Wednesday, August 31, 2011

22 Fall TV Matchups, Wednesday 9/8c

Today, my fall preview looks at Wednesday 9/8c. ABC's Modern Family has changed the game in this hour the last couple years; will The X Factor do the same this year?

This timeslot rated somewhat difficult in 2010-11. Shows airing in the hour had even to significantly negative Sitches. It's definitely one of TV's most competitive hours, but high viewing levels keep it from grading out as one of the toughest hours.

With Wednesday staple Lost pushed to midseason for 2007-08 the net went with three new dramas anchored in the 9:00 hour by the successful Grey's Anatomy spinoff Private Practice. The writer's strike cut the dramas' rookie season off so Supernanny filled in at 9:00 for the rest of the season. Practice returned for fall 2008 to diminished results but got a reprieve when it was moved to Thursday after its mother show. Lost came back to Wednesday for midseason of 2008-09. In fall 2009 the net went with Emmy-winning comedy Modern Family and Courteney Cox-led Cougar Town. Modern Family has become one of the biggest shows on TV, averaging a stellar 4.43 demo last season despite facing American Idol for much of the year. Cougar Town has been less of a smash, leading ABC to try newbie Mr. Sunshine at 9:30 late last season. It didn't work, so now ABC shifts last year's positive-buzzed 10/9c newbie Happy Endings down into the cushy post-Modern Family slot.

Criminal Minds debuted in this timeslot for CBS in fall 2005 and has remained a consistent success ever since in the face of some brutal competition. It averaged a 3.45 in originals last season and has been almost totally unfazed by Law & Order: SVU competition the last couple falls. It returns for season seven in fall 2011.

For fall 2008 the plan was to use the last couple weeks of America's Got Talent and then Deal or No Deal at 9 to lead into Lipstick Jungle but the night was a disaster so Jungle was shipped to Friday in favor of crime drama Life at 9 which got a back nine but didn't fare much better and in fact did even worse after Lost and American Idol entered the mix in early '09. Life wrapped up in April and was replaced by Law & Order: SVU repeats to close out the season. With the 10:00 hour out of play due to Jay Leno's show NBC moved longtime Tuesday tentpole Law & Order: SVU down to this 9:00 slot for fall of '09, where it took a large hit against Criminal Minds. After briefly returning to 10:00 in early 2010, it returned to this hour for fall 2010 so it could lead into Law & Order: LA. When LOLA went on hiatus, SVU returned to 10:00 and was replaced here by low-rated offerings Chase and Minute to Win It. It doesn't figure to get a whole lot better this fall as sophomore drama Harry's Law takes over in fall 2011.

In fall '08, Fox led out of Bones with a disastrous hour of comedy including 'Til Death which somehow survived to yet another season while lead-out Do Not Disturb just saw three episodes. In early '09 a drama got the post-Idol nod, with newbie Lie to Me airing for several weeks at 9 before shifting to 8. For fall 2009 they went with Glee, a new and successful teen dramedy, then a brief tryout for newbie Human Target, then back to typical winter/spring fixture American Idol. In 2010-11, it was a wide variety of offerings including playoff baseball Hell's Kitchen, Human Target, Idol and Breaking In. This fall, it seems pretty likely The X Factor and American Idol will do most of the lifting, though Fox has newbie I Hate My Teenage Daughter slated for a fall post-X Factor debut as well.

One of the most plum slots on the CW due to the America's Next Top Model lead-in, it's been unable to make anything stick. In fall '08 the net started out with repeats of newbie 90210 but in late October debuted reality dud Stylista. The net could not find any original programming to put after ANTM in the entire first half of '09 so it was 90210 repeats the whole way, posting downright embarrassing retention percentages. In fall 2009 modeling drama The Beautiful Life: TBL was DOA even by CW standards and got pulled quickly for repeats of other dramas, then the CW tried docudramas Fly Girls and High Society in early 2010. Their results were also quite weak. They actually got pretty decent results out of newbie Hellcats in fall 2010, so... of course, they moved it to Tuesday where it completely collapsed. At least they had a good reason, as reality newbie Shedding for the Wedding... oh yeah, it bombed. Late in the season, they got really creative in moving Top Model to 9/8c to get it away from Idol. Though it didn't really pick up any steam from that move, it returns to 9/8c this fall.

TBS has Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns. TLC goes with Extreme Couponing.

Modern Family - 4.40 (-1% from last year)
Happy Endings - 2.23 (+25%) - If I'm going to predict a 4.40 for Modern, it's pretty tough to go much lower than this for Happy Endings. I don't think that'd be a good performance, but hey, it's growth.
Criminal Minds - 3.11 (-10%)
Harry's Law - 1.50 (-15%)
The X Factor - 4.01
America's Next Top Model (fall) - 1.09 (-16%)

Modern Family and Harry's Law. Maybe another shot for Happy Endings. You?

Previous Wednesday 9/8c posts: 2009 | 2010

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