22 New Series Slated for Fall 2009

Friday, May 22, 2009
Upfront Presentation Week:
That’s a Wrap

CBS and Fox Tie for First; Fox Poised for Victory Among Adults 18-49

Ratings Box:
What’s Hot/What’s Not

On the Air This Weekend:
Prime-Time Programming Options 

TV Tidbits:
Notes of Interest
TV Trivia Time:

Pack Your Bags


Note: The Programming Insider will not be published on Monday for Memorial Day. Have a great and long holiday weekend!

Upfront Presentation Week:
That’s a Wrap

I will save my overall observations about the new prime-time network schedules for this Monday’s Mr. TV column. In a nutshell, those lengthy presentations from yesteryear ignited by some major star power were replaced by economically shortened unveilings. The CW at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, in fact, presented in a record 45-minutes.


As expected, CBS has the strongest fall 2009 line-up, but moving The Mentalist to Thursday out of CSI was one of the many odd choices by the network. ABC, by far, is the most aggressive and many are referring to the new Wednesday 8-10 p.m. sitcom block (Hank, The Middle, Modern Family and Cougar Town) is the boldest, and brightest, move by any broadcaster next season. NBC, of course, built its line-up around Jay Leno (who I heard bombed at the network’s Tuesday night comedy showcase). Fox was unusually passive, with summer favorite So You Think You Can Dance promoted to a fall entry. And The CW remains devoted to the young female demographics.


My top five new series picks are…drum roll, please…sitcoms Modern Men (ABC) and Community (NBC), and dramas Flash Forward (ABC), NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS) and The Vampire Diaries (CW). As much as I liked the original Melrose Place, this new version looks a bit too over the top (how does Thomas Calabro’s Michael, by the way, suddenly have a young adult aged son?). And unless CBS can find a better home for it, my pick for the first cancellation of the 2009-10 season is medical drama Three Rivers. 


Here are some stats worth noting. New dramas, as expected, outnumber the new comedies. But a ratio of 12 versus 8 (compared to 10 new dramas and 4 new sitcoms last fall) is a narrower gap. Wednesday, once again, is home to the greatest number of new series, 9 in total, which are 3 more than second-place Tuesday. And Saturday remains a veritable wasteland with nothing new and predominantly repeats. Take a look at overall findings:

Total Number of New Prime-Time Series: 22
The Breakdown:
Drama: 12
Sitcom: 8
Reality: 1
Talk: 1
By Network:
ABC: 8
CBS: 4
NBC: 4
Fox: 3
CW: 3

By Night (The Jay Leno Show counts as one new show on each weeknight):

Monday: 3
Tuesday: 6
Wednesday: 9
Thursday: 4
Friday: 2
Saturday: 0
Sunday: 2

Number of Established Series Moving to New Time Periods: 16

By Network (Excluding NBC’s Medium moving to CBS)

ABC: 2
CBS: 4
NBC: 4
Fox: 5
CW: 1

Since nothing, of course, is etched in stone, don’t be too surprised if the networks make some upcoming changes. 

Prime-Time Metered Market Thursday Ratings:

CBS and Fox Tie for First; Fox Poised for Victory Among Adults 18-49

Thursday 5/21/09


CBS    5.6/10

Fox    5.6/10

ABC   3.9/ 7

NBC   3.1/ 5

CW    1.1/ 2


-Percent Change From the Year-Ago Evening (Thursday, May 22, 2008):

CBS: +24, Fox: – 3, CW: -27, NBC: -42, ABC: -61


Note: Now that the traditional TV season is over, the daily listing of winners and losers will be on hiatus until next fall. 

-Ratings Breakdown:

CBS and Fox tied for dominance in the Thursday overnights on this first unofficial night of the non-traditional season. But the two-hour season-premiere of Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance is expected to lead the network to victory among adults 18-49. Third overall was ABC, followed by NBC and the CW.


The aforementioned So You Think You Can Dance season-opener kicked-off on Fox with a healthy 5.6 rating/10 share in the overnights from 8-10 p.m., building by half-hour as follows: