In the aftermath of the writers’ strike and fewer pilots being developed this year, the major networks are launching only 13 new shows this season, which is half as many as a year ago.
Experts at the independent media buying agency TargetCast tcm believe that the fall season may lack any breakout hits.
“We are facing an unusual new season. Many shows that began last season never had the chance to fully develop before the strike. These returning programs may have to attract and build a following as if they were new shows, throwing the fall schedule into question,” says Gary Carr, Senior Vice President, Director of Broadcast Services at TargetCast.
With the procedural crime drama Eleventh Hour (Thursday at 10), CBS may have the best shot at a hit, says Carr. The other two new shows, comedies Worst Week (Monday at 9:30) and Gary Unmarried (Wednesday at 8:30), also may bring in significant numbers, and the new procedural The Mentalist (Tuesday at 9, between NCIS and Without a Trace), with Simon Baker starring as a former fake psychic who helps the police solve cases, is expected to do well too.
ABC is introducing only two new shows this fall: Life on Mars (Thursday at 10) and Opportunity Knocks (Tuesday at 8). Life on Mars could be a winner in its time slot, according to TargetCast, in spite of the decision to recast most of the leading characters early on in the production. The new Tuesday reality show, on the other hand, will be up against NCIS, House, and The Biggest Loser, so it may not do so well. Still, as Carr says, though, it is “so bizarre and outrageous that it just might catch on with viewers.”
NBC will offer many new things which, Carr says, “could send it off the deep end,” explaining that new shows Crusoe (Friday at 8 ) and Merlin (Sunday at 9) are risky because period pieces have historically not performed well on television. My Own Worst Enemy (Monday at 10), starring Christian Slater, on the other hand, will be up against such favourites as Boston Legal and CSI: Miami. The new comedies – The Office spinoff (Thursday at 9:30) and Kath & Kim (Tuesday at 9:30), starring Molly Shannon and Selma Blair – might do well, but the latter will be up against Dancing with the Stars, The Mentalist and Fringe.
Fox has a potential hit on its hands with Fringe, which will be aired after the returning favourite House. The future of the other new show, Do Not Disturb (Wednesday at 9:30) is less rosy, however, with experts predicting it a slow death.