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May 18, 2017

UPDATED WITH ANALYSIS: NIELSENWAR: The CW Fall 2017 Schedule

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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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See our analysis of the fall line-ups for NBC, FOXABC and CBS.

In a way, CW got there before anyone else.  The mini-network has been able to make a business out of shrunken linear ratings for years, cobbling together low network license fees, lucrative SVOD deals, an extensive push on streaming, and international sales to produce profits.  Now that’s the model the other networks are chasing, but with the burdens of older audiences and more expensive programming.  CW has the right idea, but 2016-17 wasn’t a great year for the network.  None of their new shows were significant hits, the transferred Supergirl was only a moderate performer, and several veterans (notably Arrow) took hits in the ratings.  Although CW is only introducing 2 new shows in the fall, they’re making changes on 4 nights of the week in an attempt to improve.

Fall 2017 primetime program grid updated below with all five broadcast networks.

Network Schedule Fall 2017 NBC FOX ABC CBS CW

 

MONDAY:  In a fairly drastic change of strategy, the night will pair SUPERGIRL with the military-themed VALOR, rather than the light soap JANE THE VIRGIN.  VALOR has a female lead, but the line-up will now emphasize action over girl power, one risk being that with so many new military shows on the air in the fall, CW’s lower-powered entry (the trailer is here) might get lost in the shuffle.  The good news is that VALOR can hardly underperform JANE, which spent the season hovering around the 0.3 mark.

TUESDAY:  No changes, as the network’s one unquestionable hit THE FLASH returns as lead-in to LEGENDS OF TOMORROW.  It won’t be any surprise if the LEGENDS slot goes to the next DC/Greg Berlanti superhero show BLACK LIGHTNING at midseason.

WEDNESDAY:  An all-soap night, with RIVERDALE leading in to the new reboot of DYNASTY.  This night seems like a risk, since RIVERDALE has only been marginally successful even with a SUPERNATURAL lead-in, and it’s unclear what value the DYNASTY brand has to CW’s target audience, considering that the original show went off the air almost 30 years ago.  The trailer for the reboot makes the project look like a camp-fest, which may or may not be a good thing.

THURSDAY:  ARROW has been demoted to a 9PM slot, now in need of a SUPERNATURAL lead-in to keep from slipping even more.  If BLACK LIGHTNING is a hit and ARROW continues to suffer, it might be time to trim the ranks of superhero shows at this time next year.

FRIDAY:  This has been the equivalent of CW’s attic, recently hosting the final seasons of THE VAMPIRE DIARIES and REIGN, and now JANE THE VIRGIN joins CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND there, signaling that the network has given up on its hopes that JANE would hit with a wide audience.  CRAZY has already announced that it only intends one more season after 2017-18 (with less than 22-episode orders), but JANE may be more of a long-term resident.

 

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About the Author

Mitch Metcalf
MITCH METCALF has been tracking every US film release of over 500 screens (over 2300 movies and counting) since the storied weekend of May 20, 1994, when Maverick and Beverly Hills Cop 3 inspired countless aficionados to devote their lives to the art of cinema. Prior to that, he studied Politics and Economics at Princeton in order to prepare for his dream of working in television. He has been Head of West Coast Research at ABC, then moved to NBC in 2000 and became Head of Scheduling for 11 years.




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