The 2013-14 television season got a jump-start Monday night as the first new broadcast series launched, and as usual the big question is which shows will catch on with both viewers and advertisers. Fox’s early premiere of "Sleepy Hollow" Monday got the new season rolling, with the bulk of premieres still to come.
Writing on Deadline.com, Nellie Andreeva notes that each network faces its own unique issues, as the broadcast networks "seem to be switching identities this fall." NBC, she notes, is getting behind a new procedural ("The Blacklist") while CBS is pushing into single-camera comedy.
But the network that most desperately needs a hit may be ABC.
"ABC needs a hit, pronto," Andreeva writes. "While ‘Scandal’s’ sophomore rise [was] one of the biggest success stories last season, returning only two series from last season, ‘Nashville’ and ‘The Neighbors,’ both bubble performers at best, is not a good record."
The network is pinning much of its hopes on "Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." as it looks for a new fall hit.
NBC, meanwhile, faces new pressure. One of the biggest questions for the network is whether its "already anemic Thursday comedy block [can] withstand CBS’s expansion to two hours of comedy on the night once known as Must See TV," Andreeva writes.
Fox continues to contend with baseball-related challenges, given that the pre-emptions from playoffs add to the pressure on shows to find audiences quickly. "After taking a more niche approach in comedy for the last couple of seasons, Fox is betting on broader and lower-brow comedies this fall," such as the controversial "Dads," Andreeva writes, asking, "Will the change in direction pay off?"
Fox is also betting on genre shows, with "Sleepy Hollow" and "Almost Human," as the network searches for its next "X Files."
As for CBS, the network is making a big bet on single-camera comedy with "The Crazy Ones" and "We Are Men," with the goal of successfully expanding its Thursday night comedy block.
The CW, meanwhile, is "taking a lot of risks this fall," Andreeva writes. The network is using the hit "Vampire Diaries" to debut "Reign," a female-centered soap in a genre that has struggled on the network.
All together, the broadcast networks are debuting 26 new fall shows, up from 18 new shows last fall, notes Media Life Magazine.
"Hopes are higher for this fall, when each network has at least one show being eyed as a potential hit by media people," the publication notes.