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Three-Way Scripted TV Battle: How Unusual Is THAT?
February 4, 2009  | By David Bianculli
Life-generic.jpgTonight at 9 ET, there's a new episode of ABC's Lost, a series so good, and so exciting, I have to watch it as it airs.

But also, at the same time, are new episodes of two other shows I record, and watch, just as faithfully: NBC's returning Life and Fox's new Lie to Me. That's three entertaining scripted shows in the same time slot on broadcast TV.

How wonderful is that? Very.

How rare as that? Not as rare as you might think.

Not as rare as I thought, anyway.

lost-09-F04-kate.jpgTaking cable out of the equation, watch this. Or, to be more specific, watch these:

MONDAYS. In the opening hour of prime time, we have House on Fox, Chuck on NBC, and The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother on CBS. At 9 ET, we have 24 on Fox, Heroes on NBC, and Two and a Half Men on CBS. All good shows. All of them scripted.

TUESDAYS. In the middle hour of prime time, ABC serves up double episodes of Scrubs, while CBS has The Mentalist and Fox has Fringe.


WEDNESDAYS. Already covered. Lost, Lie to Me and Life -- all "L" shows, and all shows I have on my weekly viewing list.

THURSDAYS. The opening hour is kind of nuts. Though ABC's Ugly Betty has slipped a little, I still watch it, and NBC's My Name Is Earl, each week. I'm also a sucker for CW's Smallville, while Fox's Bones, a recent transplant to this night, is my new favorite in the time slot. Then, at 9 ET, you have NBC's The Office and 30 Rock, CBS's CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and though I've all but given up on it this year, ABC's Grey's Anatomy.

Pretty surprising. Actually, in this era of reality TV, pretty amazing...




Patrick said:

I know its not part of this blog, but I bumped into watching Leverage last night. After Fringe, I enjoyed the lighthearted show and would like your take on it. It seems like it could get good. ("Leverage," I like. The tone is right, the twists are rather clever, and the characters are a bit different. -- David B.)

Comment posted on February 4, 2009 11:08 AM

Davey said:

What I keep wondering about is this: With maybe a dozen scripted shows worth watching, why do the networks schedule those precious few to compete with one another? I do understand competitiveness, but why not schedule so that those of us with no interest in American Idol-style trash have more alternatives without fiddling with their VCRs and DVRs?

Seems to me the networks would get higher ratings for their most expensive shows if they scheduled to maximize their own audiences instead of trying to go head-to-head against the competition. This isn't a baseball game.

So tonight I'll be watching Lost (the title of which now generously includes the audience) and probably recording Life. Trying to jigger the VCR to work with the cable box is more trouble than it's worth so I'll again go without sampling the much-touted Lie to Me. So how is that to Fox's advantage?

Comment posted on February 4, 2009 12:38 PM

giggles said:

Well, it IS sweeps month, yes?

I have never understood why the networks always pit really good shows against each other? To my way of thinking, it makes much more sense to put a really good show against a really bad one, to squeeze the bad ones out all that much faster.... What do I not understand? (The funny thing is, it's NOT a sweeps month, technically -- because there was so much worry about confusion caused by the transfer to all-digital TV, sweeps were postponed this year until March. -- David B.)

Comment posted on February 4, 2009 2:47 PM

giggles said:

Sweeps? Ooooooooooops.... well, I 'm definately NOT in the know... However, I find it (at least) gratifying and intriguing that Davey had the same observation as I did about the better shows.... What gives?! I would love to understand the logic....

Comment posted on February 7, 2009 4:21 PM
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