The Biggest Questions of the Fall 2019 TV Season, Answered

From TGIF’s fate to the future of live musicals on NBC

Characters from the fall 2019 TV season
Some of the new TV season's biggest questions revolve around Black-ish, Mixed-ish, Arrow, Bob ♥ Abishola, Young Sheldon and Grey's Anatomy.
Illustration: Trent Joaquin; Sources: ABC, CBS, The CW

The new TV season is under way, with 64 broadcast prime-time programs premiering in the first week alone. Adweek has highlighted the seven most promising new shows, and the buyers had their say as well.

Now it’s time to answer some of the biggest questions as we head into the new season, from scheduling to branding to programming.

Why is Mixed-ish airing before Black-ish, and not after it?

Usually, a spinoff airs directly after the show that spawned it. (Young Sheldon followed The Big Bang Theory and both NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: New Orleans debuted after NCIS.) But ABC changed things up with the scheduling of Black-ish prequel Mixed-ish, which airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EDT, leading into Black-ish at 9:30.

“The pilot is just so good; it came out so strong. It is a really broad, family comedy, and, when we looked at the opportunity on the schedule, it felt like 9 was the right place,” said ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke. “There’s really smart flow throughout the night, from [The Conners] to Bless This Mess to Mixed-ish to Black-ish. It just felt right, and, also, we like the ‘big swing’ nature of it. Conventionally, we would have gone the other way. And this felt like a calculated risk.”

Can CBS weather the absence of The Big Bang Theory?

For the first time since 2006, CBS is entering a TV season without The Big Bang Theory on its schedule. The longest-running multicamera series in TV history (with 279 episodes over 12 seasons), it was routinely the most watched comedy in prime time. Now CBS is looking to Big Bang prequel Young Sheldon to take over the Thursday 8 p.m. EDT time slot, and the network said it’s confident that the series is up to the task.

“We’ve always been lucky. We’ve lost big shows in the past, and when [Everybody Loves] Raymond went away [in 2005], we were lucky to have Two and a Half Men. When Two and a Half Men went away [in 2015], we were really fortunate to have The Big Bang Theory. Now Big Bang Theory is going away, and we really feel lucky to have Young Sheldon,” said CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl. “The real question is can it step up and take that mantle of that dominant, No. 1 show? Obviously, we hope so. I think all the lights are green in terms of what we’ve seen in the past in terms of the numbers and the creative side of the show. We’ll be treating it like a new show in the fall to try to get it to that dominant, No. 1 spot.”

How will The CW keep its “Arrowverse” going without Arrow?

The CW will air six superhero-themed series this season, but the original show, Arrow, will be signing off after an abbreviated Season 8. The network will be tasked with maintaining its “Arrowverse” of connected TV shows, without the series that spawned them.

The challenge is “less trickier than when I came to the company” in 2011, said The CW president Mark Pedowitz, who is developing a another Arrow spinoff—which would star cast members Katherine McNamara, Katie Cassidy and Juliana Harkavy—for the 2020-21 season. “When we had Gossip Girl and Vampire Diaries, and Smallville had ended and Supernatural was parked at 9 o’clock on Fridays. So to me, we have an embarrassment of great shows. It’s a transition because you’re losing things that help rebrand and reidentify The CW, but I think we have the goods and the people. I’m not concerned by it. I actually find transitions to be a good thing, because you either embrace them or you’re going to get run over by them. So I’ve elected to embrace them on behalf of the company.”

Why isn’t Bob  Abishola called Bob Loves Abishola or Bob & Abishola?

The new CBS sitcom is technically called Bob ♥ Abishola but is referred to as Bob Hearts Abishola. So why use the emoji at all?

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