Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Comedy Tonight! Networks in Hot Battle for Viewers on Tuesday

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Comedy Tonight! Networks in Hot Battle for Viewers on Tuesday

Article excerpt

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- If there's steam rising out of your DVR, it must be Tuesday night.

While there are always competitive time slots on TV -- 9 p.m. Sunday offers plenty of like-minded series when accounting for broadcast and cable quality dramas -- no time period is more fraught for broadcasters this fall than the 9 p.m. hour Tuesday.

A pileup of youth-skewing comedies vies for viewer attention on ABC, NBC and Fox. (CBS stays its course with the one-hour drama "NCIS: Los Angeles.")

NBC got off to an early start two weeks ago with the time period premieres of Matthew Perry's "Go On" at 9 p.m. and the gay dads comedy "The New Normal" at 9:30 p.m. So far, both "Go On" and "The New Normal" are holding their own in the ratings, although competition has been minimal. That changes tonight as Fox joins the fray with the return of "New Girl" (two episodes air at 8 and 9 p.m.) and the premiere of "The Mindy Project" at 9:30 p.m.

ABC, risking viewer habits getting established early, won't bring its youth-appeal comedies "Happy Endings" and "Don't Trust the B--- - - in Apartment 23" to the 9 p.m. hour until Oct. 23.

Programming chiefs for Fox and NBC called out 9 p.m. Tuesday as the most competitive time period this fall.

"Everyone has comedy there and really good comedy, including us," said NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt at an NBC party during July's Television Critics Association summer press tour.

After network schedules were announced in May, why didn't one network blink and pull out their comedies to avoid a possible ratings bloodbath?

"The schedule is such that it's a series of domino effects," Mr. Greenblatt said. "When you move a show here, it has ramifications where you can't move another show there. The Tuesday comedies at 9 and 9:30 are there for a reason. There's not really the same opportunity for them elsewhere. …

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