The Programming Insider: 27 New Series This Fall

Upfront tally: 14 dramas, 11 sitcoms and 2 non-scripted

In Today's Issue:

Upfront Week: The Final Tallies

Prime-Time Metered Market Thursday Ratings: Fox Wins; CBS a Competitive Second

The CW in 2011-12: Four New Series; Changes on All 5 Evenings

On the Air This Weekend: Prime-Time Programming Options

TV Tidbits: Notes of Interest

TV Trivia Time: Upcoming This Fall


The Final Tallies

By the numbers, the five broadcast networks – ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and The CW – will, in total, introduce 27 new series this fall: 14 dramas, 11 sitcoms and 2 non-scripted.   The breakdown by is as follows:

Number of New Shows by Network:

ABC: 7

CBS: 5

NBC: 6

Fox: 5

CW: 4

Genre Breakdown:

ABC – 3 comedies, 4 dramas

CBS – 2 comedies, 3 dramas

NBC – 3 comedies, 3 dramas

Fox – 3 comedies, 1 drama, 1 non-scripted

CW – 3 dramas, 1 non-scripted

Number of New Shows by Night:

Monday: 4

Tuesday: 5

Wednesday: 7

Thursday: 7

Friday: 2

Sunday: 3

(*The X Factor on Fox airs on Wednesday and Thursday)

Number of Established Series Changing Time Periods: 16

ABC: 3 (Happy Endings, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Shark Tank)

CBS: 3 (CSI, Rules of Engagement, The Good Wife)

NBC: 4 (The Sing-Off- Harry’s Law, Parks and Recreation, Chuck)

Fox: 3 (House, Raising Hope, The Cleveland Show)

CW: 3 (Gossip Girl, 90210, Nikita)

The number of new dramas still outweigh the new comedies, but 11 freshman chucklers on the Big 4 (excluding The CW, which is out of the business) is the most introduced in a fall season in five years.  Other interesting observations…

-33 percent of the schedule is non-scripted programming (excluding sports).

-Excluding the fall of 1988, CBS has aired a comedy in the Monday 9 p.m. half-hour every year since I Love Lucy in 1951.

-The last time ABC opened a fall season with comedies in the Tuesday 8 p.m. was in 2007 with short-lived Cavemen and Carpoolers.

-The last time NBC opened a fall season with comedies in the Wednesday 8 p.m. hour was in 2006 with 30 Rock and short-lived 30 Good Years.

-The last time CBS opened the fall season with a sitcom anchoring Saturday was colossal flop Frannie’s Turn in 1992.

-The original Charlie’s Angels debuted on ABC 35 years ago (on Sept. 22, 1976 to be exact).

-Excluding Survivor: Nicaragua and The Middle, everything else in the Wednesday 8 p.m. hour is new.

-Three hours of programming in the Wednesday 8 p.m. hour are non-scripted (CBS: Survivor, Fox: The X Factor, CW: H8R)



Fox Wins; CBS a Competitive Second

Thursday 5/19/11

Note: The overnight data now includes DVR playback until 3 a.m. local time. One year earlier it was based on Live data only.  All times are ET/PT.

Household Rating/Share

Fox: 10.5/17, CBS: 8.2/13, ABC: 5.6/ 9, NBC: 3.3/ 5, CW: 1.0/ 2

Note: The yearly comparisons are not available today.

Yesterday's Winners:

American Idol (Fox), The Big Bang Theory (CBS), Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), The Mentalist (CBS)

Honorable Mention:

The Office (NBC)

Yesterday's Losers:

Wipeout (ABC), Parks and Recreation (NBC)

Ratings Breakdown:

Fox led this third Thursday in May on the strength of the live American Idol Results Show, with a 2.3 overnight rating point advantage over second-place CBS.  Third overall was ABC, followed by NBC and a repeat of the two-hour Smallville series-ended on The CW.

American Idol, which bid adieu to good sport Haley Reinhart, opened with a hefty 14.8 rating/23 share at 8 p.m.  That led into the season-finale of Bones at a third-place 6.8/11, which dipped by 56 percent from the 8:30 p.m. portion of Idol (15.5/25).

In a night of all season-finales, perennial CBS winner The Big Bang Theory scored a healthy (and second-place) 8.0/13 at 8 p.m., followed by Rules of Engagement (#2: 5.7/ 9) and a two-hour edition of The Mentalist (#1, 8.9/14 from 9-11 p.m.), which contrary to the rumors is remaining in the Thursday 10 p.m. next season (out of new J.J. Abrams drama Person of Interest).  As for Rules of Engagement moving to Saturday, consider that a burn-off measure and not an aggressive maneuver.

All in an evening of all season-enders, the ABC standout, as always, was Grey’s Anatomy (#2: 7.9/12), which built from lead-in Wipeout (#3: 3.4/ 5) by 132 percent.  Private Practice closed its season with a typical second-place 5.6/ 9 in the overnights at 10 p.m.

Over at NBC, two recent repeat episodes of The Office (#4: avg. 2.2/ 3 from 8-9 p.m.) led into the one-hour season-ender at a fourth-place 5.0/ 8 from 9-10 p.m.  As always, look for The Office to score among target adults 18-49.  Next on NBC was the one-hour season-finale of crucially acclaimed but barely seen Parks and Recreation at a distant third-place 2.8/ 5 from 10-11 p.m.

The aforementioned two-hour Smallville encore averaged a 0.9/ 1 from 8-10 p.m. on The CW.

Source: Nielsen Media Research data (R = repeat)


THE CW in 2011-12:

Four New Series; Changes on All 5 Evenings

The CW , which presented the final fall schedule architected by departing network president Dawn Ostroff, is offering its most ambitious slate to-date: four new series (three dramas and one reality hour), with changes on all five evenings.  The dramas are Hart of Dixie, Ringer (which was developed for CBS) and The Secret Circle; with the reality hour comedic-driven H8R, hosted by Mario Lopez.

Monday opens with Gossip Girl moving back to 8 p.m., leading into new drama Hart of Dixie.  Current Monday 8 p.m. occupant 90210, which is not the “hit” the network would lead you to believe, heads to Tuesdays at 8 p.m. into new drama Ringer, with former Buffy, the Vampire Slayer star Sarah Michelle Gellar playing twin sisters.  Wednesday opens with new reality hour H8R, which unites celebrities with the fans who hate them (“Snookie” and Kim Kardashian appear in the pilot), followed by the first all-time edition of America’s Next Top Model, which host Tyra Banks promises will never be “ordinary” again.  Returning The Vampire Diaries on Thursday leads into new compatible sci-fi themed drama The Secret Circle on Thursday.  And Friday will feature relocated Nikita, which is back for season two, and veteran Supernatural.

While the inherent problem with The CW”s line-up is lack of nightly anchor support from Gossip Girl, 90210 and Nikita, 40 percent of the schedule comprised of new programming is aggressive, and each evening features two adequately paired hours.  Plus, in a sea of over 20 new scripted programs debuting this fall, H8R, hosted by Mario Lopez, had the biggest positive response from the audience.  It looks like a hoot.

Midseason on The CW will feature non-scripted hours The Framed and Remodeled, and the return of One Tree Hill, which will be heading into its ninth, and final season.  Not returning are Smallville and freshman entries Hellcats and Shedding for the Wedding.

Here is The CW’s fall 2011 line-up, with the new shows bolded in caps.


8:00 p.m. Gossip Girl (new time)

9:00 p.m. HART OF DIXIE


8:00 p.m. 90210 (new day)

9:00 p.m. RINGER


8:00 p.m. H8R

9:00 p.m. America’s Next Top Model


8:00 p.m.  The Vampire Diaries



8:00 p.m. Nikita (new day and time)

9:00 p.m.  Supernatural

What follows are the new program descriptions:


Hart of Dixie

A young New York City doctor (Rachel Bilson) inherits a medical practice in a small Southern town inhabited by an eclectic and eccentric group of characters.


Former Buffy, the Vampire star Sarah Michelle Gellar plays a troubled woman on the run who hides out by living the life of her wealthy twin sister until she learns her sibling’s life has a bounty on it as well.

Secret Circle

A young woman (Brittany Robertson) moves to her mother’s hometown of New Salem and discovers she is a witch who can unlock a centuries-old battle of good versus evil.  Thomas Dekker plays her love interest.


The Frame (midseason)

Modeled after Big Brother, ten teams of two live together in a single room for up to eight weeks with 24/7 surveillance to compete to see who viewers at home keep in the house.


Everyday people who have a true dislike for a particular celebrity finds themselves paired with that person, as they “truly” learn what he or she is like.  Mario Lopez hosts.

Remodeled (midseason)

Small modeling agencies morphing into bigger presences is the focus of this new reality hour.



Prime-Time Programming Options

Friday 5/20/11


8:00 p.m. Shark Tank (R)

9:00 p.m. Primetime: What Would You Do?

10:00 p.m. 20/20


8:00 p.m. Flashpoint

9:00 p.m. CSI: NY (R)

10:00 p.m. 48 Hours Mystery


8:00 p.m. Friday Night Lights

9:00 p.m.  Dateline (two hours)


8:00 p.m. Kitchen Nightmares (season finale)

9:00 p.m. Kitchen Nightmares (R)


8:00 p.m. Supernatural

9:00 p.m. Supernatural (season finale)

Saturday 5/21/11ABC:

8:00 p.m. Movie: Spider-Man 3


8:00 p.m. Hawaii Five-O (R)

9:00 p.m. NCIS (R)

10:00 p.m. 48 Hours


8:00 p.m. Chase

9:00 p.m. Law & Order: Los Angeles (R)

10:00 p.m. Law & Order: SVU (R)


8:00 p.m. Major League Baseball

Sunday 5/22/11


7:00 p.m. America’s Funniest Home Videos (season finale)

8:00 p.m. The 2011 Billboard Music Awards


7:00 p.m. 60 Minutes 

8:00 p.m. 60 Minutes

9:00 p.m. Movie – Jesse Stone: Innocents Lost

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