Sunday, August 30, 2009

19 Timeslots, Sunday 9PM


Desperate Housewives premiered in this hour on ABC in fall 2004 and a megahit - and timeslot definer - was born.

ABC: See above. Desperate Housewives, despite being in an almost continual decline since season 2, remains the force to beat here. It averaged a 5.3 in 2008-09 originals but dipped as low as a 4.1 near the end of the season. Its 2007-08 season was shortened due to the writer's strike so reality show Oprah's Big Give filled in for the typically low-repeating drama.

CBS: After airing its first three seasons in the Sunday 8:00 hour, veteran drama Cold Case got moved to 9:00 in the fall of '06. It would stay there for almost all of the next three years but is being moved yet another hour later for fall '09. Medical newbie Three Rivers joins the slot this year and has been widely pegged as an early failure. In that event, don't be surprised if Cold Case returns to this hour.

FOX: Animated offering Family Guy has a checkered past that has been well documented and 2006-07 was the first time in the show's existence that it actually aired an entire season of originals starting in September and ending in May, something that's standard procedure for most shows. It has held down the timeslot ever since and will continue there for '09-'10. Its lead-out across these last three years has generally been another animated show American Dad though the 9:30 half-hour was the home for live-action newbies The Winner in spring '07 and Unhitched toward the end of the strike-affected '07-'08 season. Family Guy averaged about a 4.0 and American Dad pulled around a 2.9 on average, though Dad aired several episodes without an original FG lead-in. Family Guy aired just 16 originals in '08-'09.

NBC: Of course, this net has Sunday Night Football going strong in the fall. The question is what airs afterwards. Deal or No Deal got some action here among other places in early '07 followed by some specials and theatricals. It was repeats of drama Law & Order, USA Network import Psych, and comedy The Office in '08. But, after starting the post-football run in '09 with some miniseries and specials, the peacock finally seemed to find something they could stick with in this hour in '09 by bringing in two hour editions of The Celebrity Apprentice. It's expected that show will fill the timeslot again starting in winter of 2010. The show averaged around a 3.2 on Sundays last season, a marked improvement over most of the other attempts there recently.

CW: The CW started off fall '06 with their trademark second-run of America's Next Top Model in the hour but made a quick audible, bringing drama newbie Runaway over. It struggled mightily and so encores of Beauty and the Geek filled in for much of early '07. In fall of '07 the hour went back to the ANTM encore while the net tried originals again at 7 and 8. The comedy block returned to the evening later in that season due to failure in the first two hours, with Girlfriends and The Game airing in the 9:00 hour. Girlfriends was axed after the season and The Game shifted to Friday while the CW leased out Sunday night to Media Rights Capital. Drama Easy Money aired here but while it garnered a little bit of critical acclaim it was DOA and soon replaced by movie nights. The CDub abandons the evening for '09-'10 and so affiliates will offer local programming.

Cable Notables: Showtime offers one of its signature dramas in Dexter starting in late September. HBO goes with veteran comedy Curb Your Enthusiasm leading into newbie Bored to Death.

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