‘NCIS’ vs. ‘Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD’ Among New TV Season’s Big Showdowns
As people increasingly watch favorite television shows on their own timetables and platforms, they are less beholden than ever to a network schedule. But timeslots still matter in the business of television, and where a show resides in a lineup can still be a key factor in its success or failure.
In a sure sign that the new TV season has arrived, there are some doozie DVR dilemmas in the coming week as the anticipated premieres of series — new and returning — face off.
Here’s a look at the three biggest showdowns of premiere week:
3. Sunday, Sept. 29 at 9 p.m.
“Breaking Bad” (AMC) vs. “The Good Wife” (CBS), “Homeland” (Showtime) and “Revenge” (ABC)
There are no blockbusters here, but there’s a little bit of something for every drama fan — at least those not watching football — as three returnees take on the finale of AMC’s acclaimed drama.
“Breaking Bad” has been on a ratings roll in the lead-up to its finale, hitting a series-high 6.4 million viewers last week — more than double what it was drawing at the close of last summer. And “Homeland” kicked off its second season a year ago with 1.7 million and then hit a series high of 2.3 million for its finale in December.
It’s odd that CBS-owned Showtime would slot the return of “Homeland,” its most critically acclaimed show, directly opposite the season premiere of the Eye’s critical fave, “The Good Wife” — but this is actually the second straight year it has done it.
This is a key season for “Revenge,” which lost some of its buzz in season two and has a new showrunner to go along with some key cast changes. The season premiere provides the sudser its best opportunity to win back over some frustrated viewers.
What will happen? Nothing will beat NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” on this night, but “Breaking Bad” figures to finish with series highs and lead among the dramas in young adults while dominating in all male categories. “Good Wife” should be the leader in total viewers, while “Revenge” likely will have the edge in young women.
2. Thursday, Sept. 26 at 9 p.m.
“The Crazy Ones” (CBS) vs. “The Michael J. Fox Show” (NBC) vs. “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC) vs. “Glee” (Fox)
CBS’ “The Crazy Ones” and NBC’s “Michael J. Fox Show” are the fall’s most anticipated new comedies, “Grey’s Anatomy” is broadcast TV’s most popular drama among young adults (yes, still), and “Glee” is sure to attract more viewers than usual this fall as it is addresses the death of Corey Monteith’s character.
Robin Williams vehicle “Crazy Ones” and “Michael J. Fox” won’t face each other regularly, but thanks to some scheduling one-upsmanship, they will do battle on the opening Thursday of the season.
Back in May when CBS and NBC were prepping the release of their fall skeds, it was clear that neither network wanted to give its rival a clear shot with their new comedy. NBC scheduled “Michael J. Fox” for 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, figuring that it would likely go up against a new comedy on CBS. The Eye countered later that week by slotting “Crazy Ones” for 9 p.m. — its first comedy to premiere in the half-hour since “The Gregory Hines Show” on a Friday in 1997 — and slotting veteran “Two and a Half Men” at 9:30 against the Michael J. Fox program.
But the scheduling shenanigans didn’t stop there, as NBC announced in June that the premiere of “Michael J. Fox Show” would be an hour, from 9 to 10. This put the two new comedies head-to-head for a half-hour. And CBS followed about a month later by announcing that megahit 8 p.m. Thursday comedy ”The Big Bang Theory” would get an hourlong premiere — bumping new comedy “The Millers,” which was to have bowed at 8:30 p.m. on the first Thursday of the season, and providing “The Crazy Ones” with the network’s best possible lead-in.