Saturday, November 18, 2006

WINNERS AND LOSERS OF THE FALL TV SEASON

Well, the fall season has now established some definitive winners and losers among the various series and Aaron Barnhart at TV Barn has a rundown of them. All the usual ones are there in the winners category: Heroes, Ugly Betty, Jericho, Shark, Brothers and Sisters, the usual ones. He calls Men in Trees a winner but I look at that show as more of a "survivor" right now than a real winner. He also mentioned the Tina Fey comedy 30 Rock as a "winner" and I'm surprised to hear that, because from what I hear that show is tanking with the public big-time.

He also notes that if you are a fan of a series that is one of the "losers" that you are likely to tune into a show like Six Degrees and find it pulled at the last minute, to be replaced by Desperate Housewives or some other rerun show. This has got to be one of the pet peeves of the viewing audience: they tune in to a time slot, only to find their favorite new show pulled from the sked. Then they blame these idiot programming executives for yanking their favorite show and not giving it a chance. This has happened to viewers of Smith, Kidnapped, Runaway, The Rich List, and other such shows. And instead you find in its time period some repeat of some hit show that network is pushing, like House or Criminal Minds. Such is life.

There is also a grey area of shows in the middle that aren't "winners" but are not yet "losers" (ie. Studio 60, Friday Night Lights). Standoff is a really good example. Barnhart mentioned there was a recent order for new Standoff episodes and frankly I'm surprised it's still on the air. It seems like every show on FOX has bombed or is sinking fast. Happy Hour was a big flop, Justice got pulled from the schedule twice and got moved to new nights twice (it will now finish its 13-episode run in disgrace on Fridays), and Vanished has just been pulled. 'Til Death got a full season order, but I think the only reason it got an order was because FOX needed to fill air time and was running out of flop shows to put on. So that show got spared the knife.

Things are so bad that even the midseason replacements are starting to tank: FOX put on the air The Rich List, which lasted one glorious episode before getting the boot. Now, in a final desperate attempt at ratings FOX is going to air O.J. Simpson's "confession", If I Did It. They can't do any worse now, can they?!

Now the midseason replacements are starting to go on the air on all the networks. NBC already launched 1 vs. 100, a new game show, while ABC launched a William Shatner-hosted game show effort, Show Me the Money, which looks to me like a total ripoff of Deal or No Deal. What a waste of time that show is. Another show called 3 lbs is on the air and it looks like a ripoff of House. Is this the best the networks can do, serve up ripoffs? No wonder people tune in to cable these days, or watch movies on HBO or on AMC or Turner Classic Movies. If this is the best that TV can do, serve up the same old junk, well, why should we watch?!

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