So far, CBS and ABC have gone into the vault and dug out some classic Paramount and Disney movies (respectively) to air. The “CBS Sunday Night Movies” series has already done well with “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (5.3 million viewers) and “Forrest Gump” (5.6 million). It will continue throughout the month of May with the original “Mission: Impossible” on the 17th, “Titanic” on the 24th and “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” on the 31st. And just announced: the “Grease” Sing-a-Long Edition on June 7th.
For ABC, it’s the return of “The Wonderful World of Disney” presentations on four consecutive Wednesday nights beginning May 20th with the Oscar nominated animated “Moana”. Then on the 27th, it’s Marvel Studios’ “Thor: The Dark World”. June 3rd sees the airing of the Academy Award winning Pixar film “Up”, followed by Disney Animation’s Oscar winner “Big Hero 6” on the 10th.
I predict lots of promotion for “Artemis Fowl” during these four films. The live-action Disney film debuts on Disney+ Friday June 12th (just a few days after “BH6”). There could be some special first-look clips and interviews during the movies for “AF”, which was originally supposed to be released in theaters last year before Disney moved it to a May 29th theatrical release and then this Disney+ premiere.
Even if these Disney movies don’t put up huge numbers in terms of TV ratings, I still suspect that ABC may consider airing more “Wonderful World of Disney” films later this summer and possibly even in the Fall. ABC needs the programming, and devoting two to three hours each week to a Disney movie is guaranteed content.
CBS may choose to do the same. There’s a whole library of Paramount titles to choose from. Again, they may not be juggernauts, but it’s guaranteed programming in a time when filming traditional TV dramas, comedies or reality shows may not happen until at least the Ball drops in Times Square.
And if it came down to it, I could see NBC selecting a night of their own to devote to Universal movies. FOX, on the other hand, has released their Fall 2020 schedule, which is nearly completely pandemic-proof thanks to some pre-produced episodes of new shows “NEXT” and “Filthy Rich”, as well the entire Animation Domination Sunday lineup and “MasterChef Junior”.