Cursed Time Slots

Fans of time-slot arcana will enjoy James Greene Jr.’s post “The Curse of the 9:30 ‘TGIF’ Time Slot,” about ABC’s many failed attempts to fill the final time slot in their Friday night lineup.

Do you remember “Hi, Honey, I’m Home,” (great theme song by Rupert Holmes; click to hear it) “Baby Talk,” “Billy,” and “Where I Live?” Of course you don’t. (Well, you might remember “Hi, Honey” because it was picked up by Nickelodeon after ABC canceled it.)

A TV lineup is like an infield: there’s often one weak link that can never quite be filled. Some networks have as much trouble finding an 8:30 or 9:30 show as baseball teams have finding a third baseman. Everyone remembers the many terrible shows NBC tossed in at 8:30 and 9:30 on Thursdays (leading Seinfeld to do an episode about the terrible acts that only got laughs because they went on right after him).

I’m now trying to think of other networks that had a really weak time slot in an otherwise strong lineup, but I’m having trouble thinking of them, in part because a) There aren’t many programming lineups that get strong ratings all across the board, b) There aren’t a lot of shows, even successful ones, that own a particular time slot for years, and c) Sometimes shows are shuffled in and out of a particular time slot just because the network wants to give their shows a tryout after a big hit. I know ABC’s famous Tuesday night lineup of the early ’90s had problems with the 10:00 drama slot, but not huge problems (they tried a few shows in there after Thirtysomething was canceled, and finally came up with NYPD Blue).

So what are some other examples of “jinxed” time slots in successful programming blocks?

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