'Castle' vs. 'Hawaii Five-0' and other timeslot battles for fall

timeslot-battles-320.jpgThe upfronts are done, the networks' schedules for fall are set (for the moment, anyway) and the marketing campaigns are starting. So you know what? It's time to start looking ahead to what the fall might bring.

Now, we haven't seen more than a few minutes of any of the two dozen new series that will be hitting the air come fall, so we're not going to be handicapping their individual chances just yet. But in looking at the schedule as it's currently composed, there could be several interesting ratings clashes shaping up when the 2010-11 season begins. Here are a few of them.

Mondays at 10: Cops vs. cops vs. cops

ABC's "Castle," which saw its ratings grow this season and has a seriously loyal fan base, is now the incumbent in the 10 p.m. ET Monday slot since CBS moved "CSI: Miami" to Sundays. It will be facing off against a pair of new crime shows: The reboot of "Hawaii Five-0" on CBS -- which will match the cult appeal of its star, Alex O'Loughlin, with "Castle's" Nathan Fillion -- and the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced "Chase" on NBC, about a team of fugitive-hunting U.S. marshals led by Kelli Giddish and Cole Hauser.

Wednesdays at 8: Suddenly competitive

As we've previously documented, 8 o'clock Wednesday was weak across the board this season. That won't be the case come fall -- the hour is suddenly really crowded. The biggest ratings battle will probably be between CBS, which has moved "Survivor" there, and NBC, which will give a huge push to "Undercovers," one of the cornerstones of its extensive roster of new shows. But there are viable options on all five broadcast nets: "The Middle" got better and better in its first season on ABC, FOX's "Lie to Me" is one of the smartest procedurals on the air right now, and "America's Next Top Model" is still one of The CW's top shows. We can safely say that a lot of DVRs will be in use then -- and that unfortunately, one or more of these shows will probably take a Nielsen hit.

Wednesdays at 10: All lawyers, almost all the time

Just as 10 p.m. Monday is filled with law enforcement officers, 10 p.m. Wednesday is wall-to-wall attorneys. Or almost, anyway -- detectives will presumably also be an important part of NBC's entrant, "Law & Order: Los Angeles." ABC will counter with "The Whole Truth," which gives prosecutors and defense attorneys equal time, while CBS has a pair of colorful Vegas defense lawyers in "The Defenders." Since all three are new shows, it's anyone's guess as to who will come out on top.

Thursdays at 8: To be continued on Twitter

It seems like a pretty safe bet that "The Big Bang Theory" will take over the ratings lead when it moves to its new home in the fall. But what we're really looking forward to is the back-and-forth on Twitter between the very active exec producers of every show in that timeslot: @danharmon ("Community"), @billprady ("Big Bang"), @HartHanson ("Bones"), @noahhawley ("My Generation") and "The Vampire Diaries" duo of @kevwilliamson and @julieplec.

Fridays: Making the effort

The networks pretty well gave up on Saturday-night primetime a few years ago, but they're not willing to cede the second-least-watched night of the week, Friday. All five nets are making sincere attempts to grow their Friday audiences next season, either by moving shows there (CBS' "CSI: NY" and FOX's "Human Target") or by launching new shows with established stars ( Dana Delany in ABC's "Body of Proof," Jimmy Smits in NBC's "Outlaw" and Tom Selleck in CBS' "Blue Bloods"). The CW will have a livelier Friday as well by reuniting "Smallville" and "Supernatural."

Here's the full network grid for fall:


Prime Time Night by Night
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
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Photo credits: CBS, ABC, NBC

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