NEW YORK – This midseason will go down as one of the worst in T.V. history.
So says industry analyst Marc Berman of Mediaweek, who claims the bumper crop of shows that debuted since February are el-stinko — save for a few exceptions.
"It's a real shock," says Berman. "It could be considered one of the worst [midseason] results we've ever seen, historically - in both ratings and quality.
"What stands out here? Nothing!"
Networks use the midseason schedule to replace shows cancelled from their fall lineups, or to introduce new shows they hope can make a dent in a less cluttered environment (read: less competition than in the fall).
Some of the most famous shows in TV history — among them All in the Family, Barney Miller, Knot's Landing, Dynasty and The Wonder Years — began life as midseason replacements.
But this midseason is strewn with the remants of bombs like The WB's My Life as a Rock Star, Fox's American Embassy, UPN's As If and Random Years and ABC's Wednesday at 9:30 (8:30 Central) — a strangely titled sitcom starring Fawlty Towers legend John Cleese that was canned after two low-rated episodes.
On the winning side, the pickings are slim. There's CBS' surprising Baby Bob and ABC's fair-to-middling George Lopez. "Baby Bob is hammocked into the 8:30 Monday timeslot, but what kind of legs is it going to have?" Berman says. "What happens when the kid gets older? It's over!"
And then there's Fox's Greg the Bunny, which bowed to mostly positive critical acclaim and solid numbers.
"People either love it or hate it — but they're talking about it," Berman says of Greg. "I think of any of the Fox [midseason] shows, that's the only one that has a shot of returning in the fall."
Industry analyst Stacey Lynn Koerner isn't as harsh in her assessment of this midseason.
"I'd say it's on par with what we usually see," says Koerner, senior VP and director of broadcast research for Initiative Media.
"Typically, Fox has one or two shows that come out [in midseason] that we'll likely see next season." Unlike Berman, Koerner picks Fox's Andy Richter Controls the Universe and That '80s Show as midseason survivors.
Other shows on the bubble — meaning they could go either way — include NBC's Leap of Faith and and NBC's much-hyped Watching Ellie, starring Seinfeld alum Julia Louis-Dreyfus — but just barely.
Fox is a division of News Corp., the parent company of Fox News Channel, which operates Foxnews.com.