8:00 to 9:00: Once the dust settled from the upfronts, this once-weak hour has suddenly become one of the most competitive hours going into the fall. The question now becomes: Who is going to survive SURVIVOR? Now that CBS has relocated its still-hot reality show to the night (competing directly with the elimation show AMERICAS NEXT TOP MODEL on CW), it will be up to ABC (who bolstered its comedy hour with BETTER TOGETHER leading out of THE MIDDLE) and NBC (with the much-hyped JJ Abrams drama UNDERCOVERS) to battle it out for second place. It will definitely be a close race all-around. The loser in all of this? Bubble show LIE TO ME on FOX, which hasn’t set the world on fire, and certainly doesn’t look to come fall.
FIRST: SURVIVOR (CBS)
SECOND: UNDERCOVERS (NBC)
THIRD: THE MIDDLE/BETTER TOGETHER (ABC)
FOURTH: LIE TO ME (FOX)
FIFTH: AMERICAS NEXT TOP MODEL (CW)
9:00 to 10:00: Once again, look for CRIMINAL MINDS to take total viewers for CBS. Though the show is aging, which means it could also be time for America to reclaim comedy on the night, now that ABC is sticking with MODERN FAMILY. But bringing down the averages for the hour will be COUGAR TOWN. A stronger lead-out for FAMILY probably would have sealed the deal. HOWEVER, the wild card is the relocated LAW & ORDER: SVU on NBC. It didn’t fair well in the hour when it preceded LENO, but now that LAW & ORDER: LOS ANGELES is its leadout, that changes thing dramatically. Still, what if the cancellation of the original flagship L&O spooks viewers away from both SVU and the LA version? ALSO, competition from CRIMINAL MINDS for procedural eyeballs could factor into comedy being king for ABC for the night. That leaves two HELL shows for competition: HELLS KITCHEN on FOX and HELLCATS on CW. HELLCATS could be a sleeper hit; then again, it could be the next TBL: THE BEAUTIFUL LIFE. All in all, it’s an hour up for grabs, much like the hour before it.
FIRST: CRIMINAL MINDS (CBS)
SECOND: MODERN FAMILY/COUGAR TOWN (ABC)
THIRD: L&O: SVU (NBC)
FOURTH: HELLS KITCHEN (FOX)
FIFTH: HELLCATS (CW)
10:00 to 11:00: Three NEW shows all battle it out, and they ALL involve courtrooms: L&O: LA on NBC; THE WHOLE TRUTH on ABC and THE DEFENDERS on CBS. Since LOLA is branded, it emerges the winner. The other two depend on their pilots, but I think DEFENDERS has the better fit of a lead-in with CRIMINAL MINDS. I don’t think WHOLE TRUTH makes much sense following ABCs comedy block.
FIRST: LOLA (NBC)
SECOND: DEFENDER (CBS)
THIRD: THE WHOLE TRUTH (ABC)
SHOWS I WILL BE WATCHING: UNDERCOVERS, THE MIDDLE, BETTER TOGETHER, MODERN FAMILY, COUGAR TOWN, and HELLCATS. For a total of FOUR hours.
BREAKOUT HIT: UNDERCOVERS (NBC)
RUNNER-UP: BETTER TOGETHER (ABC)
NEW SHOW CLASHES: The BIG clash is at 10 pm where all three networks have scheduled something new: LOLA on NBC, THE WHOLE TRUTH on ABC and THE DEFENDERS on CBS. It’s really anyone’s game to win at this point.
*See NEW SHOW CLASHES above.
*After failing with HANK last year, ABC doubled up on THE MIDDLE or MODERN FAMILY for the rest of the season (why didn’t they give BETTER OFF TED a shot?). Anyway, that looks to be reversed next season with BETTER TOGETHER. The one snag? It’s multi camera while the other 3 are all single camera. And why do I bring this up? Because HANK was multi-camera, too. I’m just saying….
*SURVIVOR is either going to reinvent Wednesdays for CBS, or really bite them in the ass. The aging show won’t ever return to it’s original glory, but its just the kinda juice that has to leave UNDERCOVERS and ABCs comedies sweating a little bit. Smart move, Eye network!
*NBC’s idea of a crime night is a smart move, but there’s just so much crime and punishment on TV these days. And after canceling the original L&O just shy of the history books, are audiences really that invested in ANOTHER one? Then again, it IS Los Angeles