The 2010-2011 season officially kicks off Monday and it’s always kind of risky to make predictions this early. However, it’s hardly taking a big leap to say CBS looks poised to not only have another stellar season but actually grow in their primetime dominance.
CBS seems to know their audience better than any other network. In a season where the new offerings are mostly being met by a collective “meh” from critics, CBS is getting the best grades. HAWAII 5-0 is a CBS type procedural but seems to have won over even the most jaded critics of the network with its hot looking, action oriented, reboot of their classic show. THE DEFENDERS is also being greeted with surprise by most critics as in “I can’t believe it, but it’s pretty good”. The biggest compliment being thrown at BLUE BLOODS is that it could be this year’s THE GOOD WIFE, but it’s being showered with many other compliments too .
CBS gets extra points, in my humble opinion, by their sheer brazenness in shaking up their schedule. They took their biggest comedy (and biggest comedy hit on TV), the young skewing hit, THE BIG BANG THEORY, and moved it to Thursday in a slot where FRIENDS thrived. They moved SURVIVOR back to its original home of Wednesday, (after years of Thursday dominance) where there’s no monster hit at 8p. (Personally I would love to see THE MIDDLE grow here this year, but with the added competition, merely holding on to last year’s numbers is probably a win). Both of these shows were dominating their timeslots, so to make these kinds of moves takes guts, balls, and I believe smarts.
Networks make moves like this all the time, (GREYS to Thursday the most recent example), so if CBS just moved TBBT to Wednesday, it would still be gutsy. Moving both shows, while it does make sense, is the kind of risk most nets would opt not to take. But if it works, it could yield huge results and strengthen more than one night.
Well after two nights this week, it’s clear their ballsy moves will probably yield big ratings. SURVIVOR premiered Wednesday night up against the finale of AMERICA’S GOT TALENT, which has shown major ratings spunk in recent weeks. Most network shows, especially reality shows, going into their 11th year on the air, with double the amount of cycles, that then change timeslots, don’t usually see upticks. However SURVIVOR bucked that trend and got a 4.0, up from last Fall’s premiere. Also worth noting, is in addition to AGT, this hour was populated with tons of reality, from AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL (which does well with women 18-34) and the finale of FOX’s MASTERCHEF, a decent Summer player. If ever SURVIVOR was gonna trend down even a tick, this would be the time. Nope. still the grandaddy of all reality.
Last night, CBS reran the last 4 eps of THE BIG BANG THEORY, in a mini marathon, to ease the show into its new night. The result: CBS won the night with TBBT building in every half hour.
Obviously the major nets haven’t premiered their new shows yet and we really won’t know how everything will shake out for a few weeks, at least. But based on early numbers, I am guessing CBS’s smarts, and their ballsyness will pay off bigtime.