The move from American Idol's traditional Tuesday/Wednesday timeslots to Wednesday/Thursday next spring likely has a few other network schedulers working overtime this weekend.
Who are the likely winners and losers from the move?
Let's start with the assumption that everyone expected American Idol to air in the same timeslots that it occupied most of last spring (Tuesday 8-10, Wednesday 9-10).
With American Idol moving primarily to Wednesday 8-9:30/10, and Thursday 8-9 these these timeslots have gotten easier/harder for the competition*:
MUCH Easier: Tuesday (9-10) A Fox rookie and a brand new comedy are barely a ratings flea compared to the elephantine ratings competition from Idol.
- Shows to benefit: DWTS results (ABC), NCIS:LA (CBS), Biggest Loser (NBC), ? (CW).
Easier: Tuesday (8-9pm) Likely one reason Idol could make the move is that Glee has done so well Tuesday 8-9. But facing Glee is still almost certainly easier than facing American Idol.
- Shows to benefit: NCIS (CBS), No Ordinary Family (ABC), Biggest Loser (NBC), One Tree Hill (CW).
Easier In Late Spring: Wednesday (9:30-10) Idol turns the half hour over to the new Christian Slater comedy Breaking In in April.
- Shows to benefit: Cougar Town (ABC) will likely see the biggest benefit, hour long shows will likely see less benefit: America's Next Great Restaurant (NBC), Criminal Minds (CBS), Hellcats (CW).
No change: Wednesday (9-9:30) While it will be the performance show vs. the results show, the effect on this half hour is likely to be similar.
- Shows not affected: Modern Family (ABC)
Harder: Wednesday (8-9) Assuming that Glee would have been here otherwise, the competition is harder, but how much harder is up for debate.
- Shows to be penalized: Minute To Win It (NBC), Survivor (CBS), The Middle (ABC), America's Next Top Model (CW), Better With You (ABC).
MUCH Harder: Thursday (8-9) The difference between what Idol will draw in this hour vs. Bones is likely the biggest difference on the schedule.
- Shows to be penalized: Community (NBC), Perfect Couples (NBC), Big Bang Theory (CBS), $#*! My Dad Says (CBS), The Vampire Diaries (CW), ? (ABC)
Conclusions: Which shows are affected are pretty obvious, although the magnitudes of the gains/losses remain to be seen, on a network by network basis there are some interesting effects.
- The CW looks to be the big loser if they keep their existing schedule intact. The timeslot with the most benefit (Tues 9-10) was likely to be filled either by a new show, repeats or reality. And their top rated show (Vampire Diaries) would go head to head with Idol. For a network that seems to maneuver its entire schedule to keep shows they care about away from American Idol, I'd expect several changes when their spring schedule is announced. Nikita to 8pm Thursday, Vampire Diaries to 9pm seems like a good bet.
The other 3 broadcast competitors get both pluses and minuses.
- I wouldn't expect CBS to make major changes, they're likely just to stand pat.
- My guess is that NBC keeps its announced schedule intact as well since any move to the easier Tuesday timeslots is effectively impossible with the 2 hour Biggest Loser.
- I can see ABC now choosing to put a reality or throwaway scripted show at 8pm Thursday. Might they move No Ordinary Family there? I can see them moving the DWTS results show to 8pm Tuesday and debuting a new drama at 9pm Tuesday.
*NBC has already announced its spring schedule, other network's schedules are assumed to be the same as their Fall schedules (which is the best possible guess at this point).