This week marks the unofficial start of the 2012-13 broadcast season with the season premiere of NBC’s The Voice tonight, followed by the debuts of new NBC comedies Go On, The New Normal and Guys With Kids and the season openers of NBC’s Parenthood, Fox’s The X Factor and ABC’s Shark Tank. More than ever this year, the Emmy Awards will not signal the kickoff of the new season. Of the five broadcast networks, only ABC — which carries the Emmys and will likely use it as a major promotional platform — and CBS — which has always stuck to a traditional rollout — will premiere the bulk of their fall lineups during premiere week, which starts on September 24.
It is not just the other networks’ desire to avoid the mayhem of premiere week that led to the most scattered fall launch I’ve ever seen — it started August 13 with the second-season premiere of NBC’s Grimm and ends November 2 with the debuts of ABC’s Last Man Standing and Malibu Country. Also factoring in is the fact this is an election year, so networks shifted some premiere dates to get longer runs uninterrupted by the four presidential/vice presidential debates on October 3, 11, 16 and 24 and Election Night on November 6. (ABC has been the most mindful of the disruptions, delaying the season premiere of Suburgatory until October 17 and the series debut of Nashville until October 10 so they only get one pre-emption each.) Additionally, NBC has been aggressive in trying to put on fall originals closer to its ratings record-breaking coverage of the London Olympics. (more…)