HD Heads-Up: January 19

Arrow will be the only new primetime addition to TV2’s schedule in the first week of February. It will also be premiering the comedy, One Big Happy, but in a late-night slot (11.45 Wednesday). Where are the Wednesday sitcoms, the Monday night dramas, the Sunday entertainment shows? Don’t expect to see these return to the schedule until later next month, with movies continuing to fill the gaps in the meantime. The slow roll-out of new-season fare is especially disappointing given how up-to-date TV2 was with some of its signature series pre-Christmas. By the time The Big Bang Theory returns, the network will have gone from “same week as the States” broadcasts to barely the same month. Similarly, the gap with Arrow will have stretched from the same day as the US to two weeks behind …

Once being only weeks behind a US broadcast would have been a welcome point of difference for a NZ network. But now with Sky’s SoHo screening so many shows so close to the US, such as tonight’s premiere of Billions, and Netflix releasing its commissions simultaneously around the world, networks like TV2 and TV3 need to be closing the gap more and more, not widening it — especially the former, which is scarcely light on inventory after its Fox deal …

What will TV2’s primetime schedule look like this time next month? Expect to see the Wednesday comedies back in a two-hour block, including the latest season of 2 Broke Girls, which resumed this month on CBS, twice-weekly 8.30 airings of local drama Filthy Rich, new seasons of The Walking Dead and How to Get Away With Murder, the premiere of hospital reality half-hour The Big Ward, and most likely the return of The Simpsons to the channel and more of The Muppets

As for One Big Happy, it was poorly reviewed upon its US debut nearly a year ago. It stars Elisha Cuthbert as a woman who, not having met Mrs Right, decides to have a baby with her best friend — only for him to fall in love with another woman when she conceives. The New Times dismissed the Ellen DeGeneres production as “intelligence insulting” while Variety called it “one of those calculated illusions — a series that tries to appear forward-thinking and edgy by tackling the evolving definition of family and parenting, only to filter those elements through a musty sitcom template that predates Ellen coming out of the closet” …

Tracey Ullman’s first UK comedy series in more than 30 years has been dumped late-night on BBC1, prompting The Guardian to ask if executives have lost confidence in the genre. “For many who work in television, particularly comedy, it is further evidence of the increasingly cautious approach broadcasters are taking to the genre, which is considered more high-risk than the natural history documentaries, detectives solving whodunnits or big-budget dramas regularly relied on to bring in the viewers” …

Great Barrier Reef With David Attenborough, which starts on Sunday (TV1, 7.30), has just ended its BBC1 run with lower ratings than Attenborough’s The Hunt, which TV3’s licensed. It averaged 3.3 million viewers for each of the three episodes, in a slot that’s averaged 4.2 million for the past 12 months; The Hunt averaged 4.1 million viewers for each ep …

Deadline’s just published an analysis of the pilots the US networks have in the pipeline, with Fox expected to order the most to fill the 40-hour void American Idol will leave. “Fox so far has ordered the Phil Lord and Chris Miller-produced time-travel comedy pilot, which has emerged as an instant front-runner based on a very well-received script, and also has the live-action/animated hybrid series Son of Zorn“…

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