DVR Gridlock 2013-14: Wednesday Nights
Will 'Ironside' or 'Super Fun Time' or 'Tomorrow People' shake things up?
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[Over the next six days, I'm going to be glancing, night-by-night, at how the primetime schedules have changed after the network announcements at upfronts. I'll be looking at how the various changes will impact the ratings races on each night, as well as my own DVRing habits. Readers can chime in on how their own DVRs will be impacted. And yes, this brief series assumes that anybody still watches TV on their TVs. I'm old-fashioned. Check out last year's DVR Gridlock installments.]
ABC: "The Middle," "Back in the Game"
The CW: "Arrow"
FOX: "The X Factor" (and then "Idol")
ABC: "Modern Family," "Super Fun Night"
CBS: "Criminal Minds"
The CW: "Tomorrow People"
FOX: "The X Factor" (and then "Idol")
NBC: "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"
CBS: "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation"
What's Changed: Thanks in part to FOX's determination to keep renewing a talent competition nobody particularly cares about -- "X Factor," not "American Idol" -- Wednesdays are a good deal more stable than the couple nights that came before. FOX remains untouched. CBS remains untouched. Once again, ABC is using established successes "The Middle" and "Modern Family" to try to launch new comedies, a strategy that has had only limited success thus far, while keeping "Nashville," a DVR winner but a middling live performer, in its place. The CW keeps freshman CW-sized smash "Arrow" in place, using it to lead into the new drama "Tomorrow People." The only network changing more than half of its Wednesday lineup is NBC, with "Revolution" taking the 8 p.m. hour, Blair Underwood's "Ironside" remake at 10 p.m. and NBC's stubborn insistence on airing "SVU" in the 9 p.m. hour even though all indications have always been that it performs better at 10 p.m.
How the Ratings Race Is Impacted: The "Revolution" producers have always sworn that their show is a big-tent family hour. Now they'll get to prove it. NBC's needs from "Revolution" aren't that exorbitant. Nobody's asking it to return to its fall levels, only to do nearly what it has done in a dwindling spring and hold onto its robust DVR tallies. If it does that, it'll be a huge improvement over NBC's various comedy duds this year. If it fails to do that and takes a "Smash"-sized plunge without "The Voice," "Revolution" will be remembered as an epic flameout and little more. Otherwise, there's a lot of pragmatism on Wednesday. FOX, for example, knows that "X Factor" isn't likely to improve much, so the network is just hoping for another modest season and maybe a few drama hits elsewhere so that "X Factor" doesn't need to be brought back again. NBC can't honestly expect "Ironside" to improve much on what "Chicago Fire" did here last year, but if it can approach those levels while "Chicago Fire" takes the next step on Tuesday after "The Voice," it's a win. And The CW can't be expecting "Tomorrow People" to improve much on "Supernatural," but if "Supernatural" can boost Tuesday and "Tomorrow People" can near those numbers thanks to "Arrow," that's a win. And how much can ABC really expect "Super Fun Night" or "Back in the Game" to do in those sandwich slots? The answer: If either of them does a *smidge* better than "The Neighbors" or "How To Live Blah Blah Blah," that's a victory. [All bets on "Super Fun Night" are off if the network can redevelop the pilot *successfully*. I think there's breakout potential for a *good* Rebel Wilson comedy. A bad one could fail fast and hard.] In short, I don't see anybody making any big advances or huge declines on Wednesday this year. It's a night that's about enabling success elsewhere more than anything else.
My Predicted DVR: For me, a lot depends on whether or not I simply quit recapping "The X Factor" this year. I haven't decided yet. If I drop "X Factor," I then recap "Survivor" on Eastern Time and that leaves me with "Arrow" and maybe "Revolution" being recorded at 8 p.m. and "Modern Family" (and maybe "Super Fun Night" just due to convenience) and possibly "Tomorrow People" at 9 p.m. If I recap "X Factor," that then require another DVR slot for "Survivor" at 8 p.m. and probably drops "Revolution" from my rotation, which won't be a tragedy. At 10 p.m. I'll still be recording "Nashville" and we'll see about "Ironside," or if I just go with something on cable.
How have the new schedules impacted your Wednesdays?
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Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
2013 | Thriller | RSummary: Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (D...Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by. It has deep soul, a wicked sense of humor, and Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Pam Grier, and Robert Forster.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
2007 | Comedy | PGSummary: Newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Long) decide to move to the suburbs to provide a better life for their two kids. But their idea of a dream home is disturbed by a contractor (McGinley) with a bizarre approach to business.Director: Steve Carr
Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
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