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August 30, 2014

TV Squad Ten: Fearless predictions for 2009

by Allison Waldman, posted Jan 5th 2009 11:01AM
M ScorseseA year ago at this time, who would have guessed that Jay Leno would be leaving late night and NBC would be handing him five hours of prime time instead? Who would have predicted CBS continuing to dominate in the ratings or that ABC's sophomore series like Eli Stone and Pushing Daisies would stumble and fall so completely after being off the air all last spring? Predictors from last January were on target about there being a writers' strike; that did happen and it was definitely not a good thing.

Fortunately, I don't see a SAG strike in the future. However, here are ten things I'm betting will happen by the time the ball drops on December 31st.

1. Martin Scorsese will be the next big thing on HBO. He's producing a drama based on the book Boardwalk Empire. HBO is overdue to launch another big series in The Sopranos tradition. Boardwalk Empire seems to have all the right elements: violence, sex, gambling, and Oscar-winning, iconic director Martin Scorsese.

The story is set in New Jersey in the roaring '20s, a time of bootleggers and prohibition and jazz and gangsters. Steve Buscemi has already been cast as Nucky Johnson -- yeah, a guy named Nucky -- and if this fertile material doesn't scream out for Scorsese's cinematic flair, I don't know what does.

2. Fox will move The Simpsons. That's right. The network will shake up the animation domination Sunday by moving The Simpsons to another night. This will be done for two reasons: first, to give Seth MacFarlane the entire night; and second, to build another night of the week. Since the Fox sitcoms have been struggling -- Do Not Disturb, Til Death -- The Simpsons will be used with some new sitcom, providing a crutch.

3. Leno will turn up on Bravo. No, he won't be doing another show, but watch for NBC to take his primetime hours and spread them out over other NBCU channels like Bravo and Oxygen. Perhaps a weekend wrap-up show, like the Best of Leno, but Jay will be omnipresent. It's all part of that NBC synergy.

4. CBS will program new shows for Saturday night.
Don't laugh. The Tiffany network has been using reruns on Saturday night -- like all the other nets -- but in 2009, they'll make a bold move and program original shows on that night. They'll say the move is based on economics, their belief that in these tough times people will be more inclined to stay home on Saturday night and watch TV. Backing up their belief, the network will anchor the night with one of its biggest shows, like CSI!

5. SoapNet will broadcast the Daytime Emmys. The Daytime Emmys have yet to be claimed by one of the big three, so watch for a scaled down, more intimate -- and cheaper -- variation to be shown on SoapNet. It will be a return to the Daytime Emmys' roots, with less red carpet, more daytime stars and clips, and something simpler. SoapNet will maximize the exposure, too, by broadcasting it more than once.

6. The Real Housewives will become a fictional drama series. While Bravo mines Orange County, New York and Atlanta for reality wives, NBC will fictionalize the Real Housewives brand for NBC. First, it'll be a TV movie, but if the ratings are strong, it'll be a Fall TV series.

7. Zachary Quinto will star in his own TV series. Following his success as Mr. Spock in J.J. Abrams' Star Trek, Quinto will be elevated to star status and give his own show by NBC. It might be a Heroes spin-off, if there's a way to make Sylar into a sympathetic lead -- which might be possible although the recent developments don't seem to be going in that direction. Still, NBC is not about to let Zach go.

8. Oprah will drop the book club. She won't make a big announcement about it, but Oprah's Book Club will quietly be dropped. The reason is simple; three of Oprah Winfrey's selections have turned out to be frauds, including Herman Rosenblat's Angel at the Fence, James Frey's bestseller A Million Little Pieces, and Margaret Seltzer's Love and Consequences. To avoid any further embarrassment, the book club will simply cease to exist.

9. NBC will be create American telenovelas.
The influence of Telemundo in the NBC Universal family will lead to the creation of a new business model. Since, it has this telenovela studio in Miami making Spanish soaps, I predict that a US variation is the next big thing. It could be the way NBC re-creates daytime drama, especially if Days of Our Lives doesn't moves up in the ratings.

10. One Nielsen hit will have a successful spin-off. It won't be Fox's House spin-off about a private detective (played by Michael Weston), that'll be the hit. It's going to be CBS's NCIS spin-off. CBS will give the new show a boost by letting NCIS act as a lead-in, a move that's possible because of the success of The Mentalist which is strong enough to anchor another night.

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Mike

Zucker should be fired immediately, he's running that network into the ground. Days is climbing in the ratings and in key demos.

Why does that guy still have a job? Tartikoff is rolling in his grave for sure.

January 06 2009 at 6:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeanette

Great great great. SO looking forward to Scorseses HBO show, and the fact that Steve Buschemi is in it only makes me salivate more.

And Oprahs bookclub, much as it irks me at times- it needs to stay. I can't tell you how many books she helps keep alive with that show.

January 05 2009 at 8:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Suntzu

The Simpsons aren't going anywhere. They are keeping it where it is. Sylar is not getting his own show. We have a show about a guy you kind of like, even though he kills people, speaks in a monotone voice, and feels nothing. Its called Dexter.Scorcese's show being a hit isn't going out on a limb. Oprah's book club I haven't heard of in awhile but if she's gonna continue to be that close to Obama she can't leave herself open to the embarrassment that comes when she doesn't vet her authors.

January 05 2009 at 7:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
joe

You forgot Oprah's biggest book-fraud: "The Secret"
Scam-artists the world-around would love to get the airtime on her show that the jokers who wrote The Secret did....

January 05 2009 at 1:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pierre-Luc Allie

My prediction: One cable series will make a permanent move to network tv.

January 05 2009 at 1:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tony

A Zachary Quinto starring show will bomb faster than Heroes did after the first season.

I'm hoping for an NCIS spin-off. It should centre around a new team led by DiNozzo as hinted a few seasons ago.

January 05 2009 at 12:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ryan

Oprah doesn't need to drop her book club. She just needs to steer clear from memoirs or that sort of books.

Fiction would have none of these headaches.

January 05 2009 at 12:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Ryan's comment
BC McKinney

Well, there was Jonathan Franzen, who publicly criticized defacing the cover of his book with Oprah's logo after she chose it, and was subsequently so ambivalent about understanding what an honor it was that she disinvited him from the discussion of his novel. To be fair, if I wrote a novel and Oprah chose it for her book club, I'd be ambivalent too, given some of the other crap that's been selected.

January 05 2009 at 10:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pinwiz

"NBC will be create American telenovelas."

While I support this, it's been tried before by MyNetworkTV. (Loved those shows.)

January 05 2009 at 11:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tim

FOX doesn't have to move THE SIMPSONS to make room for CLEVELAND. They've cancelled KING OF THE HILL.

January 05 2009 at 11:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim

Predicting Scorcese's success on HBO isn't fearless. Predicting he will bomb might be!

Also, I don't foresee Oprah dropping the book club. The James Frey debacle was three years ago, and I haven't even heard of the other two books. The book club is too much of a cash cow to let it go.

January 05 2009 at 11:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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