Networks prep for Winter
Rookie performers making midseason decisions difficult
By Rick Kissell, Variety
, November 13, 2009
As the November sweep nears its conclusion, webheads have turned their attention to midseason sked tweaks.
These decisions could be more difficult this year due to a high number of decent rookie performers and a glut of midseason shows waiting on the bench. This could be a good thing for viewers and the networks’ bottom-line averages, as it likely means fewer repeats the rest of the way.
The last couple of weeks saw a flurry of moves as the nets map out the first few months of 2010.
Among the changes, ABC axed Wednesday laffer “Hank” and chose not to order any more segs of struggling drama “Eastwick” while picking up five more episodes of Tuesday drama “The Forgotten.” Fox canceled Friday drama “Dollhouse,” and CBS ordered five more episodes of rookie comedy “Accidentally on Purpose”
Here’s a look at what could be in the works at midseason:ABC
“Ugly Betty,” which is floundering on Fridays, would be a good choice for Wednesday at 10, replacing the struggling “Eastwick” and fitting in well behind the net’s comedy block.
“Lost” could shift to Tuesdays for its final season, perhaps leading into or out of “V,” which could be the net’s best shot at holding an aud opposite “American Idol,” which returns in January. ABC would be foolish, meanwhile, if it doesn’t devote more than one hour of air a week to “Lost,” perhaps making room for a discussion show after each episode.
Quirky drama “Happy Town” seems like a good fit on Sunday with “Desperate Housewives,” giving “Brothers & Sisters” a breather, while young-lawyers drama “The Deep End” could serve a similar role on Thursdays, behind “Grey’s Anatomy” and spelling “Private Practice.”
On the comedy front, new Alyssa Milano laffer “Romantically Challenged” could slide into “Hank’s” 8 p.m. slot on Wednesday, although it would face Fox’s “American Idol.” But the net does have to program something against the behemoth.CBS
Vet comedy “Rules of Engagement” could slide into the Monday slot occupied by “Accidentally on Purpose,” while new hospital series “Miami Trauma” could go Sundays at 9 behind the adrenaline rush that is “Amazing Race.” “Flashpoint” would seem like a good c ap to Friday, taking over for the declining “Numbers.”
There’s not an obvious spot for reality newbie “Undercover Boss,” which generated good buzz at the net’s upfront last May, but it could slide in to “Survivor’s” Thursday timeslot for a few weeks.NBC
Despite low ratings, don’t look for the net to abandon its Jay Leno experiment anytime this season.
Its best hope for success is dramedy “Parenthood,” which would make sense Sunday at 8, although limited-run reality show “The Marriage Ref” could also go there. Fridays are also a possibility for “Parenthood,” as the net may put it in the slot where another family hour, “Providence,” worked a decade ago.
“Chuck” likely will return to its old Monday 8 p.m. slot, leading into “Heroes,” and Wednesday could see “Mercy” stay put, as the net probably isn’t keen on putting in something new opposite “American Idol.”
Net has quietly made strides with its Thursday comedy block, where “Community” has gained traction at 8 p.m. and “The Office” is performing well at 9. Look for midseason comedy “100 Questions” to get a March tryout in the 8:30 p.m. “Parks & Rec” slot.Fox
There aren’t many question marks here, especially with “American Idol” and “24” already locked in for their annual returns in January.
Priority will be giving dramas a shot Tuesday and Wednesday at 9. That rotation will include giving current hit “Glee” more exposure, while also shining the light on the new “Human Target” and “Past Life.”
Lightly watched Friday remains a tough nut to crack, with reality shows including perhaps the recently announced “Our Little Genius” the best bet to take over for the net’s anemic lineup of comedies and “Dollhouse.”http://www.variety.com/index.asp?lay...&categoryid=14