Tuesday, May 16, 2006

That Big, Gutsy Move (And the Rest of ABC's Schedule)

Jon again, reporting on the ABC schedule and what is sure to be the biggest move of the season. Sorry for the lateness of the post; I thought I had posted but I guess I didn't.

I'm sure you've heard by now that, after months of speculation that rising hit Grey's Anatomy would be moving to Mondays (which seemed all but confirmed when Part 2 of the season finale aired this Monday), ABC pulls a whopper in what Todd rightfully calls "biggest, gutsiest scheduling move in at least six years," moving it instead to Thursdays in the face of CSI.

As for the rest of ABC's schedule (The rest of it has some pretty cool moves too, like moving Dancing to AI's pattern):

MONDAY:
8:00 p.m. "Wife Swap"
9:00 p.m. "The Bachelor"/"Supernanny"
10:00 p.m. "What About Brian"

TUESDAY:
8:00 p.m. "Dancing with the Stars" (new night)/"Set for the Rest of Your Life" (new alternative series)
9:00 p.m. "Let's Rob..." (new comedy series)
9:30 p.m. "Help Me Help You" (new comedy series)
10:00 p.m. "Boston Legal"

WEDNESDAY: 8:00 p.m."Dancing with the Stars" (new night)/"George Lopez"/"According to Jim" (new night)
9:00 p.m. "Lost"
10:00 p.m. "The Nine" (new drama series)

THURSDAY:
8:00 p.m. "Big Day" (new comedy series)
8:30 p.m. "Notes from the Underbelly" (new comedy series)
9:00 p.m. "Grey's Anatomy" (new night and time)
10:00 p.m. "Six Degrees" (new drama series)

FRIDAY:
8:00 p.m. "Betty the Ugly" (new comedy series)
9:00 p.m. "Men in Trees" (new drama series)
10:00 p.m. "20/20"

SATURDAY:
8:00 p.m. "ABC Saturday Night College Football"

SUNDAY:
7:00 p.m. "America's Funniest Home Videos"
8:00 p.m. "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition"
9:00 p.m. "Desperate Housewives"
10:00 p.m. "Brothers & Sisters" (new drama series)

http://www.thefutoncritic.com/pr.aspx?id=20060516abc01

Onto the analysis and predictions:

Monday: I find it odd that, on the night that ABC had been saying they be working on next, they change absolutely nothing. And its not like the night actually worked or anything. Wife Swap did decently, but The Bachelor is about 5 seasons past its prime, and What About Brian? needs to move if it ever wants to grow.
Predictions: I don't see their results changing much. WAB? might increase a bit, but they're gonna need to shake it up if they want to be a player on this night.

Tuesday: Moving Dancing with the Stars into the AI pattern is an odd move, but a fairly good one. They also hope to have better luck with holding the audience with Mick Jagger (Let's Rob. . .) and Ted Danson (Help Me Help You). And as the ony thing that worked here this season, Boston Legal stays at 10. As for Set for the Rest of Your Life, its an interesting concept (People win a monthly payment for the rest of their life) hoping to catch onto the new game show craze started by Deal or no Deal. Considering nothing was ever able to build off of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?'s fame, don't expect this to build off a much smaller success. Plus, it won't hold up in the face of Idol
Predictions: Pre-Idol, the 8p.m. timelsot is usually pretty calm (Minus the hit-nobody-can-explain NCIS), so Dancing should have an easy time winning the timeslot (. . .Rest of Your Life will have a much harder time). Let's Rob. . . and Help Me Help You will have a bigger uphill clime up against House, Kidnapped and The Unit, but with those all being dark, intense dramas, the two shows could grab the comedy audience that made My Name is Earl a hit here last fall. And Boston Legal should do same old, same old.

Wednesday: Someday. SOMEDAY, ABC will realize that Lost needs a DRAMA as a lead-in, not a sitcom or family/old-people oriented show. Still, Dancing with the Stars is a much better lead-in then Freddie ever was (According to Jim, however, will probably be worse). Airing after the reliable Lost is The Nine, about victims of a hostage situation, which should hopefully do a better job of holding Lost's audience then Invasion.
Predictions: So much for thinking The Biggest Loser had a chance here yesterday. Dancing should pull an easy victory here and give Lost a good lead-in. As for The Nine, I don't see it having the same "too boring!" complaints Invasion got this season. Plus, the same guy made Without a Trace, the show that finally caught CSI's audience.

Thursday: Here it is. The biggest, most unexpected move of the upfronts and arguably the biggest schedule move since CBS did their own Thursday bet with Survivor and CSI six eventful seasons ago: Rising hit Grey's Anatomy moves to Thursday at 9 in the face of CBS monster CSI (Not to mention the heavily hyped Studio 60). Whether or not it'll pay off will be fun to see, along with the effect on the rest of the schedule. As Todd says, whoever controls Thursdays, controls the week. This could be a turning point. . .or the show's death knell (Especially if enough fans feel the same way Todd did after the finale last night). As for the rest of the night, ABC is putting their best-tested sitcom (Notes from the Underbelly) and Drama (Six Degrees) here, showing that they're not relying entirely on Grey's to claim Thursdays.
Predictions: ABC hopes to combat the sometimes-rauchy NBC comedies with Big Day and Underbelly and could get a family audience for both, assuming they aren't raunchy. Grey's will probably become a close second to CSI, but it should easily top it among Adults 18-49. And with E.R. fading and the Crime Show waiting to come crashing down, Six Degrees could do very well there. Overall, this has now become the most crucial night for ABC and the one that everyone will be watching.

Friday: I don't quite get why ABC thinks two new dramedies can do well on Friday nights, but both tested well and seem like audience pleasers, so we shall wait and see.
Predictions: As I said above, both seem to be audience pleasers, so if they somehow find an audience, they could become a force.

Saturday: In ABC's second biggest upfronts shocker, their big plan to reclaim Saturdays is. . .College Football. Did ANYONE see that coming?
Predictions: Regular College Football doesn't usually get high ratings, but on a night where the only other choices are reruns, edited down movies and criminals being brought to justice, they could form a decent-sized, loyal audience here.

Sunday: Somehow, America's Funniest Home Videos remains on the schedule despite being about 5 seasons long in the tooth and being replaced half the time anyway by special two-hour Extreme Makeover: Home Editions. And Brothers and Sisters gets the role of Anatomy's successor after much spectulation.
Predictions: Even though it skews mostly female, Housewives should still feel the heat of Football for the first half of the season, especially if the show doesn't improve (something ABC will probably be working on over the summer). And Brothers and Sisters should do a decent enough job of holding DH's audience.

Overall, a pretty decent schedule with the right kind of risks (Unlike NBC), though it may be a bit. . .crazy? Definately the network to watch out for.

Tomorrow: CBS brags about its wonderful, flawless schedule (And maybe announces a couple changes).

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