Fall 2013 TV scorecard: ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox each have their issues

By Daniel Levine,

It’s been nearly a month since the 2013-2014 broadcast television season began, which means it’s a good idea to take a look at how ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC are doing.

There’s yet to be a major new breakout hit, even though ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. got off to a historic start. NBC dominates three nights a week, but it’s the other four days that hurt it. Fox got a boost from a sad Glee tribute, but its season comes to a screeching halt this week. And it’s the same old story for CBS: huge audiences, little ratings in the key demographic.

ABC: This fall, ABC’s biggest change (for the better) was whittling Dancing With The Stars down to one night. It’s definitely a good move, since it freed up an hour block on Tuesdays. SHIELD earned the highest-rated drama premiere since 2009, but its ratings have slipped since. Still, it earned a full season order unsurprisingly.

Tuesdays really is the big story for ABC, since after SHIELD, the network might as well go dark. The 10 p.m. show, Lucky 7, has already been canned and the 9 p.m. comedy block (The Goldbergs, Trophy Wife) is not holding on to SHIELD’s audience.

CBS: Everything is still the same old story at CBS, with NCIS and the other crime dramas still drawing in huge audiences, but the network typically loses out in the ratings. Thursdays are the big exception, since The Big Bang Theory pretty much demolishes the competition.

CBS’ problem night is Monday. While How I Met Your Mother’s final season is moving along, the rest of the night is shaky. We Are Men is already cancelled, which means Mike & Molly is starting earlier than planned. 2 Broke Girls isn’t doing so well, either.

Fox: The fall story for Fox is always The X Factor, which earned low ratings at the start, but it’s beginning to stay even every week. Glee’s Cory Monteith episode drew stunning ratings, but the show won’t be able to capitalize on it, since it goes off the air during the MLB ALCS and World Series. Fox has an issue on Tuesdays, since almost no one is watching any of its comedies, aside from New Girl.

Sleepy Hollow has already been renewed and the J.J. Abrams’ produced Almost Human looks cool, so Fox has some good things to look forward to.

NBC: The peacock network got off to a good start thanks to The Voice as usual, but then the world got back to normal. NBC is back in the basement each night that The Voice and Sunday Night Football aren’t on. Thursdays have to be the worst, as Welcome To The Family and Sean Saves The World are earning terrible ratings. Even The Michael J. Fox Show can’t attract viewers. Parks and Recreation may be great, but it’s not drawing good numbers and that affects the rest of the line-up. Community might be back sooner than later.

NBC does have one positive. The Blacklist is doing very well. The show has already earned a full season and James Spader gives viewers a good reason to stay up after The Voice on Mondays.

We’ll keep an eye on the networks as the season unfolds and there will be plenty of surprises. There’s always one shocking cancellation or renewal each year and this one should be no different. Television has never been better, but the networks are always lagging behind cable and they still have some catching up to do.

image: NBC

 
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