Monday, August 29, 2011

22 Fall TV Matchups, Monday 9/8c

Today, my fall preview looks at Monday 9/8c, a tough hour last season that figures to get even tougher as a couple strong shows should help last year's weak nets.

This timeslot rated easy difficulty in 2010-11. Most shows in the hour had positive to noticeably positive Sitches, thanks in large part to high overall viewing levels. The arrival of House along with the midseason bow of The Voice should significantly bolster the two networks that were particularly weak here last season.

Since spring of '07, Dancing with the Stars has aired in at least part of this hour on a fall/spring basis, while the second half of The Bachelor filled the slot during the last three winters. Though they've tried some comedies at 9:30 in the recent past, most recently Surviving Suburbia (2009) and Romantically Challenged (2010), 2011-12 once again sees two-hour Dancing and The Bachelor. Dancing had 4.31 and 4.65 Monday averages last season, while The Bachelor had a respectable 3.26 average.

The anchor for this hour for the last six years has been Two and a Half Men which averaged a 4.49 in 2010-11 originals. It will continue to occupy 9:00 in fall 2011, but there's much more uncertainty than usual with this show since Charlie Sheen's out and Ashton Kutcher's in. 9:30 has been a bit more of an adventure. After a very successful spring '07 tryout of newbie Rules of Engagement, Rules won the slot for fall '07 and held it for most of that season, though previous occupant Old Christine returned for a few months during the writer's strike to run originals after Men repeats. A third show entered the mix in fall '08, singlecam effort Worst Week, but it did poorly and was eventually replaced by Rules again. In 2009-10 it was third-year show The Big Bang Theory, which grew into a major hit in the 9:30 half hour and had the highest original average of any scripted show that year. For 2010-11 CBS boldly sent Big Bang to another night and will went with newbie Mike & Molly at 9:30. It was no Big Bang for sure, averaging a solid-but-not-great 3.36 demo, but it gets the timeslot back for a second season in fall 2011.

The peacock launched Heroes to great success in fall '06 and it was the signature show of this timeslot for the next three years. In 2009-10, since the net had to take on more of a Fox/CW approach due to stripped The Jay Leno Show, Heroes slid to the lead-in slot at 8 while failed newbie Trauma led out of it, then Heroes briefly returned to this hour to run out its last episodes. Though Heroes went away after that season, this remained NBC's go-to genre slot in 2010-11, as they went with a couple science fiction newbies in The Event and The Cape. Both failed, so NBC goes in a drastically different direction with a fall run for The Sing-Off in 2011. The show averaged a 2.88 demo in its December run last season. Midseason will bring season two of The Voice, last season's biggest new hit.

Fall offerings here have been pretty varied. In 2008, it was the final season of Prison Break. In 2009, it was sophomore drama Lie to Me. Then came 2010 and critically-acclaimed drama Lone Star, which promptly became the biggest bomb of 2010-11, so Lie to Me stepped in once again. The timeslot was the longtime home of action drama 24 in the winter and spring, but it got the axe after the 2009-10 season. So Fox went with newbie The Chicago Code starting on the day after the Super Bowl, but it started fairly softly and never improved, so it's out. In fall 2011, Fox slides usual 8/7c offering House up to the hour to make way for Terra Nova at 8:00. House actually aired in this hour briefly after the writer's strike in 2008. The midseason plan is newbie Alcatraz, but I'll hold off on bolding that for now.

Spring '08 saw the move of One Tree Hill to this slot alongside lead-in Gossip Girl. With the shows fizzling by 2009 the net decided to move OTH to 8:00 to lead into Gossip Girl, which aired here the last couple seasons. Despite its low ratings, CW will slide Gossip Girl down to 8/7c this fall to lead into newbie Hart of Dixie.

As at 8, ESPN's Monday Night Football is a part of the mix to say the least; it is likely to beat everything in this hour. The History Channel should continue to be strong with American Pickers and USA Network will be strong with WWE Raw. HBO has returning low-rated comedy Bored to Death and newbie Enlightened.

Dancing with the Stars (fall) - 4.18 (-3% from last year)
Two and a Half Men - 3.82 (-15%)
Mike & Molly - 2.86 (-15%)
The Sing-Off - 2.05 (-29%)
House - 3.29 (-8%)
Hart of Dixie - 0.62

Every year, I seem to lose track of one veteran show. Last year, that show was House. I may try to check back in if it looks like it's going to be the final season. Otherwise, I'll give Hart of Dixie a try and probably look in on season two of The Voice come midseason. You?

Previous Monday 9/8c posts: 2009 | 2010

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