ABC and NBC have the most midseason work to do
While Fox and CBS will make a few changes to their skeds at midseason, the same can’t be said for ABC and NBC, where there’s plenty of product waiting to come in off the bench.The Alphabet, at least, has some momentum on its side, as several of its new shows have worked this fall; the Peacock, meanwhile, is still in search of its first sustained scripted hit since “The Office.” Perhaps ABC’s biggest midseason goal is to improve Thursday, where the aging but still potent “Grey’s Anatomy” could use some support on either side. One possibility would be to shift “Castle” or “Body of Proof” from their early-week 10 p.m. slots to the leadoff hour on Thursday; something has to go opposite “Big Bang Theory” and “American Idol,” and a mystery series could work well enough in an hour with no competing Big Four dramas. The night could then be capped by Shonda Rhimes’ new crisis-manager drama “Scandal.” On Sunday, the net could look to follow “Once Upon a Time” and “Desperate Housewives” with the soap “GCB” (which hopefully will be retitled). If successful, it then becomes a logical choice to replace “Housewives” next fall. Taking over the 10 p.m. slot on Monday or Tuesday after “Dancing With the Stars” could be new Ashley Judd thriller “Missing.” ABC also has “The River,” but there’s no obvious spot for this rescue drama that some liken to “Paranormal Activity.” In comedy, the “Bosom Buddies”-like “Work It” seems like a better fit Tuesdays at after Tim Allen’s “Last Man Standing” than the current “Man Up.” The net could then go with “Cougar Town” and “Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23” (hopefully retitled) in the 9 p.m. hour before “Dancing” returns in March. (ABC will keep an eye on Fox’s 9 p.m. Tuesday comedy “New Girl,” which opened strong but fell upon its baseball-dictated hiatus, perhaps leaving the door open for ABC to do better in the hour with comedy than might have seemed possible earlier this fall.) At NBC, singing competition “The Voice” leading into “Smash” is a good enough plan for Mondays, but the net needs to consider paring “The Biggest Loser” down to an hour on Tuesday to make room for something at 9. There aren’t too many midweek openings, but this is perhaps the Peacock’s best shot at creating a new hour for drama. Thursday at 10 makes sense for alternate-reality drama “Awake,” which should hold some male appeal in an hour that skews female on the competish; also, the net’s Thursday comedy block is popular with men, and current 10 p.m. Thursday drama “Prime Suspect” isn’t cutting it. Of course, you could make an argument that NBC should have never abandoned its six-comedy Thursday template of last season. Too bad it doesn’t still possess “Outsourced,” which was a good pairing with “The Office” and almost certainly would be doing better than this fall’s “Whitney” in the post-“Office” slot at 9:30. The net should consider a lineup of “30 Rock,” “Community,” “The Office,” “Parks and Recreation,” “Up All Night” and perhaps a rotating wheel of repeats or something like the “SNL: Weekend Update” specials it did a few years ago. As for “Whitney,” perhaps the net has another multicamera half-hour it can pair with elsewhere because it really stands out as an ill fit with the single-camera half-hours on Thursday. Meanwhile, back at the relatively stable nets, Fox has already announced a Monday plan that will return “House” to 8 o’clock, followed by the new “Alcatraz.” At the other end of the week, the net will probably plug “Bob’s Burgers” in the 8:30 Sunday slot earlier than expected after a weak start in the timeslot Oct. 30 for the preem of “Allen Gregory.” As for CBS, the lackluster perf of “Unforgettable” on Tuesdays could result in a shift to Friday at 8, making room for new cop drama “The 2-2” (hopefully retitled), which would fit well on Tuesday behind the male-friendly “NCIS” duo. A shift to four laffers on Thursday will probably have to wait until the fall, as “Person of Interest” is doing OK in the 9 o’clock hour there and the net will need to see if the Monday tandem of rookie “2 Broke Girls” and the rebooted “Two and a Half Men” hold up before breaking up its signature comedy night.