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July 07, 2008

Report: 'Fringe,' 'Eleventh Hour' will lead fall shows

Fox's J.J. Abrams' thriller "Fringe" and CBS' Jerry Bruckheimer procedural drama "Eleventh Hour" will be the highest-rated new shows, while NBC's "Kath & Kim" and CBS' "Worst Week" will prove to be weak links in their respective comedy blocks.

That's according to an annual television report by Horizon Media that includes speculative estimates of how every broadcast show will fare in the fall.

The analysis contained some expected claims -- that established hits as ABC's "Grey's Anatomy," NBC's "Heroes" and CBS' "Survivor" will continue to rule their time periods.

But there also were some surprises, with the report suggesting that a certain network will overthrow CBS on Fridays and that one under-the-radar sitcom will break out. How CW's "90210," NBC's "Knight Rider" and others are expected to perform this fall are after the jump.

In general, the report was skeptical about how new shows in general would stack up against competitors; not one new show is expected to win its time period in the adults 18-49 demographic.

After “Eleventh” and “Fringe,” Horizon had David E. Kelley’s upcoming drama “Life on Mars” as the third-highest-rated new show, yet it also expects “Mars” to continue ABC’s streak of coming in last place at 10 p.m. Thursdays despite its “Grey’s” lead-in.

The CW’s “90210” is expected to outshine the network’s current buzz-heavy “Gossip Girl,” but not break the network into a new ratings stratosphere.

Tuesday night’s new unscripted shows — NBC’s documentary series “America’s Toughest Jobs” and ABC’s Tuesday night game show “Opportunity Knocks” — are expected to come in last place in their respective time periods among the major networks. The study likewise suggested that CBS’ new strategy of opening
Wednesday night with a comedy hour featuring “The New Adventures of Old Christine” and “Project Gary” will have a rough time.

The report gave unexpectedly high marks to Fox’s sitcom “Do Not Disturb,” however, expecting the show to build greatly on its weak “ ’Til Death” lead-in Wednesday nights.

With ABC shifting reality veterans “Wife Swap” and “Supernanny” to Fridays in the fall, the report speculated that the network will take control of the evening from longtime winner CBS. Although CBS’ “Ghost Whisperer” and “Numbers” are expected to win their time periods (including besting NBC’s new drama “Crusoe”), the report has ABC’s “Supernanny” trouncing the new drama “The Ex List” in the former “Moonlight” slot to tip the scale.

Rounding out the fall freshman shows, Horizon predicts that CBS’ “The Mentalist,” NBC’s “My Own Worst Enemy” and the CW’s “Stylista” to perform solidly but has low expectations for NBC’s “Knight Rider” and the CW’s “Surviving the Filthy Rich.”

UPDATE: Checking out the 2007 Horizon Media report, the ad buying agency’s predictive track record last year was impressive overall: Now-canceled shows such as Fox’s “K-Vile,” “New Amsterdam” and “Back to You” and CBS’ “Cane” and “Viva Laughlin” and NBC's "Life" and "Journeyman" were predicted to lose their time periods in the demo against major competitors. Yet ABC’s returning “Pushing Daisies” and “Private Practice” were expected to win their slots. Slips: CBS’ “Moonlight” was thought to become CBS’ highest-rated show on Fridays, Fox’s renewed “Kitchen Nightmares” was foretold to perform at CW-like levels and ABC's "Carpoolers" was expected to shine. Keep in mind, such early forecasts cannot take into account how a show's quality evolves after its pilot episode. 


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