Monday, August 17, 2009

19 Timeslots, Monday 8PM

Fox's decision to move medical smash House to Mondays has made this one of the most competitive timeslots on TV.

ABC: The alphabet gave up Monday Night football for fall '06 but got decent work out of Wife Swap and Supernanny in that fall and the subsequent winter. Then in the spring entered reality tentpole Dancing with the Stars, which on Mondays in '08-'09 averaged around a 4.4 in the fall and a 4.9 in the spring. The question mark has always been how to get through the winter. In '07-'08 they tried a Dancing spinoff called Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann during the winter. It averaged an OK 2.6 but wasn't seen again, and in '08-'09 they went with The Bachelor which had a major resurgence averaging more than a 4.0. The net should once again fill the winter months with that dating show.

CBS: Since the debut of How I Met Your Mother in 2005, CBS has been trying to find young-skewing comedies in this hour. In 2006 they launched The Class at 8 PM followed by middling How I Met Your Mother at 8:30, but eventually HIMYM got back the anchor spot and The Class was axed after a slightly shortened first season while The New Adventures of Old Christine filled in with some originals in spring 2007. In fall of '07 the net found a great companion for HIMYM in The Big Bang Theory at 8:30, but the writer's strike unfortunately kept the shows from having originals for the winter, one of the ripest times for CBS comedy growth since ABC's Dancing is out of the picture. Dud Welcome to the Captain joined HIMYM repeats during the winter but was axed. BBT and HIMYM switched timeslots after the strike and both came back strong, especially HIMYM which got some help from a couple Britney Spears guest spots. They stayed in place and continued to build momentum in fall '08. Both broke 4.0 multiple times in the winter between Dancing cycles. Despite the success in this historically shaky hour CBS is taking a big risk by moving anchor BBT to 9:30 to air after 2.5 Men and bumping HIMYM back to 8:00, where it will lead into Jenna Elfman's Accidentally on Purpose. Expect at least some drop for HIMYM from its 4.0 original average last year due to its timeslot change. A fail by Accidentally may give way to Rules of Engagement, which has been repeating at 8:30 this summer.

FOX: This timeslot was the home for Fox's serialized action drama Prison Break in '06-'07, which wrapped in April of that year to make way for complete flop Drive and just two weeks later House repeats. Break returned to the slot in fall of '07 but had just 13 episodes that season due to the writer's strike. It wrapped in February and made way for ancient-skewing Canterbury's Law which was insta-yanked and replaced by old reliable House repeats. In fall '08 Break was bumped to 9 and renewed Terminator: SCC took over the slot with subpar results, so Fox finally moved House to the slot on a more permanent basis, where it averaged a 5.1 in 13 originals. Despite declining toward the end of that run, it stays there for '09-'10.

NBC: The peacock found great success on Monday nights in fall 2006 and the beginning of that night was big hit game show Deal Or No Deal, which held the slot wire-to-wire in '06-'07. In fall '07 the net needed DOND elsewhere so they tried to bring in a light companion for Heroes in Chuck, which did decent work but was cut off after 13 by the writer's strike. It was replaced by a slew of reality options, first success with American Gladiators (which went on to failure in its second season on Monday in summer '08), then a highly successful Deal or No Deal, then flop My Dad is Better Than Your Dad, then back to a diminished DOND. NBC went back to Chuck for the full season in fall '08, and though it was usually 4th in a very tough slot, it got a third season but is held for midseason. Reality dud Superstars of Dance filled in for Chuck during December and January of that season. Chuck could show up here again, but in the fall the nod will go to fast-tanking Heroes which is probably going to find this its final resting place.

CW: The CW launched with WB dinosaur 7th Heaven in this timeslot but instantly returned it to Sunday, and the night became home to a comedy block for the next season and a half, with Everybody Hates Chris at 8 and All of Us or Aliens in America at 8:30. In January of '08 the CDub moved Gossip Girl from the post-ANTM slot with not great results but some momentum toward the end of the spring. It stayed there through '08-'09, having its heyday in fall '08 when it spent a couple months consistently above 3 million viewers, but there were big declines late in the season and for fall '09 the net is swapping it to 9 and One Tree Hill down to 8.

Cable Notables: ESPN's Monday Night Football is always a very large part of the Monday picture. ABC Family offers the fourth season of drama Lincoln Heights.

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