2019-2020 Television Upfronts: Programming Recap
Written on 08/20/19 1:33 PM
Each year, the major networks present their programming slates for the upcoming season. On behalf of our clients, RPM attends several of these presentations to preview the new shows ahead of confirming Q4-Q3 TV schedules and before negotiating any annual buys. Below, please find show descriptions, along with the programming schedule for the new season and any RPM perspectives on the networks.
In one of the most conservative ABC upfronts in recent memory, ABC is only debuting three new shows: Emergence, Stumptown, and Mixed-ish.
A note for our gaming clients: the main character on Stumptown has gambling debts; in the trailer, she is shown playing craps. Depending on where the writers take that storyline, RPM will monitor the content on behalf of casinos, sportsbooks, and others to determine whether it may make sense to avoid the programming moving forward.
A character-driven genre thriller, Emergence is about a police chief who takes in a young child she finds near the site of a mysterious accident who has no memory of what has happened. The investigation draws her into a conspiracy larger than she ever imagined, and the child’s identity is at the center of it all.
Based on the graphic novel series, Stumptown follows Dex Parios– a strong, assertive and sharp-witted army veteran with a complicated love life, debt and a brother to take care of in Portland, Oregon. Her military skills make her a great PI, but her unapologetic style puts her in the firing line of criminals and the police.
Kids says the Darndest things
The hilarious reimagined format of a familiar show showcases a mix of in-studio segments and taped pieces from across the country, all set in front of a live studio audience and hosted by Tiffany Haddish.
A black-ish prequel. Rainbow Johnson recounts her experience growing up in a mixed-race family in the ’80s and the constant dilemmas they had to face over whether to assimilate or stay true to themselves.
After years of success, CBS’ most recent moneymaker, The Big Bang Theory, will no longer be on the air. Despite this big shift, CBS wants advertisers to continue to rely on TV, especially CBS and its digital platforms, for quality programming in a brand-safe environment. Two primary themes have driven the new programming choices on the network: inclusivity and cultural relevance—with the intent to provoke thought while entertaining.
Bob Hearts Abishola
From Chuck Lorre, Bob Hearts Abishola tells of a middle-aged guy who’s met the woman of his dreams a Nigerian-immigrant nurse. Now he just needs to convince her of that. A heartwarming comedy about love at middle-age and the immigrant experience.
The D.A.s are overworked, Legal Aid is understaffed, and the judges need more policing than the defendants. All Rise: Court’s in session and in search of what passes for justice in the 21st century.
Walton Goggins is The Unicorn, a recently widowed father coming to terms with his “new normal” raising two young daughters, dealing with intrusive family members and returning to the dating scene.
Carol’s Second Act
A comedy about a woman who embarks on a unique second act after raising her children, getting divorced, and retiring from teaching: becoming a doctor. At age 50, Carol is a medical intern with peers who are half her age. It’s her enthusiasm, perspective and age, may be exactly what will make her second act a great success.
Evil focuses on a trio who investigate seeming miracles, possessions and other odd occurrences against the backdrop of an ongoing battle between science and religion. From The Good Wife producers.
CW—the home of superheroes, the supernatural, and soapy drama—has the most stable line-up of all the networks, renewing most of its shows from last year.
Three years after Batman mysteriously disappeared, Gotham is a city in despair, and it’s under the watch of Jacob Kane and his military-grade Crows Private Security, which now protects the city with omnipresent firepower and militia. When the Alice in Wonderland gang targets the firm, Kane’s daughter Kate returns home, deciding that if she wants to help her family and her city, she’ll have to become the one thing her father loathes — a dark knight vigilante. With the help of her stepsister Mary and the crafty Luke Fox, the son of Wayne Enterprises’ tech guru Lucius Fox, Kate Kane continues the legacy of her missing cousin, Bruce Wayne. Armed with a passion for social justice and a flair for speaking her mind, Kate soars through the shadowed streets of Gotham as Batwoman.
Young Nancy Drew makes plans to leave her hometown for college after high school graduation but finds herself drawn into a supernatural murder mystery.
Fox’s upfront presentation was heavily focused on sports: it’s the home of the 2020 Super Bowl and will be airing live wrestling (WWE SmackDown Live) on Fridays. Additionally, the network is continuing NFL games on Thursdays and Sundays and college football on Saturdays. That said, the network will be debuting three new shows this season.
Another note for gaming clients: Bless the Harts features a character with a lottery scratchers obsession. As this is a comedy, we anticipate the subject to be treated lightly. That said, we will be keeping an eye on the treatment of the topic and adjust schedules if necessary.
Malcolm Bright is a gifted criminal psychologist, using his twisted genius to help the NYPD solve crimes and stop killers, all while dealing with a manipulative mother, a serial killer father still looking to bond with his prodigal son, and his own evolving neuroses.
A woman who grew up as an only child discovers that her dad fathered many other children as a sperm donor.
Bless the Harts
The Harts are a Southern family that is forever struggling to make ends meet. They hope to achieve the American dream, but they’re already rich — in friends, family and laughter. Voice talents of Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph.
The biggest news for NBC in the 2019-2020 season will be the upcoming Summer Olympics. In the more immediate future, NBC is launching three new programs this fall.
Bluff City Law
Brilliant lawyer Sydney Strait used to work at her father Elijah’s law firm until their relationship got in the way. She agrees to come back despite her lingering resentment and distrust because she knows that it’s her best hope to change the world, if they can ever get along.
When former music professor Arthur Cochran unexpectedly stumbles into choir practice at a small-town church, he finds an oddball group of singers that is out of tune in more ways than one. Arthur and his newfound cohorts may just be the perfect mix of individuals to help each other reinvent and rediscover a little happiness.
As the youngest New York City Councilman ever, Garrett Modi was the pride of Queens, but he lost his way rubbing elbows with the political elite and attending star-studded parties rather than doing his job. Now unemployed, Garrett’s crashing with his sister Mallory and wondering where it all went wrong. That is, until he’s hired by a diverse group of hopefuls — Brady who grew up in New York and didn’t even know he wasn’t a citizen; Griselda the unofficial queen of the part-time jobs; Hakim a nerdy cab driver who has some serious skills; super-wealthy brother and sister duo Mei Lin and Jin Hao — who all dream of becoming American citizens and believe Garrett is the perfect guy to help. This new opportunity gives him a sense of purpose and a chance for redemption, and it might help him remember where he came from.
FALL 2019-2020 SEASON PRIMETIME SCHEDULE