New Year’s Day always has a slightly bittersweet feel to it due to it being the end of a month of holiday parties and light work loads. Pop culture also tends to lag into the new year, the result of shorter season orders, the movie dumping ground, and the (often accurate) assumption that people are not gonna spend money on music after the spend-a-thon that is the holiday shopping season.
This year, however, we hit the ground running on mid-season due to Sochi’s Winter Olympics displacing the brunt of the traditional February sweeps period, pushing other events like the Oscars and Grammys out of February (The Olympics eat up three of the four weekends in February, while TV’s largest event – some football game being played in New Jersey – eats up the fourth). This is particularly notable as CBS and NBC both are pushing out new slates of episodes from their comedy lineup tonight, while ABC trots out The Taste for a new season while also debuting it’s new show The Assets.
This time around, the mid-season schedule trots out the return of a number of old favorites, be it a competition show like American Idol (a show that schedule prognosticators for next year will be eyeing like a hawk as it’s success has major ramifications on Fox’s fall slate for 2014-15), comedies such as Archer, Community (a personal favorite, and one that has danced around the cancellation ax twice already), and dramas such as The Following (a permanent half-season fixture due to an episode cap in Kevin Bacon’s contract) and House of Cards (dropping on Netflix Valentine’s day).
The displacement is also going to create two waves of new shows, one wave in January, and a large spring wave that looks to pick up around the tail end of February. Amongst the shows receiving the most hype in the January window include the legal dramedy Rake (with Greg Kinnear), HBO’s True Detective (with big names such as Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey), and Dick Wolf’s Chicago PD. Notable later debuts include Crisis and Mixology (which gets the Modern Family lead-in despite not really fitting with ABC’s family comedy Wednesdays).
In terms of event TV (a word that will be thrown around quite a bit this year), this mid-season is packed to the gills, between the Golden Globes (1/12), the Grammys (1/26), the Oscars (3/6), the Winter Olympics (2/7 until 2/23), and some football game that everyone watches for the ads (2/2). As with last year, I will be live blogging the three aforementioned awards shows right here on Manhattan Digest.
In addition to all of the above, we also will see NBC attempt yet another changing of the guard at late-night, this time deposing Jay Leno from The Tonight Show for current Late Night host Jimmy Fallon. Seth Meyers will then move into the 12:30 am spot. Hopefully for all parties involved this goes considerably more gracefully than what we got when the peacock tried the same maneuver five years ago (a maneuver that NBC is still feeling the sting of today).
Next Time: Regular reviews pick back up Tuesday, with ABC’s new drama Killer Women.