Networks launch primetime plan


With the WGA strike approaching its second month, broadcast networks are scrambling to replace many of the dramas and comedies that have been sidelined. While scheduling holes are being filled primarily with reality programming, the networks also have quite a few episodes of midseason scripted series that are ready to go.

Here are some highlights by network, as analyzed by Carat Programming:

While ABC has yet to set its official midseason schedule, its new dance competition series Dance Wars will launch on Monday 1/12. Midseason series Cashmere Mafia (originally set to debut in late November), a truncated Lost and According to Jim are waiting in the wings. Also available, just in case, are fresh episodes of Wife Swap and Supernanny.

CBS’s Drew Carey-hosted Power of Ten debuts on 1/2. The network will be airing its first midseason edition of Big Brother in mid-February. Also returning is the 16th edition of Survivor (2/12). On the scripted side, there are seven episodes of Jericho (premieres 2/12) and about eight episodes available for Old Christine. Both Christine and new comedy The Captain will launch on 1/28. CBS has made no mention of its plans for midseason drama Swingtown. If need be, CBS could also potentially draw upon premium cable sibling Showtime for scripted programming product.

NBC will rely heavily on reality product. A special celebrity edition of The Apprentice launches on 1/3. Game show 1 vs. 100 returns on 1/4 and a remake of syndicated series American Gladiators has its time period premiere on 1/7. Extra editions of Deal or No Deal will be added if necessary. Law & Order and the repurposed Law & Order C.I. will air on Wednesdays starting 1/2 and 1/9 respectively. Lipstick Jungle (from Candice Bushnell) debuts on 2/7.

Although 24 has been postponed indefinitely, Fox is still best-equipped to weather the strike because its top-ranked American Idol returns for its seventh cycle in mid-January. New game show, Moment of Truth debuts on 1/23. New scripted series include Sara Connor Chronicles (Time period debut on 1/14), and an abbreviated season of New Amsterdam (debuts 2/22). Also set to launch at a later date are The Return of Jezebel James and Canterbury’s Law. The network launched mother/daughter pageant series Crowned (December 12) and drama, One Tree Hill returns on 1/8.

| See the tentative January/February schedule here |