Thursday, August 25, 2011

22 Fall TV Matchups, Thursday 8/7c

Today, the fall preview moves to Thursday 8/7c. Fox's surprise decision to move American Idol to the timeslot meant the regulars all took a hit; will it be the same way with X Factor in town?

This timeslot rated very difficult in 2010-11. All shows leading off the night had particularly negative Sitches. As with Wednesday 8/7c, the arrival of X Factor is not going to make things any easier.

Ugly Betty was a surprise hit for ABC back in fall 2006, launching very well as a lead-in to Grey's Anatomy. Three full seasons in the slot later, it got moved to Friday and ABC has been shopping for replacements ever since. In spring '08 they tried comedy Miss Guided and then in spring '09 it was comedies Samantha Who? and In The Motherhood but none of them did even Betty numbers. In 2009-10, buzzy Lost clone Flashforward launched pretty well, but it was yet another show that never seemed to figure out what made Lost work and lasted just one full season. In fall 2010, relationship drama My Generation lasted just two episodes before giving way to Grey's Anatomy repeats and then the first-ever regular season run for Wipeout. The ABC upheaval will continue in fall 2011 as they bring in a new remake of Charlie's Angels.

Survivor moved to this hour in the spring of 2001 and aired fall and spring cycles there every year through the 2009-10 season, but a major CBS shakeup has it on Wednesdays now. In its place now is comedy The Big Bang Theory, one of TV's strongest shows. It posted a 4.00 average in the difficult timeslot last year. They have yet to find a sufficient 8:30 teammate; $#*! My Dad Says lasted just one year and spring lead-out Rules of Engagement is headed for Saturdays. This fall, it's newbie How to Be a Gentleman.

Starting in fall 2006, NBC led off its historic comedy night with My Name is Earl, which lasted three seasons in the leadoff role. In fall 2009, the leadoff baton was tossed to Community, which now enters its third full season at 8:00. It averaged a 1.85 demo last season. 8:30 has been considerably more volatile over that same period; occupants have included The Office (2006-07), 30 Rock (fall 2007), Scrubs (spring 2008), Kath & Kim (fall-winter 2008), Parks & Recreation (2009-10), more 30 Rock (fall 2010), Perfect Couples (winter 2011) and The Paul Reiser Show (spring 2011). Whew! It's back to Parks & Recreation for 2011-12 as the net holds 30 Rock for midseason because of logistical reasons and focuses its new show energy on the post-Office timeslot.

Following many years of Fox Thursday disaster, things started to turn when Fox boldly moved veteran drama Bones into the timeslot, where it aired for pretty much all of 2009 and 2010. In early 2011, Fox got even more aggressive on Thursday as they moved American Idol's results shows over to Thursday and pushed Bones up to 9:00. Starting with 2011-12, Fox will go unscripted all season, starting with X Factor in the fall.

WB import Smallville held this timeslot down for four years on the WB and the CW and was one of those nets' strongest shows, but in fall '09 it headed to Friday while rookie The Vampire Diaries took over. Dairies was widely hailed as the first legitimate new show success in the CW era and averaged a 1.45 in A18-49 in season two. It'll return to the hour for season three.

Charlie's Angels - 1.75
The Big Bang Theory - 3.80 (-5% from last year)
How to Be a Gentleman - 2.66
Community - 1.70 (-8%)
Parks & Recreation - 1.65 (-31%)
X Factor - 3.65
The Vampire Diaries - 1.30 (-10%)

For a couple years, this has been my most difficult DVR hour, and this year looks to be no exception. My top priorities are the NBC comedies, but I'm also interested in The Big Bang Theory and The Vampire Diaries. Maybe give Charlie's Angels a shot online?

Previous Thursday 8/7c posts: 2009 | 2010

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