NBC hasn’t gotten the production it was hoping for out of most of its new programs, but sked moves could gives these shows one last good shot.
While “Heroes” has been the most impressive newbie on any net this fall, “Studio 60,” “Friday Night Lights” and “30 Rock” have struggled and “Kidnapped” was canceled. Critics gave the skeins good reviews, but auds have been lukewarm toward them.
As the net plans for winter, though, it must make some key decisions in determining what role, if any, these rookies will play.
First move is the shift of “30 Rock,” which bombed kicking off Wednesday, to Thursday at 9:30. Its lead-in, the criminally underutilized “Scrubs,” is a natural fit behind “The Office” and is a good option opposite “Grey’s Anatomy” and “CSI.”
And while the chances for “30 Rock” remain slim — it has the narrow feel of a cable comedy — it now has a fighting chance. Keeping the comedy brand intact on Thursday will also give NBC a good slot to try out another new laffer.
“Studio 60” and “Friday Night Lights” aren’t Nielsen disasters, and there’s certainly the risk that changing slots could make things worse.
“Friday” did only slightly better than “Studio” in a one-week tryout in the Monday-at-10 slot last month, but this is its best shot to succeed. And with a median age of 10 years younger than “Studio 60,” “Friday” is a much better fit demo-wise with “Heroes.”
As for “Studio 60,” one option is Wednesday at 9 (the old “West Wing” slot), where it would be an alternative to “Lost” and “Criminal Minds.” A big problem here is that “American Idol” will be airing plenty of hourlong segs on Wednesdays, so that makes this timeslot as tough as any.
These aren’t easy choices to make, and the safer call would be to let the shows continue in their current slots for now.
Elsewhere, ABC’s sked is the one most in flux during November, as the sweep will see the premieres of three shows (quizzer “Show Me the Money,” drama “Day Break” and comedy “Big Day”).
Later, new drama “October Road” might be a good choice for Mondays at 8 (pushing back “Wife Swap” and “Bachelor” by an hour). Another new hour, the great-looking “Traveler,” seems well-suited for a spring run behind “Lost.”
On the comedy side, “According to Jim” and “George Lopez” could get the suicide mission of taking on “American Idol” Tuesdays at 8. Net could pair the promising “Knights of Prosperity” with “Help Me Help You” or “In Case of Emergency” from 9 to 10.
And don’t count out comedy on Friday now that “Men in Trees” — in a good move — has shifted to Thursday behind “Grey’s Anatomy.”
Fox is counting down the days to when “24” and “American Idol” can take over from weak place-fillers “Justice” and “Standoff,” respectively.
Thursday is problematic, with comedies making no sense at 8 opposite stronger laffers on ABC and NBC. Net should try a reality show at 8 and than maybe comedies at 9.
Only real trouble spot for CBS would seem to be Tuesdays at 10, where “3 Lbs.” bows this week. “48 Hours” or crime-drama repeats could be asked to fill out the slot in ’07.
Laffer “Rules of Engage-ment” likely will replace “The Class” on Mondays.
And here’s a vote for soph laffer “How I Met Your Mother” to air following the Super Bowl on Feb. 4. Net could also go with one of its young, dark dramas (“Jericho,” “Criminal Minds”), but Super Bowl Sunday is a day of celebration, and these shows would seem out of place here.
A bonus of airing a Monday show after the Super Bowl is that the net should be able to immediately reap rewards by inviting viewers to come back the very next night.