Today, my fall preview looks at Tuesday 8/7c. The arrival of Glee will throw another wrinkle into an hour usually dominated in the 4th quarter by NCIS and The Biggest Loser.
This timeslot has been quite an adventure for the alphabet. In fall 2007 they launched comedies Cavemen and Carpoolers, and both started decently but had big-time fall-offs and were gone by November. Then in January came an unsuccessful regular season run for summer sleeper success Just for Laughs followed by a disastrous stint for According to Jim. Fall of '08 saw more troubles with reality duds Opportunity Knocks and Homeland Security USA, more Dancing recaps, and more According to Jim. 2009-10 saw more reality with first Shark Tank and then the DWTS results, moved an hour earlier, and in the middle were some low-rated Scrubs episodes and the successful four-episode launch of V. Those four episodes were the only drama aired here recently, but that changes in the fall with superhero family dramedy No Ordinary Family.
Unlike the troubled ABC, CBS can sum this timeslot up with just four letters: NCIS. The show has improbably become a grower in the last two seasons, its sixth and seventh years in this hour. It averaged a series-high 4.07 demo in 2009-10.
In fall '07 The Biggest Loser returned to Tuesday after a year on Wednesday. At times in that fall cycle it was shortened to 90 minutes so a half-hour edition of summer hit The Singing Bee could air at 8:00 but the Bee was a regular season disaster and eventually shipped to Friday. Loser has been a permanent two-hour fixture since then, except for some Most Outrageous Moments and Saturday Night Live specials in the hour in late spring '08. The two 2009-10 cycles of The Biggest Loser averaged a 3.74 and a 3.36.
They always have American Idol here in the winter/spring and will again so let's get that out of the way. They started '06-'07 with medical drama House here leading into newbie Standoff but once it was clear Standoff was a bomb, they brought it back from hiatus in the 8 slot while maximizing House's ratings at 9. In fall of '07 they assembled a very strong evening by putting Bones in the 8:00 slot, where it benefited from the House lead-out. In '08 they opted to use House as a lead-in again, this time for JJ Abrams newbie Fringe. For early 2009 House finally moved off the night, and in fall 2009 the net went with the first half of a two-hour regular season edition of So You Think You Can Dance. It's back to scripted in fall 2010 with Glee, a big success at 9:00 post-Idol last season. It averaged a 3.98 demo last season, a little less than half of which was post-Idol.
The new network was good to go in this hour when they launched thanks to Gilmore Girls. That was done after CW's first year so they relied on Beauty and the Geek for two cycles in '07-'08 and it weakened significantly by season's end. Reaper repeats filled time between cycles. There was reason to be optimistic thanks to the big debut of 90210 in fall '08 but it had weakened so much by the winter that the net opted to put midseason returnee Reaper in this slot to keep 90210 away from Idol. 90210 returned to 8 for the full season in 2009-10, but it's gone again for fall 2010, as it will head to Monday and swap with One Tree Hill, which actually debuted on Tuesdays in the mid-2000s. OTH posted a 2.19 W18-34 average in 2009-10.
American Idol Tuesday - 6.15 average (-26% from last year), 9.5 premiere (-19%)
Glee - 4.30 average (+8%), 4.8 premiere (+37%) - note this is a full season average, including the projected post-Idol airings; I see the show nearly neck-and-neck with a stronger NCIS in the fall at around a 4.0 or a little higher, then down from last year post-Idol, in large part because I think Idol will be weaker.
NCIS - 3.70 average (-9%), 4.3 premiere (-10%) - will finally drop a bit against bigger competition, but not much
The Biggest Loser (fall) - 3.50 average (-6%), 3.7 premiere (-3%) - these are two-hour averages which I'll apply on the 9pm post as well, since I won't reliably be able to break it down.
The Biggest Loser (spring) - 3.50 average (+4%), 4.2 premiere (-9%)
No Ordinary Family - 2.50 average, 2.8 premiere - Another full season disclaimer; I see this show getting moved if it does anything at all, and I think low 2's may fit the definition of anything at all, so a better hour will bring the average up a bit.
One Tree Hill - 1.58 W18-34 average (-26%), 1.9 premiere (-21%) - Glee gonna hurt bad.
WHAT I'M WATCHING
Glee, unless it starts sucking (I kinda fell out of love with it in the second half of season 1). No Ordinary Family is the only newbie pilot I've seen and I wasn't blown away, but liked it enough to give it another shot for sure. You?
For more, see my 2009 post on the hour.