Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Ratings of Summer, Sunday


Previous Ratings of Summer entries: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday/Saturday

BROADCAST

ABC
Scoundrels/The Gates - Including these two summer dramas together because I don't have much unique to say about them. Both are cost-controlled scripted summer efforts on broadcast. Scoundrels is about a family of criminals, and The Gates is about a really weird gated community. They premiere next Sunday and, rather than put them after decently-rated reality shows, ABC has stuck this block on cable-crowded Sunday night out of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition repeats. So the odds of success are pretty low.

CBS
Of course, 60 Minutes will always be new in the 7pm hour, and it'll lead into yet another night of CBS reality show Big Brother.

NBC
NBC will have some new episodes of newsmagazine Dateline on the night, while Law & Order: CI will be "new to NBC" in the 10pm hour.

Fox
Fox has a couple more burnoff episodes of canceled sitcom 'Til Death and several more of Sons of Tucson. 'Til Death has aired many, many episodes in the 7pm hour this season, the vast majority of them falling below the 1.0 demo threshold. Expect Sons to continue that tradition.

CABLE
HBO - 364 days ago, season 2 of True Blood premiered, and suddenly the show became something more than the respectable player by HBO standards it was in season 1, when it averaged around a 1.0 demo. A cable power player was born, starting at a 2.0 and skyrocketing in the second half of its season to a dazzling final three weeks at 2.8, 2.9, 2.9. Riding its coattails then is the comedy block of Hung and Entourage, which spent most of their post-True Blood run in the mid- to upper-1's, still quite good by any cable standard.

Lifetime - Another cable scripted block of note is Drop Dead Diva and Army Wives on Lifetime. Both got a 1.0 demo last week when Diva's second season premiered, and Army Wives has been around a 1.0 for the most part in this season to date. Drop Dead Diva was a little lower than Army Wives last year, so this was a good start for that show, and we'll see how it develops.

Other - I just spotlighted the two-hour blocks for which I had some ratings info, but this is one crowded night on cable. Next Sunday, TNT brings modest success Leverage to its third different night, now a Sunday show. It's been another in-the-1.0-vicinity show, generally speaking. Also making a Sunday debut after years on multiple other nights is TBS comedy My Boys, which seems to appear out of the blue every 18 months or so for a nine-episode order and then disappear again. This could be the last time it appears, since two of its regulars including the lead are now on NBC shows. I don't have specific ratings info on that one, but it's never been much of a performer, thus the sporadic scheduling. A&E will have a new police procedural called The Glades on July 11, and Mad Men returns to AMC for season 4 on July 25. At 9/8c on AMC will be a new conspiracy thriller called Rubicon. There's plenty of reality on the night as well, from Food Network's The Next Food Network Star to E!'s Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami to History's Ice Road Truckers.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Ratings of Summer, Friday/Saturday


It's part 5 of my weeklong series on summer TV and the ratings it gets!

FRIDAY
BROADCAST

ABC
The alphabet will continue to offer newsmagazine 20/20, which averaged about a 1.7 demo in the regular season but is likely to fall short of that most of the way this summer. As for other originals, that's unknown. Lots of TBA's for this net right now.

CBS
Flashpoint - Pretty much the only success to come out of all the broadcast scripted TV efforts in the last several years is Canadian co-production Flashpoint, which will return to a Friday night where it debuted and (after a brief move to Thursday) has played out a lot of episodes since. It returned with a 1.3 demo on June 4 but has done much better than that when given the support of original Ghost Whisperer and Numb3rs on the same night. Still, look for this to remain in the low to middle 1's for this summer.

Miami Medical - As I said on Miami Medical's First Two Weeks post, when a show debuts on Friday nowadays, that means it's already pretty much out of favor with the network, and you have to do something great to transcend that situation. Miami Medical never did anything great, but it will run out the rest of its 13-episode order in the summer after Flashpoint. It returned with a 1.3 demo on June 4, which was actually better than some of its recent regular season results.

NBC
Friday Night Lights - The DirecTV-subsidized Friday Night Lights will continue to play out its last couple seasons on low-priority Friday nights during low-priority times of the year. The first five episodes of this season have averaged a 1.1 demo, but that's often been enough to win its virtually unwatched 8pm hour.

Dateline NBC - The reliable newsmagazine will continue to get low to middle 1's in the demo on Friday nights.

Fox
Fox was burning off drama Past Life on this evening but has pulled some scheduled airings of that to show encores of summer newbie The Good Guys. But Past Life may get scheduled again, and if so, look for it back on this night.

CABLE
Syfy - One of the last cable nets putting scripted stuff here, after USA's Monk ended and lead-out Psych left the night, Syfy will program small town dramedy Eureka at 9pm. The show's been around awhile but has managed to play almost all its episodes at times when ratings info was unavailable, so I know little about this show's ratings. Let's hope that ignorance will be erased this summer! Leading out of Eureka is new drama Haven.

SATURDAY
Of course, Fox will continue to serve up Cops and America's Most Wanted, but I'm only even including Saturday to note that CBS is first burning off medical drama Three Rivers, then going with Canadian co-production The Bridge. It hasn't aired one episode, so it's not exactly the same as the dump of canceled Three Rivers, but it's hard to call Saturday at 8/7c a good faith effort. Don't look for much out of this. On cable, it's original night for BBC America, mirroring how they do things across the pond. The net will finish out the Doctor Who season in the coming month and a half and then go with Being Human. But I don't know of anywhere to get ratings info on that net, so there's that.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Ratings of Summer, Thursday


It's part 4 of my weeklong series on summer TV and the ratings it gets! I think I'm going to do a Friday post, but it'll be pretty short, because there are very few cable originals on the evening. So I'll try to finish up my Top 10 of 2009-10 post and get that up tomorrow as well.

BROADCAST
ABC
Rookie Blue - After over a year in development at ABC, the show formerly known as Copper will hit the sked on June 24. This is the first of three new scripted dramas that ABC will offer this summer, a co-production about rookie cops. Hate to be a broken record, but the odds of a summer scripted show working on broadcast are slim.

Boston Med - At 10pm, ABC will offer medical documentary Boston Med, which goes behind the scenes of some of Boston's finest hospitals. It's in the same vein as Hopkins, an ABC News documentary from the summer of 2008 that averaged a 1.6 demo and was very competitive with original scripted efforts on CBS (Swingtown) and NBC (Fear Itself).

CBS
Big Brother - One of CBS' three weekly nights of Big Brother airs on Thursday at 8/7c, leading into repeats of returning CSI and The Mentalist. As said on the Wednesday post, look for Big Brother to grow as the summer progresses.

NBC
100 Questions - When this show got the go-ahead at the upfront in 2009, people thought it might signal a return to the traditional comedies of the Must See TV days. However, after a slew of recastings and a switch to single-camera format (but still with a laugh track, like How I Met Your Mother), NBC thought so poorly of the finished product that they didn't even give it a regular season tryout after axing The Jay Leno Show and finding themselves with hours and hours of free real estate. It premiered to virtually zero promotion with a horrific 0.8 demo on May 27 and then shot up to a 0.9 the next week! Suffice to say it's going to have to climb a lot more to even get onto the fringes of the renewal discussion.

Fox
So You Think You Can Dance - Copying from the Wednesday post: One of the defining broadcast hits of the summer, SYTYCD got a regular season whirl in fall 2009 and didn't do very well, usually falling in the lower or middle 2's in the demo. But the summer is a different beast for this show; in summer of 2009 the show averaged a 3.0 demo and its first three airings this summer have also averaged a 3.0 demo. It should continue to be one of the top shows of the summer in the demo and likely broadcast TV's largest show in young female demos.

CABLE
USA - Cable on Thursday is defined by USA's two-hour block of Burn Notice and Royal Pains, still the network's strongest performers. Burn Notice averaged about a 1.9 last summer and Royal Pains about a 1.8, and they premiered last week about on par with those numbers. (2.0 and 1.8 respectively) All indications point to another fine summer on Thursday nights for USA Network.

MTV - I'm not a network exec, but if I were, the one thing that would make me sick is for something to catch absolute fire right as I run out of episodes because I gave it a shortened order. That happened to some extent with Undercover Boss on CBS, the reality smash hit that only had nine episodes before going away till fall, and it also happened to MTV's Jersey Shore, which had merely a nine-episode first season (plus a reunion) but had already risen from its modest 0.8 demo beginnings to a 2.6 A18-49 and a whooping 4.6 in W18-34 (blowing away everything on The CW) by the finale. Just about six months after the finale, MTV finally gets the show back on the air on July 29. It's a twelve-episode order this time, so a little better. ;-)

Other - Lots of cable nets air reality programming on Thursday nights, but I don't know anything about them or their ratings, so I won't feed you any BS. Of interest to some people will be the return of the animated show Futurama, back in originals on Comedy Central starting June 24.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Ratings of Summer, Wednesday


It's part 3 of my weeklong series on summer TV and the ratings it gets!

BROADCAST
ABC - The alphabet will mostly offer comedy repeats, but I'm throwing them on here just to note the burnoff of Happy Town during the month of June. Hitting even a mere 1.0 demo would be a minor miracle for that show, which I called arguably 2009-10's biggest bomb.

CBS
Big Brother - With CBS finally dumping comedies from Wednesday night in favor of reality mainstay Survivor, the net will also offer some summer reality at 8pm in Big Brother, starting July 14. This is another show that starts low and tends to pick up; after a few weeks in the low 2's last summer, the show eventually perked up into the mid- and sometimes upper 2's by summer's end.

NBC
Minute to Win It - This game show saw some regular season action on both Sundays and Wednesdays during the first half of 2010, and it will continue airing in the Wednesdays 8pm slot with a smattering of repeats and originals. The first 13-episode order averaged a 1.8 demo in originals.

America's Got Talent - Just copying what I said on the Tuesday post: This show is kinda like The Closer in that it's really considered to be the runaway number one master of its domain due to its big total viewer numbers, but in reality it's not far ahead of stuff like So You Think You Can Dance and Hell's Kitchen where it counts. That said, it's still a biggie, averaging a little over a 3.0 last summer and returning to a very healthy 3.6 on premiere night this year before dropping to a 2.9 the next night. This will continue to be the best thing NBC has going for them in the summer, by a long shot. (Not to mention better than quite a bit of what they have going for them in the fall...)

FOX
So You Think You Can Dance - One of the defining broadcast hits of the summer, SYTYCD got a regular season whirl in fall 2009 and didn't do very well, usually falling in the lower or middle 2's in the demo. But the summer is a different beast for this show; in summer of 2009 the show averaged a 3.0 demo and its first three airings this summer have also averaged a 3.0 demo. It should continue to be one of the top shows of the summer in the demo and likely broadcast TV's largest show in young female demos.

CABLE
TBS - This net is home to a three-hour block of original comedy on Wednesday nights, starting with the flagship, Tyler Perry's House of Payne and ending with Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns. Both of those shows have gotten in the 1.0 vicinity in recent runs, though Meet the Browns returned with an above-average 1.2 last week. In the middle at 9pm is Are We There Yet?, a newbie based loosely a couple Ice Cube movies, and it has a similar arrangement to the two Perry shows in that it will air this ten-episode order and then have an option for a "back nine-ty." Its premiere eps got a 1.2 and 1.3 last week. If it can settle down with similar ratings to the other two, look for plenty more of the show.

Bravo - Top Chef is one of the staple reality programs on basic cable, and it is certainly not attached to a certain part of the calendar; this will be its first summer season in three years. What limited info I have on that season indicates it usually got around a 1.0 demo, but subsequent seasons since then at other times of the year have done much better, like mid- to upper-1's better. So how this summer run does will be a bit of a mystery.

Other - Most of TNT and USA's original programming this summer comes in two-hour blocks, but both offer a standalone option on Wednesday night. For USA that's Psych, zany detective show and Mr. Spotupj favorite which averaged around a 1.2 demo in its brief move to Friday this winter following several years on Friday nights. It returns July 14. On TNT, it's Dark Blue, a pretty marginal second-season renewal by the net that averaged only a little over a 0.7 demo and saw that number drop to 0.6 when it lost the Leverage lead-in. It'll be back on August 4. And of course, a lot of eyes will be on the ratings for TV Land's Hot in Cleveland, starring Betty White and some other female faces of sitcoms past. That kicks off on June 16.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Finale Spike, updated


Revisiting this post from a couple weeks ago where I examined just how much bigger a show gets for a season or series finale as a tool for predicting such things in the future. I wanted to fill in a few shows whose finale numbers I didn't have at that time. I'll re-post all the shows but only have commentary on the ones with new numbers.

Grey's Anatomy (ABC)
2007-08: penultimate episode 6.1, finale 7.0, spike of 15%
2008-09: penultimate ep 5.4, finale 5.9, spike of 9%
2009-10: penultimate ep 3.9, finale 5.4, spike of 38%

Desperate Housewives (ABC)
2007-08: penultimate ep 5.6, finale 6.2, spike of 11%*
2008-09: penultimate ep 4.1, finale 4.7, spike of 15%*
2009-10: penultimate ep 3.8, finale 4.0, spike of 5%

Lost (ABC)
2007-08: penultimate ep 4.9, finale 4.9, spike of 0%*
2008-09: penultimate ep 4.0, finale 4.4, spike of 10%
2009-10: penultimate ep 4.3, finale 5.8, spike of 35%

It was about half of the finale spike that ER saw. My prediction for the ep was a 6.6, which would've been a little over 50%, but some people were going much, much higher. I thought the ER percentage was the absolute ceiling. For a show whose audience has really been drilled down to the hardcore fans, though, not a bad number.

Dancing with the Stars (ABC) (not sure if it's better to compare to the previous results show in the same timeslot or to the competition ep from the night before, so I'm including both, and in parentheses are the respective spikes)
Fall 2007: penultimate results show 5.0, final competition show 6.0, finale 6.4 (+28%, +7%)
Spring 2008: penultimate results show 4.1, final competition show 4.4, finale 5.4 (+32%, +23%)
Fall 2008: penultimate results show 4.0, final competition show 4.7, finale 5.1 (+28%, +9%)
Spring 2009: penultimate results show 3.1, final competition show 5.6, finale 5.2 (+68%, -7%)
Fall 2009: penultimate results show 3.2, final competition show 4.0, finale 4.3 (+34%, +8%)
Spring 2010: penultimate results show 2.5, final competition show 4.0, finale 3.9 (+56%, -3%)

Dancing behaved much as it did last spring; until the finale, the spring is really not good to the results shows on Tuesday. That means there's a big spike from the last results show, but even on a finale night it couldn't even build up to the ratings from the previous night's performance show.

Survivor (CBS)
Fall 2007: penultimate ep 4.6, finale 5.2, spike of 13%
Spring 2008: penultimate ep 4.1, finale 4.4, spike of 7%
Fall 2008: penultimate ep 4.0, finale 4.4, spike of 10%
Spring 2009: penultimate ep 3.8, finale 4.2, spike of 11%
Fall 2009: penultimate ep 3.9, finale 4.4, spike of 13%
Spring 2010: penultimate ep 4.1, finale 4.2, spike of 2%

The Biggest Loser (NBC)
Fall 2007: penultimate ep 3.6, finale 4.6, spike of 28%
Spring 2008: penultimate ep 3.7, finale 4.4, spike of 19%
Fall 2008: penultimate ep 3.6, finale 4.6, spike of 28%
Spring 2009: penultimate ep 3.6, finale 4.7, spike of 31%
Fall 2009: penultimate ep 3.7, finale 5.0, spike of 35%
Spring 2010: penultimate ep 3.1, finale 3.9, spike of 26%

The Biggest Loser had a below-average cycle, as the raw numbers for both the penultimate and the finale are significantly lower than the previous ones. However, it remains a show that can bring 'em back for the finale moreso than most shows.

ER (NBC)
2007-08: penultimate ep 2.9, finale 3.3, spike of 14%
2008-09: penultimate ep 3.5, finale 6.0, spike of 71%

American Idol (Fox)
2008: penultimate results show 9.2, final competition show 10.1, finale 11.4 (+24%, +13%)
2009: penultimate results show 8.7, final competition show 8.6, finale 10.0 (+15%, +16%)
2010: penultimate results show 6.1, final competition show 6.7, finale 8.2 (+34%, +22%)

A bigger spike than usual for Idol this season, but it just goes to show how far down the show really was by the end that an 18% drop from last year's 10.0 finale is one of the better results of late. The penultimate results show was down 30% from the 2009 edition. Ouch.

24 (Fox)
2009: penultimate ep 3.2, finale 3.1, spike of -3%
2010: penultimate ep 2.9, finale 2.8, spike of -3%

I was wrong on this one. I thought a series finale for 24 would draw back some of the old fans, but it didn't happen at all. The show behaved exactly as it did last year, dropping a bit for the finale because it lost the support of House. Perhaps what I missed here is that 24 was never really a gigantic hit to begin with. Yes, it's been bigger than the middle and upper 2's it's gotten this year, but the pool of former fans is not as large.

House (Fox)
2007-08: penultimate ep 5.9, finale 5.8, spike of -2%
2008-09: penultimate ep 4.6, finale 4.7, spike of 2%
2009-10: penultimate ep 3.6, finale 4.3, spike of 19%

America's Next Top Model (CW)
Fall 2007: penultimate ep 2.3, finale 2.6, spike of 13%
Spring 2008: penultimate ep 2.0, finale 2.2, spike of 10%
Fall 2008: penultimate ep 1.9, finale 2.3, spike of 21%
Spring 2009: penultimate ep 1.7, finale 1.9, spike of 12%
Fall 2009: penultimate ep 1.5, finale 1.8, spike of 20%
Spring 2010: penultimate ep 1.5, finale 1.7, spike of 13%

The Ratings of Summer, Tuesday


It's part 2 of my weeklong series on summer TV and the ratings it gets!

BROADCAST

ABC
Wipeout - For awhile, ABC was a complete disaster area in the summer, but two things really changed that: the resurgence of the Bachelor franchise (leading to a strong Bachelorette in the summer) and the greenlighting of Wipeout, in which contests traverse a difficult obstacle course and look really silly doing it. The show was pretty big by summer standards both of its first two years, averaging mid-3's for much of summer '08 before fizzling into the low 2's down the stretch, then averaging upper-2's for much of summer '09 before fizzling to around a 2.0 down the stretch. Sensing a trend? Yes, it's kind of the opposite of the Bachelor franchise in that people seem to get tired of it as the summer wears on. (And I'm not just saying that because it's how I feel about the show, even though that happens to be the case!) Yet they come back for the next summer; it premiered to another 3.0 on June 1 of this year and returns on June 22 after the NBA Finals. It looks to have another solid run.

Downfall - I don't know a lot about this show, but it will run in the 9pm slot post-Wipeout and follow suit with the whole "action game show" thing. This doesn't mean guaranteed success, as former efforts like I Survived a Japanese Game Show and Crash Course fit into that same genre and didn't hold the Wipeout audience too well. We shall see. Shaq Vs., a returnee from last summer that sees Shaq competing with great athletes of other sports on their home turf (sorta), will take over the hour for the second half of the summer.

Primetime - A lot of iterations of ABC newsmagazine Primetime will air in the 10pm hour and probably do OK business. One of those iterations, What Would You Do?, has been a surprisingly strong Friday performer of late, posting upper-1 demos and leading the entire night.

NBC
America's Got Talent - This show is kinda like The Closer in that it's really considered to be the runaway number one master of its domain due to its big total viewer numbers, but in reality it's not far ahead of stuff like So You Think You Can Dance and Hell's Kitchen where it counts. That said, it's still a biggie, averaging a little over a 3.0 last summer and returning to a very healthy 3.6 on premiere night this year before dropping to a 2.9 the next night. This will continue to be the best thing NBC has going for them in the summer, by a long shot. (Not to mention better than quite a bit of what they have going for them in the fall...)

Losing it with Jillian/Breakthrough with Tony Robbins - Originally skedded for the 8pm hour, Losing it with Jillian, Yet Another Weight Loss Show featuring one of the Biggest Loser stars, pulled a reasonable 2.7 in its 10pm "preview" last week, and NBC liked that number enough to keep the show there. The 10pm hour may not seem like the best spot for a feel-good inspirational type of deal, but the big Got Talent lead-in is likely to outweigh (pun) being in the "appropriate" hour. Another summer reality show called Breakthrough with Tony Robbins is gonna show up later on in the summer, and I wouldn't be surprised if it ends up at 10pm as well.

FOX
Hell's Kitchen - This show is one of Fox's most versatile players, as it can wear both a Summer Powerhouse hat and a Respectable Regular Season Counterprogramming hat and do either one in seemingly almost any hour. This summer, it's back to the former hat for what should be a pretty tough battle with Wipeout at 8pm, especially if the premiere ratings are any indication. After averaging a 3.4 demo in summer 2009, the show managed just a 2.9 for its 2010 premiere. However, that isn't far from where it premiered last summer, so positive trends may be ahead.

Masterchef - In late July, Fox shall trot out Yet Another Gordon Ramsay Show called Masterchef. I don't know much about it. My impression is that it's another cooking competition, but not a serialized one. Beyond that, I got nothing, but if you watch any of the billions of cooking competitions shows that Food Network airs in primetime, there's a reasonable chance you'll find one that is similar to what Masterchef is. Law of averages.

CABLE
USA - The net is wrapping up Law & Order: Criminal Intent's season at 10pm right now, and July 13 will see the return of White Collar for season 2. It averaged a pretty solid 1.3 demo in its Tuesday run in early 2010. It'll be followed by Piper Perabo-led newbie Covert Affairs.

TNT - On June 22, Jada Pinkett-Smith medical drama HawthoRNe returns to this hour after a summer 2009 run. That first season averaged somewhere in the 1.0 vicinity. Then at 10 is a new show, Memphis Beat starring Jason Lee.

Syfy - Also returning to the 9pm hour will be sophomore sci-fi procedural Warehouse 13, which averaged a 0.9 demo in season one. It premieres on July 6.

Other - On ABC's "secondary" night, they'll trot out new teen soap Pretty Little Liars starting tonight and then new sitcom Melissa & Joey in August. FX offers season 6 of Rescue Me, while Bravo tentpole Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List also airs on this evening.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Ratings of Summer, Monday


This is a week later than I intended, in part due to me kinda forgetting about Memorial Day last week and not being available to get it finished. So sorry about that. Anyway, most of the TV blargs that people actually read do some kind of summer TV preview, but there's not a whole lot of numerical info there for a ratings guru like myself. Since summer ratings are defined in large part by cable, and info on cable ratings is not as accessible, I thought I'd do a quick roundup of summer ratings. On the cable roundup, I'll usually focus on two or three nets of note and then do a quick rundown of other notables whose ratings I don't know as much about.

BROADCAST
ABC
The Bachelorette - The Bachelor/Bachelorette is a unique franchise in that its ratings almost always go uniformly upward over the course of a season, with the exception of the season premiere that gets a post-Dancing with the Stars boost. Last year, the first episodes after the premiere were in the low 2's but ended up in the upper 2's toward the end and a 3.5 for the last Monday edition. This year, the first not-after-DWTS airing posted a 2.5, up 0.4 from the same airing last year. Could be good tidings.

True Beauty - True Beauty debuted in early 2009 to surprisingly good retention out of ABC's resurgent Bachelor franchise, averaging about a 3.0 demo. After well over a year off the air, the show did not return with a bang, premiering on May 24 to just a 2.0 demo. But it'll be interesting to see if it continues to perform well retention-wise... if so, these numbers could rise along with the inevitable Bachelorette rise.

The "second string" for ABC on this night is Bachelor Pad, which will bring back some former Bachelor/Bachelorette contestants for a "second chance at love," and Dating in the Dark, a second-year show that did decently out of the Bachelorette last summer. Those two will show up on August 9, after the other two shows wrap up.

CBS
Usually I won't throw repeat-filled nights into this discussion, but this one is an exception because the Two and a Half Men/Big Bang Theory repeat hour is so potent that it will make CBS a contender on this evening even without originals. Look for them to stay ahead of completely original nights on NBC and Fox.

NBC
Last Comic Standing - After the summer of 2008, NBC axed almost its entire summer reality slate, and perhaps the most notable victim was veteran comedian competition reality program Last Comic Standing, done after six seasons. But after a whooping one summer off the air, the show returns, this time hosted by The Office and Hot Tub Time Machine's Craig Robinson. Admittedly, the show was sputtering in Summer 2008, averaging only around a 1.8 demo, but NBC hopes the new host will bring some buzz and perhaps absence will make the heart grow fonder.

Persons Unknown - One of Fox TV Studios' three "cost-efficient" scripted series this summer, the odds aren't particularly good for the mystery/horror genre lately, so don't count on this one doing a whole lot. But, as the ads say, it's a "miniseries event" and "by the end of the summer, answers will be known."

FOX
Lie to Me - This is going to be one of the more interesting shows to watch this summer because it represents about as close as you can get to a true good faith effort at programming scripted TV in the summer. Most summer scripted efforts are either burnoffs or somehow very cost-controlled, often as an international co-production. But Lie to Me is neither; in fact, it's a legit broadcast program that's aired a season and a half in the regular season, has already been renewed for a third season, and will be on the fall schedule as well. How's it done in the regular season? It finished its first season run on Wednesdays at 8pm in the low to mid 2's, while in season 2 to date it's usually gotten upper 2's with a large House lead-in. I think a 2.0 average for this show in the summer would be a nice achievement, but I'm not banking on that happening.

The Good Guys - This is another show that airs in the summer and is already skedded for the fall, but this one may well not last that long, if the 1.5 it got in a pre-Idol preview on May 19 is any indication. It does fall under the "cost-controlled" banner I talked about above, as it's one of three productions from Fox TV Studios, which "has focused its efforts on producing cost-efficient series and relying on international dollars as well" according to Variety.

CABLE
TNT - The biggest hit on this network, The Closer, will air on Monday nights starting on July 12. Despite its extremely gaudy total viewer numbers, The Closer is not quite as massive in the demo, pulling mid-1's for most of last summer. Saving Grace is playing out its low-rated final episodes right now (last two pulled just 0.4 in the demo) and will be out of the way by the time The Closer returns, making way for new lead-out Rizzoli and Isles starring Angie Harmon.

ABC Family - Monday at 8pm is the home of ABC Family's flagship show, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, which has pretty comfortably outrated almost every other original in network history. It usually pulls low 1's in adults 18-49, which is still strong by cable standards, but on ABC Family the more important demos are women 18-34 and female teens, and the show is a blockbuster there. The recent lead-out for the show has been Make It or Break It, typically a show that's done around two-thirds retention out of Secret Life, but it will move to 10pm this summer in favor of newbie Huge.

Other - Showtime's Weeds shows up late in the summer accompanied by newbie The Big C. There are a few reality tentpoles on this evening as well, from A&E's Intervention and Obsessed to History's American Pickers and Pawn Stars.

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