Category Archives: Ratings

The Three Timeslots to Watch on the 2007/2008 Fall Schedule

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.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under 30 Rock, ABC, Bones, Chuck, Dancing with the Stars, FOX, Gossip Girl, Grey's Anatomy, House, NBC, Private Practice, Ratings, Reality TV, Reaper, Scrubs, Television, The Bionic Woman, The CW, The Office, Upfronts

The Top Five 2007/2008 Pilots Likely to be Yanked From the Air Prematurely

Let’s face it, being ordered to series isn’t even half the battle for a new pilot. The network is not always a good barometer of one’s success, and it is the viewing public who will make or break the future of a pilot. Now, they’re also a fickle sort, but based on this year’s pilots I think we can at least try to guess how the public might react. And thus, as part of the Network Upfronts Extravaganza, I present…

The Top Five 2007/2008 Pilots Likely to be Yanked From the Air Prematurely

5. Pushing Daisies [ABC]

This show will be finding its way onto another list sometime this weekend, but for now it’s also a show which is extremely likely to be yanked from the air prematurely. The show has a whole lot of potential, but if my brother’s initial reaction to it says anything it will have a tough time with the casual crowd. He read the synopsis of the show and was immediately appalled by it. That synopsis:

…an unprecedented blend of romance, crime procedural and high-concept fantasy in a forensic fairytale about a young man with a very special gift. Once upon a time, a mild-mannered boy named Ned realized he could touch dead things and bring them back to life.

Now, after watching the preview, he and I both agree that the show has a whole lot of potential and could be some quirky fun. However, not very many people take the time to really get into it, and I think that many will react as he did As a result, the show’s rather alarming first impression is likely to make it tough for the drama to find an audience. Which, ABC might take as a sign to exit the drama stage left and move a midseason drama in early.

Continue reading


Filed under 'Til Death, 7th Heaven, ABC, FOX, Ratings, Television, The CW, Upfronts

The Five Biggest Mistakes of the 2007 Network Upfronts

There is no question that the Upfronts bring on a lot of good things, which I will get to in time. However, it’s tough directly after the release of all of the fall schedules to not dwell on the negatives. The show which we canceled, the shows that were mistreated, and the show that you cringe just thinking about. As a result, we start our weekend coverage of the Upfronts with a piece which covers the mistakes made, and which ones will have the most negative effect on the state of television.

The Five Biggest Mistakes of the 2007 Network Upfronts

5. CBS cancels ‘Jericho’

I’ve talked about why canceling Jericho was the right move in the end, but I think it still needs to be recognized that CBS might need to reconsider such moves in the future. Wonky scheduling killed the show’s audience, not necessarily its quality, and I think this is where CBS might have hit their final straw. I think that CBS is worried about the bottom line, and the ratings performance, and I kind of wonder whether they really watched the show to see. Jericho’s fanbase was rabid and of a different sort than most of their shows. The network was able to cancel shows in the past without fanfare (Where’s the outrage for Close to Home?) because they are casual viewers: Jericho didn’t have any of those, and canceling it is likely to end up being more than they bargained for.

It had to be done, but it’s certainly put them in a lesser eye with some of the people that they hope might turn up this season for Moonlight and Viva Laughlin, two shows which might need a touch of their fandom. If they ever want to branch into serial television for real, they will need to realize that quality does matter. We’ll see if their tone changes as time moves forward.

Continue reading


Filed under 'Til Death, ABC, Cavemen, FOX, Friday Night Lights, House, Jericho, NBC, New Amsterdam, Ratings, Television, The CW, Upfronts, Veronica Mars

Network Upfronts Extravaganza: ‘ABC’ Fall Schedule 2007/2008

Well, ABC’s schedule is official, and there’s not much in the way of changes for the network. In fact, to be honest, the schedule is downright boring.

Reminder: Cultural Learnings’ ABC Fall Preview Schedule 

Private Practice, the Grey’s Anatomy Spinoff, will be slotting in at 9pm on Wednesdays, the spot currently occupied by underperforming comedies. It will be sandwiched by two new shows: Bryan Fuller’s Pushing Daisies and Greg Berlanti’s Dirty Sexy Money. This means three new shows in a single night, which is a departure from the stability found in Lost (Which is now officially held back until February).

Thursday’s only change is that Big Shots, a male-themed CEO drama, is inheriting the post-Grey’s spot. Why, exactly, this show has the spot over the female-themed Cashmere Mafia (Held until midseason) I don’t really know. I guess because Dylan McDermott and Michael Vartan bring sex appeal? Seems to be the only logic I can think of.

Dancing with the Stars goes to an hour and a half full time on Mondays as Sam I Am, the Christina Applegate amnesia comedy, fills in between the reality show and The Bachelor at 10. The network’s other two comedies, Cavemen and Carpoolers, fit in at 8pm on Tuesday (Where no other comedies are, good choice), but then lead into an hour-long Dancing with the Stars results show. ABC, the show doesn’t deserve that much of your schedule, cut it to a half hour and slot in another comedy.

The other new show, Women’s Murder Club, leads out of Men in Trees on Fridays as the latter moves to the opening slot at 8pm. It’s a tough one, against Ghost Whisperer, and we’ll see what momentum the show has after a shortened first season.

Meanwhile, Notes from the Underbelly and October Road will be headed for midseason.

For the full schedule (It’s really this boring, I swear!), continue on.


Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under ABC, Brothers & Sisters, Dancing with the Stars, Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, Lost, Private Practice, Ratings, Television, Upfronts

Network Upfronts Extravaganza – ‘NBC’ 2007/2008 Fall Schedule

Well, NBC has made it official (Variety), as their schedule has made it to press before their upfront presentation.

EDIT: NBC has now released their official Fall Preview Website with sneak previews of all of their new shows. Check it out at the link below.

NBC Fall Preview 2007-2008

Now, onto the summary of what went done, and then the final schedule with commentary after the jump.

– First, and most interesting, is that NBC has found as solution for their problem of Heroes going on hiatus: a prequel series. Heroes: Origins will be featuring characters not yet on the show, characters in the periphery, and then at the end of its run fans can vote on their favourite who would then join the main cast (I will talk more about this at some point, it’s fascinating). This is sure to keep fans happy, and gives the network more fresh programming.

“Heroes: Origins” will center on characters not yet seen on the original show. Peacock has also added an interactive element to the show: Viewers will be asked to pick their favorite character from “Origins,” who will then join the cast of the full-blown “Heroes” skein the following year. [Variety]

– NBC, you made a huge mistake placing Friday Night Lights at 10pm on Fridays. It’s a family show, damnit, and it deserves a slot where people can watch it together. Now, as it stands, it is far too late to get a decent shot at succeeding, and the show deserves much better. I also think that moving Las Vegas might have been a decent option, but I figure that the addition of Tom Selleck to the cast might be enough to give it some life. (I forgot about it in my predictions: whoops)

– I also forgot about football. Man, I don’t know how I forgot about the NFL so easily, but I did. This means that Law & Order, Medium and Lipstick Jungle (New Series starring Brooke Shields) won’t be around until January, which freed up some room on the schedule.

– The new shows slotted in where you’d expect them to [For full info on these shows, check out Cultural Learnings’ NBC Preview.]: Journeyman [Time-travelling drama] has been given the post-Heroes dead zone, which leave sci-fi contender The Bionic Woman to find for itself on Wednesdays (Against American Idol in the Spring). Life, meanwhile, inherits the tough Wednesdays at 10 slot, and Chuck (From Josh Schwartz) finds itself possibly facing House at 9pm on Tuesdays.

– Only two Deal or No Deals? It’ll work for now, but let’s not see any more NBC.

– The only shows missing? Crossing Jordan and…The Apprentice! Yes! Woohoo! *Fireworks* Trump has finally fallen.

I’ll have some more analysis later after the Upfront Presentation when they explain these ideas further, but for now here’s NBC’s final schedule [with full analysis of each night] after the break.

Continue reading


Filed under 30 Rock, Friday Night Lights, Heroes, Law & Order, Medium, NBC, Ratings, Reality TV, Television, The Apprentice

Network Upfronts Extravaganza – ‘NBC’ Preview

NBC had a motto heading into this season: “first be best, then be first.” It was quite the slogan, don’t get me wrong, but it was also a flawed strategy considering they have only seen two dramas survive their development season and one of them is limping into the end zone instead of high-kicking their way into it. It was a year that was supposed to slow the network’s decline, and yet the shows that were struggling last season just kept struggling. NBC is still sitting in the basement among the big four networks, and they need a good development season quickly. While Heroes has certainly been a big success for the network, there’s also very little question that it isn’t enough: they need something big, and they need it soon. They can be best all they want, but if people aren’t watching NBC is only going to fall further. And, based on their pilot selections…well, the jury remains out on whether NBC is capable of rising to the occasion.

Continue reading


Filed under 30 Rock, Andy Barker P.I., Crossing Jordan, Friday Night Lights, Heroes, Law & Order, Medium, NBC, Ratings, Reality TV, Scrubs, Television, The Apprentice, Upfronts

Network Upfronts Extravaganza – ‘ABC’ Preview

ABC is in a unique situation this year when it comes to pilots. On one hand, the network has seen some success this year and in past years, and the network has remained a solid demographics performers even with dips in viewership for its flagship shows like Lost or Desperate Housewives. However, outside of shows like Grey’s Anatomy the network actually saw a series of failures over the span of the year with both dramas and comedies. Judging from its pilot order, ABC is going with what I’d like to call a shotgun approach, something which is both good and bad for the network’s future. Either way, next season will be a test for the ABC brand: is there a cohesive image which can unite wildly different shows together under one banner?

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under ABC, Brothers & Sisters, Cavemen, Dancing with the Stars, Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, Lost, Private Practice, Ratings, Sex & The City, Television, Traveler, Ugly Betty, Upfronts

Network Upfronts Extravaganza – ‘FOX’ Preview

It’s going to end up as the #1 network this season due to the American Idol juggernaut. And yet, can we really say that FOX has had a successful year? It’s to the point now where we really can’t even include Idol in the show’s ratings in order to get a decent view into its true success. The reality is that FOX had a rough development season, failing to put together a single new show that was buzzworthy except for the one they gave a shot after American Idol in the second half of the season…and a game show. The network looks to diversify that success yet again this season, and they’ve got a few options on the table which could get them there…and some which are just plain awful.

Continue reading


Filed under 'Til Death, 24, American Idol, Bones, Drive, FOX, House, Prison Break, Ratings, Reality TV, Sarah Connor Chronicles, Television, The O.C., Upfronts

Network Upfronts Extravaganza: ‘The CW’ Preview


UPDATE: Hey everyone! Final word is in: One Tree Hill was Renewed! Get up and celebrate!

That’s right:

One Tree Hill is Renewed

…so congratulations to everyone.

In their first year as a network, The CW has been forced to weather failure after failure. Between the failure of Veronica Mars to find an audience, the failure for 7th Heaven to turn its “Series” finale success into a final season of high-rated television, and the absolute decimation of its Comedy Lineup after being moved to Monday Nights, the network has struggled to define a new identity for itself . However, perhaps more than anything else, The CW’s largest failure is the fact that of its new pilots at the beginning of the season, none of them became anything even close to a success. So, they face a unique challenge this time around: they need to find pilots which give them an identity that will make them a successful network next season. Do they have what it takes?

Continue reading


Filed under Gilmore Girls, Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill, Ratings, Reaper, Television, The CW, The O.C., Upfronts, Veronica Mars

Cultural Learnings’ Network Upfronts Extravaganza: Preview

So, I realized something last night after posting my 5th Blog Post in 24 hours: I need to blog less. Although each post was informative in its own special way, it just wasn’t necessary. I need to learn to control my urge to blog when it comes time to, you know, write a Thesis next year, so I figure that I should be conditioning over the summer.

Of course, this realization came as we come to one of the most important television weeks of the entire year, so I think it will be put on hold for a little while at least. Starting on Monday, the five major networks (And other smaller networks) will present their Fall lineups to the media and advertisers, and it’s always a fascinating experience. This is called the Network Upfront Presentations. It’s a combination of all sorts of things:

There’s suspense, waiting to see whether your favourite “On the Bubble” show has been renewed (This year I’m holding my breath for ‘Veronica Mars’).

There’s conflict, as when you realize that you’ll have to choose between ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and ‘CSI’, or that you’ll have to TiVo the new Grey’s Spinoff if they choose to stick it against ‘Heroes’/’24’ (Which would be a nightmare for people who watch pretty well everything, like me).

There’s comedy, in seeing what idiotic pilots are picked up despite not having a hope in hell of being decent (See: ‘Geico Caveman’, the Sitcom! Seriously, ABC? Seriously?)

There’s drama, as certain shows that seemed to be sure things are left cut due to unforeseen circumstances (See: ABC’s high-profile adaptation of the British ‘Footballer’s Wives’).

And, perhaps most of all, there’s speculation. It’s perhaps one of my favourite things, because it allows us to make assumptions about these series and their potential both creatively and financially for the networks involved.

And thus begins the madness that is the Network Upfronts. So, what will Cultural Learnings be doing in order to inform its readers about this chaotic process?

Well, as much as it pains me, I don’t really want to leave little news bytes about everything. Yes, sure, I would have loved to have blogged about ‘Friday Night Lights’ being renewed (Which pretty well made my day yesterday), but I figure that’s best saved for discussing NBC in detail. I want this to be a resource for people wading through hundreds of announcements and news briefings and just about everything else, so I figure there’s a better way of going about it (But Yay Friday Night Lights!).

Over the weekend, I’ll be posting my pre-game thoughts if you will for each network: a brief summary of what they did right and wrong last pilot season, and what they should, theoretically, be looking for. I’ve even made a convenient little schedule, it’s quite exciting.

The Networks in Review

Friday: The CW

Saturday: CBS, FOX

Sunday: ABC, NBC

Then, starting on Monday, I’ll be detailing the upfront presentation of each network with analysis of whether or not they made the right decisions, and how each night of television might fare.

The Upfronts in Review:

Fall Schedule Details

Monday: NBC

Tuesday: CBS

Wednesday: ABC

Thursday: FOX, The CW

At the end of the week, after all the madness is over, I’ll be running down each night of television for the fall season so you’ll get an idea of what your TiVo will be recording in four months’ time, and what shows you might have to cut.

This is one of the most hectic weeks in television history (Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but seriously). You’ve got the ‘Survivor’ finale on Sunday, the penultimate episodes of ‘Heroes’/’24’ on Monday, the Series Finale of ‘Gilmore Girls’ on Tuesday, the penultimate ‘Lost’ on Wednesday, the finales of: ‘The Office’, ‘Scrubs’, ‘Ugly Betty’, ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ AND ‘CSI’ on Thursday, and then even Saturday has the season finale of ‘Saturday Night Live’. And, on top of all of this, there’s the network upfronts?

It is going to be a busy week: stay tuned to Cultural Learnings if you want to see how it all ends up. If you want to get your news as it breaks, though, here’s some links to major resources for all your upfront and Pilot news.

The Hollywood Reporter: Pilot Chart

An extensive collection of every single pilot ordered by all networks, this offers you with the chance to peruse to see which series you might want to see pop up next week.

Variety: Pilot Watch

Variety’s got a newsfeed which is dedicated to news related to pilot season, so check this out for up-to-the-minute updates over the weekend regarding which shows are being staffed and which ones are being put to pasture.

Leave a comment

Filed under ABC, FOX, NBC, Ratings, The CW, Upfronts