NBC delays 'Southland' return
Cop drama dodges 'Dollhouse' and 'Medium' premieres
The John Wells produced cop drama, which launched on Thursday nights last spring, will now air its first new Friday episode on October 23, rather than the previously announced Sept. 25.
"Southland" definitely has its fans and its support in the critical community, but the "We want to give it a bigger marketing push" party line from NBC feels like a bit of bunk. NBC gave the show its biggest possible marketing push last spring, along with its best possible time slot. Other shows -- "Kings" in specific -- suffered directly because NBC chose to concentrate on "Southland" and to make that show its spring prize. And that marketing and promotion yielded a big audience that dwindled and dwindled.
"Southland" has been paired with what *ought* to be a compatible lead-in from "Law & Order," a show that has proven it doesn't require any promotion at all. The best chance for "Southland" to succeed isn't NBC's marketing might, but viewers sticking around out of "Law & Order."
Even spinning this as a dodge from the competitive Sept. 25 premiere date makes only questionable sense, since "Dollhouse" and "Medium" really aren't targeting the same audience.
It feels to me like NBC knows that if "Southland" loses to "Medium" -- a show NBC canceled despite higher ratings than "Southland" -- it makes the network look bad. With other high stakes premieres that week and in weeks before, NBC may want to delay that near-inevitable loss by a month, just to get in the way of trend stories.
"Waves of Failure" -- It's my new unofficial NBC motto for the fall, at least until "The Jay Leno Show" is a shocking success.
This moves "Southland" out of the way of the launches of CBS' transplanted "Medium" and FOX's second season drama "Dollhouse."
The official NBC party line, accepted by both of the trade paper reports on the rescheduling, is that NBC wants the extra weeks to give "Southland" the proper marketing support. In the interim, "Dateline" will air in the 9 p.m. Friday slot leading -- as all NBC 9 p.m. shows now do -- into "The Jay Leno Show."
"Southland" premiered following the series finale of "E.R." and pulled in 9.7 million viewers. The show was down to under 6.5 million viewers by its first-season finale.
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