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Q&A: Nov. 27

Question: I'm a big Battlestar Galactica fan. Should I be happy or concerned about the move from Friday to Sunday?
Neil Brass

Answer: Battlestar Galactica indeed is moving, on Jan. 21. But Sunday is a higher-visibility night and BC will be positioned at 9 p.m. central (10 eastern) behind Sci Fi Channel's splashy new series The Dresden Files. Overall ratings for BC are down a bit this season, but parent company NBC Universal is touting the show's gains with advertiser-coveted younger viewers. Its median age is 1.6 years younger than last season, and the show is drawing 20 percent more women, 18-to-49. That's a good sign, given the way networks do business these days. So I wouldn't fret just yet.

Question: I wanted to ask you if there seem to be more TV cancellations than normal. I was a fan of Vanished and they just all of a sudden dropped that with four episodes left. Also, I started watching Smith when it started and they canceled that one after maybe two or three episodes. How can a show ever get an audience if it's going away after two episodes? The trouble is you get time invested in these shows and then the networks let you down.
Michael Snively

Answer: You're right, Michael, shows can come and go in a hurry. Smith for the record got three episodes before being axed. But CBS is burning off the remaining unaired hours on its website. As is NBC on its website with the canceled Kidnapped.

One of the problems is the preponderance of new serial dramas this season. If a show opens virtually DOA, it's unlikely to pick up many if any new viewers as the season wears on. Fox's Vanished likewise was a serial, and a very complex one at that. But you can still watch some of that show's episodes here.

The other side of this coin is NBC's commendable patience with two low-rated, critically acclaimed series, Friday Night Lights and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Both have been picked up for full seasons despite their mostly anemic Nielsen numbers. NBC also is hanging in there with the new 30 Rock, which recently was moved to Thursdays as part of a bravura comedy bloc that also includes My Name Is Earl, The Office and, beginning on Nov. 30, Scrubs.

One more thing. Networks now are quicker to plug in cheaper-to-produce "reality" hours whenever a more expensive scripted show falters. NBC's 1 vs 100, ABC's Show Me the Money and Fox's The Rich List are this fall's examples, although the latter was pulled after just one episode. In that context, Smith and Vanished seem like long-distance runners, even though you'll now have to hit the Web to find them.