HOLLYWOOD — Can CBS find a drama hit devoid of cops and corpses? Might NBC dare to program Saturday again? Can anybody find a comedy hit?
The broadcast webs will begin to supply answers to these questions and others next week when they release their skeds for next fall. Here’s a look at each net’s needs as well as a few suggestions:
Bubble may pop: “My Wife and Kids,” “George Lopez,” “8 Simple Rules,” “Extreme Makeover,” “The Bachelor” and “Primetime Live” are all goner candidates for a net on the upswing.
Biggest needs: Tuesday and Thursday.
Tuesday’s comedy block is in need of refreshening as ABC looks to find skedmates for slipping anchor “According to Jim.” Improv-esque “Sons & Daughters” could make some noise here, and the net may opt for more femme fare with something like “Hot Properties” or “Love Life.”
The 10 o’clock hour may be a good spot for supernatural drama “Invasion,” but don’t rule out a reality show here.
Thursday at 8 seems the best spot for “Boston Legal,” an upscale, older-skewing drama that would be good counterprogramming to “Survivor” and “The OC” — and wouldn’t need to do a big number to survive. The show would also provide a good lead-in for something like “Soccer Moms” or “What About Brian?” to take on “CSI.”
And here’s a vote to keep the underappreciated “Eyes,” which could work in Monday’s pre-football hour.
Bubble may pop: “Judging Amy,” “Joan of Arcadia,” “60 Minutes Wednesday.”
Biggest needs: Monday and Friday.
The Eye doesn’t have to change much, but its primary focus should be surrounding “Two and a Half Men” with the right combo of fresh comedies.
A new drama is expected to replace “Judging Amy” on Tuesday as the net seeks to take advantage of hot 9 o’clock entry “Amazing Race,” and CBS must be considering dumping “60 Minutes Wednesday” for either a light drama or laffers.
With “Numbers” looking good Fridays at 10, net may opt to keep modest-performing “Joan of Arcadia” at 8 — especially if it feels it has something that will work at 9.
Bubble may pop: Laffers “Committed” and “The Office.”
Biggest needs: Thursday and Sunday.
It still has some solid pieces, but in-a-funk NBC may try to shake things up, whether with comedies on Saturdays, the shift of “Apprentice” to a new night or maybe something even more radical.
On Thursday, net should revamp “Joey” (he returns to New York, for starters), shift “Will & Grace” back to 9 and plug in its best new laffers on the half-hours. “Earl,” about a dim lottery winner, sounds suited for the night, as do “Blue Skies” and “Four Kings.”
NBC should also toy with a Saturday comedy block, including the retirement home-set “Early Bird” (remember “Golden Girls” on the night?).
Might not return: “Arrested Development.”
Biggest needs: Friday and Sunday.
Net’s Sunday animation strategy (including the new “American Dad” and the revival of “Family Guy”) is off to a great start, but that success could mean the end of “Arrested Development.” How about letting “AD” kick off Wednesday, a lineup that could also include the promising new “Stacked”?
That leaves Friday, where a high-concept hour like prison drama “The Break” could quietly build a buzz.