Fall TV: Thursdays
Thursdays are supposed to be “must see TV.” This has been true even before Friends was the mega-hit of the 90s, which spawned enough clones and wannabes that its parent network, NBC, basically ruled the night.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Their dominance largely ended with the end of Will & Grace, already largely crippled by the American Idol juggernaut on Fox. Soon CBS took over, with Two & a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory. As of 2014, it’s ABC that owns the night, with its much-heralded “TGIT” lineup of dramas.
Why do the networks compete so hard for the night with some of their best stuff? Advertising is worth more, in no small part because of the history of high ratings, but also because Hollywood is also trying to promote whatever movie is opening that weekend.
But the real question is whether the competition will be just as fierce in 2015. Let’s find out:
8pm to 9pm
CBS’s lone remaining mega hit sitcom, The Big Bang Theory, returns to its timeslot after NFL Thursday is over. Its best years, creatively and ratings-wise, are behind it, but it is still the most-watched comedy on network TV. Joining TBBT is Life in Pieces, a new, unfunny, light dramedy.
ABC is also keeping a hit, Grey’s Anatomy, although it is anyone’s guess whether the ratings will holdup after they killed off “Dr. McDreamy”. The CW and Fox are also keeping their low-rated offerings, The Vampire Diaries and Bones.
NBC, after yet another complete failure to find an audience for some decent sitcoms, is trying to revive another former hit of theirs with the superhero reboot Heroes Reborn. They even brought Zachary Levi on board to bring back the fans of spy comedy Chuck. If the writers had a superb first season of the original Heroes, so it is quite possible the audience will comeback, at least at first, but it is up against Football early in the fall.
9pm to 10pm
After it successfully helped a new show find an audience, ABC is keeping Scandal here. NBC made a risky move last fall by bringing The Blacklist into direct competition with Scandal, and the ratings suffered during an otherwise okay sophomore season.
Another show that suffered in its season season, Sleepy Hollow, is being transplanted here as Fox appears to be trying its best on a tough night. It’s possible viewers of Heroes Reborn will switch channels to watch this similarly supernatural show, as opposed to the cop and political dramas on other networks.
The Originals joins its mother show on an all-vampire night for The CW.
Lastly, CBS is keeping Mom on Thursdays to help launch another funny female-duo sitcom, Angel from Hell. I like both of the leads in AfH and the potential of these shows pairing up is a strong counter-programming against the dramas airing on other networks.
10pm to 11pm
How to Get Away with Murder, the simply titled whodunit murder-conspiracy drama was a successful hit last fall and winter, and it returns for a second season on ABC. Also returning is the low-rated Sherlock drama Elementary. The only new show on the night is NBC’s The Player, which looks to be a kind of Person of Interest set in Las Vegas.
Definitely watching: How to Get Away With Murder, The Big Bang Theory, The Blacklist, Mom
Maybe continuing: Sleepy Hollow, Elementary
New shows I want to check out: Heroes Reborn
New shows I might check out: Angel from Hell