With Duck Dynasty seeming to have reached its peak, A&E is looking to rebound from lower-than-expected viewership this past year. Primetime viewership was down 28% from the previous year, and with that news, the network will bring back its bigger shows, which include Bates Motel and Unforgettable. The network is also pinning its hopes on several key new programs this coming year. At the start of 2016, A&E will premiere Damien. Taking a cue from Bates, Damien will pick up years after where the 1976 motion picture thriller left off. Bradley James will play the adult version of Damien Thom as he realizes his true destiny in life — the dark side. Oscar nominee Barbara Hershey will also star in the new show. From there, A&E will take a new twist on an old theme. Fit 2 Fat 2 Fit will take a different turn on weight loss shows. We have all seen the format where an overweight person is put through a lifestyle change by professional fitness instructors, but what if the instructor found out what it is really like for the people they help? For four months, ten trainers will take on the lifestyle of your average overweight American. They will eat what they want, not work out much and then attempt to get back to where they were. Can they make the switch back after “tasting” the good life? Finally, the network will be teaming up with the History and Lifetime networks to simulcast War & Peace. Paul Dano, Lily James, and Jim Broadbent will star in this 2016 simulcast event, which is based on the Tolstoy novel.
As ABC Family’s target audience begins to age, the network is attempting to age with them. The target demographic has always been a bit younger, but with their loyal audience members getting older, the new shows will also start to skew older, in order to keep their eyes glued to the network. There will still be the successful faces of the network coming back, with Pretty Little Liars, Baby Daddy, Melissa & Joey, and Switched at Birth returning in the coming year with more episodes. Early in the new season, the trend to grow with their audience will begin with Startup U. The show will be an unscripted hour program led by billionaire founder Ted Draper. It will follow students who enroll at Draper University, which is located in Silicon Valley, to see if they can pitch the next big thing. Can the show find the next Facebook or Twitter? Tune in to find out. Shadowhunters will debut in early 2016, as it follows a young woman learning to deal with being a demon hunter on earth. Katherine McNamara, Maxim Roy, and Dominic Sherwood will star in the new thriller. Finally, debuting in 2016 after a casting retool will be Recovery Road. As we reported last year, Road will be based on Blake Nelson’s novel about a teenage girl dealing with addiction. Haley Lu Richardson will star in the series, but other casting has not been announced as of this time.
AMC had a lot of success over the last several years and in February 2015, it was the number one cable network with adults 18-49 and 18-34. Thanks to shows like Walking Dead and Talking Dead, the network is in good shape now that long-time top show Mad Men has wrapped up. The network wants to keep the momentum going, so in addition to the two Dead shows, AMC is also bringing back the wildly successful Better Call Saul. Saul provided AMC with tremendous numbers in its first season, drawing 3.7 million viewers. Saul has also expanded AMC’s audience to Monday nights and the network is not going to stop there — it will kick things off in 2016 with Preacher. Dominic Cooper will star in this Seth Rogan-produced show based on Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s comic book by the same name. Sticking with the Seth Rogan theme for a second, AMC also has him teaming up with long-time writing partner Evan Goldberg to produce Sober Buddies. Buddies is slated for release sometime in the upcoming year and will detail the journey of a former surfer trying to be a sober coach, while battling his past demons. Preacher will focus on a small-town Texas preacher who is given special abilities when merged with a creature who has escaped heaven. AMC will also dip their toes into the spy world in 2016 with The Night Manager. Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie, and Olivia Colman are all signed on to star in Manager, which will be a miniseries. The series will show a former British soldier who is asked to work with the United States and help out in the arms trade industry.
BET is coming off yet another strong year, as the network will look to build on their extremely strong audience of millennials and minorities. The network has had a large share of hit programs over the last few years and will look to continue that trend. Returning to help the network for the upcoming year are the final season of The Game, as well as continuing Kevin Hart’s Real Husbands of Hollywood, Black Girls Rock, Being Mary Jane, and Bobby Jones Gospel. Those shows have all seen success and the network hopes their new programming can also experience the same level of achievement. Starting in mid-August, the network will roll out Punk’d. The show is a reboot of Ashton Kutcher’s MTV classic prank show, but this will be tailored to the BET audience. Later in 2016, and staying with the theme of trying to make their audience chuckle, Brandy will star in a BET sitcom. The show will be called Zoe Moon, where Brandy plays a single mother. In addition to those upcoming programs, the network is also planning several specials in the next year, including live boxing events and also a few interesting news specials that look back on huge news events where the title lets you know exactly what it is about, like Katrina: 10 Years Later and O.J. Simpson: 20 Years Later.
The Bravo network continues to maintain top-ten status among ad-supported cable channels with Adults 18-49 and Adults 25-54. In order to continue this lofty ranking, the network will be bringing back several of its top shows in the upcoming year, such as Ladies of London, Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles, and one of its first scripted shows from last year, Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce. Bravo plans on raising the bar with its new shows in the upcoming year starting with Apres Ski. Located in Whistler, British Columbia, these are the slopes the rich and famous hit when they want to spare no expense. The show will focus on the employees who make all of their guests’ wishes come true. Staying with the theme of unlimited spending, the network is also looking to capitalize on MTV’s Super Sweet Sixteen series with a new show called My Fab 40th. Yes, it is the same concept as MTV’s show, except it will show people reaching that milestone age and sparing no expense when it comes to turning the Big 4-0. Finally, Bravo will take one of their top franchises to the great city of Houston, TX. Married to Medicine: Houston will premiere within the next year and focus on one of the largest medical community in the United States to watch these young doctors and their wives.
Comedy Central goes into this year with a big hole to fill. A large and loyal portion of their audience will be wondering what to do come late August, when long-time late-night host Jon Stewart steps down from The Daily Show. The show is not going away entirely, as comedian Trevor Noah will step in beginning in the fall. Noah, a South African comic, hopes to retain Stewart’s audience, and maybe even build on it a little bit for the network. Attempting to offset that loss, the network will also renew several key shows for the upcoming year. Back are Inside Amy Schumer, Drunk History, South Park, Broad City, and of course the roasts will be on the slate at different times. They can’t stop now after the monster numbers The Roast of Justin Bieber received. The roast drew 4.4 million viewers for the network. In addition to the roasts and Noah, there will again be stand up specials, headed up by Brian Regan: Live in late September. Regan’s notoriously clean comedy is enjoyed by audiences who love clean and raunchy comedy alike, so a large viewership is expected. Finally, Comedy Central has ordered 10 episodes for Legends of Chamberlain Heights. This new animated series is the brainchild of an interesting mix of Simpsons’ artist Brad Ableson, UCLA alumni basketball players, Quinn Hawking from ESPN, NFL Network’s Josiah Johnson, and writer Michael Starrbury. The animated series will focus on three high school freshman, taking portions of the former UCLA hoop players’ lives growing up.