Last fall, Monday night started as one of the most competitive nights on broadcast television, and it looks to be again between CBS, Fox and ABC. NBC's down for the count.
Below are the hourly lineups, including each shows 18-49 demo rating average (which includes in-slot repeats) from the 2008-9 season as well as my guesses for the fall nightly overall results.
If you enjoyed the Monday night look ahead for the 2009-10 season, check out Sunday's, Friday's, Thursday's, Wednesday's and Tuesday's. For those fans of ABC College Football and Fox's Cops and America's Most Wanted, no, there won't be a Saturday preview.
Dancing With the Stars (ABC), 4.6 18-49 demo rating (8-10p)
How I Met Your Mother (CBS), 3.6 demo rating
House (Fox), 4.7 demo rating
Heroes (NBC), 3.6 demo rating
One Tree Hill (CW), 1.1 demo rating
Accidentally On Purpose (CBS), New
Two And A Half Men (CBS) 4.7 demo rating
Lie To Me (Fox), 3.4 demo rating
Trauma (NBC), New
Gossip Girl (CW), 1.1 demo rating
Big Bang Theory (CBS), 3.5 demo rating
Castle (ABC), 2.4 demo rating
CSI Miami (CBS), 3.7 demo rating
The Jay Leno Show (NBC), New, Fall 2009 Tonight Show averaged about a 1.4-1.5 demo rating
I think just above an overall 4.0 adults 18-49 demo wins the night in the fall.
CBS and Fox look to be neck and neck at the top. The difference hinges on how well Lie To Me holds up at 9pm. It's half of Fox's average for the night. CBS' only newcomer Accidentally on Purpose accounts for only 1/6 of CBS' average for the night. It would really have to go really big or crash to have a major impact. ABC looks to be a close third. Anything more than a 3.0 demo rating average from Castle and ABC may be contending.
NBC's looking at a distant fourth. Heroes slid during all of last season and looks unlikely to reach back to its average from last year. Launching Trauma after it will be very difficult, and The Jay Leno show will dampen the averages. With just timeslot rearrangement of One Tree Hill and Gossip Girl, the CW looks to get about the results they had last season.
Note: I make all my guesses completely unburdened by having read any reviews of any of the new shows, having seen any of the pilots, or knowing any more than the most casual details of their subject matter. Does that make mine better or worse than the typical TV writer which focuses almost solely on those? Your mileage may vary.
Fox caveat: Regardless of their other shows, the outcome of the major league baseball playoffs can make or break Fox's fall averages. If they get long series with good matchups their overall season averages benefit tremendously. If they get short series with bad matchups, they'll suffer.