Wednesday, August 19, 2009

19 Timeslots, Wednesday 8PM

Still one of TV's weakest timeslots, where a 3.0 probably carries the day, this fall it'll have the distinction of being the only hour where two different nets are airing sitcoms.

ABC: Of course, this is where Lost launched to huge numbers in '04. In '05 it moved to 9 and made way for comedy efforts Freddie and George Lopez. Dancing with the Stars filled Wednesday in fall of '06 and did just fine but in the winter things went awry as the net first bombed with game show Show Me the Money and then introduced a comedy block full of duds. The 8:00 victims included According to Jim, George Lopez, Notes from the Underbelly, and Knights of Prosperity. Fall '07 saw the decent launch of Pushing Daisies, but thanks to the strike it was hiatus-bound by the end of the calendar year and the Wife Swap/Supernanny took over for the rest of the season. Daisies returned to terrible results in fall '08, so much of early '09 saw this slot filled by Lost repeats. Eventually another comedy block of Scrubs and Better Off Ted filled in and struggled to hit a 2.0. Though most of the efforts have been pretty unmemorable, they have had comedy here 3 of the last 4 years, but they're hoping for better results out of new comedies Hank and The Middle.

CBS: Fall '06 saw the surprisingly positive launch of Jericho which was one of the first newbies to get a back nine but by season's end had mostly fizzled. Reality bomb Armed & Famous filled in during a midseason Jericho hiatus. They tried a kiddie version of Survivor called Kid Nation in fall '07 to pretty lukewarm results, aired some comedy repeats here in the winter, and eventually used it as a home for game show Power of 10 and the writer's strike version of Big Brother to close out '07-'08. In fall '08 CBS committed to comedy in this slot, shipping vet The New Adventures of Old Christine here alongside newbie Gary Unmarried. Despite finishing near the bottom of CBS' totem pole each week they did make slight improvements on Kid Nation and hung on for the full season and then into another. Christine has been rescued on a couple occasions by ABC's alleged interest in the show and Gary seemed like a dead show walking when it lost its showrunner and multiple cast members but here they are again despite originals averaging only a 2.1 and 2.2 respectively. Just don't count on much improvement.

FOX: Perhaps the only network that's done OK in this hour thanks to Bones, which inhabited the slot in '06-'07 and in the first half of '08-'09. In '07-'08, they tried comedy in this hour, just like almost everyone else has, with Back to You and 'Til Death. The pair got interrupted by both American Idol and the huge launch of game show Moment of Truth but returned towards the end of the season to fairly mediocre results. Back to You was axed and 'Til Death barely survived. Bones shipped to Thursday in winter of '08-'09 and a similar show called Lie to Me was tried in this slot for several weeks in spring '09. Though it generally did worse than Bones, LTM will be back but it's Monday-bound while the second night of So You Think You Can Dance will see what it can do here.

NBC: Yes, NBC also launched comedies here in the last three years, the practically DOA pair of 30 Rock and 20 Good Years in fall '06. Rock was rescued and has gone on to success on NBC Thursdays, Years was axed, and Deal or No Deal got some airtime here before the end of Friday Night Lights' first season came over to this slot. Deal got back the slot for almost all of '07-'08, getting a brief breather for reality failure Phenomenon. In fall '08, the hour went to the Knight Rider reboot, which hung on to it for a little less than a full season before giving way to completely DOA reality effort The Chopping Block and some L&O repeats. This year, the slot was scheduled for family drama Parenthood but because of Maura Tierney's health issues the nursing drama Mercy has been bumped up instead.

CW: America's Top Model is the show that defines this timeslot and will continue to do so for the forseeable future. Between cycles, the slot has been home to Beauty and the Geek in '06-'07, reality dud Crowned in '07-'08, and another reality failure 13: The Fear is Real and repeats of drama Privileged in '08-'09. None have even been in the ANTM ballpark ratings-wise.

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