Best and worst decisions of the 2012 upfronts

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Best scheduling move: Moving Two and a Half Men to 8:30 Thursdays. Nothing has managed to keep pace with 8 p.m. Big Bang Theory in this slot. Re-pairing these two Chuck Lorre shows once again will keep CBS dominant in the hour …as long as CBS’ Monday comedy block doesn’t collapse without its tentpole hit.

Worst scheduling move: Moving Rock Center With Brian Williams to 10 p.m.  Thursdays. Averaging only 1.0 in the adult demo, Rock Center was this season’s lowest-rated show renewed by one of the Big Four broadcast networks. We can appreciate NBC wanting to support quality TV journalism. But Rock Center‘s ratings are dreadful for any prime-time slot, especially a prestigious one like this.

Best scheduling upgrade: Rarely does a show escape after being tossed into the Friday vortex. But The CW’s Supernatural, banished to Fridays in recent years, is now moving to Wednesday nights — and getting a lead-in from promising new show Arrow.

Best scheduling cat fight: Revenge versus The Good Wife on Sundays.

Wisest push back: NBC is serving up its returning comedies in the fall this time, but you’ll have to wait until mid-season for Smash, which is undergoing some creative tweaking under new showrunner Josh Safran (Gossip Girl). NBC entertainment president Jennifer Salke explains the network didn’t want to “put a gun to [Safran’s] head and say, ‘You gotta get going!’” Though that does sound like a promising reality show.

Longest wait: The return of The CW. While NBC is expected to get some of its shows launched as early as August to take advantage of its Summer Olympics coverage, The CW is going the other direction and getting out of the way of the usual September flood by pushing back its premieres to October.

Best joke by a network honcho on the upfront stage: ABC Entertainment president Paul Lee, when touting the renewal of America’s Funniest Home Videos after 22 years on the air, “Or what I like to think, after 11 [ABC] presidents of entertainment.” 

Jimmy Kimmel’s best lines at the ABC upfront: Said he fell and hit his head while watching Dancing With the Stars and “for the first time this season, I actually saw some stars.” On Britney Spears joining X Factor: “Britney Spears has wanted to be a judge ever since she spent the last 10 years appearing in front of them.” And what he said about older-skewing CBS: “They really do have their finger on the pulse, of viewers who have almost no pulse.”

Best comeback to a Kimmel joke: After Kimmel made his 1,260th joke about the Eye’s older audience, CBS Corp chairman Leslie Moonves said Kimmel should consider “freshening up” his material since CBS is beating ABC among young adults, 3.0 to 2.4.

Most impressive-looking soap: Nashville at ABC. We’ve seen so many shows with an ensemble of snarky stylish women (including the upcoming trash-tastic Mistresses). Maybe its the change of setting, maybe its the music-scene focus, maybe its the addition of ever-credible Connie Britton, but this one feels unique.

Least believable pairing: Partners on CBS, about two male buddies with significant others who would be way out of their league in the real world. Ugly Betty‘s Michael Urie is dating Superman (Brandon Routh) while Numb3r‘s David Krumholtz is engaged to the drop-dead gorgeous Sophia Bush (One Tree Hill). In related news, Lynette just got a marriage proposal from George Clooney.

Least surprising surprise: Fox finally confirms Britney Spears’ deal to judge X Factor is done. On stage, Britney looked terrified. Good luck! Runner-up: NBC confirms long-rumored 30 Rock final season — after denying it was the final season the day before.

Read more:
Style at the TV Upfronts
TV’s top time-period battles this fall


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