In a final word on the 2007/2008 Upfronts, I figure it’s time we returned to the schedule as a whole. Because, let’s face it, some of us watch a lot of TV. And, sometimes, that TV all falls within the exact same timeslot. As more and more shows emerge as fan favourites, more and more conflicts take place. This year’s Fall Schedule has created many of these conflicts, and some of them are sure to be key ratings battlegrounds in the year to come. Which five, however, will prove the most interesting? And, as a result, which ones will be a nightmare for non-TiVo owners across North America? Well, there’s only one way to find out.
The Three Timeslots to Watch on the 2007/2008 Fall Schedule
Tuesday at 9
FOX – House
NBC – Chuck
ABC – Dancing with the Stars
CBS – The Unit
The CW – Reaper
It’s a rather unfortunate circumstance that both NBC and The CW decided to throw new series into what is an absolutely unwinnable time slot. House is a powerful force for FOX, even without its American Idol lead-in, and when combined with the Dancing with the Stars results show I don’t believe that it’s possible for any other show to coexist with them. The Unit provides decent counter-programming for CBS, but even it is falling slightly since Dancing with the Stars moved in full time.
This, therefore, make it a tough go for two of the year’s most promising dramedies: Chuck, from The O.C. creator Josh Schwartz, and Reaper, starring Bret Harrison. These two show have potential with a young audience, with charismatic male leads and premises which remain interesting…but both shows will struggle. Chuck has a wholly incompatible lead-in with The Biggest Loser, and Reaper won’t have much chance with Beauty & the Geek airing ahead of it.
Either way, especially for young viewers, Tuesday night is going to be a hectic time. The ever-popular house, the lure of the dancing celebrities, and two young male-led dramedies fighting for your attention.
Wednesday at 9
FOX – Bones
NBC – The Bionic Woman
ABC – Private Practice
CBS – Criminal Minds
The CW – Gossip Girl
Three new shows face off against two established hits in what is going to prove to be a very interesting timeslot. Criminal Minds has found itself a nice rhythm within the timeslot, and Bones has been performing well enough at 8pm for FOX to give the show a shot in the Idol timeslot for the fall. However, they will face serious competition from Private Practice, spinning off of Grey’s Anatomy and perhaps taking ten million viewers or more with it. That is going to prove a detriment to the returning shows, but they should be able to weather the storm.
And, similarly, I think Gossip Girl can weather the storm. With an America’s Next Top Model lead-in, the show will be able to perform well in the Women 18-34 demographic the network covets, although Private Practice will be a threat to that. Still, I think it will perform well enough amongst younger viewers to survive.
Less hopeful, however, is NBC with The Bionic Woman. This is a tough timeslot for a tough sell, a non-campy remake of a 70s series. The series looks very good, but it’s in an incredibly tough spot against two established and one ready-made drama. It’s not like it’s even facing off against comedies, it’s right in the thick of things. I still believe the show should have found a different timeslot, but NBC insists on placing it in one of the toughest ones.
With established hits, a strong spin-off, a young female drama with a strong lead-in, Bionic Woman just doesn’t stand a chance…but we’ll find out in the fall.
Thursday at 9
FOX – Kitchen Nightmares
NBC – The Office / Scrubs
ABC – Grey’s Anatomy
CBS – CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
The CW – Supernatural
Now, this timeslot hasn’t changed that much since last year. In fact, every single lineup remains the same except for The Office subbing in for 30 Rock on NBC, and Kitchen Nightmares taking over from The O.C. on FOX. However, the first change is a substantial one, and it makes this a timeslot to watch in the coming year.
This past year, Supernatural performed well for The CW in an incredibly tough timeslot. Faced with the two biggest shows on TV not named American Idol (CSI and Grey’s Anatomy), the show held onto enough of its Smallville audience to justify a renewal. It was a hit amongst young viewers, and even earned a shot at remaining its timeslot.
The problem is that it’s not the same timeslot anymore thanks to NBC’s decision to place The Office directly in its path. The show is perhaps the biggest thing going amongst young viewers, and the show is only gaining in popularity as time moves on. This is unlikely to hurt the juggernauts, but it is a considerable risk for Supernatural to remain in this timeslot. With its core audience being challenged, the show will have to hope to maintain a loyal following.
And really, this adds an extra layer of intrigue to the timeslot. NBC won’t be in a disaster zone anymore thanks to a boost from The Office, and as a result Supernatural isn’t just off on its own. It should be an interesting battle to watch as the season progresses…and yeah, we’re ignoring the FOX reality series.