This post is probably incredibly rude because here I am already wondering what the nets might do when some of their shows fail and the season doesn’t start for a few hours.. The fact is, though, that some shows will most definitely fail. Even good ones. TV is a cruel business, but it is a business first and never in the history of television has every new network show succeeded. Actually most Fail and in today’s fragmented world that’s probably never been more true. So as we launch a new season tonight, I am just thinking about what each of the 4 major nets might do come midseason or even sooner.
I don’t think it’s an accident that ABCs two Friday shows SECRET MILLIONAIRE and BODY OF PROOF have yet to secure premiere dates. Has this ever happened before on the eve of a new season? Remember, these aren’t midseason shows. For the first 3 weeks, at least, ABC is smartly using Friday to give their new shows an encore on a less competitive night. I’d imagine after 3 weeks they will have an idea of what holes they are gonna need to fill. I also think those 2 Friday shows have real potential to break out. I’ve wondered all Summer why ABC is wasting 2 shows with much commercial appeal on lower viewed Friday. (Even 2 rival network spokesmen praised BODY OF PROOF and its breakout potential, in Variety, recently).
My guess is ABC will see where their needs are and plug-in these two shows. I hope MY GENERATION succeeds. It’s not a perfect pilot, but it tries something new and I admire Noah Hawley greatly. I could see the 18-34 set being interested by this show. But lots of people don’t think it has much of a shot, certainly in that time slot. If MY GEN doesn’t perform, I could see ABC sliding in SECRET MILLIONAIRE. Think about it. It’s the ONLY 8p slot on TV any night that doesn’t have a reality show (since SURVIVOR vacated to Wednesday). It’s perfect counter programming. It’s feel good TV which has helped EM:HE succeed for 8 years and has been a wonderful lead-in to DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES. There’s no reason SM couldn’t be a great lead in to GREYS.
I can see ABC using BODY OF PROOF to fill in for one of their 10p shows. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see it land after DH on Sunday sooner than later. Steve McPherson announced in May that Shonda Rhimes’ OFF THE MAP would be airing Sun at 10p in January. That move seemed really strange to me, because in January The Golden Globes are on, one week is the BCS Football game – it just seems a bad time to launch a new show with all that competition. Shonda last week tweeted that OFF THE MAP would be premiering in Spring. So looks like plans have already changed. (Me thinks in March after the Oscars and maybe not Sunday) . With CBS infinitely stronger than last Fall – UNDERCOVER BOSS and CSI:MIAMI are far stronger competition than THREE RIVERS and COLD CASE – I could see ABC moving BROTHERS & SISTERS to another night and help shore up a weaker performing slot and slotting BOP there. It’s female skewing, character driven and stars the sublime Miss Delany, formerly of DH.
Speaking of CBS, I honestly don’t expect them to have many problems. I think HAWAII 5-0 will blow up and I expect their other shows to perform decently to really well. I could, however, see SHIT MY DAD SAYS collapsing after premiere week and squandering much of its lead in. CBS is well positioned for that as MAD LOVE sounds like a perfect young skewing hit to follow THE BIG BANG THEORY. Honestly, with a cast that includes Sarah Chalke, the “she better finally be the star she deserves to be” Judy Greer and Tyler Labine, I can’t see it being, well, shit. If CBS does have a drama need, they have they cool sounding CHAOS ready to go. If THE DEFENDERS doesn’t work, they are well positioned to slot the CRIMINAL MINDS spinoff right behind its parent show, a move that worked out pretty well for NCIS:LA. Honestly I don’t see how CBS isn’t up on every night from last season Sun-Thurs. (Even though Mike & Molly likely won’t perform up to TBBT’s amazing levels, H5-0 should make up for it by increasing on CSI:MIAMI from last year). Can any other net make that same boast? In Jan CBS has Paula Abdul’s return to TV with GOT TO DANCE. CBS should have a great year.
Okay, I made this claim on Twitter a few weeks ago and was met with some scorn. Here goes anyway: I think this might be the year that FOX moves American Idol to Wed/Thurs. Hear me out:
FOX finally has a big hit on Tuesday: GLEE. Last Spring it was matching AI in 18-34. It doesn’t need to be nurtured by IDOL again and can stand on its own. This year’s IDOL is bound to be down at least a bit (no Simon Cowell), but still a monster. I can see them not wanting to move GLEE again. I think this is its permanent home , like HOUSE is to Mondays, like BONES is to Thursdays (after much movement). Regarding the FOX comedies, if they do well, then they’re all set on Tuesday. If not, FOX has Shawn Ryan’s RIDE ALONG in the wings. Currently it’s set for Mondays, but you know FOX wants LONE STAR to work. Hopefully it will. FOX has HELL’s KITCHEN set for Wednesday now. It’s very easy to replace that reality block with reality. I could see FOX following the Wednesday IDOL performance show with the aforementioned RIDE ALONG. The results show can air Thursday at 9p after BONES, which I could see helping make BONES stronger with pre tune in. I know FOX loves FRINGE and they finally have a respectable and solid schedule on Thursdays, but unless FRINGE blows up, they might want a piece of that Thursday pie with something that will draw more than a 2. Putting TVs biggest show on Thursday will certainly shake up that night and make them a real player there (and mess up every other net in the process). It also could set them up up for X-FACTOR occupying a Wed/Thurs schedule. They could always slide FRINGE anywhere else on schedule (Friday) or run the back 9 in Summer, still emphasizing their split schedule. FRINGE could be their SUMMER/FALL Show.
I know this idea seems crazy and I know it’s very premature. I have no idea how FOXs new shows will perform. But with IDOL going though a metamorphosis this year, and X-FACTOR sure to have much curiosity next FALL, it seemed like the time to do it. Think about it, by moving IDOL to Thurs (and having the potentially huge X-FACTOR follow the same sked), FOX has a monster hit every night of the week Sun-Thurs: Sun-FAMILY GUY (and the whole animation block), Mon-HOUSE, Tues-GLEE Wed and Thurs- IDOL.
Again, this is very premature, but let me take a shot. Tuesdays are set. I think UNDERCOVERS will perform decently enough for NBC to warrant a full season. I don’t see them messing with Wed. Clearly Thursday at 10p will need fixing, maybe sooner than later? I don’t see NBC putting LOVE BITES there as it’s already a tough show to market etc, since its an anthology plus PRIVATE PRACTICE is already serving that same audience. If CHASE doesn’t work, it would be good counter programming to two Cop shows although CASTLE is also a lighter romance. Speaking of Monday does CHUCK get picked up beyond 13 eps. My gut says yes, but do all 13 air Mondays at 8p. I guess it all depends after tonight. THE EVENT will open strong and I could see it doing well enough for a full season pickup. Beyond that is anyone’s guess.
NBC has THE SING OFF and MINUTE TO WIN IT ready to come back. I could see MITWI and THE SING OFF maybe capped off with CELEBRITY APPRENTICE Sundays after Football, but NBC may want to have a bigger gap between APPRENTICE cycles and save it for Summer where it could be a big asset. I do think NBC will use all these on nights other than Friday. They also have THE NEXT GREAT RESTAURANT which could work anywhere on their schedule. NBC also has 2 comedies and HARRY’S LAW which could be a Thursday at 10p option and I assume PARKS & RECREATION will follow THE OFFICE sooner or later this season. Hmmm, I’ve actually been no help here at all regarding NBC. More questions than answers.
OK, it’s time for me to shut up and let the season actually begin. However it shakes out, I hope every network gets at least one new hit.