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TV's Most Dangerous Timeslots

Despite the growing usage of DVRs and online streaming, timeslots still matter. To be fair, the success of certain hour-long periods of the TV schedule is mostly determined by the shows within them, but over time, some timeslots seem to take on a life of their own. For example, NBC’s Thursday-night comedy block held a lot of cultural capital for 20-odd years. No matter the shows, audiences knew to expect a certain level of comedy—and a certain type of comedy, at that.

But a timeslot’s existence can go the other way, too: Consider NBC’s Thursday-night comedy block in 2013. For any number of reasons, a network can simply fail over and over again to make shows work in a particular time period, regardless of whether they change the type of show they put in the trouble-spot, try to shift the programs that bookend it, or simply pray that the competition doesn't air new episodes of NCIS or American Idol. In recent history in particular, it feels like more and more timeslots have grown "poisonous," impossible for networks to figure out. Below, I've listed the four biggest danger zones. Let's see if we can't figure out why they're so treacherous, why don't we? 

Before we begin, a few caveats: Fridays and Saturdays don’t count. I get it, “Friday night death slot” and all that, but it’s widely accepted that TV networks don’t program those two days in the same way they do the others. Also: We’re talking primetime here. If you’re upset about the scheduling for Paula Deen’s newest iteration of Cooking With Butter on the Food Network, I feel your pain, but I won't be addressing it here.


ABC, Thursdays at 8pm 


Recent victims: Zero Hour, Last Resort, Missing, Charlie’s Angels, My Generation, The Deep End, FlashForward

Recent successes: Wipeout, sort of 

The Competition: The Big Bang Theory, The X Factor, and American Idol; previously Survivor

The Verdict: ABC has completely failed to land a show that successfully leads into Grey’s since Ugly Betty vacated the timeslot after the 2008-2009 TV season. In the four seasons since Betty moved, ABC has placed seven brand-new shows in its 8pm sinkhole, and not a single one of them lived to see a second season. What's more, FlashForward is the only one that earned a full-season order; My Generation, Charlie’s Angels, and Zero Hour were all dead within a few airings. After My Generation flamed out in 2010, the network just shoved reruns and Wipeout in there and that was really the only time the hour wasn’t a total disaster.

The question here is where to place the blame—with the timeslot and the competition, or with the quality of the shows themselves? While the best answer is probably always “a bit of both,” it’s the most true here. To be fair to ABC, lots of people thought FlashForward was going to be a hit, and for a while, it was. But then the show went off the rails and ABC made matters worse by keeping it off the air for too long (so, yeah, NBC definitely made the right choice doing the same with Revolution). The Last Resort pilot was tremendous and despite some expected bumps, the series was one of the better new offerings of the 2012-2013 season.

But every other show the network has put there? Bad. Some of them, like Charlie’s Angels and Zero Hour, have been laughably so (I can barely begin to explain to you what My Generation was). Once CBS and Fox wised up and decided it was good business to put their most profitable shows on Thursday nights, ABC was certainly fighting an uphill battle. Yet, in recent years, it's started to feel like the network just uses the time period as a dumping ground for its dumber projects, putting them there because executives know they’ll fail and everyone can just move on. ABC should have moved Castle to Thursdays at 8pm this past fall and if they don’t do so next year, it’s almost guaranteed to result in another season’s worth of pain.


NBC, Thursdays at 10pm

Recent victims: Do No Harm, Awake, Prime Suspect, The Firm, The Marriage Ref, The Jay Leno Show, Southland, Outsourced 

Recent successes: 30 Rock, The Apprentice, Rock Center with Brian Williams, all of them only sort of 

The Competition: Elementary, Scandal, whatever's on your DVR; previously: The Mentalist and Private Practice 

The Verdict: While ABC’s disaster at 8pm on Thursday has resulted in most out-and-out failures in recent years, NBC’s struggles two hours later on the same might probably hurt a little more, especially for folks who remember the glory days when NBC’s 10pm slot on Thursdays used to be the most valuable and prestigious in all of television. Hits like ER and Hill Street Blues will do that. But since ER concluded in the spring of 2009, NBC has systematically ruined the hour’s value with weird scheduling decisions and bad product.

Southland did fine enough in April and May of 2009, but then-network president Jeff Zucker decided he didn’t want to pay for expensive scripted shows on Thursdays (or any days) at 10pm, resulting in everyone’s favorite experiment to ridicule, The Jay Leno Show. Though Zucker’s head might have actually been in the right place considering NBC’s current state of affairs, the failures of Leno’s 10pm effort severely damaged the timeslot and NBC went ahead and killed it by airing episodes of The Marriage Ref and The Apprentice there in the spring and fall of 2010.

The network then tried the three-hour comedy block that didn’t really work—though hey, it effectively killed Outsourced—before running right back to scripted drama. But the damage was done. For two straight seasons, NBC has trotted out high-profile dramas in the slot, only to watch them falter, resulting in all-time lows in both ratings (Do No Harm) and quality (The Firm). Solid shows like Prime Suspect and Awake had no chance. We’ll see how Hannibal does when it debuts in about a month. I’m guessing not well.

Well, at least there’s always Rock Center.


The CW, Tuesdays at 9pm


Recent victims: Cult, Emily Owens, M.D., Ringer, Hellcats, Privileged, Life Unexpected, Melrose Place 

Recent successes: The L.A. Complex, 90210

The Competition: NCIS: LA, New Girl, The Mindy Project; previously The Voice, Dancing With the Stars, Lost 

The Verdict: To be fair, I could have picked just about every timeslot on The CW for this story. Although many of the network's shows survive for multiple seasons, they rarely stay in the same place on the schedule. The now-thankfully-canceled 90210 has been jerked around the early part of the week throughout its entire run. But Tuesdays at 9pm seem particularly troubling for The CW, mostly because even in a season when the network has stabilized Wednesdays and done well on Thursdays, the timeslot is still a disaster.

I’m a CW apologist, but its troubles on Tuesdays feel more like a result of stiff competition more than anything else. After the manic schedule-tinkering that impacted Privileged stopped, the network had to deal with heavy-hitters like NCIS: LA, Dancing With the Stars, and The Voice, and this past fall it had to compete with three different comedy blocks hoping to draw a fairly young audience. When you’re a small, limited network to begin with, these competitive nights are going to be difficult to survive without a really, really good show (like The CW has on Thursdays at 8pm with The Vampire Diaries).

However, I won’t front: Some of these shows have been pretty bad. Ringer was one of the worst shows of both 2011 and 2012 and despite my disgusting interest, Cult isn’t any better. Hellcats, Emily Owens, and Melrose Place weren’t as awful, but they weren’t any good either. Life Unexpected was moved to Tuesdays to die in 2010 and the best thing the network has had in this timesplot in years; The L.A. Complex somehow managed to air all its episodes despite having embarrassing ratings. Talk about faint praise.


Fox, Mondays (8pm AND 9pm) 

Recent victims: The Mob Doctor, Terra Nova, Alcatraz, The Chicago Code, Lone Star, Lie to Me 

Recent successes: House, The Following, Bones, 24 

The Competition: Dancing With the Stars, The Bachelor, How I Met Your Mother, 2 Broke Girls, The Voice; previously The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men 

The Verdict: This one is a little more complicated because Fox has been all over the place in the last few years, moving shows around and avoiding a lot of consistency. The network did very well in the springs that House and 24 aired together until 2010, but things were a little dicey in the falls of 2008 and 2009 (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Prison Break sunk in 2008; Lie to Me did okay in 2009), and since September of 2010, Fox has regularly finished third or fourth on Mondays.

In three seasons, Fox Mondays have brought us Lone Star, The Chicago Code, Terra Nova, Alcatraz, and The Mob Doctor, five shows that never made it to a second season (though The Chicago Code definitely could have, given its ratings at the time). Fox spent a large sum of money to promote each of those five shows and probably spent even more just to get the problematic Terra Nova onto the air. None of them were cheap to produce.

Of course, amid all this failure, Fox had House and now has The Following to make the numbers better, and Bones has been something of a savior for the network with its solid, steady performance over the past few years. In this instance, the high-profile failures hurt, but they don’t hurt as much because they're tempered by a few successes. Still though, with Bones likely on the way out after next season and The Following only scheduled for winter-to-spring runs, Fox is definitely going to avoid any more substantial risks like these ones in the future.

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Supsernatural survived the CW death slot this past season, and now they're moving it to Wednesdays and giving iZombie a shot at the slot. Although Supernatural has been moved to all kinds of death slots to test its resilience in the past.....remember Mondays......
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Funny that NOW Tuesday at 9pm has the highest ratings for the CW. Supernatural is in it's 9th season, MANY shows can't say that. What is The Originals again?
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I think that you forgot CBS on Sundays at 10. Look at Cold Case, Without a Trace, The Unit, CSI: Miami, and NYC-22. All of them got cancelled and all were at this same time slot.
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I miss Awake, oh so very much.
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DD: FlashForward, Lie To Me, Lone Star, and Emily Owens MD were great shows. God how i miss them!
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Cory - I love how your articles keep combining my two favorite things: TV and analysis. Extra points for being the first person in history to use the words "CW" and "apologist" in the same sentence.
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Ringer is okay and I felt bad when it was cancelled then there are el terrible shows like Beauty and the Beast? CW, really?
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This is why I wait until a second season has been confirmed before I even start watching a show. I've been let down by so many networks dropping the shows that I like, that I wait until it's reliable before I give it my attention.
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I really need to start doing that from now on. So much wasted time sticking with shows that get cancelled without proper endings or often left on cliff hangers. I'm setting a second season requirement before I start a new show now.
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Same here, smart idea.
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Lone Star was good!
I miss James Wolk!!
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DD: Lone Star was awesome and original! he needs to be back on TV. it was awesome seeing him on a 6-epis mini series from USA.
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Honestly, I blame it on ABC and NBC, not really on the timeslots...
there were just too many tv shows i really liked,and i believe i'm not the only one who did...that those bastards just put to sleep!!
on ABC : pushing daisies,dirty sexy money,flashforward,V,last resort,pan am,666 park avenue....and more
and even on NBC: las vegas,studio 60 on the sunset strip,playboy club,awake....
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Haha, wait, what? Was Cult cancelled already? I don't think I really realized it had aired yet, or maybe just an episode or two? Well. . . guess they should bring Alaric back to TVD!! I liked Privileged. I really liked Lie to Me.
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I think Fridays and Saturdays should have been addressed since that's where the problem starts. Saturday use to have original programming. Fridays are actually on a comeback, and while the Friday ratings may not be as strong, there's been many shows on Fridays that have brought a lot of fan interest. It is a place to put shows that aren't doing great but still have fan followings.
These nights are really at the core of why other timeslots aren't working. If the networks could figure out how to fix those slots they would have no trouble dealing with the rest of the week. In the past networks use to run movies. Now you might see the occasional "mini-series" which is nothing more than a three hour movie stretched out over two nights. Why don't we see mini-series like Game of Thrones (albeit a little cleaner) which run a good ten to thirteen episodes. Try something like that on a Saturday and you're sure to get people watching on Saturdays.
Networks also need to cut down on the ads. That's what's driving people to PVRs in the first place.
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Dude, these are weekend nights. It doesn't matter what shows are placed there, the competition is every restaurant, bar, club, sports event, new movie that's within driving distance. For other timeslots the competition is other channels, so no, fixing the Friday/Saturday slots isn't related to the rest of the week.
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That's a myth. Those things existed forty years ago and that didn't affect TV on those nights. And networks have programmed for them in the past. Remember TGIF? Networks just aren't investing in full schedules anymore.
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Lie to Me as the biggest loss for me... They could have brought Dr. Lightman for an episode of House MD at least... Imagine how fun it would be to see those two main characters interact with each other.

I think Last Resort and Awake could have survived if they weren't on those timeslots, because they were really good shows... My mom was really into Alcatraz in the begenning and she still can't believe they cancelled Missing and called it a mini-series with THAT ending... she was really mad about that.
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I don't know if it's the timeslot or the quality of the shows
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It's a toss up between ABC and NBC, they're both so freaking lame now.

I don't think timeslots matter! Sorry, but everything is on auto-record today. This is the 21st century now you know. If a show itself is good, it doesn't matter what timeslot it is, it's going to be set up as a series recording.
I blame the American TV viewership for not wanting to watch an "adult" show that actually takes a thinking brain to watch and follow, but endlessly watch more lame singing and dancing reality shows. I blame the networks for making "adult" shows kiddy-ish, dumb-downed, and ridiculous. I also blame the networks for utter crap advertising for the actual good shows that they come out with. Finally, the biggest reason for all this is networks want to cut costs, and reality shows are cheap. There have been good shows that people watched get canceled for more lame singing and dancing reality shows.
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I agree with you JamesBong420. Even if I can't watch a show, I always record it so I catch up when it's convenient. If a show it's good, it's doesn't matter what timeslot it is for me.
I'm not a fan of reality shows and I would rather watch something as engaging as, let's say, Flashforward was for me (still gutted it was cancelled!) than another reality show. I read reviews that some of the shows require a lot of follow-up but I personally enjoy that - I enjoy the mysteries and the plots and the twists along the way as it's a nice form of escapism and entertainment too... it would also make me want to watch the next episode because of the unexpected.
Game of Thrones, for example, is another engaging and character centered series, really well made and definitely catered for more mature viewers. Now, I'm not saying that all shows should be like that (even I like variety!) but why don't the networks do more substantial shows? Good cast, good production team, good scripts, good sets.... simply out, just a good show!
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You're flaming the public for not being adult and using a thinking brain, and your moniker is "JamesBong420"?
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And you're one of the typical public that can't see the substance behind the cover (or moniker)...
Do you have anything of substance to add?
I assume you agree with my spot on assessment? Or please don't tell me you're one of the singing and dancing reality show lovers...
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Idol night is always tough
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Thanks for the great article Cory.
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Wasn't sure where else to ask this, but have you watched Banshee yet, Cory?
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Banshee is my new tv obsession since FRINGE. I absolutely love this show! It is a real gritty fast paced drama. No teenagers with feelings in sight!!!!!!
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good question--I think he was going to watch it and I'm also curious if he watched it yet.
I wish the forums weren't so DEAD--no where has the volume of comments/posts as the articles/reviews.
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I've noticed that, too. I go to forums to see what people have to say about things. . . and actually no one has anything to say!
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Yeah, we definitely need someone reviewing the episodes next season. There's way too much fan support for the contributors to ignore.
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Andy Daglas (reviewer--does a great job reviewing Spartacus) said he would watch it in the off season (he doesn't have Cinemax) but I suggested he google "banshee free episodes online"
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I say these networks need to just give up on those particular time-slots and air some more reality trash instead. After all, they're cheap to produce. A lot of the competition will seemingly never die so it's no use creating all these great series just to stick them in a time-slot where they have absolutely no chance to survive. Awake, The Chicago Code, Lie to Me, and The L.A. Complex (hey, I liked it!) should all still be on the air as far as I'm concerned.

The networks should do a complete shuffle of ALL their shows on the schedule. Try it out for at least a month, and of course, let people know ahead of time. I think that would be a very ballsy thing to do.
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Also, w the advent of the dvr I don't care of a new show is up against something i already watch, I just record it. So yea, the biggest problem is that most of these shows sucked.
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I agree that ABC is definitely the one with the steepest uphill battle to climb, but I would definitely not want Castle to be moved there. I don't want Castle to die! And I really think the timeslot might be cursed... And I love that show.
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While time slot competition is obviously a factor I think a bigger factor is the simple fact that most of the failed shows listed were just terrible.
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ABC Thursdays at 8 are trouble, because they choose the wrong shows to show there. What other networks show very serious adult dramas (Last Resort, Missing, Zero Hour) intended for 10 p.m. at that hour? Viewers would rather watch something a little lighter than many of the shows at that hour, while putting the heavier dramas at a later hour (like was successful with adult dramas like ER, NYPD Blue, ect. in the past).
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ABC Thursday is the most troubled because of TBBT and American Idol. That's also why Community has a hard time over at NBC.
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Agreed. ABC Thursday is the most troubled. Anything opposites The Big Bang Theory AND American Idol is definitely in trouble.
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Southland--awesome show!
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I never liked any of my shows that i watch to be on at 8. Just a tad bit too early for me. I like 'em at 9pm and later :)
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I picked ABC at 7pm (central time, where I am) because it is one that consistently airs that have potential but then are cancelled before their true awesomeness is revealed. It is also the one that constantly disappoints me because I feel like ABC could do better than this if they tried. But maybe networks "doing better if they tried" is a thing of the past.
As far as NBC goes, they haven't had many good things on in the last couple of years.
I think there have only been 2 things on the CW that have looked remotely interesting in the past while: Veronica Mars and Ringer. But, to be fair, I am not a teenager and so I probably do not appreciate the level that 90% of the CW's programming is on. And, I said "level" not "higher level."
FOX is FOX, enough said. But, Bones and the Following are it's only saving graces right now.
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To be fair, it's as much the show's fault as the timeslot. While I enjoyed Awake and Terra Nova, they weren't the best fare out there, and I don't doubt that the others listed fell into that same category.
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No I agree that it's a combination of both, but some of the shows were good, with the possibility of greatness.
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I find this really fascinating.
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Thanks!
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It amazes me "The Following" is getting good ratings. Are people actually watching it? It's the most ridiculous show to be on TV in some time. I guess that might be why people watch it, to see how stupidly the Cops/FBI etc can botch their jobs. Also might be Kevin Bacon fans, but funny enough he's probably the worst thing about this already bad show!
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It's one of the most popular new shows in a while. Barring total flameout in S2, it'll be around for a solid 3-5 years.
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What about putting anything against CBS Thursdays at 8? "The Big Bang Theory" pulls in American Idol numbers and "Two and Half Men" easily gets around 10 million. I don't think those shows merit those kind of numbers but it's death to anyone who tries to fight it.
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Well, that's why and what I wrote about ABC's Thursday 8 p.m. slot.
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'I could have picked just about every timeslot on The CW for this story' Hurtful.

However, you did half-way redeem yourself with this:
'a really, really good show (like The CW has on Thursdays at 8pm with The Vampire Diaries).'

Still. Disappointed, Cory. And REALLY freakin' glad HBO wasn't on this list. With GOT coming back this month, no one is allowed to say ANYTHING about that network. Anything. Unless it's praise or reminding me what the F happened last season on GOT 'cause wow. Settle, HBO. Settle. =D
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I LOVE The CW, but facts are facts.
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I still got stuffs that I'm feelin' bro. And it ain't all good.
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If ABC puts S.H.I.E.L.D. at Thursdays @ 8, I'm done.
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SHIELD will go on Tuesdays or Sundays, I'm guessing.
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There are a few factors, i think the networks should stop trying to split the audience with high concept ideas and spend more time developing quality programming. This should probably tie in with lower expectations ratings wise on certain days - like they do with Sundays. Sundays are dominated by the Cable channels - HBO, AMC and Showtime are dominating, but dont do too well during the week.
I believe NBC make huge mistakes in scheduling long breaks in the middle of series, but if you see the schedules for the last couple of weeks, you notice that instead of providing new episodes for their audiences, all the networks have given breaks to a lot of shows because sweeps is over - if you want to keep an audience give them something to watch. its no wonder streaming services and downloads are doing well - they are more reliable for content for a lot more of the time
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This is sort of true. Certain cable networks mostly program Sunday, but nets like FX, USA, ABC Fam, etc. do much better during the week. So that's not all true.

The breaks are a problem, but almost a necessary one. When networks try short-run programs in between breaks (like what NBC's done without Revolution and The Voice this winter), the shows can easily fail.
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i think that depends on the show. Off the top of my head Sherlock, Luther and The Hatfields &Macoys show that programs with short series (or in the case of Hatfields a mini series) can do well critically and in ratings. What the cable channels who dominate Sundays do very well, is have quality programming for shorter series. GOT, TWD and mad men dont run for 22 episodes - its usually 12-15.

Last Resort floundered after the first couple of episodes, the action just dried up, if they had cut certain episodes and concentrated less or trying to expand the people involved in the conspiracy it may have done better, but they tried to stretch the plot to fill their episode order.

On the flip side of that Prime Suspect crammed 2-3 episodes of the UK version into 1 episode, so they cut character development and a lot of tension in the plot.

It also depends on the type of show you are broadcasting.Zero Hour and Do No Harm were just bad - 90% of people wont tune in for a bad serial show
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Stop making up shit. There is nothing wrong with that Time slot. Last Resort, Do No Harm, Zero Hero we all terrible shows. This is why TV is dying. No one watching TV when its on TV if we did then maybe I don't know The Big Bang Theory would have record ratings?
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A.) Not making shit up.
B.) Your opinion as to the quality of those shows.
C.) Who said TV was dying?
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it was sarcasm. I said when TV did "Should I Watch Zero Hero?" article it was going to be cancelled being at its time slot. TV Ratings System is we're only allow to watch 1 TV show and apparently will the ranting and complainting at every comment/post its always the wrong decision.
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Can we not do every time slot NBC has that isn't The Voice.

I would say the networks should move their Reality shows to thursday and move the rest of their schedule. I think ABC would have had more success with last resort if it had been on any other time slot other than Thursday at 8pm. Same with NBC. For some reason BBT is still drawing viewers and just let them have the slot. The people that watch reality tv will head to their respective addiction and allow their hour dramas that aren't horrible get a chance to find an audience.
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I could have easily just made this about The CW and NBC and had about 10 timeslots to discuss.
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Sad but true.
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Recent Victims? Are you serious? Some of these shows ended more than two years ago.
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Two years is recent enough. Somewhat recent?
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I didn't vote...why?...because no one watches tv when the show is aired, atleast no one I know. I watch the shows I love through my DVR recordings and if I can't record them all, I download them for later.
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"Life Unexpected was moved to Tuesdays to die in 2010 and the best thing the network has had in this timesplot in years"

Did you ever watch the show past the pilot? It was one of the worst things I'd ever seen.
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Ew Cory, your channels are weird: NBC on 3, Fox on 2? San Francisco has weird network locations. Except ABC being 7, which is also kinda weird.

Friday doesn't even count for cable anymore, it used to work so well but cablers got too tinkery and now it sucks.

I don't understand why ABC keeps trying to shoehorn drama and action into the 8pm Thursday slot, nobody wants to start Thursday nights that way, it's obvious. I'm putting the blame on the genre itself.

NBC's 10pm slot used to be a juggernaut, and the failure is due I think to A) the changing tastes of the audiences; and B) NBC's awful programming department. I feel like 10pm Thursday is ripe for plucking, nobody has anything lighthearted (Elementary is lightheaded, not lighthearted) and nobody has anything really high quality - there's no comedies and there's no The Good Wifes, either would be watchable. Instead we get a dumb procedural and a schlocky tv soap. I liked Outsourced though, it was uneven but it had likable characters once you got into them. Rock Center is an embarrassment, the title immediately drives one away and the content is wildly uneven but never easy to take seriously, it's too bad they ruined the name of their previous news magazine show, Dateline NBC.

Ha, I had the same thought about every CW timeslot being dangerous. As for these recent successes, I'm surprised to hear it - 90210 is such a success that it just got canceled. They need to air some reality competition for Tuesdays at 9pm, they should try theming the night around something other than "teen girls are easily succeptible to advertising and we hope they like to watch blond pretty people do things" night.

Fox Monday used to be a home run, then they put more budget into American Idol and X Factor and I think it sucked the life out of their programming department for dramas.

I'm voting for the NBC Thursday deathslot, but to be fair, NBC's entire network is a deathslot and the ratings on Thursday have been consistently bad the past few years under the most recent 2 regimes. They simply don't realize they've become a has-been all around, they moved Community thinking that its ratings were low and then their flagship shows in the same slot pulled similar or worse ratings. It's the same with Thursday at 10, they don't realize it's not the '90s and the audience left a long time ago, so they keep blindly stabbing out hoping they'll spear a winner and then acting surprised when they keep pulling up old boots.
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Ha! Not my channels. I live in Indiana! But the broadcast nets are also low on the dial there as well.
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How funny, my mistake. Did you pick the San Fran channels for the opening image, or did another editor supply that? I am obsessed with something dumb, sorry. :-P
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Come on, I can't believe you find such shameful joy in Cult and couldn't get into Ringer! It was fantastic.

Interesting that you brought CW into this conversation (usually it's omitted from the "major network" comparisons) but I'm not sure it's fair. As you note, they've managed to get W/Th under control. Tuesday is experimental lab night on the CW. If they have a show that doesn't naturally fit with vampires or demon hunters, it goes on Tuesdays. Since the CW actually takes risks and does experiments, it's good that they have spaghetti-on-the-wall night - someday one of these shows might be good (and not Cult bad-good, either).
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I agree on Ringer. It wasn't the best thing ever. . . but I liked it if we're talking ridiculous, soapy drama. . . Ringer was pretty damn fun. :)
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Well, The CW would also do better if they picked a schedule and stuck with it. If we pretend that viewers do watch live, they can't find shows when they are moved all around the schedule.
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I agree, and what's more, many of the CW shows I watch - heck, the reason I do watch "many" CW shows - I got into because I was actually watching the lead-in during its actual air time. I enjoy my 8pm Friday Nikita; later in the evening we've moved on to something from the Hulu queue.

I guess I'm looking at Tuesday and seeing it as a blank page waiting for material, whereas you're looking at it as No Man's Land where otherwise good shows go to die. So what's a small network that can support a show with what would for other non-cable networks be dismal numbers supposed to do with "experiments"?
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Actually loved Do No Harm and have no idea why.
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A bad show in any time slot is still going to be bad. I can't imagine shows like Angels, Ringers, Hour would have done well in any slot. Bad slots can be overcome if the show is good and the networks actually promotes the show. The problem with Awake and Last and the likes was they had these big promotions for the first ep but then the networks just seemed to have forgotten about them. It's the same reasons shows like Firefly (went up against Star Trek but FOX didn't promote it), Pushing Daisies (never saw a single ad for this show), Better of Ted (fail scheduling, promoting and airing), Human Target (time slot shuffle without promotion) gets cancelled.
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NBC's Thursday 10PM is toast. To be honest, I'm not at home watching anything at that time; I'm on the treadmill at the gym. But with 9 TV screens in front of me, I'm watching White Collar, Elementary, and Scandal, usually parts of each simultaneously (I'll catch up on details later online). I don't even bother looking to NBC.
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alcatraz,terra nova shows with a good plot.
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Is that sarcasm? Terra Nova had a weak plot, and Alcatraz didn't have a plot at all.
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Still angry that ABC cancelled Last Resort. And the Thrusday at 10/9 c on NBC is a laughing stock. Shows have no chance. Might as well have The Voice all day everday, or Law & Order reruns.
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I'm still peeved that Chicago Code was cancelled, it was a really good show, same with Last Resort and Prime Suspect. Also, there's a few shows that seem to have run their course in my opinion - Survivor, American Idol (Simon Cowell at least told it like it was, been a drag to the finish without him, gee-zeus), and to a degree, Glee (it's High School Karaoke that'd go broke if not for iTunes). I don't care if Idol and Survivor are ratings "giants", they're not exactly bringing anything new to the table "Fans vs. Favourites", again? Split the remaining Idol contestants into groups, again? You can take the timeslots they occupy and keep shows worth their salt there instead, at least The Amazing Race only occupies Sunday, and it's far better a show than those two, at least people actually go places and experience culture instead of bickering over who the bigger "bad ass" is.
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Each major network have their day to shine. For some networks (hey CBS) have more than one day. For example, CBS wins Mondays with high ranked comedies such as 2 broke girls, How I met your mother and Mike & Molly and Thursdays with The mega hit Big Bang Theory and two and a half men. ABC has its Wednesday Comedy Block and shouldn't really ask for anything more cause it's a stupid network that doesn't deserve the great shows it has...And poor NBC it seems it can't catch a break lately. Every show it brings (even the good ones) seems to make dismal ratings compared to what NBC used to make. For example, Smash last season was paired with NBC's single wonder hit The Voice and it did great in the ratings. This season not so much, even if season 2 so far is as good or even better than season 1. As for Revolution? I enjoy watching it (sometimes that is) and I know it will be renewed for a second season (if it didn't already) but as far as I am concerned , un-pair it with The Voice and ratings will drop to embarrassing numbers.
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The truth is most of these shows were supposed to survive. Most of them had a plot that was meant for a 2 hour movie and someone tried to make them a year long show.

They're not death slots, the shows are fillers.
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A lot of truth to that. Which is why I can't believe "The following" hasn't been panned yet.
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While I do believe in death slots, I also do see the point of your argument. Looking at all the shows that are listed as victims in the article, I think aside from the police dramas and maybe Lone Star, the other shows had premises that were better off as movies or miniseries rather than having many episodes and seasons. I loved Last Resort and was saddened to see it canceled, but its first season had a few episodes that were just ridiculous or silly, the main reason for which I think is that the show's premise was awesome... for a miniseries. With that said, I think that speaks more about the quality more than the ratings... I think a show like Lost paved the way for shows with miniseries/movie premises to live on for a long time with continually high ratings, despite almost everybody now having issues about the quality of particular seasons or episodes during its run.
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Maybe. But there are tons of shows that initially seem fated for short runs that end up with great extended stories. Say, Lost.
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