What Happened to the February Sweeps?

In years gone by, you could count on new episodes of successful TV shows. These shows would often showcase guest stars, and resolve some plot-lines and/or start other plot lines.

Last week, NBC had a repeat of Law and Order SVU. Last night CBS had repeats of Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory. When I saw the repeat of Two and a Half Men, I thought it might have because of Sheen’s legal issues and they could film new episodes.

Checking tonights program guide, NCIS and NCIS Los Angeles are repeats.

I hardly watch anything on ABC, but checking tomorrow nights shows, I see that they are repeats as well. There is a new Lost and the forgotten show though tonight.

As the Conan vs Leno debacle really messed with NBC’s mindset? Is CBS and ABC hesitant to show new first run shows against the Olympics? or has there been a paradigm shift in network philosophy of February Sweeps? Are Reality shows to blame?

It’s the Olympics. The other networks have never attempted to try to compete with that in the past.

Last time, Fox was fairly successful running things against the Torino Olympics, but this time the Vancouver Olympics look to be getting better ratings. Maybe that’s because they’re closer to the U.S.; maybe it’s because the U.S. team is already doing better; I don’t know. But so far the other networks, with the possible exception of Fox, are looking more wary.

I suspect it may also be because many of the medal events are happening in the evening, in “real time” to prime-time viewers, so that the evening telecast isn’t rehashing results from hours ago.

The last time the winter olympics came around, they had March Sweeps instead. I imagine we’ll see that this year too.

They canceled the february sweeps last year, too. Everyone was afraid the switchover to digital TV would cause too much confusion for the 15% of viewers that still only watched “regular” TV. So they got together and moved the sweeps to March.

Then the FCC moved the switch to digital TV back to June.

Wikipedia lists sweeps as Feb 4 - March 3 this year.