Schedule Spitball: A Wild Guess at the ABC, CBS Fall Lineups

Upfronts Scheduling

After (shockingly) getting some key pieces of the NBC and Fox lineups correct, it’s time to turn our attention to ABC and CBS.



This was the toughest network to schedule, in part because the eclectic comedy mix made it tough to see how they would mesh well with any existing comedies. I thought about having “The Goldbergs” lead off Tuesday, but in the end sent it to Wednesday (where it should mesh well and give that night a spark) and instead went with the network’s two ethnic comedies on Tuesday, leading into a show (“Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD”) with a very diverse audience.

Coming out of “Agents of SHIELD,” one option would be “Agent Carter,” but it seems too early for a spinoff, so I opted for “Forever,” which just sounds right here — and seems a little less risky than the dramas ABC tried in the hour this season with disastrous results.

Given that there are (again) no family comedies that would work well out of “Modern Family,” I’m going with “Manhattan Love Story.”

Another tough call is on Thursday with the combo of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal.” As the stronger show, “Scandal” should move to 9, but that means “Grey’s” would either have to move to another night (risky for a show that has aired so long on one night) or slide down to 8 o’clock. The latter move would not only shore up one of the net’s weakest timeslots (Thursday at 8), but it would also allow for ABC to use “Scandal” as a lead-in to something new. The Viola Davis-fronted “How to Get Away With Murder” has the look of a hit, though I worry about Shonda overload — especially if this show is anywhere as caffeinated as “Scandal.”

I considered moving “Shark Tank” off Friday, but it’s perfect for that night and ABC has been winning it — and is a strong 8:30 show away from dominating.


8             Dancing With the Stars
10           Castle

8              Fresh Off the Boat
8:30          Black-ish
9              Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD
10            Forever

8              The Middle
8:30          The Goldbergs
9              Modern Family
9:30          Manhattan Love Story                                               
10            Nashville

8              Grey’s Anatomy
9              Scandal
10            How to Get Away with Murder

8              Last Man Standing
8:30          Cristela
9              Shark Tank
10            20/20

7              America’s Funniest Home Videos
8              Once Upon a Time
9              Resurrection
10            Revenge



The net has a lot of dramas on its roster, so “The Amazing Race” takes a rest in the fall to launch “Madam Secretary,” which seems like a good fit between “60 Minutes” and “The Good Wife.”

I find it hard to believe that we won’t see “How I Met Your Dad,” but given the delay in announcing any kind of pick-up, I had to keep it off the schedule. CBS will use “The Big Bang Theory” to lead into both of its new shows — airing a few times on Monday and then debuting in its regular Thursday timeslot in Week 6 of the TV season after the conclusion of the Eye’s Thursday night NFL package.

After striking out twice this season with new dramas on Monday, CBS could/should turn to a veteran series to cap the night. I vote for “NCIS: Los Angeles,” which would open the Tuesday-at-9 slot for “NCIS: New Orleans.”

Having football on Thursday nights to start the season makes me think CBS will try to use that platform to promote a new Friday show, so “Battle Creek” takes the “Hawaii Five-0” slot to start the season. (Or I could see “Hawaii Five-0” sliding down to 8 to provide a drama lead-in for the newcomer.)


8             The Big Bang Theory                                           2 Broke Girls (October)
8:30       The McCarthys
9             Mike & Molly
9:30       Mom
10           NCIS: Los Angeles

8              NCIS
9              NCIS: New Orleans
10            Person of Interest

8              Survivor
9              Criminal Minds
10            CSI

THURSDAY (Starting Oct. 30)
8              The Big Bang Theory
8:30        The Odd Couple
9              Two and a Half Men
9:30        The Millers
10            Elementary

8              Undercover Boss
9              Battle Creek
10            Blue Bloods

7              60 Minutes
8             Madam Secretary
9             The Good Wife
10           The Mentalist


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