May 06, 2005

TV: playing network programmer (UPN/WB edition)

Let's wrap up this week of second-guessing with the two smaller networks. First, the WB:

7:00 Charmed (repeats)
8:00 Charmed
9:00 Steve Harvey's Big Time Challenge
8:00 7th Heaven
9:00 Everwood
8:00 Gilmore Girls
9:00 One Tree Hill
8:00 Smallville
9:00 Jack & Bobby
8:00 Blue Collar TV
8:00 What I Like About You
8:30 Reba
9:30 Living With Fran

There's a distinct style to the WB drama -- enough cute youngsters to keep the teens happy, mixed with smart enough writing and acting to keep the adults interested. Six of their seven dramas are doing very well (by WB ratings standards), with only Jack & Bobby seemingly in trouble; that show's mix of teen soap and political flashback apparently being too big a clash in tone to keep either audience happy.

Also potentially in trouble: Living With Fran, which doesn't seem to be dazzling anyone in its tryout run.

The WB strategy of airing an earlier season's episodes of some show in the early Sunday timeslot seems to have been effective as a way of building audiences; if Jack & Bobby comes back next year, it would be a good candidate for such treatment. (I'll be surprised if it comes back, though.)

The attempt to build a comedy night on Thursday hasn't been very successful, and I'd move Blue Collar TV to join the rest of the comedy shows on Friday. I'd split up the Monday lineup and move Everwood to Thursday, in an attempt to expand the Mon-Wed drama success to a fourth night. (You could do the same thing by splitting the Tuesday dramas, but it's always preferable to keep the established show at the beginning of the night, and Everwood seems a more comfortable 8:00 show than One Tree Hill does.)

I don't expect Fran back, which means there's room for a new sitcom on Friday night, and slots for new 9:00 dramas on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

And finally, UPN:
8:00 One on One
8:30 Cuts
9:00 Girlfriends
9:30 Half and Half
8:00 All of Us
8:30 Eve
9:00 Veronica Mars
8:00 America's Next Top Model
9:00 Kevin Hill
8:00 WWE Smackdown
8:00 Star Trek: Enterprise


Enterprise is gone, and Kevin Hill and All of Us are probably goners, too.

I confess that I've never seen most of these shows -- a couple episodes each of Enterprise and Kevin Hill -- and it feels a bit silly for me to be offering opinions and advice when I'm so laughably removed from the UPN target demographic. This will, of course, not stop me for a second.

Most of what I'd do is programming conventional wisdom kinda stuff. Move Eve back to 8:00, creating a comfy home for a new sitcom between two already popular shows. Move one of the Monday sitcoms -- let's say Cuts -- to Friday at 8, plugging new sitcoms in at 8:30 on Monday and Friday. Add a couple of new dramas in the Kevin Hill and Friday-at-9 slots.

No comments: