Question: In regard to your Jan. 24 Dispatch and its suggestions on CW programming, I have a comment. I have oftentimes read you and your readers suggesting the pairing of similar shows on the same night. I feel the opposite way, and perhaps understand the networks' thought processes behind this type of programming. By programming shows of differing styles on the same night, it leads viewers to sample shows they may not have otherwise tuned in to otherwise. Also, by putting genre shows on different nights, genre viewers will tune in to the network two nights that week rather than one. Using your example of pairing Smallville with Supernatural, by placing Supernatural after Gilmore Girls, WB asked the heavily female audience of Gilmore to watch a testosterone-fueled action show. (Having Gilmore regular Jared Padalecki on Supernatural was an added bonus to programmers.) I know I sampled Gilmore Girls because I was anticipating Supernatural afterward, and I loved it. Then I tuned in to WB again on Thursday to watch Smallville and stayed for Everwood, and now I love that show, too. I think this brilliant programming enabled me to discover two shows I wouldn't normally have tried, and I'm sure there are many more examples. Did I change your mind?
Answer: You make an awfully good argument for spreading the wealth and mixing it up along a diverse schedule. Plus, the way we watch TV has changed so dramatically lately (with DVR/TiVo, iTunes, etc.) that the very notion of audience flow has become somewhat antiquated. There's even a viable theory that it can do harm to pair two shows of too similar a type. Witness Lost and Invasion. It may be too much to expect audiences to sit still through two consecutive riveting hours of suspense. (Not to mention, as Nancy wrote in recently, that Lost fans are known to go online instantly to obsess on their fave show, often leaving Invasion in the dust.) So while there is still logic in the strategy of pairing shows like Smallville and Supernatural (as WB will do starting March 16), or Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars (in the hypothetical CW schedule), and also come mid-March with Prison Break and 24 on Fox, it's possible that it works just as well the other way.