I have to say – FOX midseason schedule is beyond genius. They leave Sun, Mon and Tues mega hits in place and use IDOL to prop up Wed/Thu, whereby they get themselves a piece of the Thursday pie and in the process send their biggest guns blazing at The Big Bang Theory and NBC and ABC Thurs in general who are all likely to lose a couple of tenths, though I imagine CBS will weather the best as always.
I’m not surprised. The guys at FOX are smart programmers and I first predicted/suggested a move like this on the first day of the new season 9.20: so-what-happens-next
I then revisited the idea October 6th: this-january-i-expect-either-i
Finally a few weeks ago when FOX set THE CHICAGO CODE for Mondays, I presented a possible FOX sked with Tuesdays as is and IDOL to Wed/Thu: fox-midseason-prediction
This isn’t about saying “I called it” because I honestly wasn’t sure if GLEE or IDOL were going to Thurs, but I just didn’t think FOX would waste their 2 smash hits of GLEE and IDOL on the same night. At the same time, I knew it gave FOX a shot at Thurs and with GLEE entrenched on Tuesday, they finally had a big hit which enabled them to be this aggressive. Plus with Thursdays lacking a powerhouse on any net (and NO REALITY SHOW), this would give FOX another night to claim and could potentially set up Wed/Thu as a year round reality schedule with SYTYCD in Summer and X FACTOR in Fall occupying those nights (SYTYCD already does) . Plus GLEE won’t have to move again.
FOX basically has a monster hit on every night of the week. The only thing I might have done differently is given FRINGE the IDOL lead in on Wed and moved HUMAN TARGET to Friday. FRINGE is a 1.9 against mega hits on Thursday and makes up a lot in DVR. Human Target had the IDOL lead out last season and was getting low 2’s at best. It premiered with a 1.8 this week (less than FRINGE) and odds are its numbers wont be higher than that. I’m also surprised that FOX didn’t put the results show on Thursday at 9p (like Wed) . It would still raise BONES numbers with pre tune in and would own 9p. As is, BONES will surely get a boost but it’s not definite that it can beat GREYS even with IDOL lead in. Some might say that GREYS might benefit from the IDOL lead in too. Either way FOX now owns Thurs and has prevented TBBT from being the highest rated show on the night and derails NBC comedies in that hour. Speaking of , let’s examine how this might affect the other nets.
As always, CBS will weather better than anyone. NCIS barely got dinged on Tuesdays. I think TBBT is a bit more vulnerable but outside of cutting off a few tenths, it should be fine. CSI might go down a bit more, but still should weather okay. SURVIVOR and CRIMINAL MINDS have held up well when they have gone up against IDOL. Again CBS usually prevails. and I expect them to again. LIVE TO DANCE is vulnerable but they have 2 weeks without IDOL. Here’s a new thought (Sat 11.20): Might CBS swap CSI and TBBT, so that TBBT gets the 9p anchor slot and avoids IDOL. CSI is not gonna grow anymore and like all CBS procedurals shouldn’t get hurt that much by IDOL. Plus the procedural fans that were enjoying Bones at 8p can watch CSI. TBBT has been the highest rated demo show for weeks at 8p. At 9p with higher HUT levels, it could at least hold its 8p numbers and possibly grow. Maybe sometime this season, they pair it with the young skewing MAD LOVE at 9:30. At 9p CBS has a shot at being the highest rated show in the hour. The Office does present some competition but that show is in its 7th season. I could see CBS leaving the schedule as is, But I also wouldn’t be surprised to see them make this move.
They were planning on finally having a lead in Thu 8p with Winter Wipeout which should have done at least a 2.5 and likely given them second place to CBS for Jan/Feb. Many people, myself included, were suggesting ABC to put a reality show here since Sep when they cancelled MY GEN, as it was an obvious hole. They waited til Jan and now FOX smartly beat them to it. At this point If I were scheduling ABC I’d move Winter Wipeout to Tuesdays to give that night a pulse because come Jan it’s not really gonna have one. I personally am a fan of NOF, V and DETROIT but this week NOF and DETROIT both got under a 2 and that’s with DWTS in the middle. V will be lucky to get low 2’s, but now that IDOL isn’t there, it might have more of a shot. Maybe slide down NOF and V to 9 and 10p respectively after WW but that leaves DETROIT essentially dead. So maybe not. I would suggest NOF to Sundays at 8p but there’s big awards show and big Football there in Jan, so nah. I would imagine this is the kind of thinking going on at all the nets now (again smart move FOX!) I just think WW was an asset for them, but vs IDOL it will be affected and kind of defeats the whole purpose of greenlighting this Winter edition. The more I think about it, NOF staying at 8, WIPEOUT at 9 in the anchor position and V at 10 on Tuesdays makes the most sense for ABC. I don’t know what they do with Detroit. Thursdays at 8p, maybe they’ll have to stunt for Feb sweeps. I also expected ABC to run their new weight loss show beginning in March Thu at 8 after WIPEOUT finished its run. Obviously they need a new plan now. GREYS has been dipping without IDOL on the night. BONES might not beat GREYS but it will certainly do better than it was at 8p and will take GREYS down a bit more and ABC will now be in 3rd for the night.
As a fan of THE MIDDLE and MODERN FAMILY, I’m not thrilled with IDOL going against those shows. THE MIDDLE has been showing some momentum, this will probably slow that down, plus BETTER WITH YOU was already squandering that lead in, now there is a big alternative and I’d hate for MF to be hurt more. Last year it held up well but that was vs. the results show. Yeah ABC is not CBS and their comedy block could be taken down a bit, hopefully not too much. Not thrilled. But FOX as programmers are smart.
I believe that NBC set Jan 20th as the night for their new comedy block because they thought this might be a possibility. But FOX is premiering IDOL a week later than normal on the same night as the comedy block premieres. I expect NBC to either move it up a week or down a week but they’ll just have to ride it out and hope Community doesn’t dip too much. Maybe they’ll flip Outsourced and Perfect Couples, to give the latter a shot at finding an audience. Either way, it’s a risk.
The Vampire Diaries should get dinged a bit too, but will likely hold up okay.
Bottom Line: This lineup strengthens FOX on every night, makes them a Thurs Player and will help them win that night in addition to Wed, and Tues and keeps the stability of Sun-Tues. They also just sent every other net back to the drawing board or at least contemplating moves or just expecting some ratings hits. That’s smart and aggressive programming!