[As is my recent tradition, 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. It also assumes that you/I only have a dual tuner DVR (plus occasional access to a Slingbox on ET. Check out last year's DVR Gridlock installments and the DVR Gridlock segments for 2012.]
ABC: "How To Get Away With Murder"
CBS: Thursday Night Football/"Elementary"
What's Changed: Oodles. Let's get the stability out of the way: The CW is sticking with "The Vampire Diaries" and "Reign," though we're all assuming that "Reign" is only keeping the time period so that The CW can concentrate on launching "Jane the Virgin" and, particularly, "The Flash" in the fall. And that's it for Thursday Stability. Otherwise, nearly everything is in flux. ABC has finally surrendered on launching a new drama in the accursed 8 p.m. slot, moving "Grey's Anatomy" to 8 p.m. and "Scandal" to 9 p.m., concluding a Night of Shonda Rhimes with "How To Get Away With Murder." NBC has temporarily salted the earth -- if one can, indeed, *temporarily* salt the earth -- on its 8 p.m. comedy hour with "The Biggest Loser," launching too cannon fodder comedies at 9 p.m. and keeping the last season of "Parenthood" at 10 p.m. FOX has moved "Bones" back to the Thursday 8 p.m. slot that it has periodically occupied in the past, pairing it with the limited series "Gracepoint," which sure looked like it had more potential before "Scandal" slipped down to 9. And CBS will look fairly similar to last year -- "The McCarthys" will replace "Crazy Ones" -- except for that pesky fall when the network will have football.
How the Ratings Race Is Impacted: The ratings race, at least at the top, is over. CBS will dominate the season's first six weeks with football and then everything else will slot back in with fewer repeats starting in November. And if anything is sluggish, "The Odd Couple" is ready to step in at midseason. Probably the race for second is also over. "Grey's Anatomy" may not be the live powerhouse it once was, but it's still a strong and reliable hit and will give ABC its best 8 p.m. hour since the first few weeks of "FlashForward" and its best 8 p.m. fall in... a long time. "Scandal" will play well at 9 p.m. and, assuming that "How To Get Away With Murder" is even somewhat decent, it should be able to hold its own against "Elementary." ["Elementary" gets a good DVR bump each week, but I don't quite get why CBS isn't anxious to get better numbers out of Thursday 10 p.m. I suspect CBS originally planned on keeping "Elementary" there before ABC announced the "Scandal" move. Now CBS can wait, see how "How To Get Away With Murder" does against "Elementary," and then maybe contemplate premiering "Battle Creek" there are midseason? Maybe?] "Bones" will do its usual, solid number, but "Gracepoint" will get creamed by "Scandal," since whatever buzz FOX thinks "Broadchurch" or David Tennant or Anna Gunn have, they can't compete with Olivia Pope. And NBC will struggle. Oh and expect "iZombie" on The CW at midseason. Maybe. Probably.
My Predicted DVR: Thanks to the absence of "X Factor," I get an hour back on Thursdays as well. I'm behind on "The Vampire Diaries," but assuming I catch up over the summer, I could go back to watching live-ish, which hasn't been possible in recent years. I could also do the same with "Bones," at least until "Big Bang Theory" comes back. Keep in mind that on my coast, Thursday football will be late afternoon if I happen to care about the game. I'll do "Scandal" and probably "Gracepoint" in the 9 p.m. hour. Maybe if "A to Z" is cute, I'll watch it on Hulu. And "Parenthood" and "How To Get Away With Murder" will probably get my 10 p.m. hour, with "Elementary" remaining a show I catch in repeats and whatnot. Without "X Factor" and with NBC delaying "Parks and Recreation," my Thursday is a good deal more relaxed than in recent years.
How have the new schedules impacted your Thursdays?