Thursday, September 1, 2011

22 Fall TV Matchups, Thursday 9/8c

Today, my fall preview looks at Thursday 9/8c. Once an hour dominated by CSI, that show is out of the timeslot for the first time in a decade. Coupled with the departure of Steve Carell from The Office, there's more uncertainty than usual here.
This timeslot rated average difficulty in 2010-11. Throwing out Bones and Nikita (both of which had huge lead-ins), most shows in the timeslot had an approximately even Sitch. With the post-Carell Office and CBS' new show being question marks, this timeslot actually could get easier this season.

Grey's Anatomy came to the slot in fall '06 and dominated staple CSI in the demo, but its declines the past few years have been hefty. It's still the favorite to win the hour, but its gap may well continue to narrow. It averaged a 4.10 demo in originals last season.

The eye has offered the father of its Jerry Bruckheimer crime drama family CSI in this timeslot since its move from Friday in early 2001. But yet another year of declines in 2010-11 means it's finally time for CSI to leave its iconic hour in favor of a Wednesday 10/9c slot. In its place steps JJ Abrams newbie Person of Interest.

NBC moved Scrubs and 30 Rock over to this hour in late 2007, forming what they called "Comedy Night Done Right," and it's been almost all comedy ever since. The block was initially top-heavy with the 8:00 hour doing pretty well and the 9:00 combo of Scrubs and 30 Rock really struggling, so NBC got a little bolder in fall '07 by moving The Office to anchor the second hour, which it's done ever since. It averaged a 3.74 demo last season. 30 Rock moved to 9:30 toward the end of the 2007-08 season, peaked early in 2008-09, and stayed in the timeslot through the end of the 2009-10 season. In 2010-11, the timeslot was split between newbie Outsourced (which ultimately got exiled to 10:30 for the second half of the season) and Office-sorta-spinoff Parks & Recreation. This fall, they go with a rather offbeat choice in new multicamera show Whitney.

Starting in 2008-09, Fox got on the map in this hour thanks to Gordon Ramsay, first with a fall run of Kitchen Nightmares and then with the stronger Hell's Kitchen in winter and spring. Kitchen Nightmares saw a little more action in this hour during 2009-10 show, but the primary option was sci-fi drama Fringe, which took a big hit in its move to the night but returned to the hour for the first half of 2010-11. Then came Fox's bold move of American Idol to Wednesday/Thursday, meaning previous Tuesday anchor Bones got to slide up to 9/8c and take advantage of the Idol lead-in. Bones returns to the hour this season (apparently splitting time with spinoff The Finder), though an early chunk of the year will see two-hour editions of The X Factor.

The CW aired Supernatural here for its first several years, but as part of the net's "deprioritize shows that males watch" initiative, it headed to Friday for fall 2010. Ironically, its replacement Nikita was another show with decent numbers outside of their W18-34 target but pretty bad numbers within it, and it too heads for Friday. This year, it's newbie Secret Circle, from the creators of lead-in The Vampire Diaries. This one seems like it should be a good pairing.

Grey's Anatomy - 3.49 (-15% from last year)
Person of Interest - 2.55
The Office - 3.11 (-17%) - I sure hope the ratings hold up over a whole season without Carell, but I'm not too optimistic.
Whitney - 2.26
Bones - 2.84 (-5%)
The Secret Circle - 1.20
The Office is my number one priority. I'm interested in Person of Interest and Secret Circle, but I'll try to choose one or the other pretty quickly (because I don't anticipate both being so amazing that I want to make one of them an online regular).

Previous Thursday 9/8c posts: 2009 | 2010

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