Monday, September 22, 2008

NBC: A Look Ahead (2008-09)

I'm sure there's a lot to say about NBC and why it's in such a terrible state at the moment, but so much has been covered about that over the last 3-4 years, and I already have this in-depth schedule analysis, so I'll get right to it. And here it is!

– Chuck (Sept. 29)

09:00 p.m. – Heroes (Sept. 22)

10:00 p.m. – My Own Worst Enemy (NEW SERIES) (Oct. 13)

Analysis: If there’s a new show with the most awareness at this point, it’s got to be My Own Worst Enemy, thanks to nonstop, endless Olympic ads. I’m not sure that awareness will translate to good ratings, but I’ll predict that in a moment. Anyhow, the first two hours remain the same, as they probably should. Chuck faces the same problem as ABC Wednesdays in trying to get back its audience from over nine months ago by the time it premieres. Heroes also has a problem of bringing back its audience, but that’s less to do with a nine-month hiatus and more with that second season of not-good-quality.

Predictions: Chuck is in one of the toughest timeslots this fall, so anything above 7 million viewers, plus good quality, should keep it alive. Heroes has the potential of 24 to be able to get viewers back at the beginning of the season with a whole new adventure (in this case moving onto the more traditional supervillains), but I’m not sure that’ll work out. It should at least start the season strong (12+ million viewers) before fading to around 8-10 million viewers for the rest of the fall, and maybe even farther in the spring if quality doesn’t pick up. As for My Own Worst Enemy, I actually see that having a good premiere (Over 10 million viewers, which will be good for a new series this fall), but I can’t see it surviving after that (6-7 million).


08:00 p.m. – The Biggest Loser: Families (Sept. 16)

10:00 p.m. – Law and Order: SVU (Sept. 23)

Analysis: Yes, you’re reading that correctly, Biggest Loser is scheduled for two hours every week this fall. It’s not a BAD move, really. Tuesdays are a terrible night for NBC, and Biggest Loser has always performed pretty well when extended. SVU has been losing viewers, but after ten seasons, that’s pretty much expected. It’s still the network’s most consistent drama.

Predictions: Biggest Loser will probably be mostly unimpressive, with around 7 million viewers before peaking with its finale. (The finale for this show is always impressively good.) SVU will finally face some sort of competition from CBS with Without a Trace, but so long as it maintains around 11-12 million viewers like I expect, it’ll be fine.


08:00 p.m. – Knight Rider (NEW SERIES) (Sept. 24)

09:00 p.m. – Deal or No Deal (NEW TIME) (TBD)

10:00 p.m. – Lipstick Jungle (NEW NIGHT) (Sept. 24)

Analysis: Outside of Deal or No Deal, Wednesdays have been pretty problematic for NBC as of late. Knight Rider gets its own series after the semi-success of the TV Movie way back in February (12.6 million viewers WOULD be quite an improvement over their past Wednesday programming), but I’m not sure how well that will work out. And Lipstick Jungle got renewed for some reason that still perplexes me.

Predictions: Knight Rider will compete with Bones and Pushing Daisies for the Demo title at 8:00, but I think it’ll ultimately lose most of its TV Movie audience over time, dropping to around 6-7 million, Bionic Woman-style. DOND will quietly perform well enough at 9:00 (9-11 million), and Lipstick Jungle will get cannibalized (ho ho, cannibals, jungles…yeah) by CSI: NY and Dirty Sexy Money (5-6 million).


08:00 – My Name is Earl (Sept. 25)

08:30 – Kath and Kim (NEW SERIES) (Oct. 9)

09:00 – The Office (Sept. 25)

09:30 – Thursday Night Live (LIMITED SERIES (Oct. 9)/30 Rock (Oct. 30)

10:00 – E.R. (Sept. 25)

Analysis: Once the most powerful and most-feared night on television, NBC Thursdays is now only a shadow of its former self, a cautionary tale of what a little mismanagement can do to a seemingly indestructible night, and how hard that can be to rebuild. Luckily NBC seems to slowly be taking some steps in the right direction, first by trying to make The Office its tentpole show with a little help from a post-Super Bowl episode, and FINALLY deciding to end E.R., about three seasons too late (Could you imagine how big a finale would’ve been back in way, 2005 or 2006? Bigger than this ending will be). Kath and Kim looks like a bust (As much as I love Molly Shannon), but that was a holdover from the previous pilot season. With proper comedy development, they could eventually stage a coup on the night that has mostly been ABC vs. CBS these last two seasons.

Predictions: Last year I predicted Earl to finally end in its third season. At the moment I think it’ll survive to its fifth season (If only because it’s hard to justify canceling it and not 30 Rock), but I don’t expect much more than 7 million. Kath and Kim will premiere well, but fade to around 6 million. The Office still has potential, but I think we’ll have to wait until the spring to see how much it has, so until then it should stay level with last season (8-9 million), while 30 Rock MIGHT find some help from its Emmy wins with say, 7 million viewers (Give or take half a million), and E.R. performs not that well for most of the fall (9-10 million).


08:00 – Crusoe (NEW SERIES) (Oct. 17)

09:00America’s Toughest Jobs (NEW SERIES) (Sept. 19 @ 8:00; Oct. 17 @ 9:00; Special Premiere on Aug. 25)

10:00 – Life (Oct. 3, Special Premiere on Sept. 29)

In an attempt to rejuvenate Fridays, NBC is planning some very confusing programming. First America’s Toughest Jobs premiered on Monday at 9:00, and will ran there until Heroes returned, and now it moves here on Sept 19 at 8:00 for four weeks before moving up an hour to 9:00 for Crusoe. Meanwhile, Life airs after Heroes for two Mondays before moving over here to Fridays. Perhaps the most confusing thing of all this night? The idea that a new take on Robinson Crusoe will work on Fridays. I still don’t get that.

Predictions: I can’t see Crusoe lasting long at all, maybe getting 5-6 million before NBC cancels/postpones it for Deal or No Deal or Friday Night Lights sometime in November. America’s Toughest Jobs has some confusing scheduling, but it appears to have been DOA anyway, getting less than 5 million viewers last Monday, so, flop. And finally, Life actually didn’t perform that badly on Wednesdays (Increasing out of Bionic Woman near the end of its run), and might find a niche at around 7 million on Fridays that works for it.


08:00 – Dateline NBC

09:00 – Knight Rider encores

10:00 – Law & Order: SVI encores

Analysis: Eh?

Predictions: 4-5 million for all. Probably less.


07:00 p.m. – Football Night in America (Sept. 7)

08:20 p.m. – Sunday Night Football (Sept. 7)

Analysis: It’s Football. What is there to analyze? Maybe I could check out the midseason schedule, but I have major doubts about how that will hold up.

Predictions: 10 million at its worst, 20+ million at its strongest. Not much else to it.

Tomorrow: A quick recap on how early birds FOX and CW are holding up. (And can The CW survive the decade??)

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