NETWORKS DETAIL 2003 -04 PROGRAMMING PLANS

Also: Download Chart of Networks' Household Share Estimates

By Published on .

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Reality TV shows have slipped from view as this year's TV upfront sales period commences. Only one new reality show was on broadcast

How to Download the 2003-04 Network TV Household Share Chart .pdf:
> PC: Right click on link below. Save .pdf file to your hard disk.
> Macintosh: Click and hold on the link below to pop a download dialog box.

This is the download link:
NETWORK TV 2003-04 HOUSEHOLD SHARE CHART


If you don't have a copy of the Adobe Acrobat Reader software needed to view a .pdf file, you can quickly download a free PC or Macintosh version from the Adobe download page.
Related Stories:
WE MUST ABOLISH THE TV UPFRONT
The Fragmenting Media Market Demands a Better System
TV UPFRONT MARKET ABOUT TO TAKE OFF
Expectations of Sharp Price Increases Drive Action
BUYERS, BROADCAST SELLERS CLASH OVER UPFRONT PRICING
Media Companies Threaten to Shift Spending to Cable
VIACOM REMAINS UPBEAT ABOUT UPFRONT
COO Sticks With Predictions of 15% to 20% Increase
MEDIA BUYERS PREDICT 5% RISE IN TV UPFRONT SALES
Impact of Reality Show Programming Cited
MAJOR INCREASE IN 2003 TV AD BUYING PREDICTED
Survey Finds 63% of Top 100 Advertisers Plan Spending Boost
schedules last week during upfront presentations in New York: Fox's American Junior, essentially American Idol for children. Otherwise, a standard array of comedies and dramas -- with some recognizable names -- will be on TV screens this fall.

Media buying executives said they didn't see many breakout shows among these new offerings. Few struck them as potentiail instant hits.

Of those being talked about, media agency executives say CBS's Charlie Sheen sitcom Two and a Half Men and Jerry Bruckheimer's drama Cold Case are good bets. Fox was praised for its improv celebrity sitcom The Ortegas and soapy drama The O.C. General Electric Co.'s NBC earned high marks for British import Coupling and the James Caan drama Las Vegas. And ABC's sitcom I'm With Her was noted by some.

Ages 18 to 49
The race to be first in delivering 18- to 49-year-old viewers -- NBC is the leader, with News Corp.'s Fox trailing close behind -- was a major issue at the upfront this year.

"If you are the leader, you should just try to protect your turf," said Shari Ann Brill, vice president and director of programming services of Aegis Group's Carat North America, New York. "You have to go out there and be aggressive and be the leader. Most of NBC's moves were defensive. Coupling was a defensive move to get something that smacks of Friends. They should go out and do something new."

She was impressed by the Fox lineup and believes it has a clear shot at overtaking the Peacock, if not significantly ruffling its feathers again this season, especially with its lineup of new young-adult shows such as The O.C. (which stands for California's Orange County). "It's new, and that will bring in the young women as well as the men," Ms. Brill said.

NBC's 'good, safe' schedule
But others believe NBC will continue to prevail, despite stiff competition. "NBC has a good, safe schedule," said Mike Drexler, CEO of Publicis Groupe's Optimedia USA. "They clearly will come in with the No. 1 position in 18 to 49 viewers ... [but] Fox had a very good schedule. They will give NBC a run for their money."

Fox, which scored a major success with Joe Millionaire and American Idol, will stick to scripted shows at the start of the season. Its new 9 p.m. Monday show, Skin, is about the romance between the children of a politician and a porn mogul. "There might be some advertisers who are skittish about Skin," said Brad Adgate, senior vice president of audience research for Horizon Media, since it may include content about the adult-entertainment industry.

NBC will focus on its troubled Tuesday night. Whoopi, starring Whoopi Goldberg running a New York City hotel, will air at 8 p.m., followed by Happy Family, starring John Larroquette and Christine Baranski as husband and wife dealing with three grown kids. NBC's controversial sexed-up comedy, Coupling, takes up the 9:30 p.m. Thursday spot, in the hopes it will benefit from the Will & Grace lead-in.

ABC's TGIF
This season all eyes are on Walt Disney Co.'s ABC, the network needing the most improvement. Its push is to reinstate its Friday family-oriented sitcom block known as "TGIF." Two of its Tuesday comedies move to Fridays, George Lopez and Life with Bonnie. It also adds new comedies, Back To Kansas, about East Coast guy fitting in with his new Midwest in-laws, and Hope & Faith, about two sisters, featuring Kelly Ripa and Faith Ford.

On Thursdays, a trouble spot for the network, ABC will start a terrorist-themed drama Threat Matrix at 8 p.m. Analysts wonder whether lurid content during the "family hour" will turn off viewers or advertisers.

CBS' comedy block
Viacom's CBS moves aggressively to address problem areas, most notably on Wednesdays, where it aims to establish a comedy block by moving The King of Queens to 9 p.m. from Tuesday. It will also add The Stones, about two grown children living with their divorcing parents. At 10 p.m., there's a David E. Kelley quirky Northern Exposure-type show, The Brotherhood of Poland, N.H.

At least one media buyer agreed with this strategy. "It's a good move to establish another night for comedy," Stacey Shepatin, senior vice president and director of national broadcast for Interpublic's Hill, Holiday, Connors, Cosmopulos.

In this article:
Most Popular