11:30am PT by Mikey O'Connell
Fall Schedule: TV's Biggest Time Slot Battles
With the fall 2013 schedule solidified -- or at least as much as it will be before the inevitable tweaks -- the broadcast networks' moves, additions and cancelations have created a battleground quite different from the one seen over the past eight months.
Big stars are squaring off against one another, comedy blocks continue to metastasize across primetime and plenty of nets are making plays for similar demographics in key time slots. The victors will be decided come September and October -- but until then, here's a night-by-night guide to fall's biggest showdowns.
Place your bets accordingly.
Monday, 10-11 p.m.: The Blacklist vs. Hostages vs. Castle
ABC's stalwart procedural faces its biggest obstacle yet with the addition of NBC's James Spader starrer The Blacklist and CBS' limited run Hostages. Spader and Hostages leads Toni Collette and Dylan McDermott give the night a generous serving of star power, and both rank as their respective nets' buzziest one-hour additions. Complicating matters further, both pilots lay on the intrigue, kidnappings and D.C. setting -- and Blacklist gets the auspicious Voice lead-in that worked oh-so-well for Revolution last year. Advantage
: The Blacklist
Tuesday, 8-9 p.m. Marvel's Agents of SHIELD vs. NCIS vs. Dads/Brooklyn Nine-Nine
America's Y chromosomes face an awful dilemma at the top of Tuesday night when ABC and Fox pit decidedly male-skewing entries against veteran juggernaut NCIS in an all-out battle royale of white guys with badges. Though no new series will come close to TV's scripted champ in total viewers, Joss Whedon's serialized Avengers follow-up should get a very strong showing with young adults. Fox's man-friendly comedies Dads and Brooklyn Nine-Nine best curb expectations given their high-profile competition. Advantage: Marvel's Agents of SHIELD -- at least during premiere week
Wednesday, 8-9 p.m. Revolution vs. Arrow
NBC and the CW may be the broadcast equivalent of apples and oranges, but this could prove to be one of the more interesting face-offs of the fall. The Peacock's freshman star, stripped of its hefty boost from The Voice, will open Wednesday against another sophomore darling that's already proven itself in the hour. The duo cater to a near-identical audience, and the results may prove surprising. Advantage: Arrow
Thursday, 9-10 p.m. Sean Saves the World/The Michael J. Fox Show vs. The Crazy Ones/Two and a Half Men
One of the boldest moves of the new schedule -- and likely one of the safest -- is CBS extending its comedies into the 9 p.m. hour on Thursday nights. That block has always been NBC's, for better or worse. And while a CBS victory seems like a foregone conclusion, the network is going up against its competitor's most high-profile launches -- anchored by network icons Sean Hayes and Michael J. Fox. If there is a worthy adversary for either, it's Robin Williams. And the lingering thrall of Two and a Half Men should not be overlooked. Advantage: The Crazy Ones/Two and a Half Men
Friday, 9-10 p.m. Grimm vs. Hawaii Five-0 vs. Shark Tank vs. Raising Hope/Enlisted
On the bright side, all of the networks seem to have realized that Friday still warrants an ambitious lineup. Unfortunately, the notoriously low-rated night will be made that much more competitive by CBS' Hawaii Five-0 move and the late fall addition of Fox's comedy block. They'll square off against NBC's established scripted offering Grimm and ABC's robust Shark Tank -- and the latter already smells blood in the water. Advantage: Shark Tank
Sundays, 8 p.m. Sunday Night Football vs. The World
Entirely unchanged, with the exception of another drama (Betrayal) trying to fill ABC's cursed 10 p.m. time slot, Sunday will still belong to NBC's unstoppable football coverage. So set your DVRs for The Good Wife, Revenge, Family Guy or whatever other weekend offerings float your boat -- and plan on watching them later in the week. Advantage: Sunday Night Football