Saturday, August 15, 2009

Introducing 19 Timeslots


A couple weeks ago, I spent some time in a bookstore reading Phil Steele's college football and NFL preview magazines. They're not written with exceptional style, and the print is really small, but the amount of info is simply massive. For each team and for each position, he gives several years of history and then explains what the team has at that position now.

There's nothing quite like that for the TV landscape, so I was inspired to give it a try. Across the next three weeks I'll be previewing fall 2009 in TV by creating a Steele-like article each day for a different primetime timeslot. (Except Saturdays) It's a big project, but I've finished enough of the articles now that I have a good head start and feel I can get it done. They will start rolling out tomorrow at 11:00 AM ET with the Sunday 7 PM hour and then every non-Saturday day at 11 AM ET through September 6, wrapping just a couple days before the first big-5 network fall programming returns on the 8th.

The style will be kinda Steele-like, meaning lots of long sentences and not a lot of commas. Partly homage to Steele, partly a quick way of unloading info. Unlike Steele, whose histories often date back to the early 2000s, I will usually (but not always) just focus on the previous three seasons. A few reasons for fall '06 as a good starting point for the current state of TV:
  • Fall '06 is when PIFeedback started, so it's the beginning of consistently detailed ratings/scheduling info on the net. It's also the first year that I personally started participating in TV discussion on the Internet. Before that I was mostly just familiar with my favorite shows, not the broad landscape, so I'd have less of my own memory to go on.
  • The CW started... meaning I don't have to go back and split up descriptions into WB and UPN.
  • Network primetime football moved from ABC Mondays to NBC Sundays.
  • ABC completely shook up TV by moving Grey's Anatomy to Thursday. So I don't need to dig back into those miserably-rated ABC Thursdays with Alias, Night Stalker, etc. that have almost nothing to do with what's going on there now.
It's one of the least sexy ways ever to preview a TV season, but I hope it provides some good context. Assuming that I continue to hold some interest in this stuff, I plan on doing this each year. The good news is that after I finish this year's batch of articles, the amount of time I need to expend per year on this project will go way down, since most of the info will already be here. And if I leave out any regular series in these posts, please let me know. I'll be doing my best but I don't have unlimited time for this, so mistakes are very, very possible.

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