailers for their midseason shows available. Broke is the other sitcom I’m really excited to watch. It comes from the creator of Jane the Virgin and stars Jaime Camill as a lovable, rich goofus. If it leads to Jaime Camill being the biggest comedy star ever, all will be right in the world. I made it 30 seconds into the trailer for FBI: Most Wanted before I turned it off out of boredom. Tommy is the type of procedural show CBS does well, but I just find boring.

My Schedule:

Monday: 9-1-1, Prodigal Son, The Good Doctor

Tuesday: The Resident, Empire, black-ish, New Amsterdam

Wednesday: Not Just Me, Modern Family, Single Parents

Thursday: Superstore, Grey’s Anatomy, Perfect Harmony, The Unicorn, The Good Place, A Million Little Things, Sunnyside, How to Get Away with Murder, Evil

Friday: Fresh Off the Boat

Fall TV Schedule Reactions: ABC

Keeping the train rolling through upfronts week and today was ABC’s turn.

ABC is sadly the first network where I’m not automatically putting any of their new shows on my schedule for next year. All three shows premiering (mixed-ish, Emergence, and Stumptown) have elements I should love, but the execution does not look great.

Other than that, there are not a ton of changes from last year’s schedule. The things that are working well for them will continue to work well. Tuesday and Wednesday nights at 9:00 will continue to be a struggle for them. Last year’s entries at that trouble slot were The Rookie and A Million Little Things. Both were renewed and moved to better time slots. Let’s see how everything shakes out.


7:00 Kids Say the Darndest Things – Tiffany Haddish hosts a new take on the show previously hosted by Art Linkletter and Bill Cosby. I loved the Cosby version when I was a kid. With recent(ish) developments, the brand is tainted for me, but Tiffany Haddish is really likable and kids are adorable. Outside of paying Haddish, this probably costs them next to nothing to produce and Sundays are not a great night for network TV, especially during football season.

8:00 Shark Tank – It’s going to stay on Sunday nights. People still watch it. I don’t get it, but it’s a cheap ratings grab for them.

9:00 The Rookie – ABC is plucking it from the Tuesday death slot to try to get viewers on Sundays. Nathan Fillion has been in business with ABC for years, so it was not a shock this got renewed. It didn’t do great on Tuesdays. We’ll see if Sunday fares any better for it.


7:00 Dancing with the Stars – ABC has been cycling between Dancing with the Stars and The Bachelor(ette) on Mondays for years. It’s a strong ratings performer for them. No reason to shake things up.

9:00 The Good Doctor – The medical drama does wonderfully in this slot. Honestly, I would have probably moved this to the Tuesday at 9 slot. Going into its third season, it has a solid chance viewers would follow it and they could have launched a new show after the super-strong reality block. Oh well. The Good Doctor will stay in this slot until mid-March when a new show will come in. My money is on The Baker and the Beauty to get this slot in the spring.


7:00 The Conners – ABC is picking up a 19-episode season as opposed to this year’s 13-episode run. Strong vote of confidence for what has been a solid performer for them.

7:30 Bless This Mess – Only three or four episodes into its first season and it was picked up for season 2. ABC is trying to set it up for success with the post-Conners timeslot. We’ll see if it pays off.

8:00 mixed-ish – The black-ish spinoff focused on Bow’s childhood. It looks like black-ish meets Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, but less endearing than both. Gary Cole looks like the standout as Rainbow’s grandfather. Disappointed with the recasting of Anders Holm because he’s what would have drawn me into the show. The trailer doesn’t wow me, but I’ll wait to read more reviews as it gets closer to air.

8:30 black-ish –  Going into season 6, black-ish is one of the longest running sitcoms on the network. Personally, I feel it’s getting a little long in the tooth and prefer its Freeform counterpart grown-ish. I’ll probably keep watching it until it’s canceled…because that’s just what I do.

9:00 Emergence – One of the more interesting stories of pilot season, this was originally bought by NBC. When they decided to pass on it, ABC snatched it up since it’s an ABC Studios production. Alison Tolman stars as a police officer who gets called to a plane crash site where there is a small child found. The child wasn’t listed as being on the plane and has no memory of who she is. She says she lives with Alison Tolman. It looks like Manifest meets Lost meets Resurrection with an Under the Dome twist at the end. I’m a sucker for major conspiracy shows, so I’ll probably end up watching this. I’m expecting it to get canceled after 13 episodes with no real answers, so it’ll be an unsatisfying watch…but I do that a lot, too.


7:00 The Goldbergs
7:30 Schooled
8:00 Modern Family
8:30 Single Parents

The comedy block is staying untouched. Goldbergs spinoff Schooled has been a solid performer behind its flagship show. I expect ABC is going to try to continue to turn that into a dominating hour of comedy. Modern Family is going to get a lot of hype going into its final season. Single Parents was my favorite new sitcom of last year, so I’m glad they’re going to continue to give it the Modern Family bump. It didn’t do great ratings last year, but I really hope people will find it over the summer through streaming. It’s really a great show. Seriously, watch Single Parents.

9:00 Stumptown – Cobie Smulders stars as a PI in this graphic novel adaptation. Even watching the trailer gave me whiplash when thinking about this following the family comedy block. I love Cobie Smulders and I want this to be good, but I’m not super pumped for it. I don’t know where on ABC’s schedule this would really fit. If anything, I would have put this on Friday nights where most genre shows tend to go. So far, it’s not going on my list for next year. We’ll see with further reviews and footage.


7:00 Grey’s Anatomy
8:00 A Million Little Things
9:00 How to Get Away with Murder

The #TGIT lineup is staying untouched. This is a blockbuster night for ABC, so there’s no reason to change anything. I’ll expect A Million Little Things to get another shortened season and have them slide in Station 19 in the spring. How to Get Away with Murder only does 15-episode seasons and they have a strong potential midseason replacement in the 50 Cent-produced For Life.


7:00 American Housewife – Relocated from Tuesdays to replace the canceled Speechless. American Housewife has been a strong ratings performer, so no surprise to see them trying to help the Friday night comedies. ABC would love to recreate the heydays of TGIF. I don’t know if it will happen, but this was probably the best comedy option they have to relocate.

7:30 Fresh Off the Boat – Absolutely no one would be talking about this show if Constance Wu hadn’t lost her damn mind on Twitter last week when it was renewed. I enjoy this show and have watched every episode, but also wouldn’t be devastated if they started to wrap it up.

8:00 20/20 – ABC and NBC are both going with a two-hour block of their respective newsmagazines. Fridays aren’t really the place to do much creative programming, so there’s not much to say there.

Coming at midseason: American Idol, The Bachelor, The Baker and the Beauty, For Life, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Station 19, United We Fall

My current schedule:

Monday: 9-1-1, Prodigal Son, The Good Doctor

Tuesday: The Resident, Empire, black-ish, New Amsterdam

Wednesday: Not Just Me, Modern Family, Single Parents

Thursday: Superstore, Grey’s Anatomy, Perfect Harmony, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, A Million Little Things, Sunnyside, How to Get Away with Murder

Friday: Fresh Off the Boat

Fall TV Schedule Reactions: Fox

When Disney and Fox merged earlier this year, the network we know as Fox was not included in the package. 20th Century Fox is different from the rest of Fox for…reasons? I guess? Anyway, Fox the Channel is trying to figure out where it stands in the new landscape. And it is looking uneven at best. They are going for some very different tones with their programming. I’m onboard with most of their drama landscape. It’s the comedy where they have completely lost me. It’s going to be an interesting chance to watch how they are going to brand themselves now. Here’s the breakdown.


7:00 The Simpsons
7:30 Bless the Harts
8:00 Bob’s Burgers
8:30 Family Guy

Animation Domination has been the way of life on Sundays for years and they have no reason to mess with it. It’s not something I get. At all. The “trailer” for Bless the Harts is a 90-second montage of all the animated shows. Most of my friends really like at least one Fox animated show. The minute and a half preview with every Upfronts is really all that I need. Never gonna be my cup o’ tea, but I seem to be in the minority there.


7:00 9-1-1 – Ryan Murphy’s procedural drama about first responders in Los Angeles is going into its third season. I’m there for every crazy antic and ludicrous call they get. It’s batshit and I love it. Midseason will see an expansion of the universe with 9-1-1: Lone Star.

8:00 Prodigal Son – Michael Sheen stars as a serial killer named The Surgeon whose son is a profiler for the NYPD. Lou Diamond Phillips is one of the NYPD co-workers. And Bellamy Young is the wife that is trying to move past her psycho husband. If I could already set a favorite for it on Hulu, I would have done it as soon as the pilot was announced. I was interested in this from the logline, so Michael Sheen’s casting just cemented it for me. It looks a little closer to The Following than I would like, but this is just a phenomenal cast.


7:00 The Resident – Another crazy procedural drama with a stellar cast. I’ve watched every episode of the first two seasons. There’s no way I would miss the third.

8:00 Empire – The major story coming out of Fox’s upfronts is the announcement this will be Empire’s final season. After all the drama with Jussie Smollett, it’s not totally shocking.  If they want to go out with an outstanding final season instead of limping across the finish line, I’m on board for it.


7:00 The Masked Singer – This show came out of left field last year with a throwaway slot in the winter and because a massive hit. Fox has ordered a fall and spring cycle and gave it the coveted post-Super Bowl slot. Fox is going all in on it and it will be interesting to see how it pans out.

8:00 Not Just Me – This show is a family relationship drama written by Jason Katims (of Friday Night Lights and Parenthood fame) and starring Brittany Snow. It was basically tailor made for me and I am so scared that it is on Fox. There tend to be more women who watch music competition shows, so this is probably the best leadout they have from The Masked Singer outside of Empire. I just want this show to go on forever even though I’ve only seen about three minutes of footage. If the concept seems familiar, it’s based on the Australian drama “Sisters,” which is currently available on Netflix.


Football. No announcement yet what will replace it after football season, but there are a ton of midseason shows from which they can pick.


Fox got the rights to WWE Smackdown, so that will be going on Fridays now. One less channel I have to worry about watching on Fridays.

Coming at midseason: 9-1-1: Lone Star, Deputy, Duncanville, Filthy Rich, The Great North, Last Man Standing, Masterchef, neXT, The Orville, Outmatched, Ultimate Tag

My Current Schedule:

Monday: 9-1-1, Prodigal Son

Tuesdays: The Resident, Empire, New Amsterdam

Wednesdays: Not Just Me

Thursdays: Superstore, Perfect Harmony, The Good Place, Sunnyside

Fall TV Schedule Reactions: NBC

So, clearly, my plan to predict each network’s schedule fell through. Life got in the way and I couldn’t get things posted in time. The goal is to break things down day by day this week as the networks announce their schedules.

First to go is NBC. Their official upfront presentation is tomorrow, but they announced the schedule ahead of time today. Here’s how things look.

The main theme is “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” NBC’s fall schedule looks a lot like last year’s. Football, The Voice, One Chicago night, This Is Us, and Thursday night sitcoms. NBC found a method that works. They were #1 in adults 18-49 last year, so might as well keep it going until it doesn’t work anymore.


Football. This is their standard Sunday night fare and nothing expected to change here. They haven’t announced midseason schedule yet. They did announce Melissa McCarthy will be replacing Steve Harvey as the host of Little Big Shots, so I’ll expect that to go here in the fall.

7:00 The Voice: Staying in its Monday/Tuesday spot where it has been for years. Nothing rocking the boat.

9:00 Bluff City Law: New Jimmy Smits show that looks like a perfectly inoffensive procedural law show. The trailer didn’t pull me in right away. I’ll wait to see what the reviews are before I totally cross it off my list of potentials.


7:00 The Voice: Nothing out of the norm here.

8:00 This Is Us: The show got a 3-season pickup, so expect the show to stay on Tuesdays until 2022 at least. I’m tapping out after this year, but the show will continue to dominate. I’m expecting Council of Dads to take over this slot in the midseason, but time will tell.

9:00 New Amsterdam: New Amsterdam does really well after This Is Us, so no reason to move it and risk breaking it. Let the show gain viewers through streaming over the summer and hopefully, Tuesday will continue to dominate for NBC.


7:00 Chicago Med
8:00 Chicago Fire
9:00 Chicago PD

NBC launched their One Chicago night and it was very effective for them. They can do crossovers between the shows more easily and most people who watch one will watching them all. It’s an easy way to dominate on Wednesdays.


7:00 Superstore: This is a great anchor to start the night. It is a stable performer and it’s funny as hell. So glad to see it back for next year.

7:30 Perfect Harmony: Bradley Whitford as an addict choir director who stumbles across a small town church choir in need of a new director? Oh, and that church choir is led by Anna Camp. Sign me up. I’ll be there every week. It looks wonderful. Personally, I would have put this in the 8:30 slot because 8:30’s Sunnyside is something I would have paired with Superstore. But oh well.

8:00 The Good Place: Taking its rightful place in the 8:00 anchor slot, The Good Place continues to be a solid ratings performer. NBC revealed with digital ratings are factored in, The Good Place is their fourth highest rated show. Michael Schur shows tend to really hit their stride with the third and fourth seasons, so I’m excited for it to return.

8:30 Sunnyside: Speaking of Michael Schur shows, here is his new entry for this year. Kal Penn plays a city council member who finds a group of immigrants and helps them study for their citizenship test. It’s a timely “political” show and has a cast that is largely made up of unknown immigrant actors. It also looks like Michael Schur’s next big hit.

9:00 Law & Order: SVU – Going into its landmark twentieth season, SVU will continue to round out a solid night for NBC.


7:00 The Blacklist: It has done well on Fridays. As long as James Spader wants to do the show, it’ll probably stick around.

8:00-10:00 Dateline NBC: This is the move that shows NBC is not even trying on Fridays, which makes sense. There are enough people that watch Dateline and it’s cheap as hell to produce.

Coming at midseason: America’s Got Talent: The Champions, Blindspot, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Council of Dads, Ellen’s Game of Games, Good Girls, Indebted, The Kenan Show, Lincoln, Little Big Shots, Manifest, Will & Grace, World of Dance, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist

My Current Schedule:

Tuesdays: New Amsterdam

Thursdays: Superstore, Perfect Harmony, The Good Place, Sunnyside

Fall TV Schedule Predictions: ABC

We’re two weeks away from the major networks revealing their fall schedules. In the world of binge watching, a show’s timeslot means less and less. However, it still does mean something. A good timeslot means a network has faith in the show. It’s likely to stick around. A crappy timeslot means the network expects it to be canceled. I love this time of year. I love analyzing all the ratings and how it compares to previous years. I love making predictions for what each network will do. Some people do fantasy football or baseball. I do fantasy network scheduling.

Each day this week, I’ll pick a different network to analyze. First up, ABC.

Of all the broadcast networks, ABC and the CW are the ones where I follow the most shows. So, I have the most to lose with those two networks.

Shows that were returning for the 2018-19 year: 20/20, America’s Funniest Home Videos, American Housewife, American Idol, The Bachelor, black-ish, Dancing with the Stars, For the People, Fresh Off the Boat, The Goldbergs, The Good Doctor, Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder, Modern Family, Shark Tank, Single Parents, Speechless, Splitting Up Together, Station 19

New shows for the 2018-19 year: The Alec Baldwin Show, Bless This Mess, The Conners, The Fix, The Kids Are Alright, A Million Little Things,  The Rookie, Schooled, Whiskey Cavalier

Already renewed for the 2019-20 year: America’s Funniest Home Videos, The Conners, Dancing with the Stars, The Good Doctor, A Million Little Things, Modern Family, Shark Tank

Sure renewals that have yet to be announced: 20/20, American Housewife, American Idol, The Bachelor, black-ish, Fresh Off the Boat, The Goldbergs, Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder, Schooled, Single Parents, Speechless, Station 19

Likely cancellations: The Alec Baldwin Show, Bless This Mess, The Fix, For the People, The Kids Are Alright, The Rookie, Splitting Up Together, Whiskey Cavalier

ABC is going to be very interesting for this next year. With the merger of Disney and Fox, any Fox shows airing on ABC are probably safe. There is also a new president of ABC, so any pet projects from the old regime that haven’t been doing well will probably be gone.

On the comedy side, Modern Family is ending next season, so ABC will be on the hunt for its next big comedy show. The Goldbergs and black-ish are both solid performers, but don’t have both the ratings and critical success Modern Family has. I also think black-ish may announce a final season, since creator Kenya Barris is leaving ABC for Netflix. American Housewife continues to be a quieter, but steady performer. Fresh Off the Boat and Speechless are doing fine on Friday. As long as ABC wants to keep their Friday sitcom block, I expect those two to stay there. ABC is going to continue to try to find the next big family comedy since that has been their brand for so long. Of the new shows, I think Single Parents has the best chance of sticking around. I have been seeing more continued promotion for it than I have for The Kids Are Alright. Schooled will also stick around since it has the tie-in to The Goldbergs and has been a solid performer on its own.

On the drama side, ABC continues to have a solid performer in Grey’s Anatomy. I think ABC is going to continue to try to get Station 19 to gain more traction. I expect a final season announcement for How to Get Away with Murder. It’s been on the bubble for a couple seasons and Viola Davis does not come cheap. ABC wants to continue to be a destination spot for female audiences and I expect them to play that up with their new schedule.

6-7 – America’s Funniest Home Videos
7-10 Combination of Shark Tank, American Idol, game shows, and other assorted reality shows

7-9 – Dancing with the Stars/The Bachlelor/The Bachelorette
9-10 – The Good Doctor/New drama

7 – The Conners
7:30 – American Housewife
8 – black-ish
8:30 – Single Parents
9 – New drama

7 – The Goldbergs
7:30 – Schooled
8 – Modern Family
8:30 – New comedy
9 – New drama

7-8 – Grey’s Anatomy
8-9 – Station 19/A Million Little Things
9-10 How to Get Away with Murder/New drama

7 – Fresh Off the Boat
7:30 – Speechless
8 – New drama
9 – 20/20

For the new dramas, I’m expecting that 9 pm on Tuesday slot to go to the NYPD Blue reboot in development. That was the NYPD Blue slot while the original series was airing. Plus, ABC has not been able to launch a new series in that slot for years. I think they’ll revert back to a classic. They’ve also got The Hypnotist’s Love Story in development, a comedic drama about a woman who finds out her boyfriend is being stalked. It’s got star power in Heather Graham and may fit well with the more comedic tone of Wednesdays. I expect to see A Million Little Things continue to be on Thursdays with the Grey’s Anatomy cushion. 50 Cent is producing a series about a man who was wrongfully convicted of a crime and went on to practice law in the same courtroom where he was convicted. Please let it be better than Fox’s Proven Innocent, which is essentially the same story. If it is, it could be a good companion piece to How to Get Away with Murder, which only runs 15-episode seasons. On Fridays, ABC may go for a new genre show with Triangle, a large-scale mystery about the Bermuda Triangle in the vein of Lost. On Mondays when The Good Doctor ends, they might try to launch Heart of Life. Yes, it’s based on a John Mayer song, but it also has Dave Annable basically playing Justin Walker from Brothers & Sisters. Heart of Life is a broad, multi-generational family drama about a set of siblings who find out their dad had another family. It seems the closest to This Is Us. Every network is trying to find their own version and this could be ABC’s version of it.

ABC only has seven comedies in development. One is a backdoor pilot for a black-ish spinoff about Bow’s childhood. If that episode does well, it may be paired with black-ish in order to pass the torch to a new series. Other than that, I think Woman Up has the best shot. A sitcom about two teen moms who got their kids to graduation and are ready to have the youth they never had, it seems the most solid. I’ve heard good things about Katey Sagal’s Nana, but also have seen it may need to be retooled.

Overall, for ABC, I expect them to launch way more dramas than comedies next year. They’ve got a bunch of solid comedy performers and need to focus on continuing to grow existing properties than to bring in new ones they’ll cancel immediately.