A few things surprise me about NBCs Midseason Sked:
1) Taking Revolution off for 4 months: 10 eps will air thru the end of November. That leaves 12 left which means new eps will air thru June. I think it’s really risky to take off a big drama like this after only airing 10 eps. NBC likely will point to serialized cable dramas like The Walking Dead, but that show is truly an anomaly (5.4 this past week). Plus they’ll maintain they will still be airing it uninterrupted after their massive The Voice so it should continue to do its strong business. Plus they’ll likely offer the thought that ABC and CBS dramas aren’t likely to move on Monday and are now only doing a low 2.0, at best. With The Biggest Loser as a lead on Mon, they likely see an opportunity to launch Deception, a female skewing, mystery soap. The smart scheduling gurus now at NBC launched Revenge, (last year at ABC), another female led mystery soap, against two aging procedurals, so I do see the logic. I guess I’ve just never seen a broadcast network take off their biggest new show, for such a large hiatus in Season 1 after only 2 months. (Plus even if Deception is great, there’s no guarantee it will hit). It’s even more surprising to me in Revolution’s case because the DVR lift it is getting is massive and it shows that it’s way more than a timeslot hit. NBC could have aired 9 eps of Revolution thru the end of November. Run reruns thru middle of Jan. Return with new eps the last 2 weeks in Jan and run consecutively thru the end of Feb sweeps. That would have given them 6 new eps in a row (and 15 eps total). They would only need 4 weeks off in March and then run the final 7 in a row starting in April. Should they convince the producers to make an extra ep 23 or 24, the March break would even be smaller. This way the show runs ALL season, isn’t off the air for 4 months and runs most eps consecutively with minimal interruptions. They would have their biggest hit (and one of TVs biggest) on Mon all year.
Sure, Revolution will likely to still do well at the end of March especially when paired with The Voice, as it is now. But 4 months in this biz is a long time (18 months ago DWTS was still getting 5’s and 22 million). I see NBCs thought process but I would assume it would be more important to air the eps in Feb than in June and without a 4 month break. But maybe NBC knows what they’re doing. TV is rapidly changing. Just seems quite risky to me.
2) Parenthood getting its shortest ep order yet (other than S1): It’s far from a ratings beast, but it is by far NBCs most critically acclaimed drama and currently it is #1 in its timeslot Tue at 10. It seems peculiar to me that NBC rewards that each season by cutting their order more each year. It will cap its season at 15 eps this year. As I have mentioned repeatedly, there is a crater like hole for a new hit Tue at 10. If they were gonna not gonna reward P-Hood with a 22 ep order, why not extend it to 18 (like last year) and use that slot from Mar-May to launch Deception? It’s likely NBC sees The Biggest Loser as a better lead in than The New Normal for the new show, but Deception has much bigger shoes to fill Mon at 10 for NBC than on Tue at 10 where the biggest non NBC hit on Tue at 10 last week got a 1.6. That would seem easier to beat. The 2 Mon 10p shows, while not producing 3’s anymore have large fanbases and in Castle’s case, a large fan base of women invested in the romance of Castle and Beckett. I would think Deception would have an easier time on Tue. Plus launching it in the Spring when The Voice is back makes Mon and Tue much stronger for NBC in general and likely would help Deception.
3) The continued scheduling of Rock Center in the valuable Thu 10p slot: They are handing a gift to ABC and CBS. I’d use the proverbial “Does Brian Williams have naked pictures of them?”, but it seems extra silly here when everyone knows they could easily do better with other shows (even they do, I’m sure). I get that for whatever reason (or many reasons like: a)Brian Williams is very important to them, b)The show does good some very good journalistic pieces, c)Employs many respected correspondents like Ted Koppel), they feel the need to air this low rated newsmagazine, but why not air it on Fri at 10 or Sun at 7 in place of one of Dateline‘s hours where it will likely do the same number as Thu. Thu at 10 would be a great place for Smash and Smash won’t have to go far to produce numbers better than anything that has aired the last few years in that timeslot for NBC. Even if Smash is down from last year and produces a mid to high 1, that’s a huge win for NBC on Thu at 10. It’s also not inconceivable for some Glee fans to switch over at 10p. You know that NBCs ad rates will be much higher there for Smash (which does very well with high income households) than they are for Rock Center. (Maybe NBC is planning on Thu at 10 for the still unscheduled Do No Harm. It’s also possible (though not likely, currently) that Chicago Fire doesn’t get a back 9 and that goes to Wed. Clearly NBC is wating to see how that plays out before they schedule Do No Harm.)
NBC has come out of nowhere and launched the biggest new scripted drama in years and after 10 years in 4th place, is firmly #1 so far this season, So it would be silly of me to second guess them. It’s quite possible these scheduling moves will work out just fine for them.