Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Nevermind Broadcasting Company

So, as alluded to in the last post, NBC has completely ripped apart the fall schedule they announced last week and replaced it with this one.

Have to get back to the column, but discuss away and I'll try to answer questions based on Reilly's press conference call as the afternoon moves along.


Hype said...

Alan, I love reading your blog, as it's got all the good stuff on all my favourite shows! Thanks!

Btw, your link has one "http//" too many at the beginning.

Devin McCullen said...

WHAT? They moved Law & Order to FRIDAY? I seriously half-expect another press conference next week once Dick Wolf gets going on this.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I believe the Kevin Reilly quote about how the conversation with Dick went was, "Let's just say I didn't need my coffee yesterday morning."

Look, I understand certain parts of this. They needed to move "Studio 60" the hell away from "CSI" and "Grey's," no question, and I suppose it'll do as well against "CSI: Miami" and "What About Brian" as it was going to do against "CSI" and whatever new drama NBC was hoping ABC would schedule Thursdays at 9.

But using that as an excuse to rip up the entire schedule is insane. Using "Heroes" as the "Studio 60" lead-in is insane. (As one reporter suggested on the conference call, NBC should have moved one of their new dramas to midseason and used "Medium" or "Crossing Jordan" to give "Studio 60" an established lead-in.) Moving "Deal or No Deal" into that Thursday death slot is insane. Either it tanks and then you've just accelerated the show's inevitable death throes, or it does well and the thing it's leading into is 14-year-old "ER."

The conference call was one of the most disastrous things I've ever listened to. I like Kevin, I think he's developed some good shows (he championed "The Office" when nobody would), but whether these decisions are of his own making or someone higher up the ladder is pulling the strings, I can't imagine him surviving this season.

Matt said...

Actually, I think the Deal or No Deal move to Thursdays is kind of brilliant. Whatever NBC puts there is going to get slaughtered, so why not go with extraordinarily low-cost, loyal audience programming like Deal or No Deal?

Also, I think there's a general sense, even among "CSI" fans, that "Miami" is the worst of the bunch. I think it gets a lot of audience just by virtue of the fact that there's often been nothing else worth watching there.

Finally, NBC seems completely and totally sold and confident on "Heroes." Don't ask me why--great premise, but lousy creator. Personally, I was more interested in the Barbara Hall/Lena Headey CBS superhero show that didn't get picked up.

Eric said...

This also puts Studio 60 up against Monday Night Football. And I want my Kornheiser.

Maybe they should have held Studio 60 for a mid-season replacement. Give Aaron more time to get the episodes done.

And I wonder if anyone has run the numbers on planning for a show to be a midseason replacement, and then actually extending the production schedule, maybe give each episode 8-9 days to shoot instead of a week. I'd think the extra time would nearly be offset by the lack of overtime you'd need to pay.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Matt, as counter-programming, "Deal or No Deal" isn't a bad choice. But it's also their only really big hit of the season (Earl and Office were successful on a smaller scale), and given the format, it's going to burn itself out fast. Putting it on Thursdays is going to burn it out even faster, and right now the most useful thing it can do for NBC is to provide a strong lead-in to a new show.

Hell, flop the Monday "Deal" with Heroes and you're at least giving Studio 60 something to work with. I haven't seen Heroes yet (I have the CW, CBS and Fox pilots in hand, but have only watched a couple so far), and for all I know the execution could be awesome in spite of Tim Kring's resume, but new show leading into new show is almost always a recipe for disaster. Reilly's rationale for the L&O double-feature on Tuesdays is because he didn't want to do back-to-back new dramas on both Monday and Tuesday.

David J. Loehr said...

I was going to say pretty much what you just said (which is why I checked the comments). Insanity from an otherwise smart man.

Simplest thing? "Studio 60" (which really doesn't need the long title anyway) to Monday at 9, and some reality cannon fodder like the Apprentice to Thurs at 9. ("Studio 60" would probably do well against "24" later. "Heroes" probably wouldn't.) Simple, elegant, it saves "Heroes" to launch in midseason, which is not a bad idea anyway. Better yet, it doesn't look like deranged monkeys took a chainsaw to the schedule.

As for Thurs, a reality show is a good alternative in the Thurs spot, but not a show like "Deal," which my 4 year old son loves. (He loves shouting numbers, and he's got just as good a shot as anyone at playing.) Mon and Fri at 8 was ideal, if really had to be on twice a week. Seems to me "Millionaire" really tanked not only because of overuse but because you couldn't remember what time it was on each night (until it seemed like it was always on...except for "According to Jim").

If I recall correctly--that two-week memory isn't what it used to be--wasn't the original lineup designed without interference from above at Reilly's request? Guess we're not going to hear stories about that anymore...

Mac said...

"Criminal Intent" opposite "House" doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me either. The two shows are (cop/doctor aside) pretty similar in my view, and "House" is the big hit.

Alex R. said...

Right now, NBC is in a no-win situation and they are the Titanic at this point.

What's ironic to me is that shows you couldn't PAY me to watch, "medium" and "Deasl or No Deal" are there established yeah, that's a good point by Alan should have one of them leading into "Studio 60".

Of course, I very much want to watch "Studio 60" and kind of want to check out "Heroes" so I selfishly want domething I can't stand (like "Medium" or "Deal")at 9 so I can watch Fox's fantastic-looking new, "Vanished" (after the fantastic "Prison Break") and then switch my channel over to NBC for "Studio 60" which on cast alone looks good.

But then again, these are just the selfish ramblings of someone who hates bad realit/game shows and trifly, badly written crud like "Medium".

Alex R. said...


As I told you earlier, you needn't worry about "Criminal Intent"--NBC will never cancel a Dick Wolf show so even if its last, it will survive, though it could move.

My only concern Tuesdays at 9 pm is the health and survival of "Veronica Mars".

zozanee said...

Alex R,

NBC has cancelled one new Dick Wolf series in each of the last two seasons: "Law & Order: Trial by Jury" last year, and "Conviction" this year.

Anonymous said...

Some of these moves make sense, but others don't. I think what shocked a lot of people was the sheer size of the moves. There was something changed on almost every night, and many of the changes were significant. I feel as if they could have left a lot of the schedule the same even after moving "Studio 60." It'd be sort of tough with one night taken off the schedule for half the season, but I still don't think it would have been necessary to alter it so drastically.

It's kind of weird, too, since NBC seems to have a lot of shows that could turn out pretty decent. It'd be unfairly ironic if they all bombed because of the idea of devoting too much to one show.