For years cable debuted its most promising new shows in the summer, reluctant to get lost amidst the hubbub over broadcast’s new season each fall.
But as broadcast ratings have fallen and DVRs have allowed viewers to time-shift the shows they’re most interested in watching, cable has begun moving more and more high-profile programs to fall debuts.
This year’s crop of new cable shows includes everything from ABC Family’s “Ravenswood,” the sequel to its highest-rated show, “Pretty Little Liars,” to “Masters of Sex,” a Showtime drama chronicling the lives of sex researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson.
They’ll face stiff competition from broadcast’s returning programs, like “The Voice” and “The Big Bang Theory,” as well as promising new shows like “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
Still, these days it’s not unusual for a cable show to equal or even better broadcast shows in its timeslot.
Here’s a look at cable’s five most promising new fall programs.
1. ABC Family’s “Ravenswood” (premieres Oct. 22)
This spinoff of “Liars” follows five strangers, including “Liars” regular Tyler Blackburn, whose lives intersect as they battle a mysterious curse in the town of Ravenswood, Pa.
The show will premiere behind “Liars” and has benefitted from extensive promotion during the show.
2. TNT’s “Cold Justice” (Sept. 3)
TNT hasn’t had much luck with reality shows, but this one could be the exception. A forensics expert and a former prosecutor travel to small towns to reopen unsolved murder cases.
Produced by Dick Wolf, the show certainly has the pedigree to succeed, and its concept hews more closely to TNT’s drama-heavy identity than its past unscripted competition series.
3. Showtime’s “Masters of Sex” (Sept. 29)
Masters (Michael Sheen) and Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) were real-life pioneers in researching human sexuality. The show, which has a highly desirable timeslot behind hit third-year drama “Homeland,” follows their controversial career paths as they help spark the sexual revolution.
As you’d expect, there’s a large amount of nakedness and sex in the show, which has help build buzz.
4. Lifetime’s “Witches of East End” (Oct. 6)
The show, whose name sounds a lot like the popular novel and movie “Witches of Eastwick,” has received a nice shot of buzz from the success of the network’s similarly soapy “Devious Maids.” “Witches” will take over “Maids’” Sunday timeslot and should appear to a similar crowd.
It follows a mysterious family whose daughters are unaware they are witches.
5. HBO’s “Hello, Ladies” (Sept. 29)
“Ladies” stars Stephen Merchant, best known as Ricky Gervais’ comedic partner, as a British web developer with no social skills who moves to Los Angeles in hopes of landing some babes.
“Ladies” may be the biggest risk of any of these shows, as it will appeal to a narrower audience. But it could become awards bait in the same way as low-rated HBO comedies before it like “Veep” and “Girls.”
Source; Medialife Magazine, 8/23/13