The TV Issue

Cheat Sheet for the Upfronts

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How much will ABC dance away with this spring? What's the situation for MTV? And how will TNT close out its ad-selling season? Here's a handy guide to what the big names in TV have going for them, and what baggage they carry. And don't forget to check in often with Mediaworks to keep up with out upfront coverage.

Source: Kantar Media

'Hawaii Five-0'
'Hawaii Five-0' Credit: Art Streiber/CBS

Pros: Decent track record with new launches, including "Hawaii Five-0" and durable "Blue Bloods." (Though whatever happened to "The Defenders" and "$#*! My Dad Says"?)
Challenges: Near-certain death of "Two and a Half Men" threatens stability of Monday night as well as new comedy outreach on Thursdays. "CSI" series are aging.

Pros: "Dancing With the Stars" keeps on keeping on -- at least in the fall. "Modern Family" enjoys good second season and is being used to help launch other sitcoms.
Challenges: ABC's prime-time tentpoles continue to age, and many 2010 launches have been lackluster.

Pros: Precious few. New show "Harry's Law" has gained momentum, almost by surprise. Network will host Super Bowl in 2012 if NFL has season in the fall. New Comcast management seems determined to turn around outlet's fortunes.
Cons: Prime-time lineup is riddled with underperformers. Shows that get good buzz appeal to niche audiences. "Law & Order: LA" has so far tarnished a valuable franchise, not revived it.

'Glee' Credit: Fox

Pros: Network has successfully retooled "American Idol," whose audience may have declined, but is still bigger than other programs. "Glee" is trucking along. High anticipation for next season's "X Factor."
Cons: Nothing is a sure thing on TV until it is.

Pros: Potential for audience growth is reflected in new Census data showing U.S. Hispanic population grew 43% in the last 10 years -- more than expected. Mexico's Grupo Televisa invested $1.2 billion in Univision late last year, and extended a long-term programming agreement that provides most of Univision's hit shows.
Cons: Univision let CEO Joe Uva's contract expire April 1 without another candidate in the wings. Mexican media giant Televisa clearly wants to play a bigger role in Univision's future after its investment.

ESPN iPad app
ESPN iPad app

Pros: Sports network pushes hard to dominate new-tech venues including iPad, 3-D and broadband.
Cons: What will ESPN do if both the NFL and the NBA seasons are disrupted?

Pros: In midst of aggressive push to match broadcast-network drama. "Rizzoli & Isles" has gotten good traction.
Cons: "The Closer" star Kyra Sedgwick is on her way out. "Men of a Certain Age" and "Southland" get critical acclaim but not ratings on par with top broadcast offerings.

Pros: Steady set of don't-think-too-hard dramas including "Royal Pains" and "Burn Notice."
Cons: At a certain point, many of its shows start to look a little similar. Does wrestling still fit?

Conan O' Brien
Conan O' Brien Credit: Meghan Sinclair/TBS

Pros: Conan O' Brien's late-night launch on TBS has generated buzz.
Cons: How does Mr. O' Brien stack up now that early hype has worn off? TBS comedies haven't made as big a mark as dramas on sibling outlet TNT.

Pros: "Jersey Shore" continues its popular reign; MTV to launch "Shore" spinoffs. "Teen Mom" is also a popular option.
Cons: Advertiser defections from "Skins" show there's only so much marketers can stomach, and one wonders if MTV can go much further in terms of envelope-pushing content.

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