This is the time of year where I am usually posting each day about the network TV upfront. This is when the networks will have large glitzy events to introduce their plans for the next fall season. Renewals are announced. New shows are announced. We find out what’s not coming back. There are no large glitzy events this year and there is a question about how the networks will fill the fall schedule if shows can’t resume production on time. We have started to get answers.
CBS had already announced it was holding the Amazing Race to possibly fill a fall slot. It is already filmed and was supposed to start next week. It will now be delayed. They also renewed a good portion of their shows and only picked up three new ones. I don’t know what their plans are if the existing shows aren’t ready in fall. They could air some of the CBS All Access originals like Twilight Zone or Picard. The question is, will they be willing to give free access to shows they usually want a monthly fee for? I guess we will find out.
Two networks have given some indication of plans. FOX has announced a fall season schedule. It will be filled with two shows that were filmed and were supposed to be midseason replacement shows this year, a show they bought from Spectrum(LA’s Finest), WWE, football and reality shows. They are betting on football being back to fill Thursday and Saturday nights. They are apparently assuming The Masked Singer can resume filming, perhaps with no audience, in time to get a full season done in time for fall.
The CW has not announced a schedule, but they have announced that they have acquired to rights to various shows from other services. They picked up the one season of Swamp Thing from DC Universe. They bought the two seasons of the canceled CBS All Access show Tell Me a Story. They bought the two seasons of the CBS show Coroner and the six-episode first season of the UK comedy Dead Pixels. A clear sign they do not expect their shows to be ready to start in September.
The other networks have several options. They could buy from others as above. ABC could air Freeform or Disney shows. NBC could use shows filmed for the new streaming service The Peacock or shows from USA Network.
It will be interesting to see how this affects the ratings. With more people subscribing to streaming services while in lockdown, network TV will struggle t get the eyes back even with a regular season. With everything delayed, it will be even harder.