Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Midseason Change-Ups: ABC, NBC


ABC has one of the largest overhauls of midseason. Gone from the schedule completely are Charlie's Angels and Man Up, while Pan Am will be making its final descent before March and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition says goodbye in January. ABC had quite a few unexpected successes in the fall which have led to an overcrowded schedule in the spring after full-season pickups for freshmen Revenge, Once Upon a Time, Suburgatory and Last Man Standing, as well as surprise sophomore hit Happy Endings (though its success is likely based around its slot following one of TV's biggest shows, Modern Family). Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) that left few slots for the many shows ABC had ordered as midseason replacements: early favorite Don't Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23 and the new Shonda Rimes series Scandal are both absent from the schedule.


8:00 - The Bachelor (beginning January 2)
8:00 - Dancing with the Stars (beginning March 19)
10:00 - Castle

No real changes, nothing unexpected.


8:00 - Last Man Standing
8:30 - Work It (beginning January 3)
8:30 - Cougar Town (beginning in March)
9:00 - Celebrity Wife Swap (January 3-31)
9:00 - The River (beginning February 7)
9:00 - Dancing with the Stars Results (beginning March 20)
10:00 - Body of Proof

Lots going on here. Man Up is replaced by the equally-awful-looking Work It, which has already come under fire from critics and social groups for being offensive. Fan-favorite but ratings-challenged Cougar Town returns either after Work It airs all of its episodes or is pulled from the schedule. The highly-anticipated The River completes its entire run of 7 episodes before the new season of Dancing with the Stars takes over in March. Struggling sophomore series Body of Proof somehow remained untouched, perhaps due to the number of episodes it has left to air; but that 10:00 slot would've been great for Scandal...


8:00 - The Middle
8:30 - Suburgatory
9:00 - Modern Family
9:30 - Happy Endings
10:00 - Revenge

No changes here for ABC's strongest night, though I wouldn't be surprised if Apartment 23 takes the 9:30 slot around April...


8:00 - Wipeout (beginning January 5)
8:00 - Missing (beginning March 15)
9:00 - Grey's Anatomy
10:00 - Private Practice

Wipeout is the only show ABC has really had any success with in this timeslot, so there's a lot riding on Missing to work there. Otherwise it's back to the drawing board yet again for the fall...


8:00 - Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
8:00 - Shark Tank (beginning January 20)
9:00 - What Would You Do? (beginning January 20)
10:00 - 20/20

And the veteran reality series Extreme Makeover: Home Edition gives its final bow in January after eight years on the air.


8:00 - Once Upon a Time
9:00 - Desperate Housewives
10:00 - Pan Am (through February 19)
10:00 - GCB (beginning March 4)

Despite a strong premiere, Pan Am just couldn't stabilize; it will leave the schedule after airing 13 episodes to make room for GCB (formerly Good Christian Belles). ABC is banking heavily on GCB's success, looking for something to replace Desperate Housewives when it ends this May. It will get a heavy promotional push during the Oscars, and hopefully it will work out for them.


NBC had yet another rough fall season. Only one new drama received a full-season pickup (Grimm), and the two freshman sitcoms were renewed on mediocre ratings (Up All Night, Whitney). Its flagship series (The Biggest Loser, Law & Order: SVU, The Office) are slipping in the ratings, and they're struggling for even minor hits. Last winter's schedule-filler The Sing Off was a hit in the off-season, but its success failed to translate to the regular season. So NBC will be relying on last season's smash The Voice to carry their midseason schedule, which includes some questionable moves. Low-rated legal drama Harry's Law received a miraculous full-season order, in spite of NBC having a good number of midseason replacements now left off the schedule: Awake, Bent, Best Friends Forever, Betty White's Off Their Rockers.


8:00 - The Voice (beginning February 6, special debut February 5)
10:00 - Smash (beginning February 6)

After Who's Still Standing? and Fear Factor finish their winter runs, what should be NBC's strongest night takes over. The Voice was huge last year, and it can only be helped by the fact that the season will premiere immediately following the Super Bowl on Sunday and then resume the next night in its regular timeslot. There's also a lot of positive buzz surrounding Smash, the musical drama about the creation of a Broadway show.


8:00 - The Biggest Loser
10:00 - Parenthood
10:00 - Fashion Star (beginning March 6)

Parenthood is NBC's most consistent drama, but it will leave the schedule after February sweeps (much like it did last year) to make room for the new reality show Fashion Star, a competition show which sees undiscovered fashion designers pitching their lines to buyers. It has some star power behind it with Elle Macpherson and Jessica Simpson, but I don't see there being much of an audience for this new series (especially considering all of the other fashion competition shows there are on cable).


8:00 - Whitney
8:30 - Are You There, Chelsea?
9:00 - Harry's Law (through February 1)
9:00 - Rock Center (beginning February 8)
10:00 - Law & Order: SVU

Whitney debuted to some moderate success this fall, but in an effort to save the more beloved of the new sitcoms (Up All Night), NBC has switched its slot to lead-off a new comedy hour with the similarly-themed Are You There, Chelsea? (which is a horrible title; if the original was too long, why not just shorten it to Are You There, Vodka? - so stupid). Brian Williams's newsmagazine Rock Center will make way for Smash on Monday nights, so it takes over the 9:00 slot that same week. Harry's Law gets shipped off to Sundays, though it will be off the air for February sweeps; doesn't make much sense to me...


8:00 - 30 Rock (beginning January 12)
8:30 - Parks & Recreation
9:00 - The Office
9:30 - Up All Night
10:00 - The Firm (beginning January 12, premieres January 8)

30 Rock finally returns after Tina Fey's pregnancy to replace Community, which was left off the midseason schedule despite having a full-season order. Up All Night takes the prime slot after The Office, and the new drama The Firm takes over for the now-canceled Prime Suspect. I don't understand why The Firm was put here (it was originally announced for Sundays at 10:00 back in May, a more appropriate timeslot); clearly these dramas aren't working too well following a two-hour comedy block, so why not try other comedies there? NBC has plenty to choose from between the new sitcoms still waiting to be aired and the benched fan-favorite Community. Again, doesn't make much sense to me...


8:00 - Chuck
8:00 - Who Do You Think You Are? (beginning February 3)
9:00 - Grimm
10:00 - Dateline

Chuck finally gives its swan song on January 27, more than a year after it should've been canceled. Freshman drama Grimm has been NBC's biggest success, pulling better numbers on a Friday than many of its Monday-Thursday shows. NBC made an attempt (a half-assed one) to air Grimm on Thursday night at 10:00, but it ended up with the same exact ratings as on Fridays. So if Fridays can become a stable night for the network, then that's still a win.


8:00 - Harry's Law (beginning March 4)
9:00 - The Celebrity Apprentice (beginning February 12)

So here we get the final few episodes of Harry's Law in a timeslot where NBC has not had a successful scripted show in about seven years. This is the slot where The West Wing went to die, so I guess they're doing the same for this show, though it would've been easier (and made more sense) to just not pick up a full season. But I guess they're experimenting, so we'll see how that goes. This season of The Celebrity Apprentice has a crazy cast (and some actual celebrities!), so it should do as well as, if not better than, last season.

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