The broadcast nets won’t have to finalize their fall skeds for another 10 weeks, but now that just about all the pilots have made it to the runway, the spitballing can begin.
Granted, nobody has seen a frame of these projects yet, and there are other factors that will influence net skedding decisions come upfront time in May. But with those caveats, here’s a rundown of the creative holes the broadcast nets may be looking to plug in the 2010-11 season.
Net’s big comedy gamble of last fall paid off handsomely, and now it should be looking to fill the 8 and 9:30 slots on Wednesday. Good candidates would appear to be “How to Be a Better American,” “It Takes a Village” and the untitled Dana Gould project.
And a Tuesday 9 p.m. hour of Matthew Perry’s new “Mr. Sunshine” and Courteney Cox’s soph “Cougar Town” would give the Alphabet a friendly chance to expand its laffer presence to a second night.
“FlashForward” could be back Thursdays at 8, but otherwise this slot should be filled with something high profile/high concept like “Cutthroat” or “Generation Y” or perhaps the more procedural “Edgar Floats.”
Greg Berlanti’s “No Ordinary Family” is also a candidate for this or another 8 o’clock slot — and just may be the right project to take over for “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” Sundays at 8.
As for 10 p.m., “Matadors” and “Off the Map” are options for Wednesday or Sunday, while a desire to revisit its “NYPD Blue” success could result in a cop show like “187 Detroit” or “True Blue” playing Tuesdays at 10.
Success of “Undercover Boss” limits the net’s number of available hours to just a few — one of them the potential lead-out for “Boss” on Sunday, which could be “Cold Case” or — gasp — even “CSI.”
Net may be thinking of bumping “CSI” and sliding “The Mentalist” down to 9 p.m. on Thursdays (note that the Eye is trying the soph skein there during the Olympics), allowing it to serve as a lead-in for something like the “Criminal Minds” spinoff.
Solid Tuesday newbie “The Good Wife” makes more sense on Friday behind “Medium,” making room for a more male, action hour like “Hawaii Five-0” or “The Odds” behind the “NCIS” combo on Tuesday.
Net’s comedy moves could range from adding a single half-hour on Mondays at 8:30 (like “Hitched” or “True Love”), to possibly moving “Two and a Half Men” elsewhere now that “Big Bang Theory” appears anchor-worthy, although a Wednesday 9 p.m. move now seems unlikely due to ABC’s “Modern Family” success.
“The New Adventures of Old Christine,” “Gary Unmarried” and “Rules of Engagement” could each claim a spot in Wednesday’s opening hour, with their chances perhaps determined by the compatability of a new show to pair with (perhaps Tad Quill’s untitled skein or the untitled laffer from “How I Met Your Mother” mavens Carter Bays and Craig Thomas).
Is “Friends With Benefits” too obvious for the old “Friends” slot Thursdays at 8? If not, it’s probably a good spot, where it would mesh nicely with “Community.”
The net may also want to start the season with the untitled Adam Carolla-Kevin Hench laffer or “Outsourced,” perhaps holding “30 Rock” or “Parks and Rec” for midseason.
If the Peacock expands in comedy beyond Thursday, a Monday 8 o’clock block of shows with young, male appeal like “The Pink House” or “The Strip” could make sense. It would serve as a good lead-in to “Chuck,” with J.J. Abrams’ spy drama “Undercovers” a possible choice to close out the night.
Look for the net to sked a 10 p.m. adult drama (the kind it couldn’t during the “Jay Leno Show” run) on Tuesday. David E. Kelley’s “Kindreds” or Jerry Bruckheimer’s “Chase” are possibilities, and the comedic drama “Rex Is Not Your Lawyer” might be a good way to cap Thursday.
Wednesday and Friday, then, would be good spots for the two “Law and Order” shows, which could be paired with the new “Prime Suspect” or “The Event.” “Rockford Files” would also fit here, perhaps returning to Fridays, where it mostly aired during its 1970s NBC run.
Look for the net to use Monday’s “House” to launch its best new drama, perhaps the high-octane “Breakout Kings” or soapy “Midland.” This would enable “Lie to Me” to shift to Friday alongside a newcomer like “Ride Along” or “Worthy.”
If Fox wants to launch a live-action comedy block, Tuesday from 8 to 9 would make sense for the likes of “Most Likely to Succeed,” “Strange Brew” or “Nevermind Nirvana.”
“So You Think You Can Dance” may return on Tuesday at 9 and/or Wednesday at 8, giving the net numerous midweek sked opportunities.
Thursday and Sunday should return mostly intact.
A limited 10-hour sked and numerous renewals already doesn’t leave a lot of open slots, but it’s good to see the net’s development venture in some different areas.
“The Wyoming Project,” from “Gilmore Girls” alum Amy Sherman-Palladino, could make for a good fit as part of a three-show wheel on Monday with “One Tree Hill” and “Life Unexpected.” This would allow the compatible “90210” and “Gossip Girl” to pair on Tuesdays.
Cheerleading drama “Hellcats” may fit nicely behind “America’s Next Top Model” on Wednesday, and something like “Nikita,” “Betwixt” or the CIA drama “Nomads” could slide in at some point on Thursday or Friday.