The Midseason Contenders: The Shows You Might Be Watching in January

It’s now been two weeks since the glut of Network Upfronts coverage, and I guess you could say I’m a little nostalgic for it. Gone are the days when breaking television news hits every hour, which is really quite unfortunate. However, in recent days there’s been some news about the one thing that networks are always unwilling to talk about: the midseason substitutes.

You see, each network knows that they’re not going to actually be able to hold on to all of their fall dramas and comedies, but publicly they need to talk about how awesome they are and how they’ll run for years and years and years! In reality, they’re quietly organizing possible replacements that could be plugged in by January. While some networks have actually scheduled shows at midseason, there is still the possibility that new pilots or existing shows could be picked up. So, let’s take a gander at all of these possible contenders to see where they might fight in should a space open up.

The Contenders

CBS

Swingtown

What is it: 70s-set drama about an apparently quiet suburb that, as new residents discover, is actually a swingin’ sex haven.

Where will it go: It will be scheduled at 10pm somewhere, based on its subject matter. Chances are that it would be a good fit on Sundays, but we’ll see how Shark does in the timeslot. Shark is a show that could easily be moved to fill in for a struggling drama, so it could give up its spot to the new show.

Chances of Midseason Placement: High. CBS is only saving the show until midseason so it can air uninterrupted through to May.

Jericho

What is it: Post-apocalyptic drama turned town survival drama that garnered a strong enough cult following to result in the Nuts for Jericho campaign of the past few weeks.

Where would it go: I really, really don’t know. This is a tough one: technically, the spot guaranteed to open up (Wednesdays at 8 after Kid Nation ends) could work well, but it’s also going to run right back up against American Idol. Meanwhile, there isn’t a whole lot left in terms of timeslots. If CBS really wants to try to take its cult following with it, they could plug it in on Fridays and hope that people show up. Still, it wouldn’t be easy.

Chances for Midseason Placement: The ‘Save Jericho’ movement is still fighting, and the campaign is gaining steam daily, but the deadline is two weeks before CBS loses the cast to other projects. That’s a short amount of time to convince CBS to make a huge commitment, and a late fall miniseries might be the more likely option at this stage.

The Amazing Race

What is it: 11 teams of two travel around the world following clues, completing tasks, and competing with their fellow racers for a $1 Million cash prize.

Where will it go: Wednesdays at 8pm used to be the show’s timeslot, but it’s not exactly a safe haven for the show considering that American Idol will be populating it. CBS can take the risk and hope that Idol’s recent ratings decline will continue, or it can find a safer spot for The Race. I think it might be interesting to see them move Survivor into a different timeslot, to see how it would perform, and provide TAR with its 8pm Thursday slot.

Chances of Midseason Placement: Like Swingtown, the show has officially been ordered, so it’s just a matter of where and when for Phil and Co.

Babylon Fields

What is it: Zombie Dramedy starring Amber Tamblyn.

Where would it go: It could be a fit for Fridays at 9, should Moonlight fail (It’s already recasting its female lead, not really a good sign), and could also find a home at 8pm on Wednesdays after Kid Nation finishes.

Chances of Midseason Placement: Unlikely, since the show wasn’t officially picked up for the season. However, out of its remaining pilots, this one seemed to have the most potential and stranger things have theoretically happened. But don’t count on it.

NBC

The IT Crowd

What is it: Adaptation of the British show of the same name about IT guys.

Where will it go: It’s really a tough one to call. While on one hand the show would fit in with The Office and other shows in its Thursday comedy block, there’s no room; Scrubs may have a shortened 18 episode order, but 5 hour long episodes of The Office will fill that in just fine. So, unless NBC starts a comedy block or develops a reality show that requires half hour results shows, the IT Crowd might be fighting it out for Late Spring slots fillind in for 30 Rock (The only comedy not extended or paired with one to be extended)

Chances of Midseason Placement: Guaranteed, really. There’s been some retooling, but on the whole things look cozy for the comedy, and chances are it will find a home eventually.

Lipstick Jungle

What is it: Powerful women being powerful in New York.

Where will it go: NBC’s Sunday schedule will be opening up wide due to Sunday Night Football departing, and Lipstick Jungle will fit in nicely at 10pm after Medium and Law & Order.

Chances of Midseason Placement: Already scheduled and everything.

ABC

Lost

What is it: Uh, you know what it is. It’s ABC’s hit Wednesday drama about a mysterious island and it’s awesome.

Where will it go: Looking for an earlier timeslot, Lost might be slotting into the Wednesday at 9 timeslot it vacated previously, or it could find itself earlier at 8, or perhaps at 9 on another day. Either way, chances are ABC will keep it out of the 10pm timeslot it found this year.

Chances of Midseason Placement: Guaranteed.

Eli Stone

What is it: Young Lawyer starts hallucinating and finds himself switching from high-end scumbag clients to charity cases.

Where would it go: ABC has an entire night of new programming on Wednesdays, so any of that is up for grabs. Also, Fridays at 9 are a danger zone, with Women’s Murder Club not exactly standing as an example of high-end programming.

Chances of Midseason Placement: Likely. The show stars Victor Garber, has a procedural legal base, and could be previewed after Grey’s Anatomy while Big Shots takes a break.

Life on Mars

What is it: American version of BBC-hit about time-travelling detective produced by David E. Kelley.

Where would it go: The show could really slot in anywhere: its premise is strong enough that it could slot into a tough timeslot, and Kelley’s pedigree could lift it. It wouldn’t be a bad option for Tuesdays with Boston Legal, making for a Kelley block of sorts.

Chances of Midseason Placement: Looking better. After being held back for retooling from the fall upfront presentations, the series has found a director for its pilot: Thomas Schlamme (The West Wing). This gives the show yet more pedigree, and an even greater shot at making it onto the Spring schedule should the pilot come together over the coming months.

Cashmere Mafia

What is it: Three powerful women are powerful and female in New York. (It’s the exact same as Lipstick Jungle)

Where will it go: It’s too high-profile not to make the schedule, but it’s got to stay away from its copycat show. I’d say it’s a decent fill-in should Big Shots fail, and could also make a decent lead-out from Private Practice Wednesdays at 10 should Dirty Sexy Money fail to captivate viewers.

Chances of Midseason Placement: It will find a spot.

Miss/Guided

What is it: A Judy Greer (Arrested Development) led single-camera following an out-of-touch nerd who returns to her high school as a guidance counselor.

Where would it go: ABC has Cavemen and Carpoolers on their sitcom schedule, and neither of them look the least bit interesting. While Cavemen could theoretically be successful, Carpoolers seems like a totally incompatible lead-out. A spot should open up between the two of them that Miss/Guided could swoop into.

Chances of Midseason Placement: Good. ABC picked it up at the last minute (Seriously, almost the last minute), so chances are they aren’t planning to squander it.

FOX

The Sarah Connor Chronicles

What is it: TV spinoff of the Sarah Connor story filling in gaps between, I believe, T3 and T3.

Where will it go: We know already, Sundays at 9. Which is ridiculous. Why destroy your smart counterprogramming animation block with a series that deserves a chance to gain a better audience. It can hope that it picks up on the Family Guy 18-49 numbers, so it’s not all bad, but up against Desperate Housewives it will struggle to find a broader audience.

Chances of Midseason Placement: Guaranteed.

Canterbury’s Law

What is it: Juliana Marguiles stars in this legal drama that is nothing at all like Philly. Or Judging Amy. Or any of those.

Where will it go: We know it for sure – Thursdays at 9pm. Which…ouch.

Chances of Midseason Placement: Guaranteed…but harsh facing off against such tough competition.

The Return of Jezebel James/The Rules of Engagement

What they are: Comedies: the prior about a woman getting her sister to be a surrogate from Amy Sherman-Palladino, and the latter a single-camera comedy from the Farelly brothers.

Where they will go: They’ll be competing for the same timeslot, I think. Jezebel moves into the 8:30 Wednesdays slot in the Spring, but if it fails Rules of Engagement (without a timeslot) is likely to be slotted in.

Chances of Midseason Placement: They’ll both find a spot, I reckon.

The CW

Crappy Reality Shows

What they are: Crowned, Search for the Next Pussycat Doll, Farmer Wants a Wife

Where will they go: I do not care.

Chances of Midseason Placement: Ugh, definite.

Veronica Mars: FBI

What it is: Spinoff of Veronica Mars featuring a focus on her time in FBI Academy.

Where would it go: It could slot back into its 9pm Tuesday slot should Reaper fail.

Chances of Midseason Placement: Very unlikely. Not only was it not officially announced at the upfronts, but no word has been heard since. I believe all hope is gone for Veronica and Co., especially since One Tree Hill is guaranteed to be a midseason drama for the network.

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Filed under ABC, FOX, Jericho, Law & Order, Lost, Medium, NBC, One Tree Hill, Reality TV, Sarah Connor Chronicles, Television, The Amazing Race, The CW, Upfronts, Veronica Mars

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