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Note: The Programming Insider will not be published on Monday for Memorial Day.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:

So You Think You Can Dance (Fox)
8:00 p.m.: 5.0/ 9 (#1)
8:30 p.m.: 5.5/10 (#1)
9:00 p.m.: 5.7/10 (#2)
9:30 p.m.: 6.0/10 (#2)

Comparably, that was just three percent below it’s year-ago season launch on May 22, 2008 (5.8/ 9). While So You Think You Can Dance could be poised for another successful summer, personally I am not so sure a fall edition is a wise idea. 


CBS aired repeats of NCIS (#2: 5.2/10), which leads into spin-off NCIS: Los Angeles on Tuesday next season, CSI (#1: 6.7/11) and Flashpoint (#1: 5.0/ 9), which is slated to return with its next batch of original episodes in midseason.


Back-to-back episodes of ABC’s Ugly Betty, including the season-finale at 9 p.m., performed as follows by half hour:

Ugly Betty (ABC)
8:00 p.m.: 4.2/ 8 (#3)
8:30 p.m.: 4.3/ 8 (#3)
9:00 p.m.: 4.5/ 8 (#3)
9:30 p.m.: 4.7/ 8 (#3)

As a reminder, Ugly Betty moves to Friday at 9 p.m. out of relocated Superanny next fall (which means, of course, that the marginal ratings will not likely increase). Capping off ABC’s uneventful Thursday was a repeat of Grey’s Anatomy at a last-place 3.0/ 5 at 10 p.m.


In season-finale news, NBC’s overrated Southland was nothing spectacular at a second-place 4.4/ 8 in the overnights at 10 p.m. While that was 69 percent above a repeat of lead-in 30 Rock (#4: 2.6/ 4 at 9:30 p.m.), it trailed the aforementioned Flashpoint encore on CBS by 12 percent. Earlier in the evening on NBC were repeats of canceled My Name is Earl (#4: 2.4/5), 30 Rock (#4: 2.2/ 4) and The Office (#4: 2.7/ 5) from 8-9:30 p.m. The absence of original episodes of My Name is Earl this fall will not help the upcoming off-network run.


Last, and very least, were encore telecasts of the CW’s Smallville and Supernatural, each with a 1.1/ 2 in the overnights, from 8-10 p.m. Don’t forget: Smallville, heads to the Friday 8 p.m. anchor spot next fall.


Source: Nielsen Media Research data

Ratings Box:
What’s Hot/What’s Not
-Week of May 18 to-Date:

While Mr. TV was busy covering the upfront presentations, here are the national rating results by night for the week to-date. 

Monday 5/18/09
-Total Viewers:

ABC: 12.30 million, CBS: 12.28, Fox: 9.64, NBC: 5.44, CW: 2.45

-Adults 18-49:

CBS: 4.0 rating/11 share, ABC: 3.5/10, Fox: 3.1/ 8, NBC: 1.5/ 4, CW: 1.2/ 3


In season-premiere news, a two-hour edition of ABC’s The Bachelorette opened with 8.69 million viewers and a 3.0 rating/ 8 share among adults 18-49 from 9-11 p.m. Retention out of Dancing With the Stars (Viewers: 19.17 million; A18-49: 4.4/13 at 8 p.m.) was just 45 percent in total viewers and 68 percent in the demo. CBS featured the season ending episodes of How I Met Your Mother (Viewers: #3, 8.73 million; A18-49: #2, 3.7/10), Two and a Half Men (Viewers: #1, 16.18 million; A18-49: #1, 5.3/14) and Rules of Engagement (Viewers: #1, 12.87 million; A18-49: #1, 4.4/11) from 8:30-10 p.m. And a two-hour edition of Fox’s 24 was nothing spectacular at 9.64 million viewers and a 3.1/ 9 among adults 18-49 from 8-10 p.m. 24 will return with a new day in January 2010. 


Tuesday 5/19/09
-Total Viewers:

Fox: 16.95 million, ABC: 16.09, CBS: 14.88, NBC: 4.47, CW: 1.86

-Adults 18-49:

Fox: 6.3/17, ABC: 4.0/11, CBS: 3.2/ 9, NBC: 1.5/ 4, CW: 0.9/ 2


The unveiling of surprise winner Shawn Johnson over favored Giles Marini on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars lifted the Tuesday season-finale to 20.31 million viewers and a 5.2/14 among adults 18-49 from 9-11 p.m. Season-ending episodes of CBS’ NCIS (Viewers: #2, 16.50 million; A18-49: #2, 3.4/10) and The Mentalist (Viewers: #2, 16.82 million; A18-49: #2, 3.7/10) also fared well from 8-10 p.m.  But highly touted new Fox drama Glee, which previewed out of the final American Idol performance show, got off to a soft start. Glee was sampled by 9.62 million viewers, with a 3.9/10 among adults 18-49 at 9 pm., placing third in the hour in total viewers and second in the demo. Retention out of American Idol (Viewers: 23.93 million; A18-49: 3.9/10 at 8 p.m.) was just 40 percent in total viewers and 45 percent among adults 18-49.