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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.
With the exception of one network, ABC, and a single show on Fox (Lethal Weapon), Tuesdays in 2018-19 don’t figure to be that different from Tuesdays in 2017-18. Top performers on several networks have coexisted pretty peacefully on the night in the past couple of seasons, a trend that seems likely to continue.
New shows and new nights
The rookies are The Conners (ABC, 8 p.m.), The Kids Are Alright (ABC, 8:30 p.m.), FBI (CBS, 9 p.m.), New Amsterdam (NBC, 10 p.m.) and, uh, The Rookie (ABC, 10 p.m.). Second-year show The Gifted (Fox, 8 p.m.) moves from Mondays and bumps Lethal Weapon back an hour to 9 p.m.
(All ratings are Live +7 for 2017-18 unless noted)
This Is Us (NBC), 5.4 in adults 18-49
The Voice (NBC), 2.3
NCIS (CBS), 2.2
Top cable competition
Mayans MC (FX) — assuming it draws an audience the way predecessor Sons of Anarchy did — and WWE Smackdown (USA).
Biggest makeovers: Fox and ABC
The time-slot juggling for Fox isn’t that big a deal, but the in-show changes to Lethal Weapon are among the largest for any series this season. The show went through a very turbulent off-season, with the firing of co-lead Clayne Crawford, a last-minute renewal after Seann William Scott was hired to replace him and, most recently, Crawford calling foul on the whole process. Lethal Weapon lost some viewers last season after moving away from Empire; will those fans who remain stick around?
The only show to rival Lethal Weapon for off-camera intrigue? The Conners, which arose from the ashes of Roseanne after that revival was canceled following an incendiary tweet from star/executive producer Roseanne Barr. The series will lead into The Kids Are Alright at 8:30, with Black-ish and Splitting Up Together staying put at 9 and 9:30.
The Rookie closes out ABC’s Tuesday, with former Castle star Nathan Fillion as the LAPD’s oldest recruit. It could give the network a chance to rehab what has been its weakest time period for several seasons.
Potential breakout: ‘New Amsterdam’
The logline for New Amsterdam might as well read, “This Is Us, but make it medical.” The drama centered on the new medical director (Ryan Eggold) of a New York City hospital feels as though it was lab-tested to keep jerking tears from viewers the way lead-in This Is Us does. Chicago Med performed fairly well in the same spot last season, and the centering of emotional stories in New Amsterdam could help the show hold onto what should be a sizable lead-in audience.
DVR overload: 8 p.m.
The Conners probably won’t reach the ratings heights the Roseanne revival did last season, but it’s likely the show will at least draw a good number of curious viewers when it premieres Oct. 16. Assuming that audience sticks around, the hour will pit a solidly rated comedy against CBS’ top drama in NCIS, NBC’s top reality show in The Voice, along with The Gifted on Fox and The CW’s No. 1 series in The Flash.
Since 2013, ABC has opened the season at 10 p.m. Tuesdays with the following shows: Lucky 7, Forever, Wicked City, Agents of SHIELD season four and Kevin (Probably) Saves the World.
Of those five, only SHIELD survived to the next season. It was arguably the smartest scheduling decision ABC made for the time slot in the past half-decade — which, OK, is a pretty low bar.
With The Rookie, ABC appears to have made another smart move. With Fillion as the lead and a solid supporting cast, the series sits nicely in the network’s wheelhouse of procedural dramas that also put character-driven stories up front. Again, the bar is not high, but the show could patch up this black hole of a time period if it even sniffs a same-day 1.0 rating in adults 18-49.
Elsewhere, it’s largely status quo. The Dick Wolf-produced FBI should slot in comfortably between NCIS and NCIS: New Orleans in CBS’ all-acronym lineup, and The Flash and Black Lightning will do fine for The CW.
If This Is Us remains as consistent as it did in its first two seasons, NBC will be poised to lead Tuesdays again. The Gifted and Lethal Weapon aren’t exactly natural companions, but after several seasons of diminishing returns from a Tuesday comedy block, Fox could perhaps see some modest improvement.
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