ETA - scratch the below, FOX is programming House on Tuesdays at 8pm... that's clearly the winner. Any time the below says "win" it now means "second place" ;)
The CW will win the Tuesday 8pm timeslot in the A18-49 demo this fall. For at least one night. Or at least be extremely close.
Please note, this prediction is not taking into consideration the possibility that 90210 will premiere before the other networks premiere their programming.
Why? Here's why.
The competition in the fall is weak. Yes, Idol changes the game in January (though, as many have pointed out with the ratings decline... the time to program aggressively against Idol has come... you won't win, but it doesn't have to be total annihilation). But consider:
- ABC has an untested reality/game show. DWTS doesn't get much more than a 4.0 on that night... this is going to approach that? Hey, I'll eat my words, but... I don't think so. Deal or No Deal is way down... the new wave game show semi-bubble has burst.
- CBS has NCIS. There's no audience shared there. NCIS will almost certainly win in viewers, but with a demo that will be in the low-to-mid 3s.
- NBC has The Biggest Loser. The show has gained momentum this season in the ratings... but it's still, like NCIS, low-to-mid 3s.
- FOX has Bones (or so I'm presuming), a show, again, with low-to-mid 3s.
Now, you're thinking... The CW has never rated higher than a 3.0 in the demo (IIRC, the Cycles 7/8 ANTM finales). What makes Travis think that 90210 is going to rate higher than the above shows, which typically rate a little bit more than what The CW's highest rated airing put up?
The CW has nothing else to promote over the next 3-4 months. There are only two other shows premiering: Surviving the Filthy Rich, the initial success of which is entirely dependent on the 90210 lead-in, and Stylista, which airs out of Top Model. 90210 is make-or-break for CW. Literally. Its failure would destroy the network. So where are all of CW's marketing eggs going to go, hm?
So... 90210 is going to open big. Admit it. You're curious about the new show. Whether you were a fan of the old series (at any point in time, not just at the end of its run)... you're curious. Even if not, you're curious.
90210 does not have to be the best show ever. The original was trashy, fun television. That's the only expectation this series needs to live up to. It doesn't have to be, say, Lost in terms of OMFG quality. But it has to not suck (and unless it doesn't translate from page to screen the way I suspect it will... it's not going to suck). It probably won't be OMFG awesome enough to keep what I think is going to be a timeslot winning premiere audience... but it's going to be competitive.
With its scheduling of 90210 on Tuesdays at 8pm... I think CW has, at long last, done something truly smart.