Is the New TV Season DOA?

TV critic Tim Goodman of the San Francisco Chronicle thinks so:

NBC's "Chuck" and "Life" haven't exactly lit up the Nielsens – so much for all that Olympics hype – and ABC's entire Wednesday night line-up, from "Pushing Daisies" to "Private Practice" to "Dirty Sexy Money" was essentially DOA when it premiered last week. If it doesn't improve
substantially tonight – and odds are that it won't – ABC is going to be forced to either cancel series or drastically alter its schedule. That's not what you want to hear with the opening bell of the fall season still ringing faintly in everyone's ears.

Poor "Pushing Daisies" did horribly last week – laid out even by the dreadful "Knight Rider," which shouldn't even be on television. And the network can't claim one
of their favorite excuses – less people are watching television – since
more than 70 million watched the vice presidential debate last week.
The people are out there. Thanks to the financial crises cratering our
economy, those people are even at home. They're sitting right there! On
the couch! But guess what? They don't like the network leftovers. Hell,
they don't even like former hits, like "Heroes." The trajectory of that series? Down. How far down? Down.

James Poniewozik of Time Magazine agrees with him.

So we've pretty much established that nobody's watching anything this season.
New shows are middling at best in the ratings, relaunched shows like
Chuck and ABC's Wednesday have cratered—even hits like House and Grey's
are not doing so hot.

[…]The conclusion? After the writers' strike, viewers didn't want a
"do-over." They wanted a clean slate. They wanted to forget most of
what they were watching before and see something brand-new, that would
remind them why they missed TV. They still want brand new. And it looks
like they will end this season still waiting for brand-new.

Speaking of "brand new," I saw MY OWN WORST ENEMY and thought it was a great pilot. I have no idea how they are going to pull it off as a series, but at least it wasn't a re-tread of a 1970s show, or a remake of a British program, or another grim procedural.

10 thoughts on “Is the New TV Season DOA?”

  1. I confess, I haven’t seen a lot worth repeating. LIFE ON MARS has an interesting, if overly-contrived premise, but the show seems set up for a single-season run.
    GRAY’S ANATOMY? That the season opener started in a winter ice storm was bad enough, but it was downhill from there. Move over, Fonz, someone else is taking a run at the shark tank.
    Honestly, the best thing I saw on TV in the past month was The Jack Benny Show…

  2. I recall a couple years ago that I had watched I think 2 episodes of a show that I really thought was funny, and I heard that it had been cancelled. After two episodes!!! Never again will a network let a show build a following. That’s sad. I’m glad USA gave Monk a change. It seems to be a healty show, given time and a chance to show the pubic what it could do.

  3. I enjoy watching Chuck. Yes, it’s silly, but I love the inside jokes that they don’t explain. You either get the Thunderdome reference or you don’t. This is geek heaven.
    PK the Bookeemonster

  4. I, for one, seem to be watching more than ever. I think I counted, and I’m at 19 hours a week. So, while a couple canceled shows wouldn’t hurt my schedule, I don’t want anything to go.
    And I am crushed that Chuck and Pushing Daisies are doing so poorly. I have been counting down for months until they came back.

    I pitched a similar project a dozen years ago called MY SECRET LIFE (which was TRUE LIES meets MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE) as a Michael Dudikoff vehicle… they went with something less interesting about bounty hunters instead.
    So, if people aren’t watching TV and are broke due to the economy, what *are* they doing?
    – Bill

  6. I can tell you one reason my wife and I don’t watch much television any more, at least in the traditional sense: NetFlix. I’ve come to realize in just the past few months how drastically the NetFlix unlimited download option has changed our television habits. Before, we were bound by the TV schedule and we were inundated with commercials. Now, we can watch most new and many old TV shows, along with a wide variety of movies, whenever we feel like it and WITHOUT COMMERCIAL INTERRUPTIONS. And if Netflix doesn’t have episodes of shows we want to watch, most likely, and the networks’ own websites have them. Does this development excuse the tripe that the networks are foisting upon us these days? Of course not. I agree that a retread of a bad show like KNIGHT RIDER should never have been made; its existence, and the existence of ALL reality television, is damning proof of the downright disrespect some producers and web execs have for their audience. Bottom line however, is that even though there are gems out there (30 ROCK, THE OFFICE, HOUSE, LOST, THE SIMPSONS and BOSTON LEGAL rank among our personal favorites), thanks to Netflix and the other online TV websites, we can watch them when and how we want to.
    Mark D. Little

  7. “So, if people aren’t watching TV and are broke due to the economy, what *are* they doing? ”
    Hopefully, they are reading my books! 🙂

  8. It’s possible I’m being naive about this, but –
    Might the people sitting in front of the TVs watching the debates be watching reportage and editorial about politics and money these last couple weeks instead?
    I know it’s not the norm for people to watch that much news and factual stuff, but might we be living in exceptional times? Certainly, from the outside, those seem to be the dominant topics…


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