Thursday, May 14, 2009

Rules of Sitcom Scheduling

Thursday 14 May 2009
Thursday night is such an even little night, nothing lunges much past 1 million yet nothing goes too low, each of the networks has points to be proud of and things to work on, but the folks at Ten have to be concerned over the ratings for Rules of Engagement.

Rules of Engagement is an inoffensive sitcom that plays like a cross between King of Queens and Mad About You. Its funny and if it weren’t for David Spade it would be really funny, if you happen to watch it you’ll probably enjoy it – but its not the kind of show you’d set your watch for.

Two and a Half Men used to be in the same boat, funny but non-committal. Given that Rules is a lock for renewal into 2010 Ten could do worse than stick with it and hope it catches fire, but right now the show is funny but non memorable and the non-impression that it leaves is going to hurt it.

Ten needs a genuine zinger to line it up with – they had it last year with the hilarious Back to You which unfortunately bit the dust in the US over cost/benefit issues and haphazard strike scheduling (here it was hurt with haphazard Big Brother scheduling!)

Unbeknownst to Ten they actually have a memorable, funny, water-cooler type show to line it up with, no not Worst Week (though I’ve heard good things the show is axed in the states) I’m talking about The Office.

Currently buried late on Sunday nights, The Office is a show that ten tried for 1 week in prime time (one ep on a Wednesday and two on the Thursday IIRC) and then baulked at the low ratings, its no surprise it rated badly – the first 6 episodes (the entire first season) were pretty unfunny, but the show got renewed in the states and the second season (which aired 11pm Sundays after The Ronnie Johns Half Hour) was a rare late night TV treasure, of course back then it was regularly scheduled, since it has been all over the map with no thought to consistency.

The show is suitable for a 7.30 audience, after finishing the current season late at night Ten should think about revisiting The Office in a visible prime-time slot, it’s the sort of show that viewers remember the next day, which makes them want to watch the next week, which means they may stick around for what else is on…

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