Wednesday Night Shuffle
I'm hoping the approximately 23 zillion people who've written in to ask me about the fate of
The King of Queens
, which has been on hiatus all season, will be satisfied by CBS's announcement earlier today (I would have responded here sooner, but I got kind of distracted watching all the zany activity out of Washington, D.C.). Here's the deal: The ninth season of the Kevin James comedy will begin on Wednesdays as soon as sweeps is over, with back-to-back episodes on Dec. 6 and 13, plus original episodes the next two Wednesdays. (What
will be paired with those weeks, and past the new year, is yet to be determined.)
The arrival of
coincides with the departure until February of CBS's unexpected new success,
, which is going to take a breather after its Nov. 29 episode, in the tradition of
(which airs its own fall finale Nov. 27) to avoid the inevitable ratings drop from repeats.
will return on Valentine's Day with a recap episode- and won't
be a cheery thing to share with your sweetie!- with new episodes resuming Feb. 21 through the rest of the season.
is the sort of serialized saga that risks alienating its fan base with repeats scattered among the originals. Yet some might think a move like this risks damaging a show's momentum by taking it off the air for several months. (I don't really buy that argument. A canny network can relaunch the show upon its return, stimulating a buzz that wouldn't exist if the show had stayed put with a long cycle of reruns.)
Frankly, the appeal of
escapes me, and I've forced myself to watch every episode to date of this dreary drama about a Kansas town struggling to carry on after nuclear bombs take out many of the big cities- although for some reason, New York City appears to have been spared, we recently learned. (To which I say: Yay.) In fact, CBS's entire Wednesday schedule is to me the lousiest lineup of hit series in the entire TV week, from dour
to the formulaic
to the uninspired
. I will give
credit at least for breaking out of CBS's usual crime-ridden mold. I simply can't find a single compelling or credible character to give a damn about.
This isn't the only shakeup affecting Wednesdays. Starting next week,
will be on hiatus, with the ridiculous Taye Diggs thriller
taking over. At NBC,
has thankfully been removed from its too-early time period (the awful
Twenty Good Years
appears to be gone for good) in anticipation of joining Thursday's new two-hour comedy block, and
will return next week, kicking off with a two-hour opener. I'll be very curious to see how
fares against the two-hour premiere of
, which may initially benefit from airing right after the
Dancing With the Stars
finale. But can either do damage against the surging juggernaut of
(where the always-watchable Paget Brewster joins the cast next week) and
And let's not forget Fox, where the perennially underrated
is being joined by
, which returned DOA on Thursday last week. (Expect this move to be permanent, unless
tanks here as well.) Not the most compatible pairing at first glance, but why shouldn't TV most playfully amusing procedural (that would be
, which tonight takes an enjoyable detour into the underground world of Ultimate Fighting) fit with TV's most ironic teen soap (albeit one whose better days are behind it).
All in all, a fascinating night of diverse choices.