One of OWN’s two highest-rated series, Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes, is moving from Fridays to Sundays beginning March 27, where it will be paired with Oprah Presents Master Class. Behind the Scenes has been airing on Fridays with reality competition Your OWN Show, which recently wrapped its low-rated run. With Master Class‘ companion on Sunday, series of specials Ask Oprah’s All Stars, also gone, OWN’s two series featuring Winfrey, Behind the Scenes and Master Class, will now run together on Sundays. OWN will go down from four to three nights of original programming – Monday, Tuesday and Sunday. When Master Class ends its season, it will be succeed by The Judds, a reality series starring Naomi and Wynonna Judd, which will premiere April 10. OWN, which has been slow out of the gate, has two solid ratings performers, Behind the Scenes and Our America with Lisa Ling, which was recently renewed for a second season.
NBC just released the dates for the season finales of its series. The way some of them are floundering (The Event, Chuck, Outsourced, Perfect Couples), those may as well be series finales. Three of the network’s comedies, flagship The Office, Parks & Recreation and Community, will have hourlong closers. Here is the list, from the newest drama, Harry’s Law, on Apr. 4 to the oldest reality series, The Biggest Loser, on April 24:
Having just picked up four new scripted series, ABC Family is heading into the summer with its largest-ever slate of originals. With seven scripted series on tap — four new (dramas Switched at Birth, The Nine Lives of Chloe King, The Lying Game and comedy The Great State of Georgia) and three returning (dramas The Secret Life of the American Teenager and Pretty Little Liars and comedy Melissa & Joey) — ABC Family is opening up a third night of original programming this summer on Wednesday. Having for the first time a pair of half-hour comedies, Melissa & Joey and The Great State of Georgia, ABC Family will launch a comedy block on Wednesday with the two sitcoms on June 29.
Secret Life, which returns on March 28 with 24 new episodes, will serve as a launching pad for newbies Switched at Birth (premieres June 6) and The Lying Game (debuts Aug. 15). Chloe King will follow Pretty Little Liars on Tuesday starting June 14.
New year is here, and with it, the TV midseason. Here is a list of the major premiere dates on broadcast and cable. It includes season/series premieres and return dates for series with split seasons.
The Bachelor, ABC, season premiere
Pretty Little Liars, ABC Family, winter season premiere
Greek, ABC Family, season premiere
V, ABC, season premiere
Live to Dance, CBS, series premiere
The Biggest Loser: Couples, NBC, season premiere
Southland, TNT, season premiere
Chopped, Food Network, season premiere
Caprica, Syfy, final 5 episodes
My colleague Michael Ausiello already scooped CBS’ biggest scheduling change this midseason: freshman cop family drama Blue Bloods will get a four-week trial run in the Wednesday 10 PM slot beginning Jan. 19, while the current occupant of the Wednesday 10 PM time period, freshman legal dramedy The Defenders, will relocate to the Friday 8 PM berth on Feb. 4, following the series finale of veteran paranormal drama Medium. No surprise in the launch strategy for CBS’ midseason drama Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, which will succeed Blue Bloods in the Wednesday 10 PM slot beginning Feb. 16 when Blue Bloods will return to its Friday 10 PM home. The Criminal Minds spinoff was widely expected to air behind the mothership series the way NCIS: LA follows NCIS on Tuesday. But somewhat unexpected was the harsh treatment of CBS’ other midseason drama series Chaos. CBS brass fought hard for the series, whose midseason pickup originally fell through after a deal with producing studio 20th Century Fox TV could not be reached. The project was later resurrected, picked up and made a co-production with CBS TV Studios. But now, the comedic drama about a group of rogue CIA spies has been assigned the tough Friday 8 PM slot where it will succeed The Defenders on April 1 when the freshman will have completed its reduced first-season order. (I’m sure the producers of the series starring Freddy Rodriguez are hoping …
EXCLUSIVE: CBS is about to find out how big a hit it has on its hands with Blue Bloods. I’m hearing the freshman Tom Selleck drama — which has been averaging a healthy 12.3 million viewers on Fridays at 10 PM — will get a four-week trial run on Wednesdays at 10 PM beginning Jan. 19. Fellow freshman series The Defenders, which is currently occupying the Wednesday 10 PM slot, will shift to a new regular time slot, Fridays at 8 PM, starting Feb. 4. There, the legal dramedy will succeed departing paranormal crime drama Medium. Beginning Feb. 16, spinoff Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior takes over on Wednesdays at 10 PM where it will follow Criminal Minds. This is the same strategy CBS successfully used for the launch of spinoff NCIS: LA, which also followed the mothership NCIS series on Tuesdays. Blue Bloods, meanwhile, reclaims its Friday 10 PM post on Feb. 11. CBS, which declined to comment for this story, is expected to announce its midseason plans later today.
The CW today became the latest network to release its midseason schedule. With only one hole to fill, that of departing sophomore Life Unexpected which did not receive a back order, and one midseason series on deck, reality competition Shedding for the Wedding, the network is moving freshman drama Hellcats to LUX‘s Tuesday 9 PM slot behind One Tree Hill to form an all-reality Wednesday lineup with America’s Next Top Model and Shedding for the Wedding. The rest of the schedule will remain intact. The majority of the CW’s primetime schedule will return with originals the week of January 24, with the season (and probably series) finale of LUX slated to air in back to back episodes on Jan. 18. Following are the CW’s midseason premiere dates:
This trend of comedies at 10 PM seems to be catching on quickly at the broadcast networks. Right after NBC announced that it will expand its 8-10 PM Thursday comedy block to 11 PM in midseason, ABC is doing the same with its Wednesday 8-10 PM comedy block. Beginning April 13, the network will air midseason comedy Happy Endings at 10 PM, followed by Modern Family reruns branded as “fan favorites” at 10:30 PM.
ABC will start warming up the Wednesday 10 PM slot with comedies this month by pulling canceled legal drama The Whole Truth earlier than previously planned and replacing it with Modern Family and Cougar Town repeats. Before that, from February 9 through April 6, ABC’s other midseason comedy, Mr. Sunshine, will take over the network’s plum post-Modern Family slot at 9:30 PM to give the Matthew Perry-starring comedy the best possible launching pad. One Friends alum, Courteney Cox, will make room for another, Perry, as Cougar Town, which airs in the 9:30 PM time period, will go on hiatus, returning on April 13. With the time off, Cougar Town now has 20 of its 22 episodes scheduled, with the remaining 2 expected to get a berth too, either replacing a Cougar Town rerun or in a different spot on the schedule. As previously announced, anchoring the Wednesday lineup at 10 PM from Feb. 9 through April 6 will be the new medical drama Off the Map. With …
ABC’s hourlong procedural Body of Proof starring Dana Delany will succeed Detroit 1-8-7 in the Tuesday 10 PM slot. In preparation for the move, the network last month gave the modestly rated freshman cop drama Detroit 1-8-7 a short, 5-episode back order. Body of Proof will premiere on March 29, following Detroit‘s 18-episode run, with the Dancing with the Stars result show as a lead-in. The series, created by Christopher Murphey and produced by ABC Studios, centers on Dr. Megan Hunt (Dana Delany), a brilliant neurosurgeon who takes on a new career as a medical examiner following a car accident. Body of Proof, originally slated to launch in late October in the Friday 9 PM slot, was held back by new ABC chief Paul Lee for a proper launch in a better time period.
Shonda Rhimes/Jenna Bans’ new ABC medical drama Off the Map will premiere Jan. 12 and will succeed the network’s recently cancelled new legal drama The Whole Truth in the Wednesday 10 PM time slot. ABC had originally planned to premiere Off the Map in the same time slot it once used to launch Grey’s Anatomy, Sundays 10 PM after Desperate Housewives. In preparation for the move, ABC gave the slot’s regular dweller, Brothers & Sisters, an 18-episode order in May. But then the veteran family drama did solidly in the ratings in the first few weeks of the season, leading to an order for 4 more episodes. Meanwhile, ABC brass were happy with Off the Map, ordering extra scripts and eventually 6 additional episodes. That made it impossible for the two series to share the Sunday 10 PM time period, and, with The Whole Truth done, Off the Map was slotted on Wednesdays. Off the Map, set at a medical clinic in the South American jungle, was created by Bans who is executive producing with Rhimes, Betsy Beers, Gretchen Berg. Aaron Harbert and director Randy Zisk. While the other networks are yet to unveil any midseason scheduling plans, ABC has been quietly putting in place key pieces of its midseason schedule. The network recently announced that V will return on Jan. 4 and will run in the Tuesday 9 PM slot.
I hear the order of ABC’s sophomore sci-fi drama V is being reduced from 13 to 10 episodes. ABC last week announced that V will return January 4 and will air in Dancing with the Stars‘ result show slot at 9 PM on Tuesdays, following fellow sci-fi drama No Ordinary Family. That gives V a 12-episode window until the spring season premiere of Dancing on March 29, but I hear the period is expected to include 2 preemptions, leading to V‘s order getting trimmed. Since the series is still filming, V producers will adjust the storyline for a proper season ending.
ABC today announced premiere dates for the Dancing with the Stars ice skating spinoff Skating with the Stars and the second season of V. Skating will slide into Dancing‘s Monday 8-9:30 PM slot following the conclusion of the current Dancing cycle, while V will air in the Dancing result show time period of Tuesdays 9 PM, following No Ordinary Family. Skating will premiere on November 22, airing twice behind Dancing on Mondays at 9 PM before moving to 8 PM on December 6. V returns January 4. No Ordinary Family will get a short run in the Tuesday 9 PM slot from November 30 until January 4 when it will slide back to its current 8 PM berth to form a block with similarly sci-fi-tinged V.
New ABC programming chief Paul Lee is looking to upgrade another series his predecessor put on the low-trafficked Friday night. Beginning November 5, ABC will air reality veteran Supernanny in the Friday 8 PM slot. That is where Secret Millionaire, which ABC acquired after a run on Fox, was originally slotted though it was never assigned a premiere date. This follows a similar move ABC made last week with the Dana Delany-starring new procedural Body of Proof, originally slated to air Fridays at 9 PM, which was also held back and will be replaced by Primetime: What Would You Do?, beginning next week. Lee is said to be high on both Secret Millionaire and Body of Proof and is planning to give them a proper launch elsewhere. He just added another building block for midseason, a winter edition of Wipeout. In May, ABC announced a renewal for Supernanny but the series did not get a spot on the schedule and was held as backup. ABC also announced today that it will be preempting struggling new drama The Whole Truth tonight for a 20/20 special on the Chilean miners’ rescue.
Back in May, ABC’s previous boss Steve McPherson went for younger, hipper fare when programming new series Monday through Thursday. The show that seemed to be the closest to the ABC brand, Body of Proof - a female-driven procedural with a quirky central character and headlined by a familiar ABC star, Dana Delany – was sent to Fridays. Now, with many of those Monday-Thursday series crumbling and one, My Generation, already canceled, new ABC chief Paul Lee is taking a second look at Body of Proof and is planning to give it a time slot upgrade.
USA’s newest series Fairly Legal (formerly Facing Kate) will premiere on Thursday, Jan. 20, at 10 PM. It will follow the winter cycle debut of Royal Pains, which will serve as its lead-in. Original episodes of White Collar will run Tuesdays 10 PM beginning January 18. Fairly Legal stars Sarah Shahi as a top litigator-turned-mediator.
NBC is stopping production on new legal drama Outlaw while keeping the show on the air. Starting tomorrow, the freshman series will go on production hiatus while the network monitors closely its ratings performance. Eight episodes of Outlaw have been produced; 3 of them have already aired, with 5 more in the can.
In the fallout of the Lone Star cancellation, Fox’s drama Human Target will move from Fridays to Wednesdays, taking over the slot originally given to Lie To Me. Lie to Me was to premiere on Nov. 10 and run in the Wednesday 8 PM slot, leading into an one-hour Hell’s Kitchen. But as the crime procedural was summoned yesterday to take over the Monday 9 PM period vacated by the cancelled Lone Star staring next week, Human Target will now take its place on Wednesdays. It will premiere Nov. 17. A two-hour Hell’s Kitchen will air on Nov. 10. Instead of launching Human Target‘s second season this past Friday as first planned, Fox held back, airing a Human Target rerun instead, followed by the season debut of The Good Guys. The network will now run House repeats in the Friday 8 PM hour.