The network making its big move on Wednesday will be FOX. We think they'll use the night to launch both of their highest-profile new shows. The night will begin with X-FACTOR, which they hope will extend their TV victory lap all season long, from fall till AMERICAN IDOL picks up in early 2012. As with IDOL, the show will probably air twice per week on Wednesday and Thursday. With THE VOICE proving that America's appetite for musical competitions is nowhere near satisfied, and with IDOL's Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul in the judge's seats, there's no reason to think this strategy won't work. FOX can follow FACTOR with their biggest scripted gamble, the dinosaur spectacle TERRA NOVA.
If it feels like you've been hearing about that show forever, you have–it was originally supposed to debut exactly a year ago with a "preview" episode, then in the fall, then this spring, and recently it was still unavailable for both a year-late preview and its own network's pilot screenings, supposedly because the CG effects still aren't finished. Color us skeptical. But no question: TERRA NOVA has the potential to be a blockbuster–if it's any good.
Even if it's not, X-FACTOR should lift FOX for the night.
The other networks are likely to be quiet against FOX's onslaught. We see ABC staying with its successful comedies from 8-10 p.m., and then launching its reboot of CHARLIE'S ANGELS at 10. It's a marketing department's dream, because all the promos have to do is show the hot girls (Minka Kelley, Rachael Taylor and Annie Ilonzeh) and utter the title… but remember the reboot of THE BIONIC WOMAN? KNIGHT RIDER? ABC hopes you don't.
Still, the title alone should improve the timeslot over last year's bleary duo of THE WHOLE TRUTH and OFF THE MAP.
CBS will similarly stick to its pairing of SURVIVOR and CRIMINAL MINDS. Then it should launch the SUSANNAH GRANT PROJECT. Grant wrote the script for ERIN BROCKOVICH, and the pilot was directed by the great Jonathan Demme of SILENCE OF THE LAMBS fame, so even though the plot sounds like a classier version of THE GHOST WHISPERER (Patrick Wilson is a doctor who gets beyond-the-grave lessons in healing from his deceased wife), it deserves some benefit of the doubt, and should do at least as well as the CRIMINAL MINDS spinoff in that slot.
We think NBC, having made room for THE VOICE on Tuesdays, will move its still-successful BIGGEST LOSER franchise to Wednesday, where it should do well against the declining SURVIVOR. At 10 p.m., they'll keep their only stalwart hour, LAW & ORDER: SVU.
The CW will stick with AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL at 8 p.m., and although NIKITA hasn't lived up to its VAMPIRE DIARIES lead in on Thursday, it's done OK (and is a potentially valuable property for international sales), so we think it'll get another chance to prove itself on a different night.