Monday, December 27, 2010

Not Really Doing the Midseason Shuffle: The CW

The CW's midseason schedule provided the fewest changes from the fall lineup, with only one show getting the axe, one show premiering, and one show changing timeslots. The biggest news is from Deadline, who broke that Dawn Ostroff will most likely not be returning as the head of the network for next season.


8:00 - 90210
9:00 - Gossip Girl

No changes here. I expected 90210 to be gone by the end of the season, but it's been doing surprisingly well in its new slot. Gossip Girl has fallen considerably over the years, yet it is still one of the network's highest performing shows in their target demographic: women 18-34.


8:00 - One Tree Hill
9:00 - Hellcats

This is where the changes happen with Life Unexpected going off the air on January 18, following a double-episode burn off. The show hasn't been officially canceled, but it did not receive a backorder (when all the other series did) and its final episodes are airing before the network's other shows are officially back from hiatus. Plus, Warner Brothers recently announced the release of "The Complete Series" on DVD in April of 2011... so it's pretty much dead. And to take its spot, Hellcats makes the move out of the way of American Idol.


8:00 - America's Next Top Model
9:00 - Shedding for the Wedding

This is actually a very smart night for the CW. With American Idol's peformance shows now moving to Wednesdays, it makes sense to have a night of reality fare up against it. ANTM is the network's best-performing show in all demographics (its finale even beat NBC in November, giving the CW a third-place finish for the hour), so if anything is going to hold up against American Idol, this is it. The CW doesn't have the best luck with other reality shows, however; in fact their track record is downright hideous. So if new series Shedding for the Wedding fails in its timeslot, the network can blame the competition rather than its trite premise of brides losing weight before the big day.


8:00 - The Vampire Diaries
9:00 - Nikita

Again, no changes here. I still am fascinated by the fact that Nikita got a backorder, however; it usually garners about a 1.0 in the adults 18-49 demo, which is better than Life Unexpected's usual 0.7 or 0.8.. but it is also not the CW's target demo. In the women 18-34, the latter has consistently outperformed Nikita, even though neither show's numbers are particularly great (about 1.3. vs. 1.1). But perhaps with Dawn Ostroff out the door, that target demographic is beginning to change...? If so, the backorder for Nikita makes perfect sense: it outperforms at least two other CW shows in A18-49 numbers.


8:00 - Smallville
9:00 - Supernatural

Smallville enters its final few episodes following the winter hiatus; I'm very curious to see what the CW does with Supernatural now. It was supposed to end last season, according to the creator and his original five-year plan for the show, but was renewed even at mediocre numbers; but following Smallville, it has increased its audience and its demo over last season, when it followed the highly successful The Vampire Diaries. I wouldn't think the CW would want to move it back to that timeslot, but would they want to launch a new show on Friday nights at 8:00? Where else is it compatible?

So even though their midseason schedule is not at all risky or exciting, there are some interesting things ahead for the CW. Will Dawn Ostroff leave? What will that mean for the network's demographic? Which of the new shows will be returning next year, and which of the veterans will get the chop? Something's got to give this year... stay tuned.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Doing the Midseason Shuffle: CBS

In comparison to NBC and FOX, CBS had relatively few changes to its 2011 midseason schedule. Unlike all previous networks whom announced new schedules (including the CW, which I'll get to in another post), CBS canceled no new series, a very good sign for them. A not so great sign? They let go of a veteran series: Medium. CBS also canceled another Friday series last year that was very popular, Ghost Whisperer, and this year they tried out the freshman drama Blue Bloods on Fridays. Perhaps they are looking to get away from programming on that night, however, as you can see in their new line-up.


8:00 - How I Met Your Mother
8:30 - Rules of Engagement (January 3 through February 14)
8:30 - Mad Love (beginning February 21)
9:00 - Two and a Half Men
9:30 - Mike & Molly
10:00 - Hawaii Five-0

CBS's successful Monday night comedy block will remain mostly intact, with the exception of Rules of Engagement, which will return for just three new episodes in this timeslot and the remainder reruns before being shipped off to a new night. I think this bodes well for newcomer Mad Love and for the veteran sitcom as well, which I'll get to in a minute. Otherwise, this is still as solid a line-up as ever; CBS viewers generally don't care if the show is good or not, as long as it's on after something they like (see: Mike & Molly).


8:00 - NCIS
9:00 - NCIS: Los Angeles
10:00 - The Good Wife

No changes, as expected. This is one of CBS's stronger nights.


8:00 - Live to Dance (January 5 through February 9)
8:00 - Survivor: Redemption Island (beginning February 16)
9:00 - Criminal Minds
10:00 - Blue Bloods (January 19 through February 9)
10:00 - Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior (beginning February 16)

So here we have the biggest shake-up, and it's not much of one at all. Blue Bloods is a great performer for CBS on Fridays, so it makes sense for them to want to see how well it will do on a busier night; they could stand to make more money from it that way. Pairing it with Criminal Minds was certainly a good choice, though it may have done better on Tuesday after NCIS: Los Angeles and without Law & Order: SVU as competition. But it's only a four-week test run, and one that probably means good things for the freshman series if it does moderately well. Live to Dance is completely being thrown to the wolves, as it will be up against American Idol. I guess we'll know for sure, though, how many people really did tune in to see Paula Abdul make a fool of herself on that show. I'm not sure how the new Criminal Minds spin-off will do immediately following its parent series, since the two have little in common. If Law & Order: LA taught us anything, it's that that strategy doesn't always work; I mean, look how spread out the many CSI series are.


8:00 - The Big Bang Theory
8:30 - Shit My Dad Says (through February 17)
8:30 - Rules of Engagement (beginning February 24)
9:00 - CSI
10:00 - The Mentalist

The only change here is the move from Mondays for Rules of Engagement. Clearly, launching a new series out of The Big Bang Theory's big move from Mondays didn't do Shit My Dad Says any favors (though the fact that it sucks could be a factor in its failure as well). I think that series is probably likely to be canceled, considering there were only five additional episodes ordered (for a total of 17, an odd number for any show) and that it will be off the air come February. Moving a series in its fifth year to this new comedy night will confirm or deny to CBS whether or not attempting a second night of sitcoms was a good idea.


8:00 - Medium (through January 21)
8:00 - The Defenders (beginning February 4)
8:00 - Chaos (beginning April 1)
9:00 - CSI: New York
10:00 - Blue Bloods (beginning February 11)

Medium gives its swan song in January after seven seasons on the air and a major network change. The Defenders, an underperforming freshman drama, moves from Wednesdays to Fridays to die. This is probably the end for the series (which didn't even receive a back order), which will pave the way for another new series to begin in April, Chaos. I don't think CBS has very high hopes for this new dramedy: it stars no "names" and is debuting in a fashion similar to last season's turkey, Miami Medical. No wonder they want to move Blue Bloods to a better night and away from the wasteland they've created for themselves on Friday nights. Even CSI: NY isn't performing very well anymore on a night where CBS used to actually compete.


8:00 - The Amazing Race (beginning February 20)
9:00 - Undercover Boss
10:00 - CSI: Miami

CBS didn't officially confirm their Sunday night plans, so this is what I've gathered from other sources. Undercover Boss got a full season order, but it was for an unspecified number of episodes; it's just a guess that they'll keep it around for the remainder of the season.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Doing the Midseason Shuffle: Fox

While not as soul-shaking as the NBC midseason lineup, Fox didn't skimp on the drama when it announced its 2011 plans last month. There are some big changes in store for the network, particularly with their flagship series, American Idol. Let's do it to it.


8:00 - House
9:00 - The Chicago Code (beginning February 7)

For starters, I think it's interesting that Fox has decided not to order any more episodes of Lie to Me, which will be burned off in January so that The Chicago Code (formerly Ride-a-long) can take over. I've heard lots of positive things about The Chicago Code, though Lone Star was similarly well-received by critics at the start of the season. Regardless, Lie to Me has to be getting expensive as it continues, and it's not pulling great ratings; unfortunately, House hasn't been doing as well this season either. Mondays are looking kind of grim for Fox nowadays, with the declining ratings for House and 24's first replacement being a major bomb. But the good news for The Chicago Code is that it won't have to be a huge hit in order for Fox to consider it a success now that their expectations have been lowered.


8:00 - Glee
9:00 - Raising Hope
9:30 - Traffic Light

Glee is consistently Fox's best performer and one of the best performer's of the entire broadcast week, so it's no surprise that Fox didn't want to mess up a good thing: it was supposed to move to Wednesdays at midseason. Keeping it where it is is a smart decision, especially considering how well new sitcom Raising Hope has done with it as a lead-in. Now that Raising Hope has something of an audience and is doing steady numbers, perhaps it can be used to successfully launch Traffic Light (formerly Mixed Signals). I don't know if it'll happen, considering how poorly Running Wilde did in the same slot... and that show had a couple of recognizable and well-liked stars, which this new series does not.


8:00 - American Idol (beginning January 19)
9:00 - Human Target (until February 9)

8:00 - American Idol (beginning April 6)
9:30 - Breaking In (beginning April 6)

So here's the big switch. American Idol moves its performance show to Wednesday nights for 2 hours throughout February and March, and then cut back to 90 minutes in April. On one hand, I think this spells doom for Human Target, which has fallen this season and is getting a quick burn off in January with 2 episodes per night prior to AI's debut. But I think it's a smart move to cut back by a half hour once the contestants begin to dwindle; it'll make the performance shows move quicker, and it gives Fox the opportunity to try out a new sitcom: Breaking In (formerly Security), which got a late pickup last month after originally being passed over. It'll also be interesting to see how audiences respond to all the changes happening with the panel on AI, including two new judges.


8:00 - American Idol (beginning January 20)
9:00 - Bones

So the real winner of this entire switch up seems to be Bones. Fox usually uses the American Idol lead-out to launch a new show, like last year's smash Glee. But this year they're giving one of their old standbys and consistent performers a shot at growth. In the process, though, they seem to have given up on Fringe, which I'll talk about in a little bit. But overall, the American Idol switch up probably won't have much affect on its viewership; if anything, the effect (good or bad) will probalby come more from its changes than from its time shift.


8:00 - Kitchen Nightmares (beginning January 21)
9:00 - Fringe (beginning January 21)

Kitchen Nightmares should do fine an hour later than usual. It's a reality show, and a seasoned one at that; and if anything is going to succeed on a Friday, it'll be a seasoned reality show. It did fine at 9:00, so I don't see an issue really at 8:00... after all, it only had encores of House to build out of anyway. The real story is Fringe, which is being thrown under the bus by American Idol. Granted, Fringe has tumbled quite a bit in its third season, so it makes sense for Fox to want to try it out on Friday. If it does well there, its outlook for renewal will grow; if it continues to flounder, it will be canceled in May. Fox's president has even said that if Fringe does as well as Friday as it does on Thursday (about 1.8 A18-49) then it will be considered a success... however, since that announcement was made, it has fallen on Thursdays to a lowly 1.6, which is the same as Human Target's lows, a series sure to be canceled in light of its quick burn off. So as of now, things aren't looking to good for Fringe...


7:30 - American Dad
8:00 - The Simpsons
8:30 - Bob's Burgers
9:00 - Family Guy
9:30 - The Cleveland Show

I don't really understand why Fox is so supportive of The Cleveland Show and so dismissive of American Dad. The former has fallen considerably since its debut last year, but since Fox decided to renew it for a third season while it was only halfway through the first, I guess they need to find a way to get the most out of it. American Dad, on the other hand, has been holding steady around 2.5 for a while now, and it does well with Family Guy as a lead-in and relatively well on its own. The Cleveland Show, however, depends on Family Guy's audience tuning in early; it doesn't do nearly as well when its parent show is in repeats or preempted. And it looks like Fox is trying to replace American Dad with Bob's Burgers. I don't know how well this new animated comedy will do. Cleveland did so well because it was a spin-off. Sons of Tucson failed miserably, though that was live-action. At least Bob's Burgers fits thematically with the animated family comedy... though it doesn't look very funny. We'll see.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Doing the Midseason Shuffle: NBC

NBC has the most complicated, potentially most destructive, and most strange midseason schedule released so far. To be fair, the only other network to release a full schedule is FOX; but they provided some major shake-ups as well, so it's still quite a feat for NBC to be so confusing.


8:00 - Chuck
9:00 - The Cape (two-hour premiere on Sunday, January 9 then regular timing January 17)
9:00 - The Event (beginning February 28 with two new episodes)
10:00 - Harry's Law (beginning January 17)
10:00 - Parenthood (beginning March 7)

Okay, so this is a big change. Chuck stays where it is; it's been performing pretty solidly this season, especially compared to the new series. The Cape debuts cold on a Sunday night, with an encore the following night, and then new episodes for six weeks. Harry's Law doesn't get the benefit of a "premiere event," but it's in much the same place as The Cape... and doesn't exactly seem compatible with a superhero show. I can't decide if what NBC is doing with The Cape is smart and shows they have faith in it, or completely stupid and a way of burning off a commitment that should never have happened in the first place. Because The Event is crashing so hard, I'm going to go with the former. I think NBC is hoping that The Cape will draw at least a 2.0 in the demo (not much to ask for, honestly, especially in a relatively easy timeslot) so that they can have new episodes ordered while The Event finishes a rushed run; it's telling that The Event won't be around for February sweeps. Because let's be honest: The Event is this year's FlashForward. It started really strong, faded quickly, and now will be absolutely killed by a very long hiatus. It's not seeing a second season. The strange thing about both The Cape and Harry's Law, though, is that each will only be airing a portion of their produced episodes. I'm assuming NBC is saving them (5 and 6 episodes each, respectively) in case The Event and/or Parenthood performs poorly and they need a boost during May sweeps. After all, Parenthood is now going up against Castle on ABC and Hawaii 5-0 on CBS; it now routinely loses to two of those networks' lowest-rated series on Tuesdays at 10:00... now it's going up against longer-running shows with better ratings. Uh oh.


8:00 - The Biggest Loser: Couples
10:00 - Parenthood (4 episodes in January)
10:00 - Law & Order: Los Angeles (beginning February 8)

Yeah, Parenthood is a goner. It'll be in its regular slot for all of January, then disappear for sweeps in February, and come back in a death-slot in March. Moving the newest Law & Order to Tuesdays is probably a good move; it'll be decent competition for ABC's cop show Detroit 1-8-7, which is pretty low-rated. LO:LA will probably beat it, and it may even beat CBS's The Good Wife as well, unless its recent horrid ratings on Wednesdays at 10:00 is an indication that audiences just don't want it anymore.


8:00 - Minute to Win It
9:00 - Chase (beginning January 12)
9:00 - America's Next Great Resaturant (beginning March 16)
10:00 - Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (beginning January 5)

NBC is so stupid sometimes. They tried SVU at 9:00 last season, and it did not do well. When The Jay Leno Show was canceled and it moved back to 10:00, it soared again in the ratings. Clearly this is a 10:00pm show, and now it's back where it belongs. I don't fully understand why Chase was given a full season order when NBC had (and still has) so many shows waiting in the wings. Its ratings are awful, and now it is officially being euthanized as it goes up against Criminal Minds and American Idol. I think it's actualy smart of NBC to have 8:00-10:00 be unscripted programming as American Idol kicks into full gear in March; nothing is going to show all that strongly against AI, so it might as well be something that doesn't cost you much and that isn't serialized. And SVU is a flagship, so it's not really dependent upon compatible lead-ins. Once Chase is gone, this could be a relatively good night for NBC.


8:00 - Community
8:30 - Perfect Couples
9:00 - The Office
9:30 - Parks and Recreation
10:00 - 30 Rock
10:30 - Outsourced

Wow... they did it: a 3-hour comedy block. Thursdays have always been NBC's best night, and I think this new lineup will work out very well for them. Community is probably the only one getting the shaft, since it will still be up against The Big Bang Theory on CBS; but everything else will probably benefit. Parks & Rec should get a nice boost and some new audience members from following The Office. And it makes sense to move 30 Rock, one of the more successful comedies, to the 10:00 timeslot to try out the new third hour. It'll be a nice counterbalance to all the 10:00 dramas. This move will also prove if Outsourced actually has a strong audience or if people just leave the channel on after The Office ends.


8:00 - Who Do You Think You Are?
9:00 - Dateline

Okay, nothing to say.


8:00 - The Marriage Ref (beginning March 6)
9:00 - The Celebrity Apprentice (beginning March 6)

I think Sundays will be a better fit for The Marriage Ref. It's a night when people really just want to watch something fluffy and entertaining and thoughtless. And let's hope this new season of The Celebrity Apprentice does better than the most recent of the regular The Apprentice.


NBC still has several shows waiting should anything fail tremendously and need immediate replacing, though if Chase can not only avoid cancellation but get a full pick-up, I can't imagine that happening. But Love Bites, Friends with Benefits, and The Paul Reiser Show are all awaiting airtime, though I don't currently see them fitting anywhere until at least May.