Series to star in Nov. sweeps
Fewer stunts and specials set as nets try to hook audiences on regular core fare
By Joe Schlosser -- Broadcasting & Cable, 10/28/2001 7:00:00 PM
There will be some of the usual sweeps fanfare with big-name concerts, miniseries and movies across all of the networks, but, for the most part, the 2001 November sweeps (Nov. 1-28) will be filled with original episodes of regular series. The networks are hoping to get viewers attached to the comedies and dramas that will be on their schedules beyond just the month of November.
"The November sweeps is always the odd book because you want to do as well as you can but really what you have to do is reinforce shows that are still early on in their lives," says Jeff Bader, ABC Entertainment's executive vice president. "You want to preempt to enhance your schedule where you can, but you don't want to preempt if it's going to hurt the longevity of a series."
Says Mitch Metcalf, NBC's senior vice president of program planning and scheduling, "The state of our core schedule is in really, really good shape, and we feel confident that, with our core programming, we will be highly competitive on just about every night of the week."
While network programmers are preaching stability, there are a few stunts, starting with the twice-delayed Emmy Awards telecast, now scheduled on CBS for Nov. 4. The World Series will likely push into November, with a possible Game 7 taking place on Nov. 4. NBC is scheduled to air Part 1 of its ambitious miniseries Uprising on Nov. 4.
Fox, busy with baseball through October, will basically be kicking off its new season in November. At the top of the list are new action series 24, which will bow on Nov. 6, and new comedy The Bernie Mac Show, which debuts Nov. 14. Fox's Sunday-night lineup will debut on Nov. 11, and both Boston Public and Ally McBeal return on Nov. 5.
"We have started certain nights in November before with staggered rollouts, but this is probably the most premieres in the sweeps we've ever had," says David Nevins, Fox's executive vice president of programming. "We've never really had our season pushed quite this far back, but I think there will be some advantages to it."
Fox's big stunts during sweeps include the broadcast premieres of Star Wars: Episode 1—Phantom Menace (Nov. 25), Lost in Space (Nov. 1) and Big Daddy (Nov. 23).
Besides Uprising (Nov. 4 and 5), NBC specials for November include a Jennifer Lopez concert (Nov. 20) and such box-office films as Antz and A Civil Action on Nov. 25. NBC is also celebrating the 25th anniversary of Rocky on Nov. 17, with Sylvester Stallone hosting.
ABC is starting the month off with a special two-hour concert, United We Stand featuring the Backstreet Boys, Mariah Carey and Michael Jackson, on Nov. 1. ABC also has The Victoria's SecretFashion Show on Nov. 15, the network premiere of film Saving Private Ryan on Veteran's Day, Nov. 11, and a Facts of Life reunion film on Nov. 18. CBS has slated a concert with Michael Jackson (Nov. 13), an I Love Lucy 50-year anniversary special (Nov. 11) and the Country Music Awards (Nov. 7).
Both The WB and UPN are concentrating primarily on regular series with a few exceptions: The WB has Teen People's What's Next special, profiling up-and-coming stars (Nov. 26), while UPN has Iron Chef: USA (Nov. 16), hosted by William Shatner.
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