Despite winning the 8 p.m. time slot Wednesday with a rerun of the season premiere of Lost, ABC said Thursday it will go ahead with plans to air the one-hour season premiere of The George Lopez Show in that slot next week.
The following Tuesday (Oct. 11), the network will then settle into its regular schedule with George at 8 p.m. and the series premiere of sitcom Freddy at 8:30. The original plan was to roll both comedies out one week earlier, but ABC pushed them back to give itself a chance to promote them within higher-rated programming.
According to the network, Wednesday night’s 8 p.m. rerun of the Emmy-winning Lost beat second-place CBS in overall viewers by 3.3 million (12.0-8.7), and pulled a 4.2/12 in the 18-49 demo, ahead of CBS and Fox, who tied for second place with a 2.8/8 for the hour. The new episode at 9 p.m. attracted 23.2 million viewers and did a 9.7/24 in the demo.
While ABC says as of now it will not re-air Lost episodes in that time period, it will do so on some upcoming Saturdays, a night it is using to also repeat some of its new programs – as it did last year to some success with Lost and Desperate Housewives.
This Saturday, ABC is re-airing the first two episodes of Invasion, followed by a repeat of the premiere of Commander in Chief. The following two Saturdays (October 5 and 12), the network will air repeats of Lost, Invasion and Commander in Chief at 8, 9, and 10 respectively.
ABC’s regular schedule Saturday night calls for the ABC Movie of the Week, but outside of Oct.22 (Air Force One), no titles have been specifically booked.
ABC execs say repeating rookie shows was a great way to build audience which would then follow the show to its regular time period, and they hope to duplicate that success now. Other networks utilize the same strategy, for instance NBC this Saturday will re-air the first two episodes of sci-fi drama Surface.