Wednesday, December 06, 2006

On the Lost move to 10 o'clock...

The move isn't a huge shock to me for several reasons. In no particular order:
  1. ABC has struggled to find the right companion show to air after it. An argument can be made that there is no compatible show, because "Lost" is both so intense and so complicated that the fans need to decompress and start analyzing when it's over. Unless a huge percentage of the fans stick around at 10, the lead-out is considered a failure. But a much smaller number needs to stick around to boost the affiliates' 11 o'clock newscasts into successful territory.
  2. "Criminal Minds" has been building, and while I don't think the shows' audiences overlap that much, there's always the chance that the Super Bowl exposure could push it over "Lost" in demos as well as viewers, which is bad for both ABC's image and bottom line.
  3. The "Lost" viewership decline began when "American Idol" came back at mid-season. (Season one aired at 8, so "Idol" was only briefly an issue during the audition episodes.) The people who gave up on "Lost" to watch "Idol" didn't come back in the fall. At its current numbers, "Lost" is still a success for ABC even at its current budget, but how many more viewers can they afford to lose to "Idol" this time?

Since I don't watch "CSI:NY" or "Medium," I don't mind following "Lost" to 10 (assuming I want to keep continuing after the first few February episodes). I just feel bad for "Knights of Prosperity," which was likely going to be doomed no matter what (bad title, hard concept to explain, very quirky) but now has zero shot opposite Simon, Randy and Pauler (plus Mandy and Howie Mandel).

Been a bad season for ABC comedy altogether. "Big Day" and "Help Me Help You" are tanking on Tuesdays. (And am I nuts, or did "Big Day" skip an episode? When they sent me "The World According to Garf," I just assumed the bit about the photographer being run over meant that ABC hadn't sent me consecutive episodes, but apparently not.) "Notes from the Underbelly" probably won't air until summer, if at all, and I'm hard-pressed to find a scenario that has "Knights" and "In Case of Emergency" doing any kind of business.

12 comments:

Katie V said...

I think 10:00 is a good time for Lost; we're in the central time zone, which means a lot of shows that aren't meant for children air too early. Lost was on at 8:00 here, which is way too early in my opinion. I always record shows and watch them once the kids are asleep, but not everyone follows that policy and plenty of kids are up to watch these shows. As for the competition, looks like they'll be in pretty good shape against those other shows.

Matt said...

Here's the thing--there's a certain percentage of folks who aren't going to be interested in what Idol has to offer. It's unlikely that sector will want to tune to Deal or No Deal or the sadism and horror of Criminal Minds. It's smart counter-programming to have an "upscale/smart" comedy in the slot on Wednesdays, especially without Lost in play. If Knights is as good as early buzz had it, it could actually work.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Wish I had your faith, Matt, but I think Knights would have been a tough sell even in an era when viewers weren't mentally-conditioned to fear all sitcoms on sight. Big Day is the only comedy in its timeslot, and it's pretty good, and it's absolutely dying. (Every other network was in reruns at the time last night, and it still dropped nearly 20 percent from its premiere ratings.)

Matt said...

I don't think it's a giant hit, by any means, but it's still tenable. Big Day is tough since it's super-serialized and very female skewing. And Veronica wasn't a rerun last night, I don't think (at least Gilmore wasn't).

Kristen said...

Hrm. I didn't realize it would be up against Medium, which I love. This could cause problems in our house, as Lost is more Hubby's show than mine.

Caitie said...

I wish Lost moved to 10 at the beginning of the season as I would have definitely watched it. But I haven't watched the third season at all and I know I won't be able to keep up if I come in halfway through.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Catie, ABC has all six of the fall Lost episodes up on their website, and so long as you have a decent net connection, the viewing experience is not bad.

More importantly, you've missed little in terms of plot advancement, or even clues. After the first scene in the season premiere, things grind to a halt quickly.

Anonymous said...

I have mixed feelings about this move. On the one hand, I'm glad they're moving the show out of the path of Idol and the increasingly popular Criminal Minds. On the other hand, I think the timeslot might be a little late for a show that probably has a fair amount of young viewers. At least they've finally solved the problem of what to air after it (though I never understood their attempts at airing another intense drama. Wouldn't something less demanding of the viewer like Wife Swap have at least been worth a shot in that slot?) The thing that disappoints me the most is that they're already giving up on Day Break. I didn't expect the show to be back for a second season, but if ABC can't even commit to 13 episodes when everything else is in reruns, it's a pretty sad state of affairs. Especially given how many reality shows have been allowed to finish out their runs simply because they too were only "limited" series. Maybe scheduling decisions like this are the reason so many of their serialized shows have been non-starters lately.

dez said...

And for people like me who get up too early in the morning for work, this move sucks. Muchly.

Marsha said...

To me, these things are starting to matter much less, due to the networks kindly postin ghteir shows on the net. It's been much easier for me to stay with shows in bad time slots when I have another way to watch them at a time more convenient for me. (Do you hear me, UPN???)

Alan, is The Nine dead?

Miguel Chavez said...

Let's not forget the impact of Tivo/DVR's. In the last 3 years I don't think I've ever bothered watching a show during its actual allotted time.

DonBoy said...

According to the times given on the screen, Big Day skipped from 8:37 to 9:43, so although it seems insane they may have skipped two.