Another upfront season has ended, and now the real work begins: strategizing how to program the DVR once the season starts.
Now that the broadcast networks have set their schedules, we can start to look at some potentially intriguing watch-record dilemmas come fall. We haven’t seen full versions of any of the new shows yet, of course, but we’re seeing several possible ratings dogfights among both new and returning series. Here are a few of them.
Mondays at 8: Family feud
There’s no reason to think “Dancing With the Stars” will lose its iron grip on the time period, but the race for second could be pretty interesting as a couple other shows vie with “Dancing” for family audiences. FOX will undoubtedly put a huge marketing push behind “Terra Nova,” and NBC is hoping a weekly version of “The Sing-Off” will do as well as its limited run did last December. Like “DWTS,” they’re both aiming for broad appeal across demographic lines, so we’re curious to see how viewers choose. We’re also curious to see if “How I Met Your Mother” can continue to draw its usual numbers against the new competition.
Tuesdays at 9: Can ‘Ringer’ break through?
No one should expect “Ringer” to challenge the big guns (“NCIS: Los Angeles” and “Dancing With the Stars”) in this time period, but we’ll be very interested to discover whether Sarah Michelle Gellar‘s fan base is as big as it seems to be (and if “Ringer” holds up to early hype). Granted, a lot about TV viewing has changed since “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” was at its height more than a decade ago. But when it was, it regularly drew better than 5 million viewers a week. Those are numbers The CW would kill to have now.
Wednesdays at 8: ‘The X Factor’ vs. the world
The big question is how big can “The X Factor” be? If Simon Cowell‘s new talent competition pulls numbers comparable to “American Idol,” FOX will surely be thrilled, but the other networks have shown they can survive those kinds of ratings and still remain competitive. If “The X Factor” goes bigger, we may see some retooling by FOX’s rivals. And if it’s smaller than “Idol,” well, that might be an issue for FOX.
Wednesdays at 10: Old vs. old vs. new
The two longest-running dramas currently on television, will face off in this spot. “Law & Order: SVU” will enter its 13th season on NBC in the fall and “CSI” its 12th on CBS. Both are still pretty solid performers for their respective networks, and while “CSI” will likely win the total-viewer battle, “SVU” could challenge for the adults 18-49 lead in the time period. Unless, that is, younger viewers go for a younger show: ABC’s brand-new drama “Revenge.”
Friday night: Nerdgasm
Genre fans will be giving their DVRs a workout unlike any seen before on Friday nights. “Chuck” vs. “Nikita” at 8 o’clock is just a warmup for the three-way confronation at 9: “Fringe” on FOX, “Supernatural” on The CW and newcomer “Grimm,” co-created by “Angel” veteran David Greenwalt, on NBC. Frankly, we really have no idea how it will shake out — aside from the fact that they’ll likely be battling for second behind “CSI: NY.”
Sundays at 9: ‘Wife’ vs. ‘Wives’
“Desperate Housewives” is far from the ratings juggernaut it was in its early seasons, but it’s still pretty strong: It ranks in the Top 30 in total viewers this season and is still a Top 20 show among adults 18-49. Can “The Good Wife,” which ranks in the Top 20 in viewers but is farther down the demo list, steal some of those viewers away in the fall? Or will the two shows each be able to draw the audiences they’ve had before they became competitors? Expect this to be one of the more scrutinized races of the new season — even if it’s a fight for second behind “Sunday Night Football.”
Which timeslots look the most crowded for you next season?