With the 2017-18 TV season fast approaching, TV by the Numbers is breaking down each night of the broadcast networks’ schedule. We’ll look for competitive time periods and new shows with a chance to break out — or fall on their faces.

Wednesday is home to three of the longest-running shows currently on the air in “Law & Order: SVU,” “Survivor” and “Criminal Minds,” along with two other top 15 shows from last season in “Empire” and “Modern Family” (“Survivor” also finished in the top 15).

As such there’s not a whole lot of space for new series, which could explain why most of what aired on the night last season is back for 2017-18.

The schedule

All times ET/PT. New shows in italics.

8 p.m. 8:30 p.m. 9 p.m. 9:30 p.m. 10 p.m. 10:30 p.m.
ABC The Goldbergs Speechless Modern Family American Housewife (new night) Designated Survivor
CBS Survivor SEAL Team Criminal Minds (new time)
The CW Riverdale (new night) Dynasty
FOX Empire (new time) Star
NBC The Blacklist (new night) Law & Order: SVU Chicago PD

 

The heavyweights

“Empire” isn’t the juggernaut it was a couple years ago, but it was still, depending on which version of the ratings you look at, the No. 1 (live + same-day) or No. 2 (Live +3, Live +7) drama on network TV in adults 18-49 last season. “Modern Family” and “Survivor” were top-20 shows last season as well.

The newcomers

There are but two freshman series on Wednesdays, both dramas. CBS’ “SEAL Team” stars David Boreanaz as the leader of a, you guessed it, team of Navy SEALs. The CW is rebooting the classic 1980s soap “Dynasty” with “The O.C.” and “Gossip Girl” executive producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage.

Additionally, “American Housewife” moves from Tuesday to the post-“Modern Family” spot on ABC, and “The Blacklist” decamps from Thursday nights on NBC.

The battle

“Empire” moving to the leadoff spot on FOX shakes up the leadoff hour of primetime. “Survivor” has been around so long that it will probably be OK, but it’s possible “Empire” could eat into the audience for ABC’s comedies “The Goldbergs” and “Speechless,” “The Blacklist” on NBC and “Riverdale” on The CW.

The forecast

“SEAL Team” seems right up CBS’ alley, and putting it after “Survivor” and bumping “Criminal Minds” back to 10 p.m. seems like a vote of confidence. ABC’s comedy block should be fine, but “Designated Survivor” — which had so-so first-run ratings last season but big DVR numbers — could be a sophomore-slump candidate.

“Empire” will probably help “Star” some as it enters its second season. “The Blacklist” may be starting to wind down for NBC, but “Law & Order: SVU” and “Chicago PD” still have life. The CW will almost certainly be down at 8 p.m. — “Riverdale’s” ratings were two tenths of a point lower than those of “Arrow” last season — but there’s a chance for growth at 9 if “Dynasty” can get over the not-especially-high bar set by “Frequency” and “The 100” in that spot in 2016-17.

More fall forecasts: Sunday | Monday | Tuesday | Thursday | Friday

Posted by:Rick Porter

Rick Porter has been covering TV since the days when networks sent screeners on VHS, one of which was a teaser for the first season of "American Idol." He's left-handed, makes a very solid grilled cheese and has been editor of TV by the Numbers since October 2015. He lives in Austin.

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