Friday, May 19, 2006

The Fox and CW schedules

Firstly, Everwood is dead. So is Arrested Development.

(sigh)

And now. . .Fox. New shows are in ALL CAPS. New times are marked like this (NT).

FOX PRIMETIME SCHEDULE: FALL 2006 (All Times ET/PT)

MONDAY
8:00-9:00 PM Prison Break
9:00-10:00 PM VANISHED

TUESDAY
8:00-9:00 PM STANDOFF
9:00-10:00 PM House

WEDNESDAY
8:00-9:00 PM Bones
9:00-10:00 PM JUSTICE

THURSDAY
8:00-8:30 PM 'TIL DEATH
8:30-9:00 PM HAPPY HOUR
9:00-10:00 PM The O.C.

FRIDAY
8:00-9:00 PM Nanny 911 (NT)
9:00-10:00 PM Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy (NT)
(Are these new times? I don't even know when these shows are on anymore!)

SATURDAY
8:00-8:30 PM Cops
8:30-9:00 PM Cops
9:00-10:00 PM America's Most Wanted: America Strikes Back
11:00 PM-MIDNIGHT MADtv
MIDNIGHT-12:30 AM TALK SHOW WITH SPIKE FERESTEN

SUNDAY
7:00-7:30 PM Football Overrun (comedy encores)
7:30-8:00 PM Football Overrun (comedy encores)
8:00-8:30 PM The Simpsons
8:30-9:00 PM American Dad (NT)
9:00-9:30 PM Family Guy
9:30-10:00 PM The War at Home (NT)

FOX PRIMETIME SCHEDULE: BEGINNING JANUARY 2007
(All Times ET/PT)

MONDAY
8:00-9:00 PM STANDOFF (NT)
9:00-10:00 PM 24

TUESDAY
8:00-9:00 PM American Idol Performance Show
9:00-10:00 PM House

WEDNESDAY
8:00-9:00 PM JUSTICE (NT)
9:00-9:30 PM American Idol Results Show
9:30-10:00 PM The Loop (NT)

THURSDAY
Same as above

FRIDAY
8:00-9:00 PM Bones (NT)
9:00-10:00 PM THE WEDDING ALBUM

SATURDAY
Same as above

SUNDAY
7:00-7:30 PM Comedy Repeats
7:30-8:00 PM King of the Hill
8:00-8:30 PM The Simpsons
8:30-9:00 PM American Dad
9:00-9:30 PM Family Guy
9:30-10:00 PM The War at Home

Sigh. Here I go with analysis and predictions.

Monday Pre-Idol: Barring losing all of its audience to the concept shift, Prison Break should jump back out in front here (especially if it gets an early start, like Fox is saying it will) among 18-49ers. This should give a good lead-in to the very compatible Vanished. Still, how much serial excitement do viewers want?
Post-Idol: Standoff is the sort of show that could be awesome or really, really bad. Fox's vote of confidence here (scheduling it in both halves of their season) suggests it's awesome, but friends have told me the Fox pilot trailers stunk up the upfront. Still, I don't see how Standoff, which is sort of an action-romantic-drama-comedy (shades of Mr. and Mrs. Smith?) leads in to 24. But 24 is pretty much impervious, unless the rumored format shift (and, no, I don't know what the Kief is talking about) kills it. And when will Prison Break be back to finish out its run (or Vanished, should that prove to be a hit)?
Predictions: Fox remains strong on Mondays. I predict Vanished debuts strong, but eventually ends up stuck in third behind the CBS comedies and Heroes. Prison Break and 24 continue to be hits.

Tuesdays Pre-Idol: House is an even bigger hit than it was last year. This should translate to an uptick to a 16 million viewer average before Idol comes back. Will this benefit Standoff at all? I doubt it. House couldn't help Bones even after Bones got off to a fast start. The only show that seems to give the shows preceding it a significant ratings boost is Idol itself.
Post-Idol: Are you kidding me? This night will dominate again, even if it's a little smaller than before and House starts to nip at Idol's heels.
Predictions: Idol and House both easily get renewed for seasons seven and four respectively. Standoff becomes the kind of cult hit Fox would have nominated in a second ten years ago. It is canceled, leading to thousands of Internetheads screaming about "Fux."

Wednesdays Pre-Idol: I really think a lawyer show is going to be a big hit sometime soon here. And people I know who were at the Fox upfront said Justice looked like the best new show on their schedule. It's slick and stylish and. . .a little like a CBS show. Bones will probably see a slump to about a 10 million average but manage to justify its renewal for season two.
Post-Idol: Justice should benefit from the magic Idol touch (which turns to gold everything surrounding it). The Loop, while I enjoy it so, is probably not going to see benefit from the Idol lead in. It's too odd and too 20something-skewing for the biggest family show on the air.
Predictions: Idol dominates. Bones is steady. Justice becomes the only Fox pilot renewed for a second season. The Loop flails, and Alan Sepinwall and I are the only ones who mourn it.

Thursdays Pre- and Post-Idol: This is the dumbest night on Fox's schedule. They're obviously just giving up. The O.C. is going to be massacred by Grey's Anatomy. The comedies look like the sort of irritatingly similar shows that were popular on CBS about five years ago. Til Death may get some eyeballs due to Garrett, but it and Happy Hour will probably suffer from the better comedies on NBC and (presumably) ABC.
Predictions: Fox has to go back to the drawing board, canceling all three of these shows at the end of the year. Bones and Justice end up here somehow for the 2007-08 season.

Fridays Pre-Idol: A cheap night to produce means Fox will probably make money off of this, even with terrible ratings (which seem assured).
Post-Idol: I actually think moving Bones to Friday nights is a smart idea. It's the kind of cool, sexy show that used to thrive on Friday nights (albeit, in their own little niches). As long as Fox doesn't have TOO high of hopes for it, it should be able to find the dateless. Not so The Wedding Album, which tested horribly but still got a spot on the schedule. Why on Fridays at midseason? It's anybody's guess.
Predictions: Bones finds its audience finally. The Wedding Album flops. In the fall, the reality shows become (ever-so-briefly) the new TGIF, unless Betty the Ugly does so instead.

Saturday Pre- and Post-Idol: It was smart of Fox to put a talk show on this night, even if it's as awful as Ferenstein's standup was at the upfronts. Other than that, this is the same thing it has been since. . .the 80s? I think?
Predictions: Cops, apropos of nothing, becomes the number one show on television. Okay. No.

Sunday Pre- and Post-Idol: I'll cheat, since the two are so similar. All in all, a smart lineup, even if it would be nice to see Fox cut the chaff here and throw in The Loop, which would fit MUCH more readily with Family Guy than The War at Home. The night flows nicely, and it's great that King of the Hill will get a proper send-off season starting at midseason. Smart move building in the football overruns like that as well. As long as The Simpsons continues to perform well enough to avoid cancellation, Fox Sundays will be in business.
Predictions: Midway through the season, Fox announces a deal to bring Futurama back. American Dad is canceled to make room. Seth McFarlane fans become even MORE annoying. King of the Hill gets rediscovered by the media. The Simpsons soldiers on, quietly getting slightly better with each episode. Family Guy marches toward syndication. And everyone tries to pretend The War at Home doesn't exist.

See? Don't you wish PoJo had done these? I don't know ANYthing!

Now, on to The CW.

But first.

A rant.

OK. Go and look at this.

Now, it's fine that Everwood was canceled. Really. I'd be okay with it if all evidence didn't suggest that it happened at the last minute just so The CW could bring 7th Heaven of all things back (no really. . .TVGuide.com reported as such). I can understand that it was expensive to produce, etc.

But, really? Not even picking it up for 13 episodes (so it could get to 100) and putting it on at the time slot suggested above? So you can air an America's Next Top Model repeat at 9? That's just LOW. If you had at LEAST brought back some of your other comedies, I could have accepted that.

The great, great irony of all of this is that I can't complain TOO much. If it was SOLELY based on ratings, Everwood (as the 9th-highest-rated show on the two networks that made up The CW) would surely have been back. But my beloved Veronica Mars (23rd) would have been canceled.

Ah, well. We'll always have the first-season DVD set, Everwood.

(And to think Sarah Drew would have been a regular!)

To be honest, though, I think The CW is going to have a tough time of it. It's obvious their development sucked this year (as The WB's development has sucked for some time now). And if they don't figure out a way to do this "being a network" thing soon, they'll be dead by 2010.

But let's look, shall we?

THE CW PRIMETIME SCHEDULE: 2006-2007 (All Times ET/PT)

MONDAY
8:00-9:00 PM 7th Heaven
9:00-10:00 PM RUNAWAY

TUESDAY
8:00-9:00 PM Gilmore Girls
9:00-10:00 PM Veronica Mars

WEDNESDAY
8:00-9:00 PM America's Next Top Model/Beauty and the Geek
9:00-10:00 PM One Tree Hill (NT) (presumably, the new show HIDDEN PALMS, or, rather HAIRY PALMS, will be airing here at midseason)

THURSDAY
8:00-9:00 PM Smallville
9:00-10:00 PM Supernatural

FRIDAY
8:00-10:00 PM WWE Smackdown!

SUNDAY
7:00-7:30 PM Everybody Hates Chris (NT)
7:30-8:00 PM All of Us (NT)
8:00-8:30 PM Girlfriends (NT)
8:30-9:00 PM THE GAME
9:00-10:00 PM America's Next Top Model (repeat)

Mondays: "Where can you goooooooooo?/ The answer is hooooooooooooooooooome." 7th Heaven is a show several years past its prime (to be generous). It's also an expensive show. And I feel like an idiot for writing a retrospective, when I should have known it would stagger back to life. And to think it's occupying what should have been Everwood's slot (by CW head Dawn Ostroff's admission to TVGuide.com). . . But I will refrain from bitterness. 7H has loyal fans. The problem is that they don't always stick around. Everwood was about the best show for retention of 7H's numbers, and it still lost about 1.5 million viewers (big numbers in The CW-verse). The 7H viewers, like The Passion of the Christ moviegoers, don't tend to watch a lot of other TV. So it's anybody's guess as to why Runaway, a serial drama about a family on the lam (here comes The CW twist) told from the point-of-view of the teenage son, is here.
Predictions: The CW has to build a whole new Monday night in the 2007-08 season. 7H will continue to draw, but it will be too expensive and will finally be killed. Runaway won't catch on at all.

Tuesdays: Ah, Amy Sherman-Palladino. You have taken what was supposed to be the best night on television and made it a land-mine infested landscape. Even though the quality of Gilmore Girls is bound to slump a bit with the leavetaking of its creator, the show should remain one of The CW's top three dramas, by simple virtue of viewer inertia. Veronica Mars seems like the perfect match for it (and, honestly, it would be a great successor to fill the Gilmore slot in 2007-08). And Gilmore tends to boost whatever is on after it (going all the way back to Smallville, though that had interest of its own). Now, indications would seem to suggest that Veronica Mars is one of those shows that people are just avoiding for one reason or another (it's gotten SO many chances). It's like Arrested Development Redux. But creator Rob Thomas is rebooting the show, making it easier to follow. And it sure SEEMS like a fit with Gilmore Girls. But if it can't hold, say, 75% of that audience, much as I love it, it probably deserves to be canceled.
Predictions: Veronica holds on to 90% of the Gilmore audience by the end of the year (helped by viewer attrition from Gilmore over to Idol). It is named the Gilmore successor. I weep tears of joy. My mother finally checks out the show and sees what I'm talking about. She decides Veronica is "too sassy."

Wednesdays: America's Next Top Model and Beauty and the Geek are both solid reality entertainments, sure to continue to draw audiences (and I can't wait to see the gender-reversal BatG). One Tree Hill gets what is probably the best slot on The CW schedule for it. It had better start pulling its weight soon.
Predictions: It doesn't. The CW is looking for a new drama to pair with the reality shows, unless Hidden Palms somehow takes off.

Thursdays: This night was strong for The WB. So it moves over here completely intact.
Predictions: It remains strong. The CW continues to think they can find something better than Supernatural, however, and puts that Aquaman show on at midseason (picking it up at the absolute last minute). It bombs, and this becomes the only night The CW carries over wholesale to 2007-08.

Fridays: I've never known anyone who was really in to wrestling. Actually, my sister was for a while. I had to TiVo it for her once. But I don't think we ever talked about it.
Predictions: And we never will.

Sundays: Here's another boneheaded move. Everybody Hates Chris is a show with BREAKOUT potential. Why are they putting it in, arguably, the worst time slot not on Saturday? And why put the whole African-American comedy bloc (or what's left of it) on Sunday night, when many of the potential viewers are in church? This is a DESPERATELY underserved minority on the television landscape. The money you make from the advertising to African-Americans could fund a WHOLE OTHER NIGHT just because there's no other reliable way to reach that demographic (well, CSI and Idol). This whole bloc is way too early. I bet the Model repeat is moved to the 7 p.m. slot posthaste. Does it score THAT well?
Predictions: Chris is the only comedy that sticks around. In 2007-08, The CW figures out a way to pair it with a Model repeat, which they manage to stretch to 2.5 hours.

So there you go! The Upfronts 2006! I'm working on finding this year's pilots, so I can tell you just how disappointing a great development season turned out to be!

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