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As the 2018-19 season approaches, The Hollywood Reporter is handicapping the broadcast networks’ chances for success on each night of the week. We’ll look for potential breakouts (and flops), veterans with the best chance to improve (or stumble) and any intriguing time-period battles — inasmuch as those still matter in an on-demand world.
Depending on which network you look at first, Monday nights on broadcast will look either very similar to 2017-18 or, in at least one case, quite different. It’s an intriguing mix of veterans and newcomers, with one face-off in particular worth watching.
New shows and new nights
The rookies are The Neighborhood (CBS, 8 p.m.), Happy Together (CBS, 8:30 p.m.), Magnum P.I. (CBS, 9 p.m.) and Manifest (NBC, 10 p.m.). Bull (CBS, 10 p.m.) moves from Tuesdays, 9-1-1 (Fox, 9 p.m.) from Wednesdays and Arrow (The CW, 9 p.m.) from Thursdays.
(All ratings are Live +7 for 2017-18 unless noted)
The Good Doctor (ABC), 3.6 in adults 18-49
9-1-1 (Fox), 3.0 (on Wednesdays)
The Voice (NBC), 2.5
Top cable competition
Monday Night Football (ESPN) — which will also preempt broadcast programming in a couple of markets each week — WWE Monday Night Raw (USA), VH1 reality shows.
Biggest makeover: CBS
The network that (usually) values stability wiped its Monday slate clean, canceling six of the eight shows that aired on the night in 2017-18 (only Man with a Plan and the seemingly unkillable Elementary remain; both are on tap for later in the season). It scrapped a four-comedy block in favor of two new sitcoms to kick off the night, the Magnum remake at 9 and a relocated Bull at 10.
CBS Entertainment chief Kelly Kahl was frank at May’s upfronts that the comedy block (in particular the second hour, which had no survivors) didn’t work that well last season, so change was necessary. The three new series all have actors of color at the top of the call sheet (Cedric the Entertainer on The Neighborhood, Damon Wayans Jr. and Amber Stevens West on Happy Together, Jay Hernandez on Magnum P.I.), making for a more inclusive on-camera lineup than in past seasons.
Potential breakout: ‘Magnum P.I.’
Recent history suggests remakes and revivals are good for an initial ratings pop — see Roseanne and Will & Grace last season — but less likely to hold that audience in the long term. (See where Roseanne and Will & Grace ended last season, having given away half or more of their premiere audiences.)
Still, the long-term success of CBS’ Hawaii Five-0 reboot and the fairly steady numbers for MacGyver last season suggest there’s an audience for a new iteration Thomas Magnum. The bar is also not terribly high: The four comedies CBS aired in the 9 p.m. hour on Mondays in 2017-18 averaged about 1.1 in Live +7; at least in the early going, Magnum should surpass that in the same-day numbers.
DVR overload: 9 p.m.
One of last season’s biggest new shows, 9-1-1, should give Fox an upgrade on the night when it’s paired with The Resident. But with it, the second hours of The Voice and Dancing With the Stars, Magnum P.I. and Arrow all airing in the 9 o’clock hour, viewers will have some choices to make in terms of what they prioritize watching first.
In 2017-18, 9-1-1 nearly doubled its 18-49 rating with a week of delayed viewing. Even if the Fox show is not first in its hour in the overnights — the bet here is The Voice can still hold onto that crown — it may end up there when later waves of ratings results come in.
Magnum P.I. should help CBS at 9 p.m., but starting the night with two new comedies is a little risky. Against established shows on ABC, NBC and Fox, The Neighborhood and Happy Together will be working uphill at the start of the season. The Voice will most likely remain the leader in the night’s leadoff spot.
Bull may end up the most-watched show (at least in the overnights), but neither it nor Manifest should challenge The Good Doctor‘s 18-49 dominance. Manifest has an intriguing premise, but serialized dramas haven’t really caught on in the post-Voice time slot in recent seasons.
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