For Buyers, Only One New Thursday Show Has That 'X Factor'

Networks realign schedule with rookies and returns on big TV showcase night

night on TV is important-for advertisers in categories like movies and retail
in particular, hoping to reach consumers before the weekend, and for the
broadcast networks that get huge dollars from them for their shows on that

So, the networks are
doing their best to bolster their Thursday primetime schedules with ABC, NBC
and Fox adding one new show and CBS two.

Fox will offer the X Factor Results Show following the
competition portion on Wednesday nights, and this is expected to possibly draw
the largest audience of the night.

Other than X Factor, media buyers do not see any
sure shots among the new shows, although the CBS sitcom How to Be a Gentleman, leading out of the most-watched comedy on
television, The Big Bang Theory, and
NBC's comedy Whitney, leading out of
that network's best sitcom The Office,
both have a chance to succeed.

Buyers also like
NBC's Prime Suspect, based on the
British drama of the same name, starring Maria Bello as a New York City female
detective working with and being degraded by all-male colleagues. But the show
is up against two veteran dramas on CBS and ABC, making it a tough go.

Here is an analysis
of the night by time period. All ratings data is from Nielsen and are live,
same day ratings.

8 p.m. to 9

Fox's The X Factor Results Show is expected to
win the time period by a wide margin in both viewers and 18-49, particularly
since it will reunite American Idol
adversary judges Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul. Although CBS' The Big Bang Theory at 8 p.m. averaged
13.2 million viewers and a 4.4 18-49 demo rating this past season, so it will
be a tough top incumbent to beat. Both shows will dominate that first half-hour
of the night. CBS' How to Be A Gentleman
had a funny first episode and Entourage's
Kevin Dillon fits well as the macho personal trainer who tries to "man up" one
of his easy-going gym customers. The only issue is that Big Bang skews heavier female and Gentleman might skew more male, potentially losing it some of the
hefty Big Bang lead-in audience.

NBC is returning two
Thursday night comedies that scored fairly low ratings last season, and the
prospects for this season are that they may fall even lower. Leading off the
night at 8 is Community, which
averaged only 4.4 million viewers this past season, and a 2.0 18-49 demo
rating. That's one-third as many viewers as CBS' Big Bang. And the network's 8:30 sitcom Parks and Recreation averaged 5.1 million viewers and a slightly
better 2.6 18-49 demo number.

ABC will offer a new
drama, a remake of the 1970s hit Charlie's
. Remakes of ‘70s shows have not fared well on broadcast television
with NBC's failed attempts to bring back new versions of Bionic Woman and Knight Rider.
So this show has a big challenge, particularly in a time period so competitive.

The CW returns its
highest-rated show, the drama Vampire
at 8. The show averaged 3 million viewers and a 1.4 18-49 rating,
but like all CW shows, it's audience is much younger and on a percentage basis,
its viewer numbers increase greatly when DVR viewing is added in.

9 p.m. to 10

CBS moved its solid
veteran drama CSI out of the 9 p.m.
time period to another night, and is replacing it with new drama Person of Interest, about a former CIA
operative that now tries to prevent crimes from happening. The show will most
likely skew more male but it will have its work cut out for it against veteran
ABC hit Grey's Anatomy and Fox's Bones, which both skew more female.

Grey's averaged 11.3 million viewers this past season but also was
television's highest-rated drama 18-49, averaging a 4.3. Bones averaged 11.4 million viewers and a solid 3.5 18-49 rating.

The CW is offering a
new drama, The Secret Circle, about a
town of young witches. It will probably lead out of The Vampire Diaries well, but again, the threshold for success on
the CW is lower than the other networks, because the show can succeed if it
draws lot of young women, even though its overall audience numbers are low.

NBC returns The Office at 9, which averaged 7.7
million viewers last season, and it will lead into new sitcom Whitney, which buyers believe has a
chance of moderate success in the lower rated NBC comedy block.

10 p.m. to
11 p.m.

CBS veteran drama The Mentalist is back and it's going to
be tough to unseat. The show averaged 15.3 million viewers and an 18-49 rating
of 3.2 this past season. Also in the time period is ABC returning drama Private Practice, the Grey's Anatomy spin-off that averaged
7.6 million viewers and a 2.8 18-49 rating this past season.

Media buyers believe
NBC's new drama, Prime Suspect, has a
chance of getting more viewership and better ratings than Private Practice. While The
gets a broader audience of men and women, Practice skews more female, putting it head to head for that
audience with Suspect.

But NBC clearly
believes in the show, giving it a primetime period on Thursday night, where it
can garner a sizable number of viewers and ad dollars for the network if the
audience buys in.