Friday, November 14, 2008

The Mac is Back

Ten has just released their schedule for Summer 2008/09.

The question on my mind is can this sked hit the reset button for Ten and give them a fresh start?

The short answer: It depends a whole lot on how 9 and 7 schedule during the summer. For instance, although Ten has not indicated as such we can almost assume that Will & Grace will continue through summer in the 7pm slot how it will fare depends on what Seven puts at the top of their night.

We already know Nine will schedule Temptation at 7 O'Clock, so what is Seven going to do? If they skew factual then Will & Grace has a chance, if they use summer to promote one of their sitcoms (How I Met Your Mother has been repeatedly cited in forums) then Ten is dead in the slot and that will impact the rest of their timeslots.

Anyway - for sake of argument lets assume that their 7pm hour picks up over summer - how will they go?

Thank God You're Here has been rerun ad infinitum now, although they got the genre right (given their Sundays are dominated by reality it would be pointless to schedule dramas on the night) TGYH has been losing steam in the last few weeks in it's 6.30 timeslot.

America's Next Top Model will at least be new but it is typically low rating rarely hitting one million although it's demographics would make it a good earner.

90210 gets another tryout this time in the much more sensible timeslot of 7.30pm. Why they're sticking with Mondays is a little unclear but it seems they've decided to have some flow-on with the audience with the new US cable drama Army Wives bowing at 8.30 and the axed CBS Summer drama Swingtown rounding out the night.

Ten is thankfully giving The Simpsons a rest and giving some more airtime to Rules of Engagement which follows what may be an hour of Will & Grace from 7pm. Rules of Engagement would be an eventual fit on Tuesday nights following The Simpsons during the regular season so this move makes sense.

They're also giving a boost to Burn Notice by scheduling it in the way they should have from the very beginning - In tandem with NCIS. This is important because no other show on Ten's roster would be a better fit with the Don Bellesario drama than this Spy caper which is a great show - but it needs exposure to a like-minded audience.

Don't Forget the Lyrics has worked this shift before without incident, but what is happening after 8.30 is worth noting, when Ten moves reruns of their established dramas into timeslots over Summer it's usually a preview of what's to come and by the looks of this when things get rolling again in '09 SVU will be their Wednesday tentpole. My tip is for House to get the move to either Sundays or Mondays.

Some folks may disagree with a quick turnaround for Rush but I'm positive that Ten's theory is that it's potential aud is much larger than the one watching on Tuesday nights up against All Saints and at the very least they've taken it away from direct competition with another local skein.

Not sure what they're attempting at 7.30, any show contains the word Naked and airs in family hour is bound to suck and indeed they tried this out behind Big Brother on Monday nights a while back - it did well on exactly one occassion if I recall. After 8.30 though they're playing a lot smarter - keeping CI as the Thursday anchor and attempting to rehabilitate the original Law & Order which had a horrible false start this year on Monday nights - it should do well with new episodes teamed up with it's sister show.

This is basically the same Friday we're watching now - clearly Ten thinks they can get these Ice Road truckers to fire but I just don't see it, although with the behometh Better Homes going into reruns or resting (not sure which yet) Friday night becomes up for grabs again so anything's possible.

Firstly lets start at the end with The Wedge - make no mistake this is the Australian Drama Quote burn off slot pure and simple - Nine used to use this slot every summer to show a whole stack of low budget Australian films so they would acheive their drama quota for the year.

Ten is shoring up their quota with the failed NZ drama Orange Roughies - how you can even have a 'drama' with a title like that is beyond me but by all accounts the show was not a success and now reruns on one of TVNZ's digital niche channels.

But really the story of Saturday and perhaps the whole summer is the unheralded return of MacGyver - a one hour action drama that commenced in 1986, was once Japan's most popular show and was a summer mainstay for channel seven for years until finally clicking with mainstream audiences in 1996, several years after it's cancellation.

This move is so unexpected, so left of field it is freaking genius, Can't wait to see the results!

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