Special Report: Battle of the Nerds

NEW YORK You Could Call it the battle of the nerds on Monday, as two sitcoms featuring socially inept characters—CBS’ The Big Bang Theory and The CW’s Aliens in America—face off. The Big Bang Theory tells the story of a sexy woman (former 8 Simple Rules star Kaley Cuoco) trying to coach a group of geeks, while on Aliens in America, a brainy 16-year-old (all TV geeks are smart!) shares his home with a Pakistani exchange student. Both sitcoms face the daunting task of competing opposite the second half of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, NBC’s Deal or No Deal and Fox’s Prison Break, without the benefit of any solid lead-in support. CBS would like you to think returning How I Met Your Mother is a strong Monday anchor, but it’s not, and it never will be. Generic looking The Big Bang Theory will have no trouble significantly beating Aliens in America because of CBS’ distribution advantage (stronger stations equals more viewers). But with the Emmy-winning The New Adventures of Old Christine renewed for midseason, there is already a replacement waiting in the wings. (Big Bang will need to do better than The Class, the show that occupied this slot last fall.) If the oddly funny Aliens in America can hold the audience from compatible Everybody Hates Chris (which could benefit from a guest turn from series creator Chris Rock in the season opener), or even build on it (always a possibility given the higher HUT levels at 8:30 p.m.), there is promise. Snagging a renewal on The CW, after all, is not necessarily that difficult. Let’s just hope, though, that the nerdy stereotypes don’t wear thin.