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October 6, 2015

Entire summer TV schedule declared a failure

by John Scott Lewinski, posted Aug 17th 2009 8:10AM
It's not really possible that every summer premiere on the great Nobody was listening to NBC's The Listener this summer.American broadcast TV schedule crashed and burned, is it?

But, out of all the original programs that premiered on the major networks after the completion of the fall 2008 season, not a single one got traction.

According to analysis reports, you can take your pick from any of the following shows: Defying Gravity, The Superstars, The Listener, Mental, The Philanthropist, Hitched or Ditched, Merlin and Great American Road Trip. All of them bombed -- each hovering just above a one market share.

In fact, you don't need numbers to prove that the fall crop crapped out. Ask your friend what his/her favorite summer replacement show was. You'll be waiting awhile.

The good news for scripted TV fans is that, while the one-hour dramas failed this summer, new reality shows didn't fair much better. When a scripted show tanks, a network loses money. A network that loses money will be tempted to spend less money in the future -- perhaps producing more cheaper reality shows.

But that safe haven is drying up, too. The only real option for networks desperate for hits looks like producing better scripted entertainment.

Wouldn't that be revolutionary?

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Merlin is a GREAT show and needs to be rerun in the fall and new shows ordered; same for Philanthropist, and Mental. So many great shows haven't made it: Journeyman, Life on Mars, and what a shame. Maybe the networks will take a clue from Medium and move to another channel like CBS had the courage. Ultimately maybe these worthy shows could be moved to cable where the most wonderful show of all resides: Royal Pains. This summer was enjoyable in great part because of this show; although I think we can lose Jill and get another love interest. PS I just found Hulu to see the pilot of Glee. What a great website.

August 26 2009 at 8:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

TV Squad omitted cable programming. BBCA-Being Human, Showtime-Nurse Jackie, HBO-Hung, all good shows for this viewer. As for Defying Gravity, ABC didn't promote the show during the Spring season. It's a shame ABC cancelled the show, I watched two episodes on Hulu- decent writing and acting.

August 23 2009 at 9:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's only going to get worse for the networks. With the extinction of analog there really aren't any "true" non cable shows or programming.
Not to mention the fact the networks cut their own throats by treating the viewers like #^@* and wanting instantneous results in ratings. If they could tell a show was crap in just one episode they knew it was crap before they even put it on the air.

August 23 2009 at 12:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

its sad because defying gravity is a really good show and i really like the concept. the only problem is that the only reason i know about the show is because of a comment a friend of mine made, then when i looked at the promo material i was still uninterested. however i still watched an episode and was hooked. i hope it stays around.

August 21 2009 at 2:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yes, cable shows have been far superior to network stuff this summer, with the exception of Defying Gravity (SOOOO much better than Virtuality!). However, I discovered both Kings (now canceled, unless cable quite intelligently picks it up) and Defying Gravity by accident. Both are very well written and well cast, yet woefully underpromoted. I found Defying Gravity by skimming thru the TV Guide print listings for next Sunday, for heaven's sake! Why aren't they advertising that on SyFy (HATE that spelling!) or on HBO after, say, an episode of True Blood??? The sci-fi audience is the natural base viewership for Defying Gravity and somebody at ABC must know that. Shouldn't they? Or am I being too logical for Hollywood??

On the other hand, cable ain't perfect, either: how many more witless fake wrestling shows must we endure because USA Network is too cheap to develop more than a tiny handful of series? And why dump even more of them on Sci-Fi -- whoops! Sorry, but I'm literate -- SyFy channel, anyway?? Considering the big increase in female viewership that resulted from Battlestar Galactica's reinvention, you'd think the dorks at the helm of USA Network and SyFy would have learned by now that most women aren't stupid enough to watch 'pro' wrestling (save that for Spike, you ninnies!) and would rather see better programming. Like more successors worthy of BSG's audience or, for that matter, Eureka's.

I'm also morbidly fascinated (as one would be by driving past the site of a gory multivehicle collision that could have been avoided) that ABC and the show's developers decided to take the imaginative novel FlashForward by Canadian author Robert J. Sawyer and **completely** ignore all of the characters and, apparently, much of the plot he developed in that book. Instead of the action being anchored at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the show's developers have instead brought the focus back to the U.S. and to American characters rather than the international figures and backdrop the book describes. They've taken the merest wisp of Sawyer's plot and turned it into yet another cop show with a slightly different back history. How inane is *that*? Oh, and heaven forbid that a TV show for the U.S. market have a Canadian protagonist ...

Yes, everyone wants to know if what they saw during the flashforward will really happen, or if the future can always be altered by our decisions -- but the impetus to start gathering all those visions into a database was begun in the book at CERN by one of the two principal investigators whose experiment apparently triggered the unexpected event. Yet there's no hint of any physicists so far in the cast for FlashForward. What, the viewers are supposed to be able to relate more easily to FBI agents than to scientists?? Like most of us are acquainted with ***either,*** truth be told? Dream on. and stop insulting the viewership, you nits.

Having said all that, I wish the season for both Eureka and Royal Pains was longer. Ditto The Closer, Saving Grace, and In Plain Sight, and Burn Notice (Warehouse 13? Ehhhhhh; like the cast, hate the writing. I'm still in BSG Certainly, Eureka's proved itself by now and deserves a full 40-week season per broadcast 'year' -- and when, exactly, did broadcasters start cutting down the number of weeks that make up a TV 'season' before a show goes into reruns?? I KNOW they're cheap, but really now ...

August 20 2009 at 5:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David Simkins

Really? The entire summer TV schedule?


Warehouse 13 is #1 New Series Tuesday Nights

Fourth Episode "Claudia" Sets Series Highs in Total Viewers, Adults 25-54, Adults 18-49 and HH Rating

New York, NY - August 17, 2009 - Syfy's hit sensation Warehouse 13 continues to break new ground as the number one new series on Tuesdays this summer for Adults 25-54. The smash hit broke Channel records when the fourth episode on Tuesday, July 28 at 9PM (ET/PT) delivered the most Females (1.9 million) of any series telecast in Syfy's 17-year history.

The breakout dramedy garnered new series high across all measures with the final performance of the fourth episode entitled "Claudia," featuring Allison Scagliotti as the newest team member. Including Live + 7 data, the one-hour episode delivered a 3.0 Household rating, 4.2 million total viewers, 2.3 million Adults 25-54 and 1.8 million Adults 18-49.

The July 28 episode of Warehouse 13 added just under 900,000 total viewers (896,000) from additional DVR playback, including 516,000 Adults 25-54 and 412,000 Adults 18-49.

The "Claudia" episode is now Syfy's second most-watched original series telecast ever, trailing the series premiere of Stargate Atlantis (7/16/04) by a mere 14,000 impressions.

Among Adults 25-54, this is the network's #3 all-time original series telecast, after the Stargate Atlantis premiere (7/16/04) and the 2/4/05 episode of Battlestar Galactica.

Warehouse 13's gender-balanced audience (55% Male/45% Female) resulted in 1.9 million total Female viewers for the episode - the most female viewers to ever watch any series telecast on Syfy.

With 1.04 million Female 25-54 viewers, the fourth episode of Warehouse 13 is the first Syfy scripted series telecast to ever deliver over 1 million Female in this demo.

Warehouse 13 follows two Secret Service agents who find themselves abruptly transferred to a massive, top-secret storage facility in windswept South Dakota which houses every strange artifact, mysterious relic, fantastical object and supernatural souvenir ever collected by the U.S. government. The Warehouse's caretaker Artie (Saul Rubinek) charges Pete (Eddie McClintock) and Myka (Joanne Kelly) with chasing down reports of supernatural and paranormal activity in search of new objects to cache at the Warehouse, as well as helping him to control the warehouse itself. Warehouse 13 airs Tuesdays @ 9pm ET/PT only on Syfy.

The series is produced for Syfy by Universal Cable Productions. It is executive produced by Jack Kenny (The Book of Daniel) who also serves as showrunner. David Simkins (Dresden Files) is executive producer; and Stephen Surjik (Monk, Burn Notice) is producer/director of the series.

UNIVERSAL CABLE PRODUCTIONS was established to create a sustainable pipeline of quality content and derive the greatest value from it across multiple platforms. The studio will be an industry leader in unique and innovative programming for USA and Syfy, and all cable networks.

Syfy is a media destination for imagination-based entertainment. With year round acclaimed original series, events, blockbuster movies, classic science fiction and fantasy programming, a dynamic Web site (www.Syfy.com), and a portfolio of adjacent business (Syfy Ventures), Syfy is a passport to limitless possibilities. Originally launched in 1992 as SCI FI Channel, and currently in 95 million homes, Syfy is a network of NBC Universal, one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies. (Syfy. Imagine greater.)"



Michelle Rosenblatt (212)664-4759 michelle.rosenblatt@nbcuni.com

August 18 2009 at 10:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Daune Calovini

No one else may be watching, but I've enjoyed a few network shows this summer (not to mention loving some cable shows). My favorite is probably Mental. I like The Philanthropist and The Listener, too.

And, our family is watching The Superstars, Wipe out and Great American Road Trip for fun. Three year olds mean you need some mindless fun on in the background, while you're staging Great Adventures battles or working puzzles. I particularly liked Great American Road Trip, just because that's something I'd like to do in life.

August 18 2009 at 7:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Wipeout" is just plain fun to watch. "I Survived a Japanese Game Show" - now over - was fun to watch after some fast-forwarding. "Leverage" is MUCH WORSE this season than it's first one, WTH happened ?! "Warehouse 13" and "Eureka" are scifi disappointments, they're basically just girl-empowerment shows now.

Overall, summer programming was a FAIL.

August 17 2009 at 2:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I didn't like Merlin at all and thought the special effects stunk. Defying Gravity, however, has great special effects and a decent storyline! That's been my favorite outside the cable channels. Mad Men, of course, rules there!

August 17 2009 at 1:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would like to direct this comment at "Mike" who was saying there is no easy way to keep track of new or upcoming shows. I don't Twitter either, but Zap2it.com and tvguide.com have calendars listing all the summer show premieres, as well as all the fall show premieres.

August 17 2009 at 1:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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