Script looks good for 'NCIS' duo

If Jay Leno is looking to claim a night as his own, he might consider Tuesday.

Opposite two new 10 o’clock dramas — neither of which figures to dominate — the new weeknight NBC comedy/talkshow will be more competitive in the ratings race here. And it doesn’t hurt that it gets a hefty lead-in from “The Biggest Loser” or that the Peacock had been winning this hour with “Law and Order: SVU.”

Among the four new shows bowing on Tuesday this fall, CBS spinoff “NCIS: Los Angeles” — airing behind the original — is a no-brainer choice to excel. But the surprise of the night may be CW’s “Melrose Place,” a slick remake that perfectly captures the show 15 years later.

The night is shaping up to be a showdown of reality vs. drama, as ABC, NBC and Fox all air two hours of unscripted programs from 8 to 10 p.m., while CBS and CW air a compatible block of hourlongs. And then there’s the interesting battle at 10, with three new shows head to head.

Fox won the night last fall, but that was with its top drama (“House”) and hottest rookie (“Fringe”). This fall, with two hours of “So You Think You Can Dance,” the net could fall to third in 18-49 while CBS emerges the leader in most key categories.

Here’s a look at the night:

8 p.m.

One year after doing battle with “House” in the timeslot, things have opened up for underrated CBS vet “NCIS,” which is now opposite reality fare on the other major nets and should dominate in demos — impressive for a show in its seventh season.

In the battle of two-hour reality shows, NBC’s “Biggest Loser,” coming off an especially strong run last season, is primed to place second in the hour, while Fox’s “Dance” will lag in most categories but could win in adults 18-34.

ABC is a wild-card in this timeslot as it plans to go with decently performing summer reality skein “Shark Tank” before shifting gears completely in week 7 of the season for new drama “V.” While “Shark” isn’t much for rivals to fear, the remake of ’80s sci-fi miniseries “V” could attract an underserved male aud.

CW’s “90210,” airing an hour earlier than it did when it bowed last fall, should continue to connect with women 18-34 even it doesn’t perform all that well in broader categories. It also should help that “Melrose Place” might give auds another reason to seek out the net on this night.

9 p.m.

The concluding half of “Biggest Loser” should emerge the winner — although it will be a bit battered and bruised opposite tough reality competish from ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” results show (a solid but older-skewing skein) and Fox’s “Dance.”

“NCIS: Los Angeles” would seem to be a shoo-in for success, especially since it’s the only Big Four net airing scripted programming in the hour. Look for it to win in adults 25-54 and skew younger than the original; it also could tilt male since it’s opposite such femme-friendly fare.

Keep an eye on “Melrose Place,” which is considerably better cast and executed than the net’s “90210” reboot last fall. An intriguing pilot and some good cast additions in subsequent episodes, including the possible return of Heather Locklear, gives this one a shot to be the CW’s biggest scripted hit yet.

10 p.m.

“The Jay Leno Show” could be competitive in this hour, where there’s no incumbent timeslot leader and there’s something of an NBC viewing habit with “SVU.”

As with other nights, the “Leno Show’s” success could hinge on attracting a younger audience than his old “Tonight Show” while also appealing to both genders (something Leno has typically done). It will get a nice lead-in, as the weigh-ins on “The Biggest Loser” from 9:30 to 10 p.m. should prove to be the highest-rated weeknight half-hour for the net.

As for the new dramas, it seems like each might fare better on the other’s network. Give CBS credit for moving away from its wheelhouse of crime with the more character-based legal show “The Good Wife,” while ABC tries again to land its own crime skein with Jerry Bruckheimer’s “The Forgotten.”

“The Good Wife” is well-executed and features a great supporting cast, but it doesn’t figure to do all that well among the under-50 crowd. It’s also oddly matched with the male-friendly “NCIS: Los Angeles,” and perhaps keeping “The Unit” and placing it here would have made more sense.

Still, with its seemingly strong drama lead-in, “Good Wife” could win an hour that has stymied the net for years.

At ABC, “The Forgotten,” which figures to have some male appeal, will be coming out of the heavily femme “Dancing With the Stars” results show. The final pilot wasn’t available for review, but the concept is a good one (a team of citizen volunteers solving crimes involving unidentified victims), and at the least it figures to fare better than last fall’s timeslot occupant “Eli Stone.”

Bottom line

The night will be more competitive than recent years, but give CBS the edge.

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