Far be it from us to try to second-guess the network experts, who frequently get it wrong anyway, but the folks at TargetCast tcm have taken up the challenge. NBC is judged to be trying the most new things – which also means it is taking the biggest risks.
"We are facing an unusual new season. Many shows that began last season never had the chance to fully develop before the strike. These returning programs may have to attract and build a following as if they were new shows, throwing the fall schedule into question," said Gary Carr, Sr. VP and Director of Broadcast Services at TargetCast tcm, an independent media buying agency.
He does, however, see some promising shows in the new lineups. And Carr thinks CBS has the most promising crop of new shows.
"Eleventh Hour," a procedural crime drama (Thursday at 10), looks like a winner for CBS. CBS also has two new comedies with potential, "Worst Week" (Monday at 9:30) and a still unnamed show tentatively being called "Gary Unmarried" (Wednesday at 8:30).
Also on CBS, "The Mentalist" staring Simon Baker (Tuesday at 9) should do well, sandwiched between two other popular procedurals, "NCIS" and "Without a Trace."
ABC has only two new shows in its fall lineup. "Life on Mars" (Thursday at 10) could be a winner, especially since it is up against weaker shows in the time slot. "Opportunity Knocks" (Tuesday at 8), a reality show, will have a tough time against popular returning shows including "NCIS," "House" and "The Biggest Loser." "Opportunity Knocks is so bizarre and outrageous, that it just might catch on with viewers," Carr said.
"NBC is trying a lot of new things which," he noted, "could send it off the deep end." "Crusoe" (Friday at 8) and "Merlin" (Sunday at 9 after the NFL game) is risky, he said, because period pieces have generally not done well on television. The Peacock Network has high hopes for Christian Slater in "My Own Worst Enemy" (Monday at 10), but it may not be strong enough to draw viewers away from "Boston Legal" and "CSI Miami."
NBC has a much talked-about spinoff of "The Office" (Thursday at 9:30), produced by Lorne Michaels. Another new comedy, "Kath & Kim" (Tuesday at 9:30) with Molly Shannon and Selma Blair, might do well in its adaptation from the hit show on Australian TV, but it faces uncertain competition from "The Mentalist" on CBS, "Fringe" on FOX, and "Dancing with the Stars" on ABC.
FOX has high hopes for the paranormal "Fringe", which follows "House". TargetCast tcm sees it as a possible hit. The only other new show on FOX, "Do Not Disturb" (Wednesday at 9:30) will likely die a slow death, say the media experts at TargetCast tcm.