The television industry is in one of its key moments right now. As the calendar turns from Winter and closer to Spring, network execs at the “Big 4” (and CW) are starting to do some early planning for each network’s Fall schedule. Typically the Fall schedules are released in Spring; May to be exact. And if the latest numbers are any sign, things could be very interesting for television this coming Fall as the Winter/Spring season nears its end and we move into the annual filler season. While things are still uncertain for many shows, the picture for all of the “Big 4” (and CW) has become increasingly clear already. While there are still a lot of uncertain, it looks like when the dust settles, NBC will have the most to lose, while CBS will end up the big winner with FOX and ABC battling it out for second place. Of course, let’s not forget the massive slate of pilots set to air very soon across the networks. Considering the way the schedules look for the “Big 4” (and CW), CBS may still end up the big winner, even with networks such as Syfy and A&E having two of the most anticipated shows of the year. Let’s take a look at everything.
So far, it looks like NBC has the most to lose. The network proves to be the biggest loser (yes, that pun is intended) with no fewer than ten of the shows in its schedule being on the chopping block. This means that at the time of this posting, their fate is up in the air. Those shows include the likes of Community, Parks & Rec, and 1600 Penn just to name a few. The network has officially renewed five of its shows at the time of this posting and brought four to an end. In NBC’s defense, two of those shows ending (The Office and 30 Rock) simply came to the end of their run whereas Animal Practice and Do No Harm were cancelled due to poor ratings. CBS on the other hand looks to have come out the big winner in everything, and likely will even after the summer filler season ends. As of this time, CBS’ schedule looks to be largely intact with at least fifteen shows from its schedule set to return, one cancelled, and six still on the hook.
Perhaps the most interesting trend to note of all the announcements released so far is that audiences seem to be drawing more towards dramas than anything else. This includes reality television. Considering the glut of reality TV shows out there on the majors, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and The CW have combined so far for a total of ten total reality shows officially confirmed as being safe so far. Dramas from the five networks on the other hand, combined for a total of twenty-one shows that have been confirmed as being back so far. Comedies accounted for only fourteen total shows that will definitely be back as of yet. On the other side of the coin, comedies topped the list of shows that have been cancelled during the Winter/Spring schedule. ABC lost the most dramas, with five total. None of the 5 majors reported cancellation of their reality TV programming. It really makes for an interesting trend to note.
In terms of the most anticipated shows coming this year are A&E’s Bates Motel, ABC’s much talked about small screen take from the Marvel Comics universe in S.H.I.E.L.D. and Syfy’s long awaited return to actual science fiction programming in Defiance. Syfy has had at least some science fiction based shows in the likes of the previous Battlestar Galactica re-incarnation as well as Eureka and the now short lived Alphas. So there’s a lot of talk around this one, especially after the leap of faith that was Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome. After the much maligned Caprica ended, there was a lot of speculation around the fate of this property. And considering that Alphas has ended so abruptly and that Eureka only lasted four seasons, one can only wonder if Defiance will be able to revive science fiction programming on Syfy. Should it survive, sci-fi fans could finally see the network finally return to its roots. One can only hope. Supernatural shows seem to have been all the rage on that network in recent memory. Though it too, has added its own slate of reality shows just like so many of the cable networks. One thing fans can cheer about is that USA has brought back Psych. The show’s new episodes started airing this week. This little show that could has really proven to be a surprise hit for the network and a great replacement for the equally entertaining Monk. For fans of other cable shows, FX has renewed Archer and American Horror Story. AMC is said to be bringing back its hit Western saga, Hell on Wheels. Simply put, this year is going to be another interesting one for television as it competes for eyes over theaters. That’s a whole other story in itself for another time.
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