2019-20 Primetime TV Grid: ‘Blue Bloods’ Escapes ‘WWE SmackDown’, CW’s Female Superhero Sunday, ‘This Is Us’ Vs. Departing ‘Empire’ + No ‘Big Bang Theory’

By Dominic Patten, Patrick Hipes

The upcoming fall season is going to see some pretty tough face-offs & we ain't talking all those NFL games Shutterstock; CBS

If ever there was an expedient excuse to cite the proverb “the more things change the more they stay the same,” the broadcast networks’ 2019-2020 fall schedule is such an occasion now that the annual hoopla of the upfronts are over.

Gotham is gone on Fox, but Gotham City is swinging back to the small screen with the profusely touted Batwoman on the CW’s superhero Sunday lineup and taking on Tiffany Haddish and ABC for the non-NFL crowd. Still perched at 10 PM, Blue Bloods will continue to top Friday nights in viewership despite Fox debuting WWE SmackDown that night.

Pulling up to a Daenerys and Drogon perspective, despite the best intentions and promises to advertisers by the new leadership at all of the Big 4, some of the 18 new shows on the schedule this fall are clearly going to get scorched — that’s the nature of the business. However, soaring up even higher, the 2019-20 cycle now looks more and more like a transitional season for the networks as the continental TV landscape writhes more than ever before and new streaming competition takes the field.

With that in mind, check out Deadline’s interactive 2019-2020 primetime broadcast schedule here, followed by a look at some key matchups to watch:

Fall TV Grid 2019-2020

New series in green, returning shows in white, new times in italic.
All times ET/PT. Hover over shows for more info.

  • MON
  • 7:00
  • 7:30
  • 8:00
  • 8:30
  • 9:00
  • 9:30
  • 10:00
  • 10:30
  • TUE
  • 7:00
  • 7:30
  • 8:00
  • 8:30
  • 9:00
  • 9:30
  • 10:00
  • 10:30
  • WED
  • 7:00
  • 7:30
  • 8:00
  • 8:30
  • 9:00
  • 9:30
  • 10:00
  • 10:30
  • THUR
  • 7:00
  • 7:30
  • 8:00
  • 8:30
  • 9:00
  • 9:30
  • 10:00
  • 10:30
  • FRI
  • 7:00
  • 7:30
  • 8:00
  • 8:30
  • 9:00
  • 9:30
  • 10:00
  • 10:30
  • SAT
  • 7:00
  • 7:30
  • 8:00
  • 8:30
  • 9:00
  • 9:30
  • 10:00
  • 10:30
  • CW
  • SUN
  • 7:00
  • 7:30
  • 8:00
  • 8:30
  • 9:00
  • 9:30
  • 10:00
  • 10:30

As you can see above, there have been several time-slot realignments from last year, with the final season of Empire now on Tuesdays, The Flash and the departing Arrow team up for the first time on Tuesdays and, in a stroke of programming brilliance and wit, the second season of the Magnum P.I. revival moves to Fridays as a lead-in to the Tom Selleck-led Blue Bloods on CBS.

In fact, a glance at the complete schedule lays bare how some nets are aiming to hold their ground while others are going on offense to claim greater territory – with a whole bunch of primetime battles throughout the programming week.

After years of being thrown shade as the old white guy network, the new-ish leadership of CBS is shifting its gaze, as the acclaimed painter Titus Kaphar would say, and gingerly leaning towards a broader on-air representation of America. But then again, faced with a virtually provable reality, the crew at the most-watched network almost have no choice but pull focus with the end of audience magnet The Big Bang Theory tonight after 12 seasons.

On the flip-side of the spectrum, Fox is now gleefully untethered from its film and TV studios, due to the $71.3 billion acquisition by Disney. Subsequently, with the fall of any corporate Fox News advertising barrier and going into the final season of Empire, the recently minted Fox Entertainment is going full throttle towards its tactical endgame of becoming the broadcast network of choice for Red Meat America.

As we prepare to enter the fray this fall, keep your eyes on these clashes:

BULL VS. BLUFF: A look at this year’s schedule or the schedule of almost any year will tell you that broadcast TV offers familiar faces and legal drama, and there’s double trouble this coming season on Mondays at 10 PM. Shrouded in continued controversy over the allegedly reprehensible behavior of star and NCIS alum Michael Weatherly, Bull is back for a fourth season at the top of the week. The discord comes out of past castmate Eliza Dushku’s claims that Weatherly sexually harassed her on first season of the show and the $9.5 million settlement eventually reached by the then-Les Moonves-run CBS.

Up against that comes L.A. Law and West Wing vet Jimmy Smits in the leading role in newbie Bluff City Law on NBC. The Dean Georgaris-created and Memphis-based series focuses on a top-tier law family law firm that fights the civil rights good fight. Hard to tell who wins this one, but, like Bull itself at this point for CBS, the optics don’t look good for the incumbent, to say the least.

DECLINE & FALL OF EMPIRE: Once one of the reigning series on all of television, Empire’s last few years have seen the Lee Daniels- and Danny Strong-created hip hop drama tumble out of the top 50 with a succession of rating lows and the recent Jussie Smollett assault scandal. Despite the declarations of Fox boss Charlie Collier that the sixth and final season of the Taraji P. Henson- and Terrance Howard-led saga was going to be “a large TV event,” expect Empire to take further dives as it says goodbye.

Why the pessimistic prediction? Three words: This Is Us. In its move to Tuesdays at 9 PM, the end of Empire is up against the ratings armada that Dan Fogelman’s waterworks-fest, which was just renewed for three more seasons – and that’s simply and perhaps Ali vs Foreman with a very different ending.

TOM SELLECK SMACKDOWN: Going large with sports throughout the week, Fox looks primed to snag a lot of primetime victories this fall. There’s the ongoing Major League Baseball contract, which means the World Series, and, with the Murdoch-owned net having shelled out some serious bucks back in 2018, there’s second season of the NFL on Thursdays. Getting in the ring in a new fashion, there’s also the premiere this year of WWE SmackDown on Fridays. After middling results as a space suck-up on other networks in the past, the late-week NFL games were a ratings winner for both Fox and the hobbled league last year, and the WWE showcase looks to own its night this year among adults 18-49.

However, when it comes to viewership, the high-octane SmackDown will likely be taken to the mat by the behemoth that is still CBS’ Blue Bloods. Lacing up for its 10th season, the Tom Selleck-led NYPD family drama averaged an audience of almost 9 million in its 10 PM Friday night slot this year. First of all, even with the transition from cable to broadcast, that’s a big number for SmackDown to deliver. Secondly, the WWE series was starting to stumble in its previous home at USA Network to face-plant to a non-holiday low this week. And lastly, with Fox only having two hours of primetime programming a night, Blue Bloods doesn’t have to break a sweat because it’s free and clear of the competition anyway. Or as Roddy Piper once said: “I’m here to chew bubble gum and kick ass. And I’m all out of bubble gum.”

BATWOMAN SHOWDOWN WITH TIFFANY HADDISH: The winner on Sunday nights this season, like last season and every season to come as long as it’s on, will be Sunday Night Football on NBC. However, in potentially savvy counter-programming, ABC and the CW have planted their own flags of female distinction. At 8 PM, the Disney-owned net has brought back the once Bill Cosby-fronted Kids Say The Darndest Things with the often wonderfully biting Tiffany Haddish taking over hosting duties. In a nimble yet obvious anti-NFL play of its own, the Mark Pedowitz-run CW is debuting the much-hyped Batwoman at 8 PM on Sundays too. The first part of a two-hour Greg Berlanti-produced superwoman block with the fifth season of the Melissa Benoist-led Supergirl, the Gotham City-set Ruby Rose series is already off the charts in terms of fan engagement, in no small part because of the DC Comics fanbase and the barrier-smashing fact that the actor will be playing the first openly lesbian superhero lead in TV history. (Berlanti has even upped his game from last year, and Berlanti Prods again has the most series on the air at the same time.)

In that vein, the Orange is the New Black alum Rose’s appearance in the latest annual Arrowverse crossover “Elseworlds” in December last year blew up the Internet as much as Haddish’s career-making and scene-stealing turn in 2017’s Girls Trip. So, will it be kids or capes for those not watching football Sundays? To quote CW boss Pedowitz in a different context, “Bring it on!”

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2019/05/2019-2020-tv-schedule-grid-blue-bloods-wwe-smackdown-this-is-us-1202616049/