Analysis on the new Fox and CW schedules

I decided to put the analysis of the Fox and CW schedules on this post instead of “burying” them after the announced fall schedules on separate posts. So here goes….

Fox: Because of post-season baseball and the return of American Idol and 24 in January, Fox’s schedule next season is separated into two parts, with an emphasis on midseason.

The first part of the schedule will have six new shows introduced, with two new dramas, one new comedy (the highly anticipated Back to You), and three reality/competition shows. Fox will air less post-season baseball games from now on, with the bulk of the playoffs (except the World Series) now airing on TBS.

The second part will feature the return of 24 and Idol in their familiar time slots, with four new shows to make debuts, including a spin-off of the Terminator movie series (Sarah Connor), airing on Sunday nights, taking on Desperate Housewives, and another new comedy in The Return of Jezebel James.

Fox has axed The War At Home, along with The Winner (should have been titled The Loser), and insipid reality shows Nanny 911 and Trading Spouses.

Analysis: There is something to talk about with Fox’s schedule. The strongest new shows on the schedule are Back to You and The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Unfortunately, they are not in time slots that could realize their best potential. Back to You leads off Wednesdays, while Sarah Connor is up against Housewives. It’s a dumb move, throwing away a successful animated block at 8 CT.

Back to You (as well as ‘Til Death) would be better off on Sundays, airing with The Simpsons and Family Guy. In a surprise move instead, we get another season of King of the Hill (it’s 12th) and American Dad. Sunday nights will have four dramas going up against each other at 8 CT starting in January, potentially turning off viewers who aren’t interested in watching such fare. Another reason why the networks are losing viewers to cable.

As for the rest of the schedule, the new K-Ville should be interesting since this show is based in post-Katrina New Orleans, and will be filmed down there (props to them.) And the red states get their own reality show in Nashville, based in Tennessee’s largest market.

Fox will win the season in adults 18-49, thanks to Idol, House, and the Super Bowl. But this fall schedule (and the scheduling of new shows) could be better.

CW: The CW, formed last year due to the merger of the money losing WB and UPN networks, has only one new comedy (a trend at the other networks, except ABC) and one new drama (Gossip Girl) and a bunch of new reality/competition shows , all targeted to young-skewing females.

The new shows are Aliens in America on Mondays, and Gossip Girl on Tuesdays, replacing the now-canceled Veronica Mars. (Kristin Bell of Veronica will be the narrator, much like Ron Howard was on Arrested Development.)

Beauty and the Geek, meanwhile, will now run twice a season instead of once a year, and takes over Gilmore Girls‘ old time slot on Tuesdays.

The CW will have One Tree Hill and several reality shows – a mother-daughter pageant and Farmer Wants A Wife, and a search of yet another Pussycat Doll at their disposal at midseason. (I guess the Dolls are planning to about to have as many members as The Mormon Tabernacle Choir.)

Analysis: I have mixed reservations about CW’s new schedule. The CW has a strong premise in Gossip Girl and should have no problem drawing viewers in its’ key demo. It gets the coveted post-Top Model time slot. I smell a hit.

The CW is also making a good call by airing syndicated-like low-cost magazine shows on Sundays.

The Reaper also looks promising, from Clerks creator Kevin Smith, but will it meet the reaper on Tuesday Night like Veronica Mars did?

For anyone who thinks that Aliens in America is going to be another wacky sci-fi comedy like 3rd Rock From the Sun, think again. It’s not about aliens from outer space – it’s about a 16 year-old boy whose mom sets him up to be friends with an exchange student. It sounds stupid. Like 3rd Rock From the Sun.

Ratings for the Monday comedy block have sagged, even in African-American homes where ratings have dropped due to tougher competition from Heroes, Prison Break, and 24. Like King of the Hill, Girlfriends should have been put out to pasture long ago and The Game never should have been born to begin with.

And why is The CW’s still airing Top Model encores on Sunday night? (At least they’re not running repeats of The Game. Oh, wait…)

The CW ranks behind Univision in the ratings, as well as the big four. It will have to improve in its second season to please shareholders – or they may be in trouble. Judging from this lineup, they are in trouble.

One could wonder if Sam Zell, the new owner of the Tribune Co. – whose company’s stations are mostly CW affiliates – was in the audience during the CW’s upfront presentation. If he was, he’d probably popped a lot of those Tums. And that was before the Pussycat Dolls’ performance.

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