Monday, May 15, 2006

An Introduction (And NBC's Wacky Schedule)

Hello, this would Be Positive Jon, the same guy that has helped Todd here put together his Very Early TV Schedule Predictions and his Summer Movie Preview (And delayed the final part with my inability to figure out how to predict critical reception). Seeing that he is unfortunately extra busy this week, he has asked to fill in and explain to you all just how the schedules for this fall are for the networks. We start with the flagging NBC, who hopes to reverse their fortunes without relying on Who Wants to be . . . er, Deal or no Deal. The fall schedule (And Sunday's Post-football line-up):

MONDAY
8-9 p.m. "Deal or No Deal"
9-10 p.m. "HEROES"
10-11 p.m. "Medium"

TUESDAY
8-9 p.m. "FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS"
9-10 p.m. "KIDNAPPED"
10-11 p.m. "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"

WEDNESDAY
8-9 p.m. "The Biggest Loser"
9-9:30 p.m. "20 GOOD YEARS"
9:30-10 p.m. "30 ROCK"
10-11 p.m. "Law & Order"

THURSDAY
8-8:30 p.m. "My Name Is Earl" (new time)
8:30-9 p.m. "The Office" (new time)
9-10 p.m. "STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP"
10-11 p.m. "ER"/("THE BLACK DONNELLYS" in January 2007)

FRIDAY
8-9 p.m. "Deal or No Deal"
9-10 p.m. "Las Vegas"
10-11 p.m. "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (new day and time)

SATURDAY
8-9 p.m. "Dateline Saturday"
9-11 p.m. Drama Series Encores

SUNDAY (Fall)
7-8 p.m. "FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA"
8-11 p.m. "SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL"

SUNDAY (Midseason)
8-9pm: "AMERICA'S GOT TALENT
9-10pm: The Apprentice (New day and time)
10-11pm: RAINES

My analysis, and predictions for how it'll work out:

Monday: Deal or No Deal was easily the highest rated show in this timeslot this season, so its probably smart to leave it here. And as Todd predicted, the family-targeted Heroes is being placed here to appeal to DonD's audience. Interesting that they also decide to keep Medium here (I guess it can appeal to families that can stand the creepy gore?).
Predictions: Unless DonD collapses by the end of the season (Which would hardly be a surprise), this night has the most potential to stay the same way for the whole season. All three shows should flow VERY well into one another.

Tuesday: NBC appears to be appealing to families in the Family Hour (Smart!), with Friday Night Lights being placed here. It could do well in the fall, but it'll need one hell of a fanbase to combat American Idol come midseason. And a don't think Kidnapped will hold up well up against House all season long. And as NBC's biggest scripted show, SVU stays were it belongs.
Predictions: FNL and Kidnapped should premiere well, but Kidnapped will probably drop off quickly, and as said above, and FNL will need to be something big to compete with AI. One good thing Kidnapped should be able to do though is give SVU a better lead-in then any of this season's sitcoms (Office, Scrubs, Teachers) ever were.

Wednesday: NBC drops Deal or no Deal for The Biggest Loser. The timeslot is pretty much dead Pre-Idol, so anything above 8 million viewers could be considered respectable. And combating Lost and Criminal Minds with comedies is probably the smartest thing NBC could do here (Last fall the networks made the mistake of airing all dramas in that timeslot). And Law and Order stays at 10. Shocker.
Predictions: The Biggest Loser slowly increased through both of its seasons, peaking at 16 million viewers for its second season finale, so unless one of the networks puts something big there, it should win the timeslot. And putting two new sitcoms together in the same timeslot isn't a very smart move, but both shows will probably find an audience made up of those that find psychopathic criminals and stranded castaways too grim. Law and Order will continue to thrive where its been for nearly two decades (Minus the odd move to 9 this season, but nevermind that).

Thursday: Huh. Well, I guess I should first congratulate NBC for taking a risk, something they haven't done in years. Right now though, it doesn't strikes me as the smartest one. Earl and Office are both big enough right now that they could both lead off one hour and be fine. And from the sounds of it, Studio 60 is going to be VERY alienating to regular audiences. Finally moving E.R. at midseason for THE BLACK DONNELLYS (Sure to be enjoyed by all Haggis-loving readers, and if you are one, don't tell Todd) . . . I don't think anyone saw THAT coming.
Predictions: By the end of this season, Earl had lost 40% of its premiere audience and fell below 10M viewers. Office, on the other hand, was level with its season average, and holding over 90% of Earl's Adults 18-49 (the demo NBC craves). If Office can find an audience over the summer, it could end up increasing out of Earl by November, Grey's Anatomy style (Minus the Super Bowl episode). And early test screenings are saying that audiences will find Studio 60 just too weird, so a high premiere and steep dropoff seems at hand. As for E.R. being replaced by The Black Donnellys. . .I'll be nice and let Todd take that one on. Overall, I'll be surprised if the E.R./TBD swap isn't the only change to this line-up come midseason.

Friday: Again, DonD is performing better then anything on Fridays (Though Numb3rs can sometimes do quite well), so no surprise they're keeping it here. Moving L&O:CI here though is very risky. SVU was Friday's biggest hit before it moved to Tuesday, but Trial by Jury died there.
Predictions: Like Mondays, unless DonD crashes before next May, this should stay strong. I think Criminal Intent is big enough to last the season here, but the high cost of the show could lead to its demise.

Saturday: Hey, Dateline! zzzzzzzzzzz
Predictions: Do you really care enough to know?

Sunday (Fall): Wait, Football? Didn't see THAT coming.
Predictions: Monday Night Football was pulling in an average of 16M viewers last season, and on a more Sports-friendly night, it could break 20M viewers, and help NBC top ABC in the fall. . .

Sunday (Midseason): . . .Before squandering it with this mediocre midseason line-up. Putting Apprentice up against DH is pretty much the final nail in the coffin (All together now: Yay!) Also, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition vs. America's Got Talent will be interesting to see, as both are family-aimed Reality shows (C'mon, we all know XM:HE will kill it). As for Jeff Goldblum's I See Dead People Drama. . .eh.
Predictions: Honestly, if any of these shows top 10M viewers, I will be very impressed.

Overall, there's plenty of stuff here that could work, but I don't see any major improvements. As Todd has said before, while NBC is hoping to be ABC in 2004, they'll probably end up being ABC in 2001.

Tomorrow: ABC tries to show that said '04-'05 season wasn't a fluke.

1 comment:

Todd VanDerWerff said...

This would be a smart schedule. . .if NBC had one or two sizable hits to build around.

Unfortunately, they've just got Deal or No Deal and football.

They've squandered football, but DOND should make them capable of fighting on Mondays, even if Grey's moves there.

I'm thinking Monday will become the most crowded night of the week. ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox AND The CW should all have at least one show worth watching there.

Thanks for doing this, PoJo.