You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Nets determined to make the ten slot win

Fall TV Preview 2012

Can NBC’s new fall drama “Revolution” — about a post-apocalyptic world devoid of electric power — turn the lights on for a network struggling to find a hit at 10 p.m.?

The series opened well in its premiere Monday but its long-range durability is still unknown.

The 10 p.m. question that applies across the broadcast network spectrum. What was once a reliable time period — home to Emmy-winning dramas that were also top-10 staples, like “ER,” “Law & Order” and “NYPD Blue” — has become something of a programming wasteland of late for ABC, NBC and CBS.

Between the dominance of reality and comedy in the 8 and 9 p.m. hours, declining ratings overall and the aggressive push basic cable has made in recent years slotting in watercooler dramas and reality crowd-pleasers at 10 p.m., conventional wisdom has been that securing a broadcast hit at that time is harder than ever. (And when something popular does arise, like ABC’s “Revenge,” it often gets moved, as it will this fall to the better-performing 9 p.m. hour.)

“You have so much competition, and you still have really high budgets on scripted programming,” says Deana Myers, a senior analyst at SNL Kagan. “The license fees on those are still really high. So it’s tough, and it’s been tough for a long time.”

Still, people are taking notice of some strong potential in the nets’ fall lineups, starting with the fact that, hey, they still believe in 10 p.m. to begin with as a place for adult drama.

“The good news is that they’re still programming in the time period, that they haven’t turned it over to the affiliates,” says Horizon Media senior research veep Brad Adgate. “Some of the new shows that critics have been very high on this year are 10 o’clock shows. It looks like they’re making a concerted effort to reinvigorate the time period.”

Examples include the aforementioned “Revolution” on NBC, from high-concept impresario J.J. Abrams, and ABC’s Connie Britton starrer “Nashville,” a seriocomic soap set in the world of country music.

CBS, meanwhile, continues to show its belief in the power of crime dramas at 10 p.m. — previously seen in Sunday’s “The Mentalist,” currently the time period’s most-watched show on any broadcast network, and returning shows “Blue Bloods” (Friday) and “Hawaii Five-O” (Monday) — by scheduling “Elementary,” a contemporary reworking of Sherlock Holmes that takes place in New York, on Thursday and the ’60s-set “Vegas,” a mixture of western, mob saga and procedural centered on the historic expansion of Sin City, on Tuesday.

With DVR playback of recorded shows from earlier in the evening often cited as one of the primary reasons the 10 p.m. hour isn’t potent real estate for the networks anymore, the fact that “Revolution” and “Nashville” have serialized storylines indicates an acceptance of delayed viewing by the big three.

“I think the networks are banking on DVR playback as an integral part of what viewers are going to do if they like these shows,” says Adgate, who cites NBC’s renewal of 10 p.m. musical drama “Smash” for midseason as a sign that instant ratings analysis isn’t what it used to be. “That show had a very high incidence of DVR playback.”

More TV

  • Win Rosenfeld, Jordan Peele and Simon

    'Star Trek: Discovery,' 'Twilight Zone' Bring Energy, Emotion to PaleyFest

    Both the CBS All Access shows “Star Trek: Discovery” and the upcoming “Twilight Zone” reboot held PaleyFest panels on Sunday, with both sets of cast and creators bringing energy, humor, and emotion to the stage. Both panels were moderated by Variety‘s executive editor of TV, Daniel Holloway. First up was “Discovery,” where series star Doug [...]

  • Marvel's Runaways Review

    'Marvel's Runaways' Renewed for Third Season at Hulu

    Hulu has renewed “Marvel’s Runaways” for a third season. Set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Runaways” stars Rhenzy Feliz, Lyrica Okano, Virginia Gardner, Ariela Barer, Gregg Sulkin, and Allegra Acosta as the Runaways, six teenagers from different backgrounds who unite against their parents, the Pride, portrayed by Angel Parker, Ryan Sands, Annie Wersching, Kip Pardue, Ever Carradine, James Marsters, Brigid Brannagh, Kevin Weisman, Brittany Ishibashi, and James Yaegashi. The new order is [...]

  • Robert Mueller Report

    TV News Scrambles Schedules in Wake of Mueller Report

    The “Mueller Report” has prompted a bevy of new reports from the nation’s big TV-news outlets. CBS News plotted a Monday primetime special to cover the disclosure of a summary of the report prepared by Special Counsel Robert Mueller that had examined Russian influence on the 2016 U.S. presidential election and probed whether President Donald [...]

  • Noah CentineoNickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards, Show,

    Kids’ Choice Awards 2019: JoJo Siwa, Noah Centineo Take on Bullying

    This year’s Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards was full of positivity and encouragement to be yourself. DJ Khaled, known for his upbeat mantras, hosted the 32nd annual awards ceremony alongside JoJo Siwa at USC’s Galen center. Siwa accepted the award for favorite social music star. Siwa said in her acceptance speech, “I get hated on every [...]

  • Bette Midler, Judith Light Join Netflix's

    Bette Midler and Judith Light Join Ryan Murphy's 'The Politician' on Netflix

    Bette Midler and Judith Light will guest star on “The Politician,” the first series Ryan Murphy will launch on Netflix after he inked a deal with the streamer last year. Murphy made the announcement at the end of Saturday’s PaleyFest panel for his FX series “Pose,” and noted that Midler and Light will both appear [...]

  • Mj Rodriguez, Billy Porter, Indya MooreFX's

    Patti LuPone Joins FX's 'Pose' as Season 2 Jumps to 1990

    “Pose” co-creator Ryan Murphy revealed that Broadway legend Patti LuPone will guest star on the upcoming second season of the FX drama, and that the series will jump ahead to 1990. Murphy made the announcement while moderating the “Pose” panel at PaleyFest on Saturday, telling lead actress MJ Rodriguez that she will share many scenes [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content