Q. It seems as though my fall TV viewing is not going to change much from what it was over the summer, given the networks’ lack of new series. I will continue to feed on a steady diet of Netflix, pay cable, Hulu, FX, and one or two more. Am I right?
A. Totally right. The broadcast networks usually dominate September and October with their new series mixed in with their returning series. Fall network TV has become synonymous with going back to school, buying new notebooks, and dealing with shorter days. But at this point, only a handful of network shows are ready, including newcomers “Filthy Rich” (Sept. 21) with Kim Cattrall and “Next” (Oct. 6) with John Slattery, both on Fox. Otherwise, the coffers are empty.
The soonest we’ll start seeing new and returning network shows in earnest will probably be November. TV production is just starting to get going again, with safety protocols, after shutting down in the spring. Meanwhile, the networks will be filling up their September-October schedules with reality TV, an imported English language series or two, and content (including “Star Trek: Discovery” on CBS) from their own streaming platforms. They have many, many hours to fill every week, as part of their ad-supported format.
The streamers and pay cablers, on the other hand, have seasons of shows stocked up. After all, they only tend to release a couple of shows a month. It’s one of the virtues of a subscription business model, where even one or two good series can keep your paying viewers engaged. So they will continue to deliver new product in the coming months, including Showtime’s “The Good Lord Bird,” HBO’s “The Undoing” with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant, and the return of Netflix’s “The Crown.”