The CW’s 2016-2017 season was a setback for the network, as fall newbies Frequency and No Tomorrow failed to find an audience while Arrow and Supergirl suffered significant in-season declines. Former network cornerstone The Vampire Diaries said goodbye with a decent run on Fridays, Riverdale‘s live ratings couldn’t match its buzz, and 9:00 lead-outs Jane the Virgin and The 100 took steps back and showed signs of age. Whether it be the lack of availability on Hulu, the convenience of having its shows on Netflix 8 days following the finale discouraging catch up, or issues stemming from a network holding onto quite a few softly rated shows, The CW didn’t look that promising by the end of the 2016-2017 season. Heading into 2017-2018, will they be able to use newest comic drama Black Lightning and soapy reboot Dynasty to better their fortunes and fortify their schedule?
That’s what KSiteTV’s Editor-in-Chief Craig Byrne and Contributing Editor Shilo Adams are trying to figure out, as they’ve spent the past five seasons attempting to do the impossible – figure out what each broadcast network will be doing the following season. Though neither claims to be an expert, nor does either have access to insider information, they’ve watched enough TV, read enough of the trades, and paid enough attention to schedules to be able to provide an informed fantasy schedule meant to be an amalgamation of what we think could, should, and will happen. If you don’t see a show you like mentioned, or a show you like gets mentioned disparagingly, take note that we don’t mean anything by it. We’re just trying to figure these schedules out. And, of course, the series orders haven’t even come in yet, so we may be scheduling shows that won’t even ever happen. That’s fun, right?
SHILO: 8:00 Supergirl; 9:00 Life Sentence
CRAIG: 8:00 Black Lightning; 9:00 Dynasty
SHILO: My thinking here is that with Black Lightning rumored to be coming midseason, one of Life Sentence or Searchers will be airing in the fall, as The CW likely wouldn’t go into the fall with its two newbies being from one studio. Buzz around fantasy drama Searchers has been more iffy, whereas cancer dramedy Life Sentence seems more of a lock at this point, meaning that if The CW picks up two WB dramas, which is likelier than them picking up all three, it’ll be Life Sentence and Black Lightning. The only slot where Life Sentence would A) make a little bit of a sense and B) not be confined to the Friday dungeon would be Mondays at 9:00 following Supergirl. That show, despite some mid-to-late season declines, is still one of the strongest lead-ins on The CW and managed to create a pretty decent relationship with soapy lead-out Jane the Virgin, so the issue of a comic drama leading into a non-comic drama shouldn’t be that bad. Supergirl‘s lighter tone, family friendliness, and more female compatible skew should make for an okay situation for Life Sentence, though I have to wonder whether its subject matter is broad enough to make it on broadcast.
CRAIG: I have not heard any “Black Lightning rumored for midseason” rumors, but I’m charging it up to launch in the Fall. It’s possibly the highest-profile pilot from the Warner Bros. TV side of The CW, and I think it could bring an audience to The CW that has been a bit underserved over the years. People seem to forget, for example, what a powerhouse UPN was on Monday nights when they had series aimed at African-American viewers, who still don’t get enough good programming on broadcast TV aside from Empire. The other thing that I think would work really well for Black Lightning is that it is a family drama, about a man who is a hero even when he’s not wearing a costume or using powers, and his family certainly comes to play. I like that. And on that note, I’m suggesting another diverse series for 9:00: Dynasty. Yes, Mondays are still the night of The Voice and Dancing With The Stars, but how about a soapy drama alternative from the creators of The OC and Gossip Girl? Unlike the original Dynasty, but like a hit like Empire, this take on the TV classic is also full of diversity, which could give The CW a lot to brag about on a Monday night. It’s a risky proposition to launch two new shows on the same night, but with both of these shows being so high-profile I think it would be an event.
I should also add to the argument of “Black Lightning for Fall” that I know this will be a show that would benefit from Comic-Con promotion… and making fans wait for at least six months to launch after all of that publicity in the summer seems to be a waste. So, that’s where I’m going with that one. As for Dynasty Monday? It’s not as though it could go up against Empire, Scandal, or This Is Us… so this is where it is.