Friday, August 21, 2009

19 Timeslots, Friday 8PM

The interesting thing about Fridays is that there's such a wide variety of effort put forth. Sometimes something strong gets moved onto the night, sometimes a net is content to just air Grey's repeats all year.

ABC: The alphabet started out fall '06 with Extreme Makeover (not Home Edition!) in this slot but its disastrous opener saw it yanked for Grey's repeats, which took up the timeslot for most of the rest of '06-'07. In fall '07 they had two scripted hours on the night and made the bold move of putting 20/20 at 8PM, a disaster that was eventually reversed putting Men in Trees at 8. That didn't work either so back to Grey's repeats. For '08-'09 the net imported journeyman duo Wife Swap/Supernanny and Wife Swap held the slot for the entire season. This year there's one less hour for the pair so Supernanny slides down to 8 and will likely share the slot with Swap.

CBS: Ghost Whisperer was a surprise success story in 2005 and has held down this timeslot ever since. It had some positive momentum in November of '08 and spent some time in the upper 2's, easily the best demo on Friday night. It finished the year at around a 2.5 original average and will continue there in '09-'10.

FOX: This has historically been a tough night for Fox. They generally went with Nanny 911 here in '06-'07 but also peppered in burnoffs of scripted duds Justice and Vanished. Some House repeats showed up in the slot late in the season in an effort to help scripted newbie Wedding Bells at 9. In fall of '07 the net went with Idol ripoff American Band to pretty low results but it aired its whole season. Fox promised to move Bones originals into this slot as they often do but ended up just airing repeats in the winter while the originals stayed on a bigger night. In the spring the slot became home to more scripted duds like The Return of Jezebel James and Canterbury's Law. Fox finally became remotely competitive on the evening when 5th Grader showed up here on a permanent basis in fall '08 and in the winter the net imported fast-fading Terminator: SCC to the timeslot. The final eps of Prison Break also got a run here toward the end of the '08-'09 season. This year, don't expect improvement as Fox trots out multicam sitcoms Brothers and 'Til Death.

NBC: In fall '06 NBC introduced a game show called 1 vs. 100 which held down the timeslot for pretty much that entire season, which the exception of a brief tryout for another game show Identity. However the show barely survived into the next year and was replaced by Deal Or No Deal in fall '07. In late December NBC briefly burnt off some Singing Bee episodes, then brought back the final episodes of 1 vs. 100 in early '08 which gave way to yet another game show in Amnesia. NBC filled the slot with Most Outrageous Moments repeats after Amnesia wrapped. Another reality bomb in America's Toughest Jobs opened up '08-'09 in the slot but got bumped to Saturday while 9PM occupant DOND slid down here again. NBC tried reality one more time with another Howie Mandel show called Howie Do It in the winter and got a decent start out of the show but saw it almost completely fizzle by season's end. NBC is bucking their game/reality trend here in a big way by moving the original Law & Order to the night this fall.

CW: This timeslot housed the first half of UPN staple Friday Night Smackdown! for the first two years of the CW's existence but the network let go of the franchise for the '08-'09 season. CW moved comedies Everybody Hates Chris and The Game to this hour and while they had decent results they were essentially in burnoff mode and were axed after the season. This year the net gets a tad more aggressive in moving Thursday staple Smallville over here.

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