Last week Fox announced their Fall premiere dates and today ABC has. FOX has basically two hours of X FACTOR thru mid November on Wed/Thu. Terra Nova is premiering the second Monday of the season. FOX says the reason is to use the X FACTORs 2 night premiere and Sunday Football doubleheader to promote it and while I am sure that’s a major part of it, staying out of the way of Ashton Kutcher’s first night on Two and A Half Men and the DWTS premiere probably has something to do with it as well. It’s smart. Most shows drop the 2nd week after the glow of the premiere wears off and FOX can be the hot new thing that night. I Hate My Teenage Daughter, which isn’t getting much critical love doesn’t premiere til Thanksgiving Eve and Bones premieres the first night of November sweeps and runs consecutively through December. All this makes me think FOX is headed for a much stronger Fall than last.
Regarding the just announced ABC dates, they are super sizing their biggest hits for premiere week and only premiering 3 new shows, Revenge, Charlie’s Angels and Pan Am, the first week. I assume this is because with 2 hours of DWTS, GREYS and hour of The Middle and Modern Family they will have more eyeballs to promote new Fall series than they have had all Summer, and I get that. I just don’t think its smart to blow your wad the first week. Premieres also rate much higher than subsequent episodes. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to premiere Suburgatory the first week after The Middle when that show will have a bigger audience than the second week? Playing devil’s advocate, X Factor premieres that night and ABC likely wants to go up with the strongest lineup as possible, plus an hour Modern Family gives Revenge a much better shot at getting sampled, so in the latter case it actually does make more sense. But I certainly don’t get the 2 hour Grey’s. Last year Grey’s made 22 hours. When you run 2 hours in your first week you already insure an extra week of reruns down the road of a show that doesn’t perform well in reruns. With only one new show in the 10p hour, NBCs Prime Suspect, I don’t get why they didn’t premiere Private Practice that night and conserve an ep of their biggest drama for later in the season.
The most perplexing scheduling note to me, is delaying Once Upon A Time to Oct 23rd and running Extreme Makeover: Home Edition on Sundays til then. I understand that ABC has 2 new dramas to promote on Sunday and I get delaying one of them a week or two to maximize promotion for both, but a) why til Oct 23rd vs The World Series and b) if you’re gonna delay the show for a month – why go with EM:HE? Why not at least return Secret Millionaire for those 4 weeks. It did far better than EM:HE this Spring and won’t require the massive promotion it did when it premiered. They could easily run reruns of the 6 Spring eps starting in August and then lead into the premiere. EM:HE could slide to Friday right away. ABC Sundays have been trending down a lot, especially this Spring and at least with Secret Millionaire into DH, Pan Am has a better shot that first month of getting sampled. As is, for the first month of the season, ABCs weaker Sunday night from last year is exactly intact until 10p.
I assume like the last few years ABC will use Fridays in the fall to rerun new shows for the first weeks, which frankly hasn’t resulted in those shows becoming hits and just dragged down their Friday numbers. They could always start the night with EM:HE and use the 9p hour for a few weeks to encore new shows.
Speaking of, why is Shark Tank left completely off the release of dates? Shark Tank is proving to be a real asset for ABC. Even reruns of the show this Summer are winning its time slot and getting numbers very close to what it gets in orginals. Could the lack of a date mean ABC has bigger plans for it? UPDATE: Entertainment Weekly is now reporting that Shark Tank has been moved to midseason. I assume this means the network sees the potential and it will get a nice push when it returns. 2 hour EM:HE is a very good option for Friday (and should win the night for them) until Shark Tank returns. Frankly, it would even make sense to keep the show 2 hours all season on Friday, and then they could potentially use Shark Tank on another night. I really don’t understand why they are delaying Shark Tank when it has some momentum on Friday nights now. It would win 9p Friday in the demo easily. Like I said, I hope the delay is only for the benefit for the show. From what I hear, the show hasn’t been picked up for a full 22 eps (I have heard anywhere from 13-17). From what it apparently costs to make and the results it provides for ABC in orginals and reruns, seems like they would want to order 22 eps.
I think premiering the Tuesday comedies late in October makes a lot of sense, though. After the premieres of Glee and NCIS, ABC can make a big promo splash with Tim Allen’s return to TV. I assume ABC will run a DWTS special in the hour until then. Those did better for ABC this Spring than anything recently has in the hour. In this case ABC has a good option while delaying their premieres and has a better shot at getting their Tues comedies (especially Tim’s) sampled after the premiere dust has settled. Plus Body Of Proof has been ABCs best performer Tues at 10p in years, and this allows it to have a bit of cushion (and more of Tuesday’s promotion) the first few weeks, before the comedies premiere, and as CBS launches a new procedural (with a female lead) at 10p.