Where's fall TV headed?

Posted: October 16, 2013

THE FALL TV season's still rolling out, but with broadcasters already canceling and renewing shows, it's not too soon for a look at how things are going so far:

Keeping its head: Yes, there's a guy riding around without his, but "Sleepy Hollow" is one show that need not fear the network's ax. The Washington Irving-meets-the-apocalypse drama was renewed for Season 2 after it drew Fox's best numbers for a drama debut in six seasons.

Not-so-winning strategy: What might have seemed like a good idea - limiting this season of "Sleepy Hollow" to 13 episodes - might look less smart now that it's found an audience.

Losing the jackpot: ABC's "Lucky 7." The drama about a group of co-workers in Queens who strike it rich in the lottery delivered numbers so unfortunate it was yanked after two episodes, becoming the first show of the season to be canceled.

You'd think that after HBO's "Luck" and "Lucky Louie" and FX's "Lucky" all tanked, programmers would become superstitious.

Still winning: Kerry Washington, whose addictive "Scandal" returned for its third season with its best ratings yet and also snagged the top spot in Nielsen's new list of shows most talked about on Twitter. No wonder reruns of the show have replaced "Lucky 7" on Tuesdays.

Showkiller on the loose? We hate to even think such a thing about Jerry O'Connell, but CBS' quick dismissal of "We Are Men" isn't the "Jerry Maguire" star's first Cancellation Rodeo.

Besides some pilots that never made it to series ("Mockingbird Lane," "Rex Is Not Your Lawyer"), O'Connell starred in the CBS-canceled "The Defenders," with Jim Belushi; the Fox-canceled "Do Not Disturb," with Niecy Nash; and the ABC-canceled "Carpoolers."

In O'Connell's defense, "The Defenders" wasn't bad. And O'Connell's presence on "Crossing Jordan" didn't seem to hurt it any.

Silver lining: With "We Are Men" gone (and really, it needed to go), "Mike & Molly" will be back on Mondays Nov. 4.

Battle of the former David E. Kelley lawyers: James Spader ("Boston Legal") pulled ahead of Dylan McDermott ("The Practice") in the very first head-to-head meeting of their respective Monday-night thrillers, NBC's "The Blacklist" and CBS' "Hostages," and hasn't stopped.

Because the rich only get richer, "The Blacklist" is also winning the race to the DVRs, picking up more viewers in the following week than "Hostages."

NBC's already picked up "Blacklist" for the rest of the season, while CBS is running promos reminding viewers "it's not too late" to catch up with "Hostages."

It really isn't too late to catch up with "Hostages": Yes, it's serialized, but it's Jerry Bruckheimer-style serialized.

All you need to know is that McDermott's playing a rogue FBI agent who's apparently being coerced into coercing the president's surgeon (Toni Collette) into killing the president, using the threat that otherwise he'll kill her whole family and maybe even her dog. (So maybe it is complicated. But I think the dog will be fine.)

Marvel-ous: Though its numbers have dropped since its much-hyped premiere, ABC's "Marvel's Agents of SHIELD," which has been picked up for the rest of the season, is still holding its own against CBS' "NCIS" and doing particularly well, according to Variety, among the male viewers that ABC had hoped to attract.

Starting tonight, "SHIELD" faces not NBC's "The Voice," but the premiere of "The Biggest Loser" (with "American Idol" runner-up Ruben Studdard among those looking to shed pounds).

Gone but not forgotten: Maybe I'm the only one who liked Mindy Kaling's season finale pixie in Fox's "The Mindy Project," but thanks to a flash-forward, the cut (it was a wig all along) was gone in record time, with the star now sporting a bob. If only more women had this technology available, there'd be less demand for extensions. And baseball caps.

Rolling toward cancellation? NBC's "Ironside," starring Blair Underwood as the detective in a wheelchair, debuted Oct. 2 with what were reported to be the network's lowest ratings ever among advertiser-targeted 18- to 49-year-olds for a fall drama debut, before dropping further in the second week.

(You know how Eskimos are said to have dozens of words for snow? There are at least that many categories to describe ratings failures.)

Barring a Nielsen miracle, this one's headed for the NBC Remake Trash Heap to join "Knight Rider," "The Bionic Woman" and (alas) "Prime Suspect."

Learning nothing: NBC's looking to bring back that '80s show "Remington Steele" as a half-hour comedy, Deadline.com reported last week.

Not so 'Wonder'-ful: Spin-off "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland" opened lower than last season's canceled "Last Resort," burnishing the reputation of 8 p.m. Thursdays as an ABC death slot.

Just a suggestion: NBC ordered 22 episodes of "The Michael J. Fox Show" before it even aired. So maybe it's time to move it to a night where someone might see it? Because with all due respect to "Parks and Recreation," NBC Thursdays have become must-flee TV.

Dead medium walking: In what might be the worst news of the week for broadcasters, AMC's "The Walking Dead," already the highest-rated show in all of television among 18- to 49-year-olds, returned for its fourth season Sunday with a series-high 16.1 million viewers, 10.4 million of them in that advertiser-targeted 18-to-49 demo.


Phone: 215-854-5950

On Twitter: @elgray

Blog: ph.ly/EllenGray

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