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Is SWAT safer premiering at midseason than in the fall?

CBS has set its fall 2020 schedule and SWAT is nowhere in sight. It’s disappointing that it’s held for midseason, but is this a safer move for the show?

There is absolutely no doubt that SWAT moving to midseason is disappointing. We’re used to seeing the cop drama as part of our fall lineup and hoped it would remain there this season. However, the fourth season is being held until midseason and this could be the safest thing.

CBS has made it clear that it’s being optimistic with its fall 2020 schedule. The lineup has barely changed from last fall, indicating that it believes shows will be able to start filming in July. It will be great for the network if that happens, but this isn’t about that. It’s about SWAT being missed out of the schedule.

A struggling show in a safer slot

SWAT was one of those shows we worried the most about. Had it been any normal season, this show would have likely been canceled. The Lincoln Lawyer was one of the most talked-about pilots but didn’t get picked up because it couldn’t film due to the pandemic. CBS thought SWAT was a safer option than a new pilot.

But it’s still a struggling show. It’s one of the lowest-rated dramas on the network, so CBS has to do something to keep the money coming in. Opting for a midseason premiere date is the best way to do that.

The midseason is when lower ratings are more traditionally accepted. We may even see it pushed to spring or summer, which is when even lower ratings are fine. And I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw it pushed to Friday nights, maybe allowing either MacGyver or Magnum PI a break at the midseason. Fridays aren’t really the “death slot” anymore, especially for CBS!

S.W.A.T. (2017) – Season 01

A shorter, contained season of SWAT

Another benefit of midseason is the shorter season. Usually, midseason shows have 13-16 episodes. This allows for slightly more contained episodes. There isn’t the time for filler episodes.

It could allow SWAT to do something it’s not done before. There could be a season-long arc or a storyline that keeps cropping up now and then for more than just two or three episodes—not in their personal lives but a mission that the team needs to complete.

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What do you think of SWAT moving to midseason? Could this be best for the show’s future? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

SWAT Season 4 will premiere sometime in 2021 on CBS.