Welcome to the 20th edition of The Harmelin Media Report’s new fall TV season review.
In this upcoming season, the broadcast networks have renewed fourteen of 2014-15’s new shows, compared to thirteen of 2013-14’s new shows which made it to their sophomore season this past season and 20 returning shows two season ago. Six of the sophomore shows are coming from ABC who had the largest number of returning shows. CBS, NBC and FOX combined only have six shows back on the 2015-16 fall schedule.
This coming season, the networks will premiere 20 new shows in the fall, with 12 dramas and 8 comedies. Additionally, there are more than 25 shows waiting in the wings for mid-season.
Empire was undoubtedly the surprise of last season. It was critically acclaimed as well as a ratings juggernaut. However, because its popularity occurred late in the season, the networks were unable to capitalize on its popularity and create copycat versions in time for the 2015-16 season – most of the pilots were already in development by the time the network executives realized what a hit Empire was.
Empire was one of several successful shows that had ethnically diverse casts: Blackish, Fresh off the Boat, How to Get Away with Murder, Jane the Virgin and American Crime. That trend will continue this year with ABC’s Dr. Ken, NBC’s People Are Talking, Hot & Bothered starring Eva Longoria (Desperate Housewives), Shades of Blue starring Jennifer Lopez, and FOX’s Rosewood.
While networks often rely on star power to drive the success of a new show, this year producer power is equally important. Last season’s projects by former Grey’s Anatomy stars Katherine Heigl (State of Affairs) and Kate Walsh (Bad Judge) didn’t return for second seasons, but Grey’s producer, Shonda Rhimes (Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder) has just added a fourth show to the ABC mid-season line-up, The Catch. Greg Berlanti (Arrow, The Flash and Mysteries of Laura) will have three new shows on the air this season: CBS’ Supergirl starring Calista Flockhart from Berlanti’s previous Brothers & Sisters, NBC’s Blindspot and CW’s Arrow and The Flash spinoff DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. Dick Wolf (Law & Order: SVU, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD) continues his long-standing relationship with NBC and that city in Illinois with the addition of Chicago Med. As mentioned above, Eva Longoria and Jennifer Lopez not only star in new series, but produce them as well. John Stamos (Full House) and Rob Lowe (The West Wing, Parks and Recreation) return to television with dual roles as actors and producers in the upcoming FOX comedies Grandfathered and The Grinder. Bradley Cooper will produce and have a reoccurring role on a CBS remake of the movie Limitless.
In addition to Limitless, other movie remakes include FOX’s Minority Report, ABC’s Uncle Buck and CBS’ Rush Hour. NBC will be doing its live version of The Wiz and FOX’s offering in the live musical category is Grease. Previous television series returning to the air include NBC’s Coach starring Craig T. Nelson (Parenthood) and Heroes Reborn with Jack Coleman and Greg Grunberg, ABC’s The Muppets and FOX’s The X-Files starring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson.
This year’s network programming is certainly diverse in many facets. Each network hopes that this year’s Empire will be among the premieres on its own network.
We hope you enjoy this issue with our previews of the upcoming television season.