Studio 60 Against the Ropes

Yesterday, we wondered whether or not a bunch of high school jocks would pull a train on the denizens of a make-believe late night sketch comedy show like Lindsay Lohan at a frat party. And while it wasn't a wham-bam, thank you ma'am for the network, the pigskin picking Texans did get a rise in popularity due to the the change of nights.

NBC's recent tactic to audition "Friday Night Lights" in "Studio 60's" Monday time slot seems to have paid off. The Hollywood Reporter notes that the overnights for the reshuffling suggest that not only would the combination of "Heros" and "Lights" be a stronger night for the network in general, but it would bring in even better numbers for FNL as a whole:
With "Studio 60" benched, "Friday Night Lights" (8.3 million, 3.5/9) got the call at 10 p.m. While it was beaten at 10 p.m. by "CSI: Miami" (14.2 million, 4.3/11) it finished ahead of ABC's "What About Brian" (6.4 million, 2.9/8). "Friday Night Lights" not only outperformed last week's "Studio 60" (7.7 million, 3.2/8) but also was ahead of the 6.3 million (and 2.6/7) that it did in its regular time period of 8 p.m. Tuesday.
This doesn't bode well for Sorkin's baby, which has been foundering in the ratings war since the pilot. However Media Daily News says that it does not necessarily spell the end of the road for the series.
"Studio 60" is scheduled to air next Monday in its usual 10 p.m. slot, although a boffo performance by "Friday Night Lights" in the slot last night--where it was placed for a trial run--could potentially change things. But a more likely scenario would be a time-period change for "Studio 60"--not a retirement--a source said.
Further, the recent article by
Roger Friedman at FOXNEWS.com, trumpeting the imminent demise of the show actually caused a bit of a gossip furor among the trades and industry insiders, which had NBC refuting the claims and standing behind Sorkin's series. By the way, Friedman's article gained popularity thanks to a link provided (and later removed) by the Drudge Report. In typical FOX fashion, the article seems more based on one person's personal opinion about the show - presented as gospel - rather than any real factual information.

So yes, Studio 60 is down, but not out. And one of its' saving graces is the fact that it's still seen as a
money-maker for the network. According to Media Daily News, the show has "ranked fourth among all network shows in median income for the 18-to-49 demo at $66,000." Which means, more affluent people tend to watch the show, which in turn means that NBC has the potential to make more money off of its commercial ad sales thanks to the upper class people that tune in.

Basically all networks are left scratching their head as to how to compete with CBS's juggernaut "CSI:Miami" which dominates the ratings. If NBC pulled the plug on "60" mid-season, it's a sure bet that they would be hard-pressed to find anything better to drop into the void to compete, including Friday Night Lights.

So if you're a betting person, don't count out Studio 60 just yet. With 6 shows already aired and 7 more either in the can or ready to go, our current position is that it will continue with the remainder of the season. Maybe not pulling fantastic numbers, but just barely holding its head above water, which is the best that NBC can hope for right now.

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