Thursday, September 7, 2017
Head's up: I'll have my annual fall preview of the broadcast networks' new shows on the Sept. 17 Sunday Style front. The goal is to bring special attention to the freshman programs I believe deserve your special attention.
A handful of shows will have already debuted or returned by the 17th, but the new season doesn't officially begin until Sept. 18. The new schedule will be mostly in place within three weeks.
I'll be breaking the schedule down on a night-by-night basis because that's how most viewers still watch. They find their favorite shows each night and make sure to tune in. With the advent of DVRs, some conflicting shows might be delayed a bit, but they eventually get watched, usually within a week.
For ratings purposes, Nielsen now has what is called "Live-plus-7," or L7 results. That takes into account all viewings within a week, mostly using DVRs. Video on demand (VOD) accounts for even more viewers past the seven-day limit.
Even with L7 and VOD, new programs generally have trouble trying to elbow their way into this nightly exercise of habit and routine. The survival rate to a second season is a disappointing 25 percent. That hasn't changed in a number of years.
The success rate for freshman programs is so low because, to be honest, most new shows aren't really worth watching. There are a lot of hours in the week to fill and the networks seem to simply hurl a gaggle of shows at the wall, stand back, and see what sticks.
Most new programs are a rehash of hackneyed and formulaic concepts. Broadcast television, which must appeal to the widest audience, is rarely the place for bold innovation (e.g. Son of Zorn).
Other new shows may have looked good on paper at the pitch meetings, but the execution (writing, casting, etc.) failed to follow through. And having a well-known star (e.g. Katherine Heigl) front your series is no guarantee of success.
And still the networks soldier on because there are fortunes to be made with success. And every now and then, when we least expect it, a This Is Us stumbles along. Sometimes the magic happens and the family tale of interconnected lives was one of those examples last season.
NBC, by the way, was so thrilled with the critical and popular success of This Is Us that it renewed the series for two additional seasons of 18 episodes each. The show is up for 11 Emmys on Sept. 17. Of the seven for Outstanding Drama, only This Is Us airs on a broadcast network. Season 2 arrives at 8 p.m. Sept. 26.
One of the things I've learned in 24 years on the TV beat is that many viewers don't pay that much attention when their favorite programs gets the ax. That may be because new shows arrive with bells and whistles, but the pink slips are handed out quietly in dark hallways late on Fridays.
In addition, thanks to cable and streaming services, programming television has become more of a year-round affair. The networks have taken to holding back some of their veteran shows for midseason. That's why many will panic when they check out the new fall lineups.
They won't see a favorite program and I'll get emails saying, "Oh, no! I don't see (favorite show) on the schedule. Please, please don't tell me that it's been canceled!!!!"
I love the four exclamation marks.
Sometimes I'm able to reassure the reader that the series will return at midseason; other times I have to deliver the bad news.
With that said, here is a reminder of the shows from the 2016-2017 TV season that definitely will not be back. They have been canceled or ended their runs. If your favorite is among them, I feel your pain. Otherwise, look for your show this fall or at midseason.
Gone are 2 Broke Girls (CBS); 24: Legacy (Fox); American Crime (ABC); APB (Fox); The Blacklist: Redemption (NBC); Bones (Fox); The Catch (ABC); Chicago Justice (NBC); Conviction (ABC); Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders (CBS); Doubt (CBS); Dr. Ken (ABC); Downward Dog (ABC); Emerald City (NBC); and Frequency (The CW).
Also not coming back are The Great Indoors (CBS); Grimm (NBC); Imaginary Mary (ABC); Last Man Standing (ABC); Making History (Fox); No Tomorrow (The CW); Notorious (ABC); The Odd Couple (CBS); Pitch (Fox); Powerless (NBC); Pure Genius (CBS); Ransom (CBS); and The Real O'Neals (ABC).
Not returning shows include Reign (The CW); Rosewood (Fox); Scream Queens (Fox); Secrets and Lies (ABC); Sleepy Hollow (Fox); Son of Zorn (Fox); Time After Time (ABC); Training Day (CBS); You the Jury (Fox); The Vampire Diaries (The CW).
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Weekend on 09/07/2017
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