Monday, August 30, 2010

22 Hours of Primetime, Monday 8/7c

Today, my fall preview looks at Monday 8/7c. Lots of veteran shows in this hour, as third-season 90210 will be the hour's youngest show.

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 has been there on a fall/spring basis since. On Mondays in 2009-10 it averaged a 3.67 in the fall and a 4.84 in the spring. The question mark used to be how to get through the winter. After getting mid-2's out of a DWTS spinoff called Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann in 2008, they went with The Bachelor in early 2009 which had a major resurgence. The 2010 edition averaged a 4.08. The net should once again fill the winter months with that dating show.

Since the debut of How I Met Your Mother in 2005, CBS has been trying to find young-skewing comedies to accompany it in this hour. In fall of '07 they found one 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. The dud Welcome to the Captain joined HIMYM repeats during the winter and was axed quickly. 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 the next season, but BBT was moved to 9:30 for fall 2009 and in stepped Accidentally on Purpose, which is gone after a short season one. Rules of Engagement aired at 8:30 in the spring, averaging a 3.00, and will return in fall 2010. HIMYM averaged a 3.53 and returns to 8:00.

In fall '07, following a good year for Deal or No Deal here, they needed that show elsewhere so they tried to bring in a light companion for its hit show Heroes, and in Chuck it got some decent work but the show 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 a full season in 2008-09, and though it was usually 4th in a very tough slot, it got renewed but held for midseason. Reality dud Superstars of Dance filled in for Chuck during December and January of that season. The last hurrah for Deal or No Deal came in this hour late in 2008-09, and its results were downright ugly. Heroes moved to the 8pm hour for fall 2009, but its ratings only got worse, and Chuck showed up again for the winter and spring of 2010. It averaged a 2.22 demo, again a pretty distant fourth place, but again good enough for a renewal, and it returns to the fall sked in 2010.

Fox's rookie action drama Prison Break moved to this hour during the 2005-06 season and was the primary option here till midway through the 2007-08 season. 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. It averaged a 4.85 in 2009-10, its first full season in the hour.

After a season and a half of comedies on Monday, in January of '08 the CDub moved Gossip Girl from the post-Top Model slot on Wednesday 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 moved it to 9:00 in a swap with One Tree Hill, which aired here last season. Now Tuesday staple 90210 moves to the hour for fall 2010. It averaged a 1.86 in women 18-34 in 2009-10 on Tuesday.

ESPN's Monday Night Football is always a very large part of the Monday picture. Most weeks, it kicks off at 8:30 Eastern.

DWTS (spring) - 4.30 average (-11%), 5.2 premiere (-19%) - I don't watch Dancing, but I predicted a big cycle for the show from the second I saw last year's cast, and doubt next spring's will be as good.
House - 4.22 average (-13%), 5.2 premiere (-22%)
DWTS (fall) - 3.87 average (+5%), 4.3 premiere (+5%) - On the flip side of the spring prediction, the buzz about the fall cast looks much better than last fall's.
HIMYM - 3.23 average (-9%), 3.4 premiere (-6%)
Rules of Engagement - 2.95 average (-2%), 3.3 premiere (-3%)
Chuck - 2.07 average (-7%), 2.5 premiere (-14%) - I see Chuck and Rules benefiting a bit season-to-season from being on in the fall this time around, though individual data points year-to-year could look much worse in early 2011.

90210 - 1.60 W18-34 average (-14%), 2.0 premiere (-20%) - Could do better, since it won't face Idol, but will still face W18-34-heavy The Bachelor, and teen soaps usually spiral downward.

How I Met Your Mother and House.  I have an on-again, off-again relationship with Chuck,  so I might occasionally give that a look if there's a guest star I like or the other shows aren't on. You?

For more, see my 2009 post on the hour.

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