The wobbly plans for the new TV season have received a couple boosts lately.
One is a temporary step: Next month, CBS will revert to making Sunday an old-movie night.
And the other is more thorough: ABC will have most of its dramas return in November.
One ABC drama (“The Good Doctor,” shown here) returns on Nov. 2; five more arrive Nov. 12-19. That includes “Big Sky” from David E. Kelley (“L.A. Law,” “Ally McBeal,” “Big Little Lies”); its arrival on Nov. 17 should make it the season’s first new, scripted show on the five commercial broadcast networks.
ABC had already set plans to return three of its comedies on Oct. 21 and a fourth on Oct. 28. Now its dramas will arrive at roughly the same time as another network: NBC’s, which will bring back “This Is Us” on Nov. 10 and five more dramas Nov. 11-13.
By comparison, Fox and CW have put together alternate schedules for this fall, letting most of their series wait until January. CBS also has an alternate schedule for now, strong on reality shows, non-fiction … and now a batch of Sunday movies. The new plans are:
– Nov. 2: “The Good Doctor.”
– Nov. 12: A crossover event, with “Station 19” and a two-hour “Grey’s Anatomy.”
– Nov. 17: “Big Sky.” Two private detective and an ex-cop (who is the ex-wive of one of the detectives) chase an expanding case of women possibly kidnapped in Montana.
– Nov. 18: “For Life.” Originally planned for mid-season, the show – about a Black lawyer working out of his prison cell – steps into the slot originally set for “Stumptown.”
– Nov. 19: “A Million Little Things.”
That leaves two dramas unaccounted for. ABC said “The Rookie” will return later, but made no mention of “Stumptown,” which was renewed and then reportedly canceled.
The first “Sunday Night Movie” crop emphasized action-adventure; this one will usually have comedy.
The starting times vary with football. In the Eastern Time Zone, many films will start at least a half-hour – and sometimes more – later than in Pacific. Also, the films will nudge “Big Brother” out of Sundays and into Mondays. The line-up:
– Oct. 4: “Old School” (2003, Will Ferrell stars), 9:30 p.m. ET/9 PT.
– Oct. 11: “Clueless” (1995, Alicia Silverstone), 9:30/9.
– Oct. 18: “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (1986, Matthew Broderick), 8.
– Oct. 25: “Scream” (1996, a scare film for Halloween), 8:30/8.
– Nov. 1: “Star Trek: Beyond” (2016, Chris Pine), 8.
Also, the final one follows a three-week break. On Nov. 29, “Coming To America” (1988, Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall) will be at 8:30 p.m. ET, 8 p.m. PT.