WASHINGTON, March 4, 2013 —Of the three thriller dramas recently introduced to TV audiences, only “The Following” on FOX is showing signs of life. The Anthony Edwards drama; “Zero-Hour” only lasted three episodes before being cancelled. Since it had the least-watched premiere for a scripted series in ABC’s history, its cancellation should come as no surprise.
In addition, “Touch,” starring Kiefer Sutherland is dying a slow death in a time slot shared with “Shark Tank’ and “CSI: NY” on Friday nights. There are lessons to be learned from this, even if they’re lessons we would rather not acknowledge.
Lesson number one: America loves competitive reality shows. Putting “Zero-Hour” up against “American Idol,” and “Touch” in the same time slot as “Shark Tank” was a death sentence for both shows from the start.
Lesson number two: If a thriller drama is to have any chance at all, be clever about choosing its time slot. “The Following” airs at 9 p.m. on Mondays, up against “2 Broke Girls” and “90210.” Both are relatively weak shows that a well written drama can overcome.
Lesson number three: America’s fascination with serial killers is as strong as ever. Of the three dramas in question, only “The Following” boasts a serial killer complete with super intelligence, charisma, and a Texas-sized ego to hold it all together. James Purefoy as the serial killer Dr. Joe Carroll is a poor substitute for Dr. Hannibal Lector, but one that follows the formula with a degree of success, none-the less.
With at least two other serial killer dramas set to air, this lesson may be the most important one of all. NBC will add their efforts to the genre in April with the airing of “Hannibal, The Beginning,” starring Hugh Dancy and Laurence Fishburne.
A&E will also premiere “Bates Motel” two weeks from now, on March 18th. This spin-off of the Hitchcock classic “Psycho” will focus on Norman Bates as a teen. It promises an inside look at the formative years of a serial killer.
To sum up the programming dilemma for the network heads; if you’re making a drama these days, bathe it in blood and gore. For reference, note the unprecedented success of “The Walking Dead” on AMC. Never put your drama in the same time slot as a reality show. Trends indicate viewers would rather see real people and their dreams kicked to the curb than watch anything even remotely cerebral.
And last but not least, always include zombies or a serial killer.
All times are EST:
ABC: The Bachelor: The Women Tell All: (New) Controversial bachelorette Tierra gets the chance to defend herself; fan favorite bachelorettes confront one another and Sean; Chris and Sean surprise fans at viewer parties; sneak peek of the season finale.
CBS: How I Met Your Mother: (Repeat) Barney’s extensive and comprehensive prenup leads the guys to put forth their own relationship principles, which their significant others do not find agreeable. Meanwhile, an incensed Quinn responds with her own prenup.
FOX: Bones: (New) The remains of an immigrant from Sierra Leone are discovered in a barrel at a disposal facility for hazardous waste. Meanwhile, Cam and Arastoo try to keep their relationship under wraps; and Brennan and Booth discuss their vacation plans.
NBC: The Biggest Loser: (New) The contestants get incredible makeovers to show off to their friends and family at home, but one contestant must still be eliminated.
CW: The Carrie Diaries: (New) Carrie (AnnaSophia Robb) is thrilled when the junior-senior lock-in provides the perfect cover for a night out in Manhattan with Larissa (Freema Agyeman) and her Interview co-workers – until a surprising encounter turns her night upside down.
CBS: Rules of Engagement: (New) Jeff and Audrey try to prove their lives won’t be boring once their baby is born. Meanwhile, Timmy tricks Russell into accompanying him to a nursing home.
CBS: 2 Broke Girls: (Repeat) Max and Caroline eagerly await a phone call from Martha Stewart after the domestic maven likes one of their cupcakes. Meanwhile, Caroline loses a lucky keepsake.
FOX: The Following: (New) With the help of his lawyer, Carroll makes a convincing argument that he should be moved to another facility; Emma and Joey meet up with one of Roderick’s men, unaware that he harbors a secret.
CW: 90210: (New) Liam decides to open his own custom surfboard shop for women, but things get complicated when he becomes romantically involved with his first investor.
CBS: Mike and Molly: (Repeat) Molly gets upset when she reviews her wedding photos because in every picture Mike’s mouth is open or his eyes are closed. Meanwhile, Carl gets jealous when Christina’s ex-husband comes back into her life.
ABC: Castle: (Repeat) The investigation into a ritualistic murder turns up evidence linking Castle to the crime, leading Beckett to wonder how well she really knows him.
CBS: Hawaii Five-0: (Repeat) Chin is kidnapped in the middle of the night and placed in a prison dressed as an inmate. He must escape before the other prisoners realize he is a member of Five-0.
NBC: Deception: (New) Robert begins to doubt Joanna’s story, and so he flies her mother to New York in hopes of uncovering the truth. At the same time, Joanna does some digging into Julian’s girlfriend, while Mia offers to donate her bone marrow to Haverstock, and Sofia pays someone a visit in prison.
New episodes of:
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills at 8 p.m. on BRAVO
Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout? at 8 p.m. on NGC
Continuum at 8 p.m. on Syfy
Fast ‘N Loud: Revved Up at 8 p.m. on DSC
Finding Bigfoot: Further Evidence at 8 and 9 p.m. on Animal Planet
Top Gear at 9 p.m. on BBC
Fast ‘N Loud at 9 p.m. on DSC
Love it or List it at 9 p.m. on HGTV
Alaska State Troopers at 9 p.m. on NGC
Being Human at 9 p.m. on Syfy
Dallas at 9 p.m. on TNT
Bizarre Foods America at 9 p.m. on Travel Channel
LA Shrinks at 10 p.m. on BRAVO
The Devils Ride at 10 p.m. on DSC
Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives at 10 p.m. on Food Channel
House Hunters at 10 p.m. on HGTV
Teen Mom 2 at 10 p.m. on MTV
Inside Combat Rescue at 10 p.m. on NGC
Hotel Impossible at 10 p.m. on Travel Channel
Monday Mornings at 10 p.m. on TNT
Lizard Lick Towing at 10 p.m. on truTV
House Hunters International at 10:30 p.m. on HGTV
For movie lovers:
A Few Good Men on AMC
New Year’s Eve on CINEMAX
Friday Night Lights on ENC
Twisted on FLIX
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian on FMC
Ghost Rider on FLIX
The Truman Show on IFC
Goodbye, Mr. Chips on TCM
A Lot Like Love on ABFAM
The Karate Kid on CMT
Battleship on HBO
The Three Stooges on HBO
Heaven at 9:40 on FLIX
The Chronicles of Riddick at 10 p.m. on CINEMAX
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close at 10 p.m. on HBO
The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King at 10:05 on ENC
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