May 13, 2011


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Written by: Mitch Salem
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Welcome to ShowbuzzDaily’s coverage of the upcoming TV schedules for the 2011/12 TV season!  Above you see our guide to what to expect on Tuesday nights this Fall:  the numbers are our projected Adults 18-49 ratings for each show; the capitalized titles are the new shows; and italics are for shows changing their time slots.  Here’s our analysis of what will really be going on behind the numbers:

We expect NBC to be very aggressive on Tuesdays.  As on Monday, they should have their new hit THE VOICE to start off the night.  We think they’ll follow it with the show that seems to be their #1 priority for Fall, SMASH. This is the story of the making of a Broadway musical, with Debra Messing as the composer of the show-within-the-show.  It will feature original songs by the real composer, HAIRSPRAY’s Marc Shaiman; the pilot has also reportedly received the hands-on attention of Executive Producer Steven Spielberg.   With all that, and despite the huge success of GLEE, this is a risky project, and we’re dubious that a musical without the relatable setting of high school can find the same wide audience.  At 10PM, the American version of the classic British cop show PRIME SUSPECT (with Maria Bello in Helen Mirren’s iconic role) could work for part of the SMASH audience, but will have a hard time against THE GOOD WIFE.  Overall, we see the night as a mixed bag for the network–but all that will change if SMASH lives up to its title.
ABC starts out strongly on Tuesdays with the DANCING WITH THE STARS RESULTS, but hasn’t been able to hold that audience.  We think they’ll use that platform to launch their most prominent new sitcom, the TIM ALLEN PROJECT.  Reports are that it’s catnip for his fans, and 9PM is his old HOME IMPROVEMENT timeslot.  The network will follow it with one of their other buzzed-about comedies, SMOTHERED, which has an ensemble of good older actors (Marcia Gay Harden, Adam Arkin, Julie White, John C McGinley) as grandparents trying to get along.  That comfortable, older demo could flow to the new drama PAN AM at 10PM, which is set in the 1960s and will try to tap the appeal of MAD MEN in a more populist way.  That may or may not work, but as long as Allen delivers the goods earlier in the evening, the network should have a nice uptick for the night.
FOX did OK with RAISING HOPE in the post-GLEE slot this year, but it didn’t set the schedule on fire, and the shows that ran after itt (RUNNING WILDE and TRAFFIC LIGHTS) both flopped.  We think they’ll hold HOPE for later in the season and try to use GLEE to launch their 2 hottest new comedies.  First is THE NEW GIRL, featuring the series debut of indie-goddess Zooey Deschanel as a woman sharing an apartment with the usual assortment of mismatched roommates.  Following that:  the eye-catchingly titled I HATE MY TEENAGE DAUGHTER, starring Jaime Pressley as a mom horrified to realize that her own daughter is just like the mean girls who used to terrorize her in school  These 2 have a real shot of elevating the network’s Tuesday performance.
The CW is returning ONE TREE HILL to the air, which does a comfortable if unexciting number for them.  It should pair with the new HART OF DIXIE, from the producer of GOSSIP GIRL and before that THE OC, and not incidentally featuring OC’s Rachel Bilson in a NORTHERN EXPOSURE type light drama, playing a NY doctor who moves to the deep, and eccentric, South.  Its success will depend on the charm it can reliably deliver.
CBS wins the night with its pair of NCIS shows followed by its most acclaimed (if not most watched) show THE GOOD WIFE, and will keep them in place.
Be sure to follow ShowbuzzDaily all through Upfront week:  we’ll cover the actual network schedules as soon as they’re announced, with our own brand of instant expert analysis… and stay tuned for reviews of the shows you’ll be watching (or not) in the fall!

WANT MORE?  Click on any link below to read predictions for another night:

MON     TUE     WED     THU     FRI     SAT     SUN

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."