Fall TV Breakdown: Sundays

It’s September, which not only means that baseball season is mercifully almost finished (and football, thankfully, newly upon us), but also that a fresh new crop of good ol’ fashioned broadcast network TV shows are coming down the pike. In this series of posts, I’ll posit some thoughts about each night of the week, and predict how the season is likely to unfold.

The Sunday lineup (new shows in blue)

  6/7 7/8 8/9 9/10
ABC America’s Funniest Home Videos Extreme Makeover Home Edition
Desperate Housewives
Brothers and Sisters
CBS 60 Minutes
The Amazing Race Cold Case Without A Trace
CW Everybody Hates Chris (6/7)
All Of Us (6.30/7.30)
Girlfriends (7/8)The Game (7.30/8.30) America’s Next Top Model (encores)
FOX NFL overrun
The Simpsons (7/8)American Dad (7.30/8.30) Family Guy (8/9)The War At Home (8.30/9.30)
NBC Football Night in America
Sunday Night Football
Sunday Night Football
Sunday Night Football

We begin with, given the fact that Thursday seems a bit more up-for-grabs than it has in a long time, what is now TV’s most habitual night. A surface appearance of shake-ups, but nothing out of form once you probe deeper. The most glaring change is of course NBC’s acquisition of prime-time NFL football, which will cost them a ton up-front but will almost certainly win them the largest audience, and a ready platform from which to hype the rest of their schedule.

Everyone else is left to fend for who’s left. ABC keeps its female-skewing lineup intact, but rolls the dice at 9/10, bringing in the reportedly downbeat Brothers and Sisters as its red-hot Grey’s Anatomy invades Thursday nights. If the former can maintain Grey‘s emotional punch, and if Desperate Housewives bounces back from a near-disastrous season two, then ABC should do fine. Regardless, ABC is likely to stay patient with B&S, at least through November. CBS makes a similar risky move in relocating The Amazing Race and Without A Trace to Sunday. TAR, one of my favorite series on TV (full disclosure) has survived despite being bounced all around the schedule for the past five years, while WAT has provided the coup de grace in CBS’ Thursday dominance of late. The crime-y lineup is nothing new for CBS here, but again, Sunday at 9/10 isn’t exactly prime real estate (when it is, as with Grey‘s, it’s by chance rather than design).

Meanwhile, Fox and the CW will peel off a few non-pigskin viewers with sitcoms (remember those? you can still catch a few on Nick At Nite and TV Land). I have a bad feeling that the CW is throwing their shows to the lions here, but Fox has had this Simpsons-anchored lineup seemingly forever, and will always draw decent enough numbers, even against football (remember, they’ve still got the NFL on all day Sunday to hype their prime-time schedule).

Big winner: NBC

Runners-up: ABC and CBS, neck and neck


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