Of all the fall 2014 season moves -- dozens -- this may be the one that has the greatest chance of changing commercial network viewing habits, expressed in four little words: "The," "big," "bang," and "theory."
Yes, fans, "The Big Bang Theory," TV's most popular comedy, has a new night and time (Monday, 8), and suddenly television faces a significant re-ordering of the apple cart. "Bang" will move back to Thursdays in late October -- when the Thursday night football run ends -- but the damage may well have been done by then. "Dancing with the Stars" Monday faces a double-pump of TBBT -- an hour block of two new episodes at eight. "Dancing" is already facing significant declines this season (blame it on the cast no one has ever heard of) and now it must deal with "Bang."
Under normal circumstances, a hit like "DWTS" might have an advantage opposite a scripted show -- which would get time-shifted viewing. But "Bang" viewers don't roll that way. They watch live, which means that "DWTS" will take the hit.
Meanwhile "Bang" will push millions of viewers into the silly "Scorpion," which in turn will push more into the season finale of "Under the Dome." Yes, it will be a big night for CBS.
But we haven't even talked yet about the season premieres of "The Voice" or Fox newcomer, "Gotham." Risks for both of them are significant as well. "Gotham" needs a huge number Monday, if only to prove to Fox, DC Comics, and the rest of the TV industry that there's a real undercurrent of interest here. Instead, "Gotham" may well be heavily DVR'ed, as "Bang" fans opt for that show instead. That could dim the new season launch of "Sleepy Hollow," too.
"The Voice" may also open soft against "Bang" too, so that NBC -- which then launches the new season of "The Blacklist" at 10 -- could have challenges, too (although "Blacklist" is expected to handily thump "Dome." ).
So, as you can see -- a lot is riding on Monday night. But here is one little caveat that may make a difference, too: TV viewing and fall launches are not what they were, even from a year ago. Many millions now do indeed time-shift, so it will be hard to get a read on anything after one day. Except ..."Dancing," which I don't believe has much of a time-shift base. Monday is a huge night for "DWTS." Let the fall season games begin.
Here's a clip of the cast talking about the new season. Check out Penny's -- Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting -- new look.