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Premieres please

Madeline Nies | Monday, October 1, 2007

Last May, in the midst of finals and pre-summer angst, we all took the time out of our busy schedules to cozy up on the couch with a full bowl of popcorn and engage in our most beloved TV shows’ season finales.

While some shows left us rather disappointed and unimpressed, others left us with mouths open, staring at the screen in a mixture of excitement and disbelief. Those shows most likely had some sort of mind-boggling cliffhanger that was entirely unexpected. It is these shows that we’ve been anxiously awaiting to return this fall.

For television lovers, this past week has been the highlight of the fall – the season premieres of many of our favorite shows (Desperate Housewives, The Office and Heroes, to name a few) as well as the start of several new, highly anticipated shows (Dirty Sexy Money, Private Practice, and Chuck). I do admit to taking a fair number of “study breaks” this week for the premiers of my favorites.

I happen to be an avid fan of The Office and Grey’s Anatomy, in particular. Understandably so, I was rather conflicted when I learned that these two shows would now be airing simultaneously – The Office on NBC and Grey’s on ABC Thursdays at 9 p.m.

For those of you who share in an Office obsession, you can understand my eagerness to find out where Jim and Pam now stand. And for those who can’t get enough Grey’s Anatomy drama, you can see how essential it was for me to see how ABC would handle Isaac Washington’s departure from the show, plus get an update on Derek and Meredith’s relationship, of course.

Clearly, NBC has made an aggressive move against its competitor, ABC, by moving The Office into the 9 p.m. time slot and extending the show to an hour long. I can’t imagine I’m the only person in these shows’ 18-to-45 year-old target audience who is now forced to choose between two favorites.

Statistically, this seems to have been a wise move on NBC’s part. While Grey’s Anatomy still surpasses The Office in number of viewers, Grey’s has reportedly lost 20 percent of its viewers from last season. Conversely, The Office is showing NBC the best numbers it has seen in several years and continues to attract more viewers every episode.

Forced to choose just one to watch at 9 this past Thursday, I decided on The Office, knowing that I could view Grey’s Anatomy online after the show. It certainly was a smart decision, being that the first episode was ridiculously hilarious as always. Could anyone have seen it coming that Michael would hit Meredith with his car?

All in all, I’d consider the premieres week a success. While I suspect some of the new shows may flop early on, I was quite impressed by the strong returns of my favorite shows. Perhaps an exciting television season can help compensate for our lack of entertainment on the football field this fall.