“Protect our young” seems to be the broadcast networks’ motto in making the fall schedules this year. Besides ABC’s new comedies Selfie and Manhattan Love Story, which are being thrown to the wolves at 8 PM on Tuesday, there are virtually no new series that are not protected by an established lead-in, something that traditionally has been CBS’ scheduling M.O. That is, of course, if they were not designed to work as 8 PM shows, like two new comic book-based series, Fox’s Batman prequel Gotham and the CW’s The Flash; NBC’s light procedural The Mysteries Of Laura; and Fox’s reality series Utopia. Observers note how conservative all the broadcast networks have been this year, with a lot of stability and not many shake-ups. The CW left three of five nights intact. There is not a single nightly lineup of all-new series on any network next fall. Because of that, there are fewer big schedule showdowns next season. We break down the top matchups below the grid:
Networks Play It Safe, Lead-Ins Rule On 2014 Fall Schedule: Full Grid & Top Face-Offs
Upfronts 2014: Comedy Sputters, Diversity & Adaptations Flourish; Other Trends, Oddities
The biggest one, that has industry types salivating, is still hypothetical — ABC’s hot, soapy DC drama Scandal going against NBC’s breakout The Blacklist at 9 PM on Thursday. It is hypothetical, because Blacklist is slated to move from Monday to Thursday in February. A lot could happen between May and February — that’s why few midseason scheduling scenarios announced at the upfronts ever materialized. Who knows how The Blacklist’s Monday replacement, new drama State of Affairs, will do? Nevertheless, a potential Olivia Pope-Red Reddington face-off has high drama written all over it at 9 PM on Thursdays.