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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

I Love The Smell of Midseason In The Morning. Smells Like Failure.

Let the maneuvering begin!

This is the time of year when the big, mostly bad networks begin plugging the gaping holes in their schedule, usually with turkeys even bigger than the shows they're replacing. We're assuming this year will be no different, and we can't wait.

Here are some of the highlights. Grab a pen, some paper, and a few gauze pads and jot down some notes:

First and foremost, American Idol returns on January 17, initially for three episodes a week. This Geek still doesn't get (in the least) the popularity of this mess, but I have to concede: numbers don't lie. (Neither do IQ scores, but that's an argument for another day.)

NBC takes a huge risk by moving its two best comedies, My Name Is Earl and The Office, to Thursdays opposite TV's top show, CSI. Why? Because they're desperate to re-establish a toehold on a night they once dominated. The bad news: the shows are flanked by the rancid Will & Grace and ER on either end of the evening, and preceded by a brand new (read: likely awful) new "manly men" comedy Four Kings. If it works, NBC programmers look like geniuses. More likely result: ratings are mediocre and the Cocks permanently damage Earl, their one shining ratings star, and kill The Office, which has never nabbed good numbers.

ABC will return the mediocre John Stamos vehicle Jake in Progress, pairing it with Heather Graham's brand new Emily's Reasons Why Not, completing a perfect hour of himbo-bimbo, must-skip TV. The Alphabet Net's summer hit Dancing With the Stars will also return, attempting to mambo back to the ratings heights it enjoyed last year- this time on Thursdays (Earl, are you listening?), and without- at least initially- the controversy that helped the show to a strong Nielsen finish.

Fox blatantly rips off a reality concept- again- with its own Skating With Celebrities, while also teeing up another repeat-free season of 24. All this, while exiling Arrested Development to the Land of Hiatus (merely a stop on the way to Cancellation Nation).

CBS will surgically remove Out of Practice, implanting Courting Alex to Mondays.

And amid all this, NBC will trot out at least two weeks of scintillating Olympics coverage.

Oh sure, there are plenty of other offerings on the shelf, but we'll save that for later. For when most of these moves eventually and inevitably fail.

Sure smells like spring to me! I can almost taste the Upfront hors d'ouvers.

2 other geekspeak:


    By Anonymous FUNKYFERRIS, at 2:44 PM  

  • I think Earl will do well on Thursdays, and the first season DVD will bring NBCU big money.

    You are right that the weakest part of NBCs retooled Thursday night is that NBC feels an obligation to keep Will and Grace and ER on Thursdays. At least with Will and Grace, this is the last season, and NBC can (hopefully) compliment My Name Is Earl (and The Office, if it lasts past this season) with better sitcom companions.

    With ER, NBC has it signed on until 2008. In fact, they overpayed for it, so they would take a BIG loss if they cancelled it. They could move it to another night, but that will likely lead to ABC moving Gray's Anatomy to that timeslot, crushing whatever NBC has on at that time (something I think will happen, whether its against ER or not).

    I think this move by NBC is baby steps to reclaiming what used to be undisputedly their night. Whether they can find the right shows to put on Thursday for years to come is yet to be determined...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:02 PM  

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