We’re 2 weeks away from the Upfronts and there are already some things I suggested in my network thoughts that likely won’t come to pass. (Hannibal likely won’t be Thu at 10p in the fall, for example. Too soon to tell if it will be renewed though). There are some things, however, I feel even stronger about. I can’t fathom why CBS wouldn’t expand their comedy block to 4 comedies on Thu and move The Big Bang Theory to 9p. I know I’ve been suggesting this since fall ’11, but It seems now would really be the time for CBS to strike. The Big Bang Theory is bigger than ever and would likely be even bigger at 9p and make their entire night stronger. It could also help them launch at least one, but possibly 2 new comedies, which they definitely need with How I Met Your Mother ending.
Just assessing the ratings, it’s obvious it would benefit them. Despite CBSs protests that Person Of Interest is “TVs Fastest Growing Show”, its 18-49 same day ratings are virtually identical to a year ago and that is with The Big Bang Theory being much bigger and their 8p hour stronger overall, including its 8:30 lead in. Most weeks 9-year-old Grey’s Anatomy beats it and that’s without having a decent lead in. Grey’s virtually triples its 8p show while CBS goes from being #1 by many miles at 8p to being number 2 in the demo from 9-11 (TVs fastest growing show as far as I can tell is Scandal which grew almost a full point this week from a year ago 2.0-2.8) .
As I outlined in my CBS Thoughts, they could air TBBT at 9p with Two and A Half Men being their 8p leadoff and slot 2 new comedies at 8:30 and 9:30. I am guessing Elementary stays at 10p and they move PoI elsewhere (either Sunday at 9 or Monday at 10 with Beverly Hills Cop in the other slot). PoI seems like it would hold up better in same day numbers if moved then Elementary and will likely improve upon the numbers The Good Wife or Hawaii 5-0 was bringing in – so upgrade year to year. With TBBT likely to be at least 3 points higher at 9p than POI currently is, that could help bring more people to Elementary. So win, win, win.
While I think moving TBBT to 9p would make CBS much stronger on the night, it would definitely make their 8p less strong than it is now (They would trade a lower 8p for a stronger nightly average, including much higher 9p and likely bigger 10p, and possible new comedy hits) and that could create opportunities for other networks. As it is now, American Idol isn’t hurting other nets at 8p. The only real threat at 8p is TBBT. If it moved to 9p, well that opens a whole world for every other network to strike.
NBC: As I suggested in my NBC Thoughts, I still think NBC wants to keep their Thu comedy legacy intact and with no TBBT at 8p, that could potentially help them launch something new. I still maintain that NBC should launch 3 new comedies on this night with Michael J. Fox as their 9p anchor. To help that out maybe the first 3 weeks they air another round of Blind Auditions of The Voice at 8p which should help them drive people to MJ FOX at 9p. Then they can launch a new comedy at 8p (I’m still going with Craig Robinson into Parks & Rec).
FOX: Last week in my FOX Thoughts I suggested they move the performance show of X Factor to Thu, but should FOX decide to keep the sked the same (Wed/Thu), they should use 8p to launch a new show into the results at 9p. If Two and Half Men is on at 8 with a new comedy that’s less of a threat and FOX could potentially launch Rake here, or the 2 male skewing comedies Brooklyn 99 into Enlisted (which could potentially create a Mike Schur hour on 2 nets). Airing the results at 9 would be a good option against big hits on other nets, plus they would likely be the only reality in the hour.
ABC: I still think ABC will start out with reality (possibly something new) and a new strong reality show could stand out there, but the more I think about it wouldn’t be crazy for ABC to try scripted into their 2 big drama hits. Its worth noting that a year ago this week, (though deemed a huge flop by many), Missing was still pulling close to 7 million viewers. Yes it was much older skewing, but 7 million at 8p in DST affected spring against two of TVs biggest hits is not too shabby and it likely drove a few people into Greys. While I think ABC was smart in putting big drama swings like Last Resort here (it was counterprogramming, no other drama etc.), maybe the lesson is the two Thursday ABC dramas are very female skewing and the big 8pm swings were too male leaning especially against TBBT and Thu night football. Maybe a female skewing drama could work well at 8p. I keep thinking Murder in Manhattan could be the kind of show that might work here. It’s a mother/daughter sleuth team, light procedural/family drama. Bones did very well here for years. There’s no drama currently (certainly no procedural) in this slot. Late last year, I suggested ABC put Body Of Proof here. It likely would have done what Missing did. 7 million and a low 1.0, but that is still better than the 3-4 million Wife Swap has been getting and it certainly commands bigger ad rates. Murder In Manhattan is very on brand for ABC and should TBBT be moved to 9p it could potentially be a strong option here. In my ABC Thoughts, I suggested they attack Tue with a new drama at 8 and 10 (possibly Murder In Manhattan there). With a new drama 9p Sunday (I’m still going with Gothica) that’s 3 dramas for the fall and I don’t see ABC launching 4, nor should they. It’s almost too bad Body of Proof isn’t stronger Tue at 10 (though I still think ABC should renew it for midseason or even Fri at 9 down the road, should they not go the comedy route), since they could launch MiM Thu at 8p.
Another potential idea for ABC is the Rebel Wilson comedy Super Fun Night into another younger skewing comedy like Mioxology. Rebel is a much-loved star in the making. If her comedy comes out great and TBBT is on at 9, ABC could potentially slot those female skewing comedies here, which would be counter to the more male skewing comedies on other nets and appeal to the audience watching the ABC female skewing Thu dramas. Of course lots of “ifs” now. Who knows how any of these new shows came out and that will dictate many of these decisions.
One last idea for ABC Thursday: I’m still maintaining ABC rest their Sun dramas for all of Jan and Feb so as not to waste them against all those big events, especially 3 Olympic Sundays. Then they can run them uninterrupted in fall and spring. There’s all this talk about the Once Upon A Time In Wonderland spinoff taking over for the mother show in between. ABC is not gonna waste the spinoff against those big events. My guess is that the Once spinoff is a potential midseason replacement and a good safety net. Should the new 9p Sunday show like Gothica fail, well then the Once spinoff is a perfect show to air all spring after the mother show. BUT it got me thinking that the Once Spinoff could potentially work really well Thu at 8p. A romantic fantasy filled show could lead well into the Thu dramas.
My gut says ABC still starts the season with reality as they might need to direct their promotional muscle to Tue night (I’m still going with Shield/Shark Tank/New drama) and a new Sunday drama and relaunching returning hits like Nashville (possibly on Mon Night) and a new Wednesday comedy . There’s just so much you can promote and not dilute your message, and they already have 2 strong dramas on Thu so new scripted shows are needed more elsewhere. But with CBS potentially moving TBBT to 9p it should make them think of seizing the opportunity as should all the other nets.
It’s also quite possible that despite my insistence that CBS will do this, TBBT stays put at 8p next fall and all of this is moot. I’m not betting on it, but it’s certainly possible.