Time Slot Wars: Wednesday
Time Slot Wars: Wednesday
In BuddyTV's 2007 Fall TV Guide, we assessed each night to see which shows the major networks were pitting against each other, and determined which ones would emerge victorious in the ratings war.

This fall, there's one hour of television in the middle of the week that may prove to be the toughest choice TV watchers make.  Four new shows will take on one returning show in an all out ratings war.  CBS' Criminal Minds will try to hold onto its viewers, up against ABC's Private Practice, NBC's Bionic Woman, FOX's Kitchen Nightmares, and the CW's Gossip Girl.  Thank goodness for TiVo; however, that will only afford you the luxury of watching two of these shows.  And for those who don't have the luxury of digital recorders, you'll have to choose one show to involve yourself with.

The buzz around Criminal Minds may be enough to bring in a strong viewership early on.  Joe Mantegna has joined the cast, replacing Mandy Patinkin who left at the end of last season.  Patinkin, however, will return once this fall to wrap up his character Jason Gideon's storyline.  Viewers who enjoy familiarity may choose to stick with Criminal Minds.

However, Kitchen Nightmares hits the air with its own taste of familiarity, with Gordon Ramsay heading up the show.  Fans of Hell's Kitchen will surely tune in to watch him berate restaurant owners and staff as he tries to take their businesses from the bottom to the top.  There will be no shortage of drama or f-bombs and for fans who look more for sensationalism than sensational cooking, Kitchen Nightmares will be a treat to watch.

Familiarity is the name of the game for Private Practice, starring Kate Walsh as Addison Montgomery.  Considering Addison was a fan favorite for Grey's Anatomy watchers, I expect big ratings early on.  Every cast member is well known, from movie stars (Taye Diggs) to television stars (Tim Daly, Paul Adelstein, Amy Brenneman), to Broadway stars (Audra McDonald).  The crossover episode on Grey's last year, where we were introduced to Private Practice, got mixed reviews from fans and critics but curiosity should hold the show long enough to gain a faithful following.

For those too young to remember the original Bionic Woman, the show is about a woman who was nearly killed in an accident but rebuilt by doctors, ends up having extraordinary strength.  Fans of the original '70s series will tune in to see how 30 years later, the show has been remade.  Younger fans, who perhaps enjoy a show like Heroes, should also check out this show.

Gossip Girl should do well among teen viewers.  It's slightly reminiscent of The O.C. and why shouldn't it be, with Josh Schwartz at the helm of this project as well?  The show features Blake Lively of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and the voice of Kristen Bell, which should appeal to CW fans.  It's doubtful that the show will draw huge numbers but it's not out of the realm of possibility that it will develop a strong, loyal fan base.

Wednesday nights certainly has something for everyone but I expect this to end up being a two woman race between Bionic Woman and Private Practice.  I'd give the edge to Private Practice if not for its shaky pilot that aired last season.  Considering the huge success of Heroes, I think Bionic Woman could emerge victorious here if Practice doesn't step it up.

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- Gina Scarpa, BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Image courtesy of ABC)