We've seen the major networks' individual schedules for 2012-2013, but they're not just striving to achieve personal bests; they're looking to drink the blood of their rivals. Everything starts with scheduling, so let's take a look at the new TV schedule on a day-by-day basis to find out who has the advantage heading into the first half of the 2012-2013
From a ratings perspective, Sundays belong to NBC. Sorry, writers of television—giant concussed men running around on grass are what America wants to watch! The two newcomers to the evening are Revenge and The Mentalist, but neither of those shows will take a hit. While the audiences for Revenge and The Good Wife might overlap a bit, I don't see them fighting for viewers; if Revenge does lag, it will be the typical sophomore slump. What will be interesting is to see how ABC's Sundays perform overall in the post-Desperate Housewives era, seeing as the network has replaced the show with a couple second-year series and a rookie. Long-running shows have built-in audiences, and it's a lot harder to launch new shows now than it was even five years ago. Fox, for its part, should stay unaffected with its ageless cartoons. If you don't count cable shows, there's not a whole lot anyone should worry about on Sundays. Carry on!
Degree of carnage: Minor pushing and shoving.
Hey Mondays of fall 2012! Why do you look so much like Mondays of spring 2012? Think you were fine just the way you were? That's just lazy. The Voice and Dancing With the Stars will continue the age-old battle of dancing vs. singing, while CBS holds steady with comedy. Fox is wisely using the opportunity to sneak in some drama, but being The Mob Doctor up against 2 Broke Girls, The Voice, and Dancing With the Stars is going to result in a rough go for the newbie. Revolution should be as fine on Mondays at 10pm as it would be on anywhere else; it's a genre show, so it faces its own set of ratings challenges. With all the different offerings, the only real beef here is between The Voice and Dancing With the Stars, with everyone else staying in their own corners.
Degree of carnage: Unsexy pillow fight.
When did you get so funny, Tuesday? Did you finally redeem that gift certificate for improv classes I got you last Christmas? Tuesdays in 2012 will yield stories of the Great Comedy Massacre that you will tell your grandchildren's grandchildren. Everyone knew that Fox's comedy block was coming, but NBC and ABC rudely joined the party without being invited (ABC anchored its Tuesday comedies with a multi-camera comedy last season), and your DVR won't even be able to handle 9pm. Happy Endings vs. New Girl vs. Go On, followed by Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 vs. The Mindy Project vs. The New Normal? Who's the moron who scheduled Happy Endings against the very like-minded New Girl? That's just stupid-town banana trousers. ABC, you just signed Happy Endings' death warrant. And you have to feel bad for Emily Owens, M.D., a lighthearted awkward-lady-doctor dramedy geared toward older audiences (well, older than The CW's normal viewership) that has to go up against three other networks fishing for the same viewers. Plus, people who are looking for an awkward-lady-doctor comedy will likely tune into the higher-profile The Mindy Project. Basically, there are too many networks fighting for the same audience. Cannibalism at its finest. Elsewhere, DWTS and The Voice continue their slap-fight, and CBS's NCIS block should continue to dominate the evening. At 10pm, I'm expecting big things from Vegas, while Private Practice and Parenthood will continue to slide.
Degree of carnage: Hair-pulling, eye-gouging, hidden razor blades. This won't be pretty.
It's Fox's The X Factor that is LITERALLY an X factor here. Britney Spears and Demi Lovato joining the judges' panel will be the new circus in town, but it's quite clear that The X Factor won't be the next American Idol because everybody's getting tired of this sort of garbage. ABC and CBS will remain steady, but ABC is still searching for a good 9:30pm complement to Modern Family and based on the trailer alone, I don't The Neighbors is it. That could hurt Nashville a bit, but there's a lot of strong buzz behind the country-music drama and it should easily outperform NBC's Chicago Fire to become the new talked-about Wednesday show now that Revenge is moving Sundays. The CW is trying something other than America's Next Top Model (which is now on Fridays) on Wednesdays, and there's a potential block the network can be proud of in Arrow and Supernatural if Arrow lives up to early anticipation. Worst case scenario, Arrow flops and Supernatural continues to decline along with its creative direction. And then there's NBC, which continues to stand for Nothing But Comedies with a random 8pm comedy hour. However, Animal Practice and Guys With Kids couldn't be more mismatched, and both will suffer as a result. That's too bad, because TV needs more monkeys dressed in doctor costumes riding around on remote-controlled toy ambulances.
Degree of carnage: There'll be lots of posturing and gesturing and tough-talking, but this is actually everyone playing it safe.
Now we're talking! Veterans versus rookies versus upstarts! This is CBS's non-NCIS monster night with The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men back together again and leading into a pair of potential next-gen CBS hits in Person of Interest and new drama Elementary. But Fox's decision to move Glee to Thursdays creates the most dangerous war zone of the week with Person of Interest, Grey's Anatomy and NBC's once-mighty comedy block all going head-to-head. And with The Office possibly finishing up after this next season, even it can be a player. ABC's Last Resort actually fits in nicely at 8pm even though it's a 10pm series. There's like two nights' worth of TV on Thursdays. Hunker down and get ready. But what's the deal with NBC continuing Rock Center with Brian Williams? Are you that short on money, NBC?
Degree of carnage: Cannibalistic royal rumble.
Networks continue to pimp Fridays as legitimate TV nights, but really, they're like the Island of Broken Toys. Fridays are where networks exile their leftovers—the shows they'd get crucified for canceling but that don't pull in the ratings to justify airing mid-week. Even though there are some great shows on Fridays (Fringe, Community), nothing's going to do particularly well here.
Degree of carnage: Fridays are what the battlefield looks like after the battle is over, full of whimpering and moaning and mercy-killing.
Which night of TV looks like the biggest fight to you? Which shows do you think got the lousiest time slots?
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