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Bright Future Seen for USA; NBC, Not So Much

January 18, 2009 8:40 PM

Cable U, the cable programming research company, predicts 2009 will be a big year for USA Network and that sitcoms could trump reality as the ruling genre during the year. Gazing into its cable crystal ball, Cable U said USA’s current momentum could lead the cable network to overtake NBC in the ratings at least one night this year, as the Peacock looks to attract a smaller and older audience at 10 p.m. with “The Jay Leno Show.” The series finale of USA’s “Monk” might be the show that does it, Cable U suggested. Also, as the economy sours, viewers will be turning to comedy for escape, meaning a shift away from reality and back to the early ’90s heyday of sitcoms, Cable U predicted. “We are on record—reality has jumped the shark,” Cable U said. “We all need a good laugh, proven by the success of comedies such as ‘Family Guy,’ ‘SNL,’ ‘30 Rock’ and ‘House of Payne.’” Other Cable U predictions include a successful start for A&E’s “The Beast”; CMT will find a way to capitalize on the success of county-pop singer-songwriter Taylor Swift; Discovery Health could continue even after falling by the wayside due to the arrival of OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network (possibly by replacing Planet Green); and Sci Fi will continue to grow. Cable U said Sci Fi’s “Ghost Hunters” could be the jewel in the network’s crown, with spinoff “Ghost Hunters: New Generation” and another yet-to-be-named show from “Hunters’” producers being for ’09. “Ambitious programming development with a mind toward new reality series in the ‘Ghost Hunters’ franchise and beyond will draw in new audiences in male and female demographics.”

—Andrew Krukowski

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