The Groove Tube: The 2007-08 Television Season (Updated), So Far & What's Next…

ABC

Mid-Season Analysis: You’ve gotta be pretty happy if you’re ABC. Dancing With the Stars is a full-blown hit. Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters can get com-
fortable on Sunday nights. And they can boast about new shows, whether it be ratings-winner Samantha Who? or critical darling Pushing Daisies. Sure, Big Shots was a bust. But what network didn’t have at least one freshmen flop?

Bottom line: ABC is one new legitimate hit away from toppling CBS…

Strongest Night: any night Dancing With the Stars was on…

Weakest Night: Wednesday

What to Look for in ’08: For starters, eight episodes of Lost – slated to begin February 4. But that could change, of course. Recently axe’d Big Shots will be replaced by more airings of Private Practice. ABC debuts three new programs: dramas Eli Stone (w/Alias’ Victor Garber) and Cashmere Mafia (Lucy Liu), along with comedy Miss/Guided. And they also have some episodes of Notes from the Underbelly and October Road to burn off…
UPDATE: Lost will now move to Thursdays at 9, bowing January 31. ABC has also concocted a Dancing With the Stars spin-off called Dance Wars. God bless ’em…

CBS

Mid-Season Analysis: I’ve been hinting at it for a while now. And while it’s taken a little longer than I predicted, CBS’s stranglehold as the #1 overall network is in as vulnerable a position as ever. The main culprit: they haven’t had a breakout freshmen hit since 2005’s Criminal Minds. And this year’s crop of newbies is their worst yet: Viva Laughlin was quickly put out of its misery, Cane has been a disappointment, and Big Bang Theory, while renewed – is certainly nothing to shout about. They still have the most viewers. They still have the most consistent programming schedule. But sooner than later, they need another drama like CSI. Or a breakout reality hit. Or a hot new comedy. Any of the above will do. Otherwise, they will fall. Think it can’t happen? Just ask NBC…

Strongest Night: Thursday

Weakest Night: don’t really have one, but there are holes to fill on Tuesday and Sunday…

What to Look for in ’08: Lots of new Big Brother (three a week!), CSI and Two and a Half Men repeats – plus the returns of Jericho, The New Adventures of Old Christine and Drew Carey’s Power of 10. In addition, CBS does have a new season of Survivor ready to go – which should fare quite well as long as the strike continues…

CW

Mid-Season Analysis: Nothing really new to report here. Comparing the CW to the other networks is akin to discussing baseball and lumping the Yankees and Red Sox in with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays: they simply aren’t competing in any real sense. They’re non-existent on Sundays, their Monday lineup is eroding on a weekly basis (news flash: Everybody Hates Chris is not a hit), and even their best new shows (Reaper, Gossip Girl) generate only modest buzz. Yes, Top Model and Smallville remain solid. And Smackdown puts up decent Friday numbers. But the CW continues to be on the outside,
way outside – looking in…

Strongest Night: Wednesday

Weakest Night: Sunday

What to Look for in ’08: A second installment of Pussycat Dolls, the return of One Tree Hill, and new unscripted entries Crowned and Farmer Wants a Wife. Excited? Me neither…

FOX

Mid-Season Analysis: We all know that FOX is far more invested in the second-half of the season, with American Idol and 24 ready to go. Can you imagine the damage Idol will do with even less competition? Scary. As for Fall 2007, new FOX shows underwhelmed as usual: Back to You disappointed (yet still got a full-season order), K-ville is on cancellation watch, and The Next Great American Band is curiously buried on Friday nights. House remains FOX’s one steady constant ‘til the new year comes around…

Strongest Night: Tuesday

Weakest Night: Monday or Wednesday

What to Look for in ’08: The return of Idol is obviously the primary reason, but 24 plus the potential of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles has FOX poised for a strong winter. Unscripted Thursdays with Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? and Don’t Forget the Lyrics should be dependable if not spectacular…
UPDATE: FOX has some ready-to-air episodes of 24, but will keep them on hold for continuity’s sake – hoping the strike ends sooner than later…

NBC

Mid-Season Analysis: More of the same for the Peacock network. They’ve made minimal headway in the ratings department, while boasting a pretty strong programming schedule. Last season, they gave us 30 Rock and Friday Night Lights. This year, the very likable Chuck and underrated Life. Heroes is suffering through a not-very-surprising sophomore slump. Journeyman and Bionic Woman have been busts: proving they might have overvalued the superpowers theme. Even SVU is showing age. NBC deserves better, but they’re going to have to show some patience. It’s looking to be a very slow climb back to the top…

Strongest Night: Thursday

Weakest Night: Wednesday

What to Look for in ’08: Lipstick Jungle, yet another attempt to clone Sex and the City, is probably their most promising new entry. Besides that: the return of the original Law & Order plus Criminal Intent on Wednesdays (yawn), Medium on Mondays (which will improve on Journeyman) and terrible-sounding reality shows like The Baby Borrowers and American Gladiators. And just when you think they couldn’t get any more desperate for ratings, NBC is inexplicably un-firing Donald Trump and bringing back the beyond-tired Apprentice. It’s gonna be a long, cold winter…

Top Ten Shows
(September-December)

1. Dancing With the Stars(Mon), ABC
2. CSI, CBS
3. Grey’s Anatomy, ABC
4. Dancing With the Stars(Tue), ABC
5. Desperate Housewives, ABC
6. NCIS, CBS
7. House, FOX
8. CSI: Miami, CBS
9. Sunday Night Football, NBC
10. Without a Trace, CBS

Network Rankings
(September-December)

1. CBS
2. ABC
3. FOX (tie)
3. NBC (tie)
5. CW

Overall: While CBS and ABC duked it out from September through December for #1, FOX will certainly challenge for the top spot in 2008. NBC, meanwhile, will be a consistent #4 from here on out…

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