Tuesday, September 6, 2011

22 Fall TV Matchups, Tuesday 10/9c

Today, my fall preview looks at Tuesday 10/9c. NBC's Law & Order: SVU dominated this hour for years, but the last few seasons have seen the slot truly up for grabs. That close race could very well continue this year.

This timeslot rated very easy in 2010-11. All three broadcast networks have decent lead-ins, and none of the networks were particularly strong here for most of last year, so the competition was not prohibitive. For the hit-making potential of the hour, see last year's launch of The Voice. I also expect Unforgettable to improve noticeably on The Good Wife, though I doubt it'll get up into the territory of the NCIS duo.

Following three years of Boston Legal in the timeslot, ABC shipped the show to Monday for fall 2008 while sophomore legal effort Eli Stone filled in with considerably worse results. So Primetime: WWYD got another fill-in effort early in 2009 before another failed drama Cupid got a run in the slot. For the fall, they brought in Jerry Bruckheimer procedural The Forgotten which got a minor extension but slowly trickled down into flop territory, then V got a whirl in the hour and eked out a renewal for midseason. Last fall, it was Detroit 1-8-7 following a fairly similar path to that of The Forgotten, so ABC went with Dana Delany newbie Body of Proof late in the season. Body of Proof did noticeably better than most recent efforts, so it becomes the first show since Boston Legal to get multiple seasons in this timeslot. It averaged a 2.31 demo last season.

As with ABC, this has been a really tough timeslot to nail down since the departure of Judging Amy in the mid-aughts. Following a string of bombs, they moved old faithful drama Without a Trace to the slot for 2008-09 and, as easily the weak link of the night for CBS, even it couldn't survive. For fall '09 the net returned to legal drama in the hour with newbie The Good Wife. It spent two full seasons in the hour as a clear ratings weak link on the night, but it's gotten tons of critical acclaim, so CBS has been happy to stick with it. Next year, it moves to Sundays, while CBS tries Poppy Montgomery procedural Unforgettable in this hour.

The peacock aired Law & Order: SVU in this timeslot from its fifth season all the way back in fall of '03 through the end of the 2008-09 season, and that show probably deserves a lot of credit for CBS' troubles in the hour through the last decade. But it became a victim of NBC's abandonment of scripted in the 10:00 hour and headed for Wednesday in 2009-10. Stripped The Jay Leno Show had its highest-rated night on this evening thanks to its The Biggest Loser lead-in and weak competition. If the show had rated as well on the other four nights as on Tuesday we may still be talking about it. Once Leno was done, this hour went to newbie Parenthood, which has lasted two years as a modest ratings performer and will return for a third season this fall. It averaged a 2.09 demo last season. Parenthood does not have a full season order, so something else might fill in at midseason, but that's TBA.

There a couple big cable notables which could find themselves within striking distance of the broadcasters should they have particularly strong seasons. Those are Comedy Central's Tosh.0 (usually gets mid-to-upper 1's in 18-49) and FX's Sons of Anarchy (last fall also got mid-to-upper 1's in 18-49).

Body of Proof - 2.35 (+2% from last year)
Unforgettable - 2.65
Parenthood - 1.90 (-9%) - This show finished very strong last year, but overall the show was disappointingly way down from season 1. With Biggest Loser on the decline, I don't think Parenthood can reverse the trend.

Parenthood, and will try Unforgettable. You?

Previous Tuesday 10/9c posts: 2009 | 2010

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