Sunday, April 17, 2011

Fall 2011 Fantasy Schedule - NBC

For my final schedule prediction, I dug deep to try and make NBC's sinking ship float. Something's gotta give for NBC, and I think there are some prospects for the fall that will help bring them out of the slump they find themselves in.


8:00 - The Biggest Loser
10:00 - Harry's Law

I think NBC needs to move The Biggest Loser to Monday. None of its Monday dramas have succeeded, save for a small success from Harry's Law. It does relatively well against Castle and Hawaii Five-0, but they need something to garner some decent ratings at 8:00. While this move would put The Biggest Loser up against more competition from Dancing with the Stars, it moves it away from Glee.


8:00 - Wonder Woman (NEW)
9:00 - Smash (NEW)
10:00- Parenthood

This is why they need to move The Biggest Loser. Should Glee stay on Fox at 8:00 on Tuesdays, NBC needs to capitalize on that and launch their new pilot Smash after it. They need to hope that viewers will want more musical numbers and change the channel to their Broadway-themed series. And Wonder Woman should garner enough curiousity from that group of 18-49ers who would rather not watch a high-school show like Glee, and possibly even take away some of Glee's viewers.


8:00 - Prime Suspect (NEW)
9:00 - REM (NEW)
10:00 - Law & Order: SVU

This would be another bold move on NBC's behalf. Law & Order: SVU is the network's flagship series, and it performs best in the 10:00 timeslot. But these two new pilots are both variations on the L&O theme, with slight twists. The reviews of the REM script are very good, comparing it to a police procedural meets Inception. That movie was a huge hit, so obviously there is a market out there for high-concept, in-depth ideas. It has buzz potential to go up against Modern Family and The X Factor. Prime Suspect is based on a successful British series and has a strong leading lady in Maria Bello.

8:00 - Community
8:30 - Parks & Recreation
9:00 - The Office
9:30 - Alpha Mom (NEW)
10:00 - 30 Rock
10:30 - Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea (NEW)

The three-hour comedy block wasn't a huge bust for NBC, and this is their strongest night of the week. With Steve Carrell leaving The Office, there will likely be a drop in viewers. But Christina Applegate is always good for a decent number of viewers, and Alpha Mom (the Emily Spivey pilot) also has two SNL favorites on board: Maya Rudolph and Will Arnett. Chelsea Handler is a hot commodity right now, with two successful shows on E! and multiple best-selling books, so she should still be able to bring in enough viewers to hold her show's own in the 10:30 slot, plus viewers could then go right over to her talkshow at 11:00.


8:00 - Minute to Win It/Other Reality
9:00 - Who Do You Think You Are?/Other Reality
10:00 - Dateline

Nothing much to say here. After Outlaw's massive failure last fall, I don't see NBC trying to schedule a new drama on Fridays again.


8:00 - The Apprentice
10:00 - Playboy (NEW)

With Mad Men proving so popular and Sundays normally dominated by Fox and/or cable television, putting Playboy on at 10:00 would be a great way for NBC to give the Sunday lineup some competition.


NBC ordered a few too many projects for midseason this year, as two of them are still unaired. It's likely they'll either be put in summer or killed completely (Love Bites is likely for the latter). So I can see them having a few dramas on the backburner, just in case. I'd guess Chuck, as weak as it has been lately, will still get a midseason order for one last chance on the schedule and to push it into syndication territory (as it will be 10 episodes short as of the end of this season). And I can see them picking up one other drama, possibly Grimm, which is one of two "magical" police procedurals in development and the one with stronger buzz. In terms of comedies, I think they'll pick up three for midseason (in the event one or both newbies fail on Thursdays, or to try a fourth comedy block on another night in place of a failed drama). My guesses would be Brave New World, Help Wanted and Whitney.

I just don't see them getting out of this hole they're in without taking some risks, which unfortunately involves picking up a massive number of new shows again. Last season they picked up ten new shows, two of which never aired. Given how they are routinely now out-rated by both CW and Univision on certain nights, they need to keep trimming the fat. This schedule I've created would mean eleven new pickups, not including any new reality projects. That's steeper than what they did last year, which many considered crazy. But something drastic needs to happen, and that does not involve renewing shows with ratings below 1.5 (though I can see them bringing back Chuck despite its numbers in that area). Unfortunately, that's a large number of its shows.

Bottom Line Predictions

Canceled - The Cape, Chase, The Event, Friday Night Lights, Law & Order: LA, Outlaw, Outsourced, The Paul Reiser Show, Perfect Couples, Undercovers
New Series Comedy - Alpha Mom, Are You There Vodka? It's Me Chelsea, Brave New World (midseason), Help Wanted (midseason), Whitney (midseason)
New Series Drama - Grimm (midseason), Playboy, Prime Suspect, REM, Smash, Wonder Woman

Fall 2011 Fantasy Schedule - Fox

This is going to be the hardest to predict, but here goes.


8:00 - House
9:00 - Terra Nova (NEW)

Terra Nova seems to be causing a lot of issues for Fox, whether they like to admit it or not. The first two episodes were supposed to preview in May, but apparently they're not finished yet. With that kind of commitment, due to the effects-heavy nature of the series, Fox has already ordered 13 episodes, all of which have already filmed. So it needs to be aired, the only question is whether or not it will be ready for fall now. It would seem likely to put it in one of the weaker time slots, following one of Fox's biggest hits. But speaking of House, there's a lot of issues going on now with renewal negotiations. Common sense says "bring it back," but Fox wants a break from the studio since the ratings have declined so much this season. So as of now, Fox's option has expired and negotiations will continue, possibly with other networks. So even House may not be on Fox this fall, which would be a huge blow (so I do think they'll eventually reach a deal).


8:00 - Glee
9:00 - The New Girl (NEW)
9:30 - Raising Hope

I wonder if Fox will move Glee to Thursdays, to put The X Factor on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Obviously Glee has worked in this current timeslot, and its previous one on Wednesdays. There's no reason it couldn't work on another night as well. However, I don't know if I see them screwing with the entire schedule, and Fox needs Glee to launch a new show; since Raising Hope did so well out of it last season, I can see them trying another new sitcom. The New Girl seems likely, as it stars a well-known film actress (Zooey Deshcanel) and has tested well so far.


8:00 - The X Factor (NEW)

The big question is how much of the schedule The X Factor will take up. Having lightly researched the UK version of the show, it would need two episodes a week just like American Idol. So I would not be surprised to see auditions/mentoring twice a week at the beginning, with a performance show on Wednesday and a results show on Thursday. It is certainly possible that Fox will show just as much faith in its scripted pilots and reduce The X Factor to just one two-hour slot per week. But with the way Fox is promoting it, I don't see that happening.


8:00 - The X Factor Results (NEW)
9:00 - Bones

Bones is in the exact same position as House right now, but again it is one of Fox's best performers, and I don't think they'll want to lose it. But at this point, it's a possibility.


8:00 - Fringe
9:00 - Exit Strategy (NEW)

Fox has to try something new on Fridays, otherwise they're only debuting one new drama. Exit Strategy has a top-shelf cast, but they do not have a history of strong Friday night showings. I can see this happening, even if I don't like the idea of a strong new show being thrown to the wolves like this... but Fox may not have a choice. Fringe likely won't serve as much of a lead-in, so I can't figure out how they will work Fridays in the end; it is possible they will flip-flop a new drama and Bones, putting the veteran drama on Fridays with Fringe. We'll see what happens.

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

I think Fox will put Bob's Burgers in the spot currently occupied by American Dad, which is worthy of a better spot: it consistently outperforms both Bob's Burgers and The Cleveland Show when in the regular primetime lineup. When Fox's new animated programs (Napoleon Dynamite and Allen Gregory) arrive at midseason, I think this lineup will be changed up often, much like what they're doing now with trying to see how American Dad performs in different timeslots.


Fox will likely order one or two more sitcoms and dramas. On the sitcom front, Breaking In has been performing relatively well, so I imagine it'd get a half-season order for midseason. I think Fox will order another new sitcom, possibly I Hate My Teenage Daughter. Then I think they will pick up the Keifer Sutherland-led drama Touch for midseason, and either another new drama or a half-season pickup for Lie to Me or Human Target. I'd go with Human Target. Then they have Mobbed to air on Fridays when Kitchen Nightmares returns, and the aforementioned animated shows.

Bottom Line Predictions

Canceled - The Chicago Code, The Good Guys, Lie to Me, Lone Star, Running Wilde, Traffic Light
New Comedy Series - I Hate My Teenage Daughter (midseason), The New Girl
New Drama Series - Exit Strategy, Terra Nova, Touch (midseason)

Fall 2011 Fantasy Schedule - ABC


8:00 - Dancing with the Stars
10:00 - Castle

This combination has worked very well for ABC, especially lately when Castle has beaten CBS's freshman hit Hawaii Five-0 routinely to win the timeslot. It's big for a show in its third season to build on its audience, so I don't see them changing it up here.


8:00 - Missing (NEW)
9:00 - Dancing with the Stars Results
10:00 - Grace (NEW)

They really could launch any drama pilot at 8:00; it's been one of their most difficult timeslots, so I can see them just throwing Missing there. It got a blind 10-episode commitment and was intended for summer, until Ashley Judd signed on to star. So it needs to be somewhere on the schedule, and that seems like as good a place as any. Grace shares the dance element with DWTS, and it has the grittiness of a 10:00 show.


8:00 - The Middle
8:30 - Cougar Town
9:00 - Modern Family
9:30 - Suburgatory (NEW)
10:00 - Body of Proof

ABC needs to use the Modern Family lead-in to launch a new comedy, and I think Suburgatory sounds like the most promising (plus it shares the family element of all the other sitcoms on this night). The network has said they'd be interested in looking into another hour comedy block, but thus far they have failed with trying out Happy Endings at 10:00. So they'll either need to try it on another night, at midseason, or not at all. I can see Body of Proof moving without much ado, and it'll be solid competition for Law & Order: SVU.


8:00 - The River (NEW)
9:00 - Grey's Anatomy
10:00 - Private Practice

It doesn't really fit thematically with the night, but Thursdays at 8:00 are just as dire for ABC as Tuesdays at 8:00. They need to do something new and exciting, and The River is the closest thing they have in development to that.




8:00 - Extreme Makeover
9:00 - Desperate Housewives
10:00 - Good Christian Bitches (NEW)

I really think Brothers & Sisters is on its last legs and will be gone at the end of this season. ABC can justify its cancellation by renewing Body of Proof (so as to save face by not getting rid of every new drama debuted this season), in which case I think it will be canned. It's an old show, rising in cost, and it does not pull in strong enough ratings to warrant a renewal. Good Christian Bitches shares a lot, plot-wise and theme-wise, with Desperate Housewives and could possibly work nicely alongside it.


I think V, even with its low ratings, could still receive another 10 episode order. Its second season did better than the debut seasons of every freshman drama. I can also see ABC ordering another two for midseason, possibly Pan Am and the reboot of Charlie's Angels. On the sitcom front, it seems likely they'll pick up two (so they can maybe try that second night of comedy in place of a failed drama). My predictions would be Don't Trust the Bitch in Apt 23, which has tested very well, and The Last Days of Man, which stars Tim Allen.

Bottom Line Predictions
Canceled - Better with You, Brothers & Sisters, Detroit 187, Happy Endings, Mr. Sunshine, No Ordinary Family, Off the Map
New Drama Series - Charlie's Angels (midseason), Good Christian Bitches, Grace, Missing, Pan Am (midseason), The River
New Comedy Series - Don't Trust the Bitch in Apt 23 (midseason), The Last Days of Man (midseason), Suburgatory

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Fall 2011 Fantasy Schedule - CW


8:00 - 90210
9:00 - Gossip Girl

The CW doesn't have much of a choice but to renew both of these series. Neither are performing as well as they used to, but then again every show on the network is down in ratings. So relatively speaking, both of these series are steady performers.


8:00 - One Tree Hill
9:00 - Hart of Dixie (NEW)

Even though One Tree Hill is planning a season finale that was meant to be a series finale, the creative team has recently expressed interest in returning next year. Given that Hellcats is stumbling and is the lowest rated show on the network in both A18-49 and the key CW demo W18-34, I can see the CW splurging for a final season of One Tree Hill. They seem to be happy, if reports from "insiders" are to be believed, with their medical drama Hart of Dixie, though I can't imagine Rachel Bilson being a believable doctor or a huge draw for the network. But it has the Southern charm of One Tree Hill, so it could be a decent pairing.

8:00 - America's Next Top Model
9:00 - Heavenly (NEW)

Early word on the script of Heavenly wasn't particularly strong, but apparently the network is happy with the end result. Like Cooper & Stone is the CW's first attempt at a police show, Heavenly is their first attempt at a law show. It will, of course, feature a younger-skewing twist (with the lawyer's partner being an angel), and putting it on Wednesday will offer some competition/crossover appeal with shows like Law & Order: SVU.


8:00 - The Vampire Diaries
9:00 - Secret Circle (NEW)

No brainer. Secret Circle is from the same producers, writers and source material as The Vampire Diaries. I'm sure they even have enough creative license to do cross-overs between the two shows if they wanted to.


8:00 - Nikita
9:00 - Supernatural

Nikita has been a steady performer for the CW, and it has drawn in more males to the network. It would make sense to replace one male-skewing show (Smallville) with another, and to then pair it with a well-performing male-skewing show (Supernatural).


In the past, the CW has not usually looked ahead to midseason. Then they end up with some crappy reality shows replacing any failed new series, or they end up ordering full seasons of low-rated new series. But if they launch three new shows in the fall, I don't see them picking up another drama for midseason; they'll likely explore more reality options for midseason then. There's also a small chance that Hellcats will be renewed for a half-season, just to re-test the waters, and one of the below dramas will debut midseason.

Bottom Line Predictions

Canceled - Hellcats, Life Unexpected, Smallville
New Series - Hart of Dixie, Heavenly, Secret Circle

Fall 2011 Fantasy Schedule - CBS

Let's make uninformed, random, wishful-thinking fall 2011 primetime schedules for the major broadcast nets! CBS is up first


8:00 - How I Met Your Mother
8:30 - Rules of Engagement
9:00 - The Big Bang Theory
9:30 - How to Be a Gentleman (NEW)
10:00 - Hawaii: Five-0

While Big Bang has proven very successful on Thursdays, I can't help but think that CBS will want to re-strengthen its Monday lineup with the likely failure of the new Two and a Half Men format. Sitcoms never last when main characters are written out due to death or contracts (just ask the cast of 8 Simple Rules), so I can see CBS moving Two to Thursdays, to see how it will fare but also to ultimately prepare for possibly The X Factor juggernaut and/or American Idol in the spring of 2012.


8:00 - NCIS
9:00 - NCIS: LA
10:00 - The Good Wife

I think CBS will stick with its current lineup, if only for the first part of the season. The Good Wife is a strong awards contender, but its ratings just keep slipping. I can see them keeping it, simply to get a syndication deal (which usually requires 4 seasons or 88 episodes). On the heels of Alan Cumming's 3-year deal with the show, it seems like that is certainly CBS's intention. There are also rumors circulating that the other actors are close to sealing similar deals and that CBS will announce a 2-year renewal at the upfronts, which would put The Good Wife right at 88 episodes.


8:00 - Survivor
9:00 - Criminal Minds
10:00 - Person of Interest (NEW)

It's likely that Fox's The X Factor, which is already promoted to death, will take over the Wednesday slot from American Idol. In that case, CBS would be smart to stick with its current 8:00 and 9:00 shows. Survivor is aging well, considering it is up against American Idol for the first time; and even with rising costs due to Survivor's age, it has to be one of the net's more successful projects. Person of Interest has just enough in common with Criminal Minds to make this a decent pairing, though the late hour may be a hard sell for such a potentially complex series (it is JJ Abrams, after all).


8:00 - Mike & Molly
8:30 - Two and a Half Men
9:00 - Susannah Grant Pilot (NEW)
10:00 - The Mentalist

I can see Two and a Half Men being used to launch something new, since at the beginning there will likely be a lot of curiousity (even from people who don't regularly watch the show) about how it will continue without Sheen. The untitled Sussanah Grant pilot starring Patrick Wilson opens the door for competition with ABC's Grey's Anatamoy, which could be either a smart or very stupid move on CBS's part. Given that Grey's ratings are slightly down from last season and it has lost most of its awards appeal over the years, I'd go with the former.


8:00 - CSI
9:00 - Rookies (NEW)
10:00 - Blue Bloods

I think CSI:NY will get the axe this year, and its parent show will take its spot on the Friday night lineup. CSI still has a large core audience, which could be used to launch something new, and if that something was Rookies then Fridays would be "police night" on CBS. There's a strong possibility that Blue Bloods will be canceled, but I think it has performed well enough (at least in the fall) and sold well enough overseas to warrant at least a half-season pickup.


8:00 - The Amazing Race
9:00 - Undercover Boss
10:00 - CSI: Miami

No changes here; it's a relatively strong night for CBS, especially up against such big competition from NBC and Fox.


I can see CBS picking up two midseason sitcoms, and my predictions for those would be The Assistants and Vince Uncensored. The former could fit well into the network's schedule in any position, and it offers an alternative to NBC's workplace comedies; the latter has Conan O'Brien as a producer, Kelsey Grammer directing, and a soild cast in Michael Chiklis and Elizabeth Perkins.

On the drama side, it's likely they'll order one, but there are rumors they will pick up two. I'd suspect Ringer would be a good midseason replacement, and possibly Hail Mary starring Minnie Driver.

The Bottom Line Predictions

Canceled - Bleep My Dad Says, Chaos, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, CSI: NY, The Defenders, Mad Love
New Comedies - The Assistants (midseason), How to Be a Gentleman, Vince Uncensored (midseason)
New Dramas - Hail Mary (midseason), Person of Interest, Ringer (midseason), Rookies, Untitled Susannah Grant Pilot