Friday, August 26, 2011

22 Fall TV Matchups, Friday 8/7c

Today, my fall preview looks at Friday 8/7c. The death of scripted originals on Friday night may soon be upon us. For now, three of five nets are still trying.

This timeslot rated very difficult in 2010-11, mostly because of depressed viewing levels. All shows in the timeslot had significantly negative Sitches. That problem isn't going away in 2011-12.

For '08-'09 the net imported journeyman duo Wife Swap/Supernanny and Wife Swap held the slot for the entire season. The next year there was one less hour for the pair so they shared the slot. Then in 2010-11 they started with Supernanny and moved on to the second season of reality effort Shark Tank. In 2011-12, they will get a little more aggressive by bringing over longtime Sunday tentpole Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

Ghost Whisperer was a surprise success story in 2005 and held the timeslot for five seasons, but its substantial drops in the 2009-10 season saw it get a somewhat surprising axe. Last season, it was quite a carousel, starting with the final season of Medium, and ending with the tail end of The Defenders and the DOA Chaos. This season, they go back to the new show well with A Gifted Man, which they hope will capture the Ghost Whisperer audience they've been chasing since its ouster.

NBC has tried many things here in recent years. At the height of the Deal or No Deal craze, it often aired on this night as did fellow Endemol production 1 vs. 100 and failed Amnesia. Another reality bomb in America's Toughest Jobs opened up 2008-09 in the slot, then NBC tried reality one more time with another Howie Mandel show called Howie Do It in the winter and got a decent start out of the show but saw it almost completely fizzle by season's end. NBC bucked the reality/game show trend in fall '09 with Law & Order, but it headed to Mondays at midseason and gave way to another new reality program called Who Do You Think You Are? That show split time with failed newbie School Pride in 2010-11, then NBC began the final season of Friday Night Lights. In fall 2011, this timeslot is slated to house the final season of Chuck.

After years of Friday struggles, Fox finally became remotely competitive on the evening when game show Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? showed up here on a permanent basis in fall '08, but in the winter that fell apart when Fox imported fast-fading Terminator: SCC to the timeslot. The final eps of Prison Break also got a run here toward the end of the '08-'09 season. In 2009-10, they started with a sitcom hour of Brothers and 'Til Death, but those posted terrible ratings, and the net mostly went with repeats here after the shows left the hour in late October. They again primarily had repeats in fall 2010, but then in winter 2011 they actually began dominating the hour when they brought in Kitchen Nightmares. The program became one of Friday's strongest shows, and it will return to the hour in fall 2011. It averaged a 1.62 demo last season.

After the CW dropped Friday Night Smackdown!, for the 2008-09 season, they moved comedies Everybody Hates Chris and The Game to this hour and while they had decent results they were essentially in burnoff mode and were axed after the season. Then the hour housed the last two seasons of Smallville, which remained one of the network's top shows despite its tough timeslot. In fall 2011, the CW will go with season two of Nikita. It aired last season on Thursday.

Syfy enters its second season broadcasting former UPN/CW/MyNet franchise Friday Night Smackdown! It's usually a little shy of a 1.0 demo on Syfy, but that's enough to be a factor on this night.

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition - 1.60 (-29%)
A Gifted Man - 1.25
Chuck - 1.25 (-28%)
Kitchen Nightmares - 1.57 (-3%)
Nikita - 0.68 (-24%)

Giving A Gifted Man a shot. I've been sort of on-again, off-again with Chuck (mostly off-again the last couple years) but I may check back in as the finale approaches. You?

Previous Friday 8/7c posts: 2009 | 2010

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