NBC’s much-touted Mark Burnett/Jeffrey Katzenberg reality skein “The Contender” — beset by the suicide of a contestant and oft-delayed –will face some unexpectedly tough competition when it premieres Monday, March 7, at 9:30 p.m. That’s because CBS has decided to shake up its sweeps sked so it can air new episodes of hit skeins such as “Two and a Half Men” and “CSI: Miami” opposite “Contender.”
In order to go firstrun on March 7, Eye programmers are doing something highly unusual: airing an all-repeat lineup on Feb. 28 — the final Monday of the February sweeps. Traditionally, nets try to pack every square inch of sweeps month skeds with fresh fare in order to boost ratings for affiliates.
Schedulers over at ABC also plan to put the hurt on “The Contender.” Alphabet will air a two-hour edition of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” on March 13, the same night “Contender” is scheduled to settle into its regular 8 p.m. Sunday slot.
“Home Edition” always airs at 8 p.m. on Sundays, but the skein tends to spike in the ratings when it’s expanded to two hours.
Hurting NBC probably isn’t ABC’s main mission for the night, however. The extended “Home Edition” leads into a special one-hour preview of buzzworthy laffer “Jake in Progress,” airing in the “Desperate Housewives” timeslot.