Sunday Night: Broadcasters Stood Pat; While Desperate Housewives, Brothers & Sisters Weakened Badly

Categories: Broadcast TV,Fall 2009 TV Schedule

Written By

March 27th, 2010

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In my original "what's going to happen on Sunday" post last fall, I noted that it was the night that the fewest changes would be made for the 2009-2010 broadcast season (other than moribund Saturday).

Unfortunately for ABC, their late Sunday shows (Makeover, Desperate Housewives, Brothers & Sisters) weakened badly this season, and perhaps more moves for them would have been in order.

For  CBS, their 9-11pm hours failed in the fall as badly as any in their schedule, as Three Rivers crashed quickly, and at 10pm Cold Case wilted. The arrival of Undercover Boss (6.0 season to date 18-49 rating) was just what the doctor ordered for them. NBC had a nice Fall as Sunday Night Football broke records, while Fox's Sunday night stayed strong as The Cleveland Show took over for King Of The Hill without a hiccup.

The content of my original post from 9/13/09 is below with new additions in red:

Very little has changed on Sunday nights this fall in the broadcast network lineups, the only new additions being CBS' Three Rivers and Fox's The Cleveland Show, and because of that I'd expect this fall's ratings to look a lot like last fall's.

There is one major change for the CW in that it will no longer be programming Sunday nights on a network basis after September 27, but that will likely have little effect on the rest of the broadcast competition. The CW hasn't put anything even marginally successful on Sunday nights for several years.

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 Sunday night look ahead for the 2009-10 season, check out 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.

7:00 (not much change, a few football related increases)

America's Funniest Home Videos (ABC), 2.2 18-49 demo rating (2.0 rating to date this season)

60 Minutes (CBS), 2.7 18-49 demo rating (2.6 rating to date this season)

The OT (Fox), 4.4 18-49 demo rating (5.0 rating to date this season)

Football Night In America (NBC), 4.2 demo rating (7-8:30pm) (4.9 rating to date this season)

8:00 (Amazing Race, Simpsons improve as Extreme Makeover falls almost 20%)

Extreme Makeover Home Edition (ABC), 3.3 18-49 demo rating (2.7 rating to date this season)

The Amazing Race (CBS), 3.2 18-49 demo rating (3.4 rating in Fall '09)

The Simpsons (Fox),  3.1 demo rating (3.3 rating to date this season)

8:30 (Cleveland solid, Football scores big)

The Cleveland Show (Fox), New (3.0 rating to date this season)

Sunday Night Football (NBC), 6.5 demo rating (8:30-11pm) (7.2 rating to date this season)

9:00 (Housewives dives, Three Rivers fails, Family Guy steady )

Desperate Housewives (ABC), 5.2 demo rating (4.4 rating to date this season)

Three Rivers (CBS) New (canceled with a 1.8 rating to date this season)

Family Guy (Fox), 3.5 demo rating (3.6 rating to date this season)

9:30 (American Dad steady)

American Dad (Fox), 2.7 demo rating (2.7 rating to date this season)

10:00 (Brothers & Sisters suffers with Housewives, 10pm hour chills Cold Case)

Brothers & Sisters (ABC), 3.4 demo rating (3.0 rating to date this season)

Cold Case (CBS), 2.6 demo rating (2.0 rating to date this season)

My Guess

Football makes this by far NBC's strongest night of the season, and, like always, they should be the overall adults 18-49 winners. Again, as before, I'd expect ABC's line up to win with women 18-49, and Fox's line up to be competitive in adults 18-49 and particularly strong in the adults 18-34 demo ratings. This is CBS' relatively weakest lineup of the week, but every other Sunday in the fall when they get the late afternoon NFL national game a football overrun into primetime can always boost them into second place for the night. Their Sunday NFL motto might as well be "Play for overtime!".

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.

 
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