US broadcasters are organizing the season's lineup of new shows and classic hits, in preparation for the upcoming NY Upfronts (May 14-17), where both broadcast TV and cable networks showcase their programming in hopes of attracting ad money… US$ 9 billion, that is.
This time, The Hollywood Reporter provides an overview of the current TV industry in the US, while listing the five main networks' assets and needs ahead of the Upfronts, where cable is expected to surpass broadcast TV in revenue.
Fox's hit shows have seen their success diminish this past season, as American Idol, Glee and New Girl continue to lose viewers. According to THR, in light of House's finale approaching and Bones' decline, the network is hoping new shows will increase its ratings, with Kevin Bacon's new thriller as its main choice to fill the void left by 24. In addition, the network is also investing on live-action comedy, with Mindy Kaling's untitled show and the Steve Levitan's Rebounding.
Meanwhile, CBS' stable lineup makes it the favorite to win the season among total viewers, according to THR. With no visible holes in its schedule, the network remains optimistic. Yet, the CBS' president Nina Tassler aims to develop projects "with more character built in", and could therefore pick up Dennis Quaid's Swingtown, as well as a half-hour comedy series by Nick Stoller.
On NBC's corner, primetime averages are falling as the Super Bowl is no longer in schedule. As stated by THR, the network's already ordered second seasons of Smash and Grimm, as classic hit shows -Law & Order: SVU, The Office- fail to reach their former ratings. The network is now seeking for more daring programming to match the results of its realities (The Voice, America's Got Talent) and sports (The Olympics), and has its eye set on JJ Abrams' thriller Revolution and Anne Heche's Save me, among others.
ABC's ratings this past season have also had its ups and downs, as Dancing with the Stars falls short, yet Revenge, Suburgatory, Once Upon a Time and Modern Family are all getting renewed. As stated by THR, the network's chief Paul Lee is said to be redefining ABC's brand, bringing shows such as musical soap Nashville and drama series Mistress to continue down the same line as Grey's Anatomy, thus risking losing potential male viewers in the process.
Last but not least, the CW has already renewed its long running dramas The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural and 90210. Yet, none of its new series seemed to do the trick, as Secret Circle, Hart of Dixie and Ringer are all scoring disappointing ratings, according to THR. Though its ratings may be down, it seeks to still attract advertisers with its new deals with Neflix and Hulu. The CW is also searching for broader-appeal projects, possibly picking up shows such as the comic-book drama Arrow, and mystery series Cult, as well as SATC prequel, The Carrie Diaries.
All in all, as TV viewers continue to migrate to other areas -new platforms, online streaming services and cord-cutting are all to be considered-, US networks have all experiences some sort of drop in ratings this past season. As they now seek to improve their lineups, investing in both renewing reliable hit shows and taking chances with new projects; this years Upfront are shaping up to be a very competitive arena, where networks will battle it out to the tune of US$ 9 billion in ad money.