Sunday, May 22, 2011

The 2011-12 Season–Night By Night

It's time now to take a look at the Fall 2010-11 TV schedule on a day to day basis. What I'm trying to do her is to handicap each night's programming and to attempt – sight unseen, not even a trailer (maybe a couple of commercials but that's all) – to pick the winners and losers from each night. It's an inexact science that verges on Voodoo, and I'm not much of a practitioner.

Last year’s predictions weren’t as good as I had hoped. I hit some things right on the nose – Lonestar was one where I was right on unfortunately – but others I got very very wrong. I didn’t foresee Law & Order: Los Angeles collapsing the way that it did for example. In a lot of cases I was a lot more optimistic than I probably should have been. Even expressing the possibility that Chase had even the slightest chance of survival was wildly hopeful. We’ll have to see how I do this time around.

I want to do things slightly differently this time around. I’ll still give a prediction about the various new shows but in addition I’ll give a “Battle of the Night” which will be the time slot which I think has either the most interesting confrontation between two shows or where it could be a make or break battle for all of the networks on the night. I will also name a “Show to keep an eye on”; a show that interests me or that I think will either go big quickly or go away quickly. And I’ll give predictions abut the new shows.


8:00-8:30 Dancing with the Stars How I Met Your Mother TERRA NOVA The Sing-Off Gossip Girl
8:30-9:00 Dancing with the Stars 2 BROKE GIRLS TERRA NOVA The Sing-Off Gossip Girl
9:00-9:30 Dancing with the Stars Two and a Half Men House The Sing-Off HART OF DIXIE
9:30-10:00 Dancing with the Stars Mike & Molly House The Sing-Off HART OF DIXIE
10:00-11:00 Castle Hawaii Five-0 Local THE PLAYBOY CLUB Local

Battle of the Night:
8:00-10:00 p.m. Dancing With The Stars vs. The Sing-Off

Show to keep an eye on: The Playboy Club

CBS and ABC have owned the night in the 2010-11 season and that’s reflected in the stability on the night. The two networks have only added one new show, and I think that show, 2 Broke Girls fits well enough between the two existing shows that it should be safe for the full season. There’s a question about whether the change from Charlie Sheen to Ashton Kutcher is going to work on Two And A Half Men but the shouldn’t have too much trouble on the night. Moving to FOX sight unseen I have a big problem with Terra Nova. It’s a genre show, and it’s a show that I’m not entirely sure will be embraced by “science geeks” because of the whole “temporal paradox” aspect. You have to ask yourself whether FOX would have bought the show if the name Steven Spielberg wasn’t associated with it. Unless Spielberg has some sort of deal with FOX to give the show a full season, I expect this show will go quickly. Maybe the most interesting show for me is The Playboy Club, which is why I put it as the show to keep an eye on. Because NBC has Smash set to appear at mid-season, I’m not sure if this is a place holder with a beginning middle and end or if the network has hopes that it will survive on a different day and time.


8:00-8:30 LAST MAN STANDING NCIS Glee The Biggest Loser 90210
8:30-9:00 MAN UP NCIS Glee The Biggest Loser 90210
9:00-9:30 Dancing with the Stars NCIS: Los Angeles NEW GIRL The Biggest Loser RINGER
9:30-10:00 Dancing with the Stars NCIS: Los Angeles Raising Hope The Biggest Loser RINGER
10:00-11:00 Body Of Proof UNFORGET-TABLE Local Parenthood Local

Battle Of The Night
10:00-11:00 p.m. Unforgettable vs Body Of Proof vs Parenthood

Show to keep an eye on: Ringer

Tough night to pick a battle of the night for. My initial instinct was to say Last Man Standing and Man Up against everything else in the time slot but quite frankly I don’t hold out too much hope for the two ABC comedies. On the other hand the 10-11 p.m. time slot looks like a pretty substantial battle between three shows that have a very different feel to them. Body of Proof is a show with fairly light feel like Monday’s Castle, and Parenthood is a family drama which I am still convinced is at least an hour too late in the night. From what I’ve heard about the show, Unforgettable sounds like it will be heavier than Body Of Proof. I think it will be interesting to see how the audience will break down for these three shows and whether they might all still be where they started at the end of the season. Unforgettable was going to be my “Show to keep an eye on” for Tuesday but after a bit of thought I decided that a lot of interested has been piled onto Ringer, since it stars Sarah Michelle Gellar and it was originally intended for CBS. It will be interesting to see, with that pedigree, what sort of ratings it can draw for The CW.


8:00-8:30 The Middle Survivor X-FACTOR PERFORM-ANCE UP ALL NIGHT H8TR
8:30-9:00 SUBURGA-TORY Survivor
9:00-9:30 Modern Family Criminal Minds X-FACTOR PERFORM-ANCE Harry's Law America's Next Top Model
9:30-10:00 Happy Endings Criminal Minds I HATE MY TEENAGE DAUGHTER Harry's Law
America's Next Top Model
10:00-11:00 REVENGE CSI Local Law & Order: SVU Local

Battle of the Night
10:00-11:00 p.m. CSI vs Law & Order: SVU

Show to keep an eye on: X-Factor

X-Factor is the elephant in the room on Wednesday nights, which is why I think it’s the “Show to keep an eye on.”  The 2011-12 season will see four and a half hours a week, every week, devoted to singing reality-competition shows, between The Sing-Off, The Voice, American Idol and The X-Factor. And that doesn’t include the summer series America’s Got Talent which every year features a lot of singers. I desperately want to believe that we are at or near the saturation point when it comes to this sort of singing shows. It’s not that I want this series to fail (though I wouldn’t shed a tear if it did) but I really think that one of these shows on any network is enough, particularly since – with minor changes in format and judging, they really are the same show.It worries me when a show like this, which is touted by many as destined to be a huge hit is in a position to take better or more interesting shows off the air (and yes I do include Survivor in that number). As for the battle of the night, CSI vs. Law & Order: SVU has all the makings of a classic confrontation between two aging heavyweights. With Mariska Hargitay apparently wanting to reduce her episode commitment on the show and Jennifer Love Hewitt looking as if she’ll be the replacement on the episodes Hargitay doesn’t do, I think the one surviving Law & Order series could be vulnerable. However CSI has been showing erosion in its audience since William Petersen left and Laurence Fishburne came in. Of the new comedies on the night, I think Suburgatory should be a reasonable fit into the ABC set of family sitcoms and should do nicely between The Middle and Modern Families. I’m dubious about the NBC comedies; I think Free Agents would probably be better in the Thursday night line-up than partnered with a family style sitcom like Up All Night.


8:00-8:30 CHARLIE'S ANGELS The Big Bang Theory X-FACTOR RESULTS Community Vampire Diaries
8:30-9:00 CHARLIE'S ANGELS HOW TO BE A GENTLEMAN X-FACTOR RESULTS Parks And Recreation Vampire Diaries
9:00-9:30 Grey's Anatomy PERSON OF INTEREST Bones The Office SECRET CIRCLE
10:00-11:00 Private Practice The Mentalist Local PRIME SUSPECT Local

Battle of the Night
10:00-11:00 p.m. Prime Suspect vs Private Practice

Show to keep an eye on: Prime Suspect
With NBC back in the business of dramas on Thursday night, after two years of dailing comedies like The Jay Leno Show and whatever they had there in the 2010-11 season, the 10-11 p.m. hour suddenly comes into play more than it has. The Mentalist is the top show in the hour, and I don’t think that will change this season at least. However I think that the lesser of Shonda Rhimes’s two Thursday night shows is Private Practice. If Prime Suspect shows any strength at all it might be enough to take the time slot. Even without that situation though, Prime Suspect is a show to keep an eye on if only to see if NBC can mess up yet another adaptation of a British series and how badly. Turning to the other new series, Secret Circle should mesh better with Vampire Diaries than Nikita did. On the other hand I don’t think that Whitney will work as well out of The Office, as the Free Agents would have, NBC might want to consider swapping those two series before the start of the season. Charlie’s Angels is nice light fluff that should probably do well enough between 8 and 9, although that seems to be a time period where all of the networks have high profile shows. That could be a real dog fight with no obvious winners emerging, at least early on. Purely from the commercials that have aired on CBS – because as usual CBS has blocked the YouTube clips to everyone outside the United States – I’m concerned that How To Be A Gentleman will work. I’m assured that the cast is excellent but somehow the concept just doesn’t work for me.


8:00-9:00 Extreme Makeover Home Edition A GIFTED MAN Kitchen Nightmares Chuck Nikita
9:00-10:00 Shark Tank CSI: New York Fringe GRIMM Supernatural
10:00-11:00 20/20 Blue Bloods Local Dateline NBC Local

Battle of the Night 
I’m not really sure. Maybe 8-10 with all the scripted shows going up against the three reality series.

Show to keep an eye on: Grimm.

This one was hard. No one, with the possible exception of CBS and maybe The CW expects much from Fridays, so if you’re a network that isn’t CBS you schedule reality shows like Kitchen Nightmares, Extreme Makeover Home Edition, and Shark Tank, or you put on shows that you think are going to draw genre or “geek” audiences like Fringe, Chuck, and Grimm that either have a track record or which you expect will have limited audiences. What I would like to see is those genre shows getting even halfway decent ratings and at least one of them bucking the trend and and getting a higher rating than Extreme Makeover Home Edition (a show that I have come to loathe) or Shark Tank (I rather like Kitchen Nightmares so I won’t mention it in the same context). Think that a sufficiently large audience for a scripted show other than one of the CBS shows might persuade the networks to stay in the business of doing original scripted shows on Fridays. That’s why I think you should keep an eye on Grimm, particularly when someone like Marc Berman says outright that he thinks it will be the first show to be cancelled and Dateline NBC will be expanded to two hours…again. It’s probably too much to hope for, but I can dream, can’t I?


7:00-7:30 America's Funniest Home Videos 60 Minutes The O/T Football Night In America Local
7:30-8:00 America's Funniest Home Videos 60 Minutes The Cleveland Show Football Night In America Local
8:00-8:30 ONCE UPON A TIME The Amazing Race The Simpsons Football Night In America Local
8:30-9:00 ONCE UPON A TIME The Amazing Race ALLEN GREGORY Sunday Night Football Local
9:00-9:30 Desperate Housewives The Good Wife Family Guy Sunday Night Football Local
9:30-10:00 Desperate Housewives The Good Wife American Dad Sunday Night Football Local
10:00-11:00 PAN AM CSI: Miami Local Sunday Night Football Local

Battle of the Night
9:00-10:00 p.m. The Good Wife vs Desperate Housewives

Show to keep and eye on: Pan Am

Ignoring FOX, whose Animation Domination shows are (a) likely to go on forever, and (b) directed at a teen and young adult audience (and (c) – in my opinion at least – a lazy way out of programming the night) the night is all about people who don’t watch football. And traditionally the big audience for that is women. I know that sounds sexist but I’m also pretty sure that there are statistics to prove that. The battle between The Good Wife and Desperate Housewives looks like it could be a big one. The Good Wife won an Emmy for Archie Panjabi in it’s first season as well as a huge number of nominations, while Desperate Housewives won Emmys in it’s early seasons but hasn’t won anything lately. That makes The Good Wife the up and comer while Desperate Housewives the aged veteran seeking one last ratings triumph. I don’t think it’s going to happen. I think that The Good Wife, which struggled in it’s original Tuesday night slot could find an audience here, even with periodic Football Overruns on CBS delaying the show. The show I think we should keep an eye on is not Allen Gregory. I’ve already read comments on Cartoon Brew the mildest of which which described the lead character as “the most UNlikeable character ever placed in a prime time show.” That doesn’t bode well for any interest in the show. Pan Am on the other hand at least has the advantages of being an interesting premise and trying something different. It may not succeed, but at least you’ve got a network trying something totally outside the box.


Todd Mason said...

Eh. PAN AM and THE PLAYBOY CLUB are MAD MEN crossed with LAS VEGAS. I repeat myself, but so do they.

Bobby F Dowd said...

I am a child of tv too.....