14 August 2007

Fall TV 2007: Wednesdays

So where will you tune to Wednesday Nights?

8-9 p.m.

No new series this fall has garnered more early critical acclaim than "Pushing Daisies," a forensic fairly tale that looks like nothing else on television. In a perfect world for ABC, this would become the procedural hit it's been seeking while also generating the kind of buzz that also accompanies its biggest hits.

Strongest competish for "Daisies" figures to come in the opening half-hour from Fox's "Back to You," the kind of traditional laffer that would really percolate in CBS' Monday lineup, but is asked to pull off yeoman's duty here for Fox. "Til Death," while not a great show, is a good choice for the 8:30 slot, and should be able to hold onto much of its lead-in.

At CBS, "Kid Nation" will garner some press for its premise of letting kids aged 8-15 take over a New Mexico town without adult supervision. It's tough watching 10-year-olds on television doing anything but enjoying themselves (see Fox's fun "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?"), so this may prove uncomfortable for auds. It's also not your typical elimination-style reality contest, so it's tough to imagine that the show's best numbers won't come in week 1.

CW's "America's Next Top Model" should remain the hour's leader in adults 18-34 as it kicks off its ninth cycle, while the available remaining aud will go to Mandel's gamer "Deal or No Deal." Latter, which seemed to lose some steam as last season wore on, moves over from Monday night and could be formidable if the timeslot's new shows fail to catch on.

9-10 p.m.

This is one of fall's most interesting hours, with femme-fronted drama entries bowing on ABC ("Private Practice"), NBC ("Bionic Woman") and CW ("Gossip Girl"). Each also has name recognition with auds, but clearly all three can't work in the same hour.

CBS' mainstream "Criminal Minds," which does decently among men, could benefit in such a femme-focused hour. Same could hold true for Fox's unscripted "Kitchen Nightmares" (not available for review), a spinoff of its summer smash "Hell's Kitchen."

10-11 p.m.

"CSI: NY" is the last and least of the Eye's "CSI" franchise, but it should have enough to hold off a pair of shaky rookies in ABC's "Dirty Sexy Money" and NBC's "Life."

Bottom line

ABC and CBS should be in a tight battle for the night's 18-49 lead for fall, while NBC looks to be in for a rough ride.


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