TV surprises on Horizon

Media firm's annual forecast likes chances of 'Fringe,' ABC on Fridays

Fox's J.J. Abrams thriller "Fringe" and CBS' Jerry Bruckheimer procedural drama "Eleventh Hour" will be the highest-rated new shows, while NBC's "Kath & Kim" and CBS' "Worst Week" will prove to be weak links in their respective comedy blocks.

That's according to an annual television report by Horizon Media that includes speculative estimates of how every broadcast show will fare in the fall.

The analysis contained some expected claims — that such established hits as ABC's "Grey's Anatomy," NBC's "Heroes" and CBS' "Survivor" will continue to rule their time periods.

But there also were some surprises, with the report suggesting that ABC will overthrow CBS on Friday nights and that Fox's under-the-radar sitcom "Do Not Disturb" will break out. In general, the report was skeptical about how new shows in general would stack up against competitors; not one new show is expected to win its time period in the adults 18-49 demographic.

After "Eleventh" and "Fringe," Horizon had David E. Kelley's upcoming drama "Life on Mars" as the third-highest-rated new show, yet it also expects "Mars" to continue ABC's streak of coming in last place at 10 p.m. Thursdays despite its "Grey's" lead-in.

The CW's "90210" is expected to outshine the network's current buzz-heavy "Gossip Girl" but not break the network into a new ratings stratosphere.

Tuesday night's new unscripted shows — NBC's documentary series "America's Toughest Jobs" and ABC's Tuesday night game show "Opportunity Knocks" — are expected to come in last place in their respective time periods among the major networks. The study likewise suggested that CBS' new strategy of opening Wednesday night with a comedy hour featuring "The New Adventures of Old Christine" and "Project Gary" will have a rough time.

The report gave unexpectedly high marks to Fox's sitcom "Do Not Disturb," however, expecting the show to build greatly on its weak " 'Til Death" lead-in Wednesday nights.

With ABC shifting reality veterans "Wife Swap" and "Supernanny" to Fridays in the fall, the report speculated that the network will take control of the evening from longtime winner CBS. Although CBS' "Ghost Whisperer" and "Numbers" are expected to win their time periods (including besting NBC's new drama "Crusoe"), the report has ABC's "Supernanny" trouncing the new drama "The Ex List" in the former "Moonlight" slot to tip the scale. (partialdiff)
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