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With the 2019-20 TV season looming, The Hollywood Reporter is handicapping the broadcast networks’ chances for success on each night of the week. Which new series are best set up to succeed? Which veterans are fading, and which ones are holding fast? Can anything on a traditional network break out?
Monday nights bring four new shows — three dramas and one comedy — into a schedule that features two long-running unscripted mainstays in NBC’s The Voice and ABC’s Dancing With the Stars and a handful of reliable scripted performers in Fox’s 911, CBS’ The Neighborhood and ABC’s The Good Doctor. It’s also a big night for not watching — several Monday shows last season had huge gains in delayed viewing.
Below is a rundown of how Monday is likely to shake out in the fall.
New Shows, New Time Slots
The newcomers are CBS’ Chuck Lorre comedy Bob Hearts Abishola and courthouse drama All Rise, Fox’s serial-killer drama Prodigal Son and NBC’s legal drama Bluff City Law.
The CW’s All American moves to Monday after airing on Wednesday last season, and Fox’s 911, which aired at 9 p.m. in 2018-19, moves up an hour to 8 o’clock.
Top-Rated Returning Series
(All numbers are live-plus-7 for 2018-19)
Adults 18-49: The Good Doctor (2.5 rating), 911 (2.4), The Voice (2.0)
Total viewers: The Good Doctor (12.64 million), Bull (11.34 million), The Voice (10.75 million)
Monday Night Football was up 5 percent year-to-year on ESPN and averaged 11.35 million same-day viewers last fall, along with the night’s top 18-49 rating (3.8). WWE Monday Night Raw on USA and VH1’s Love & Hip Hop franchise are the other top performers.
Votes of Confidence: ‘Prodigal Son,’ ‘Bluff City Law’
Based on where the two new shows landed, Fox and NBC have high aspirations for Prodigal Son and Bluff City Law. Each drama gets one of the strongest lead-ins on their network’s respective schedules (inasmuch as that sort of thing still matters). Prodigal Son follows 911, which was Fox’s top-rated drama last year, and will follow that show’s over-the-top cases with a mix of procedural and off-kilter family drama. As for Bluff City Law, the post-Voice slot proved to be a great launchpad for Manifest last season, and the Jimmy Smits-led show (think New Amsterdam, but lawyers) is probably a better fit tonally.
Tough Spot: ‘All Rise’
While the other two new dramas have well-established lead-ins, All Rise will be coming out of an unproven comedy (Bob Hearts Abishola) in a competitive hour. Magnum P.I. (which has moved to Fridays) did well enough in the 9 p.m. Monday spot to earn a renewal, but it didn’t set a terribly high bar. With the second halves of The Voice and Dancing With the Stars and Prodigal Son (which is likely to get heavy promotion during Fox’s Sunday NFL broadcasts) airing against it, All Rise could have some difficulty breaking through.
The 10 o’clock hour on Monday was the biggest single delayed-viewing hour in primetime last season, and there’s a good chance it will repeat that feat as The Good Doctor and Bull have well-established patterns of picking up large DVR audiences. Bluff City Law may be able to hang with those two shows in the same-day ratings, but it remains to be seen whether it can even approach the massive levels of after-air viewing that Manifest did.
Bob Hearts Abishola is moving into a what has been a soft spot for CBS over the past couple seasons. Happy Together had the 8:30 p.m. slot last fall but was canceled, and utility player Man With a Plan didn’t do much better in the second half of the season, though it was renewed. The Neighborhood proved itself a solid performer leading off the night; finding a suitable companion would go a long way toward stabilizing things.
The Voice is showing its age, but it’s still likely to draw a sizable audience for NBC. Fox quietly had a solid run all season on Mondays, and if 911 can keep up its numbers, it’s well positioned to continue.
Dancing With the Stars had a rough go last fall, dropping by 25 percent in adults 18-49 and 18 percent in total viewers. If it can at least stop that slide, ABC will probably be happy.
All American and Black Lightning were in the bottom half of The CW’s linear ratings last season and will likely stay there, but linear ratings are of no great concern to the network.
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