Saturday, November 22, 2008

Gather round the Bonfire

A few days ago I poured over Ten's summer schedule. Time now to have a look at what Nine has in store for viewers this holiday season.

20 to 01 continues for a few weeks where it will likely dominate. Mid December it will replaced by burn-off episodes of failed gardening show Battlefronts.

Two and a Half Men has been cut down to a merciful 2 episodes per week using it to promote The Big Bang Theory. Both nights should work well and I would suspect that Two and a Half Men will continue to perform well.

It's suprising that Nine hasn't chosen to revive The New Adventures of Old Christine - perhaps they are not confident of that show's long term future in the states - indeed I beleive this is the reason that Til Death has disappeared, it is on very shaky ground in the US right now.

Again, another outing for the two sitcoms and the return of Temptation to the 7pm timeslot. I'm in two minds about this - on one hand it will probably attract the lions share of older folks with it's only competition being ABC news, but on the other hand it gives channel ten a free kick in the timeslot.

Last summer when Ten tried to get Friends to work they had to compete against Two and a Half Men and That 70s Show, both of which had either new episodes or reruns which were not widely viewed the first time around, this year they'll only have to deal with reruns of How I Met Your Mother which is substantially less competition than last summer.

CSI continues at 8.30 so we can almost assume this will be it's regular slot through the new year. I beleive that Nine programmers would be happy that CSI has City Homicide's measure.

Fringe is back being given a second tryout at 9.30 - given the kind of numbers it was doing at 8.30 Wednesdays this will be a crap shoot but hey that's what summer is for!

You know I'd almost forgotten that when Summer rolls around channel nine opens it's doors to all manner of factual snoozefests from across the Tasman. Yes it's that time of year again to enjoy the adrenaline pumping Police Ten 7, that is unless you've already been enjoying it Saturday nights on Fox 8, following will be one of those car crash shows which seem to pop up like noxious weeds all over Seven and Nine's schedules - no idea as to the origins of sudden impact, it may even be local because it is narrated by Gary Sweet, although my money is on a rebandged Brit import.

All we can tell about post 8.30 is that it seems to be a movie timeslot - this suggests that Nine have got nothing, Tuesday is Seven's biggest night during the regular season - if Nine want to break that stranglehold the time is now.

Also Monday and Tuesday late they are pumping in Survivor - first finishing off the Micronesia season, then there's every chance we'll get Gabon, the series has been doing good business on Tuesday nights for the network - much better than some of it other 10.30 fare.

10 to 01, you know I don't even get the point of 10 to 01. This is the worst repurposing of an existing format since Fox in the US tried to squeeze Ally MacBeal into a half hour slot for syndication revenue, what's worse for Nine here is that there is no point to a half hour version of their hit unless they're looking for a 7pm strip - which they're not.

Following at 8 is the return of another NZ reality show - Deadly Surf - way to excite everyone Nine.

At 8.30 CSI Miami is back in what seems like it fifteenth timeslot change this year, Miami has become a sort of hole-filler for nine in 2008, subbing for Underbelly in Victoria where that series' broadcast was banned and since it seems to move around at will filling in gaps created by departing series or rubgy league telecasts, thankfully Nine seems keen to re-establish the series Wednesday timeslot. In the Melbourne market at least - it didn't do too badly on Wednesday nights, although it never took the slot, House was always the timeslot winner in Melbourne (Underbelly in other states) how times have changed in just a few short months. In fact it's entirely possible that Underbelly wasa big contributor to House's demise in this country.

Following CSI Miami is ER - we're about 1.5 years behind here, some have suggested that they should try ER back in it's old Thursday 8.30 timeslot - and while that idea certainly has merit, I think a 9.30 Wednesday slot is the best chance for viewers to get to see this show through 2009's regular season all the way till the end.

Gossip Girl, a CW series which has already aired on Fox 8 (they're commencing the second season this week I think) gets it's FTA debut this week, kind of odd that Free TV viewers have had to wait this long - that's kind of how they operate in the UK with Sky getting a lot of the hot overseas shows before the 'terrestrial broadcasters'.

Not sure how popular this will be, it is not a demographic fit for Nine (remember they were previously burned with The OC a show which they handballed to Ten) Given that this show is less well known or anticipated than The OC and the former show only reached one million viewers on two occasions Nine is justified giving it a late night slot.

More fly on the wall rubbish to start off the night, Nine has clearly noticed that Seven's sked is usually wall to wall television wallpaper - and they're either trying to emulate them as much as possible or make viewers so sick of this kind of show that Seven is weaker in the new year.

Cold Case gets a go on Thursdays - I seem to remember this lineup of Cold Case, The Closer and Close to Home used earlier in the year

Documentaries, wow NOT, to add insult to injury they're using Friday nights to burn off Monster House. I suppose they have to burn it off somewhere but on Television??

Now this is more like it, Funniest Home Videos is always popular (although it has suffered this year under a new host) and Wife Swap USA is good solid entertainment, in the best tradition of Jerry Springer they round up two couples with diametrically opposed viewpoints and let them loose on each other's lives.

McLeod's Daughters returns for it's final season at 8.30, it got shocking numbers earlier in the year when it returned (after a substantial break) and I'd say the Saturday timeslot is to ensure an unbroken run of episodes through 2009.

Unlike Ten's schedule which has the look of a long term plan, this sked is more of a burn off schedule of unsuccessful shows, a bonfire infact. There was a time when you could rely on Nine's summer line-up to introduce shows not seen in the regular season (Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Adventures of Brisco County Jr, Me and the Boys, 48 hours to name a few) there's very little of that here, apart from a few unknown factuals, most of this has been tried (and failed) in the on-season. It doesn't bode well for the year ahead...

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