Women rule fall TV prime-time 0
Britney Spears and Demi Lovato (Reuters files)
This is easy. Or, for our phonetic purposes, this is eee-zeee.
What you need for your TV show is a woman. A hot woman. A smart woman. An athletic woman. A funny woman. A sassy woman. A combination of all those would be just super.
It also really helps if their first names end in an "eee" sound. Apparently everyone likes that. Rolls off the tongue.
So with the fall 2012 TV season upon us, the biggest expectations have been placed on shows featuring women with names such as Britney, and Demi, and Connie, and Lucy, and Mindy, and Tracy, and Mamie.
Last names, in order, are Spears and Lovato (The X Factor), Britton (Nashville), Liu (Elementary), Kaling (The Mindy Project), Spiridakos (Revolution) and Gummer (Emily Owens, M.D.). Those all are new shows except for The X Factor, which has substantially re-invented itself heading into its second season.
You can add those lovely ladies to the list of women from last season, with names like Zooey and Emily and Whitney. Things worked out really well for Zooey (Deschanel of New Girl) and Emily (VanCamp of Revenge), not as great for Whitney (Cummings of Whitney). But you can see the point we're trying to make.
And we didn't even get to Snooki.
Everyone has known for a long time that women are in charge of prime-time TV from the viewing end of things. But also now when you examine the actual content for scripted drama, scripted comedy and reality competition, women tend to be the driving force on-screen, in both overt and covert ways.
The prototype application of this is a show like The X Factor, which has added Spears and Lovato in an effort to tap into that cash-cow otherwise known as the young female market.
Also straight-forward is The Mindy Project, which is a sitcom created by, and starring, Kaling. Or Nashville, which pits women from different generations against each other in the physical forms of Britton and Hayden Panettiere. Or Emily Owens, M.D., in which Gummer -- Meryl Streep's daughter -- gets to re-live the humiliations of high school as an adult.
Less obvious but no less significant is Revolution, which is set in a post-apocalyptic world and has a massive ensemble cast. But Spiridakos, a Canadian, is the glue that makes it work on an emotional level.
At first glance you might not think that Elementary, which has Sherlock Holmes as its framework, falls into this category. Granted, Jonny Lee Miller does a nice job in the title role. But what makes this series buzz-worthy is Liu as a female Dr. Watson. That's the hook.
Jessica Lange propels American Horror Story. Christina Aguilera propels The Voice. Claire Danes propels Homeland. Ellen Barkin propels The New Normal. Jennifer Morrison and Lana Parrilla propel Once Upon a Time.
Men like gazing at women on TV. And women like evaluating other women on TV. That's not a personal declaration or anything, but merely an observation, taking into account how the various TV networks react and adjust. It's funny how all this doesn't translate to women watching women's sports. But that's a column for another day.
Women are everywhere on the prime-time TV marquee. Not all their names end with that "eee" sound. But increasingly, they don't call it teee-veee for nothing.