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Tracking the Fall Premiere Buzz: ‘Nightmares’ and ‘Moonlight’ Up; ‘Reaper’ Down

September 13, 2007 11:30 AM

The latest OTX research reports that track audience “buzz,” “awareness” and “intent to view” among the new fall shows have changed the competitive field in recent weeks.

In the top spot, NBC's “Bionic Woman” continues to lead among “intent to view,” the measure OTX claims best predicts premiere tune-in. No surprise there, considering the carpet-bombing of ads NBC has rolled out for the show.

The runner-up position is a three-way tie for Fox’s “Kitchen Nightmares” and ABC’s “Private Practice” and “Pushing Daisies.” “Practice” has gained since last month to get into this position, but the big headline here is fellow gainer “Kitchen Nightmares.” The Fox restaurant-makeover show has received a fraction of the press of “Bionic,” “Practice” and “Daisies.” To tie for second place without the benefit of a major marketing push indicates this show has the potential to become a surprise breakout hit.

That trio is followed by ABC’s “Cavemen,” moving down a notch from August. Nobody has seen the new pilot, but ABC says critics likely will receive a copy next week. The network is confident the revamp has improved the show, although its eventual ratings performance is anybody’s guess.

Fourth place has a tie between CBS’ “Kid Nation” and “Cane.” “Nation” has gained a notch here and its fourth-place finish is likely a statistical understatement. Given the controversy surrounding the show, “Nation” probably has some respondents swearing they won’t watch it … who will anyway.

There’s a six-way tie for fifth place: Fox’s “K-Ville” is here and unchanged—nobody seems to hate this show, but nobody seems to love it either. NBC’s “Journeyman” is here, and its buzz is similar to “K-Ville’s.” CBS’ “Big Bang Theory” is here and looking solid; sources say its second and third episodes improve on the pilot. NBC’s “Chuck” is a no-brainer for this spot. ABC’s “Dirty Sexy Money” joins the list thanks to ABC’s recent marketing efforts.

ABC’s entire Wednesday lineup is on the intent-to-view list, giving the network an edge for the battleground night.

What’s interesting is the sixth show tied for fifth place: CBS’ vampire detective drama “Moonlight,” which didn’t make any of the OTX tracking lists last month. This show has been presumed DOA since the May upfront, and the show’s July press panel did little to correct that impression. But “Moonlight” has been overhauled and CBS clearly has confidence in its vamp revamp, recently shoving heavy marketing dollars behind the series. (On the other end of the CBS buzz spectrum, good luck finding a billboard for “Viva Laughlin.”)

Absent from the top five (with all the ties, really the top 13) is The CW’s “Reaper,” an omission that makes you want to smack the side of the OTX tally machine to make sure it’s working. “Reaper” was ranked ninth on the list in August and has since received glowing consumer press.

Also dropping off, though more understandably, is Fox’s musical competition series “The Next Great American Band.” There’s dismal buzz on both “Band” and its docu-soap companion “Nashville,” but it’s never wise to assume Fox will flop with musical reality shows.

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Comments (5)

Jill:

The Big Bang Theory looks really funny. CBS has a new website with lots of new clips and photos here :

http://alpha.cbs.com/primetime/big_bang_theory/

Steve:

...Fourth place has a tie between CBS’ “Kid Nation” and “Cane.”... Uh, there were five shows tracked above these two, which as any smart 5th grader can tell you, means these shows tied for 6th and are not in the top 5.
...There’s a six-way tie for fifth place... well, no, there are seven shows tracking higher than this batch, so there's actually a six-way tie for 8th.. these shows are tracking no where near the top 5.
If these shows perform as poorly as the math done for this article, the networks are in trouble.

Randall AM:

Steve check your math. The story says there's a three way tie for second place.

Anonymous:

On my "must view" list is "BACK TO YOU" as the talent to make a laugh-out-loud sitcom is there. COuld the problem be the instantly forgettable generic title?

Chris:

Pushing Daisies will be the breakout hit of the fall, the pilot is fantastic and the characters strong enough to carry twelve more episodes

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