So many questions to be answered. Will Pam stay with Jim? Who has Ugly Betty's heart? Will the ladies of Wisteria Lane get their faces pulled back one more notch? I can feel the tension.
But instead of doing traditional fall preview (what's hot, what's not), I've decided to slice the information another way. I'm going strictly by the numbers. The end result, I'm afraid to report, will not heighten anticipation to a fever pitch. All it will do is underscore the sorry state (creatively and economically) of network programming. I tried. Really, I tried.
97 -- Total prime-time shows on the five major networks
33 -- Shows that are spin-offs, imported or from previously produced material*
20 -- Reality/Game shows**
9.4 -- Number of years (working 24 x 7) a PA from 2 1/2 Men will have to work to equal Charlie Sheen's weekly salary for 2 1/2 men.***
120 -- Length (in seconds) of a commercial break during a TV broadcast of Grey's Anatomy
30 - Length (in seconds) of a commercial break during a web broadcast of Grey's Anatomy
1 -- Number of nights the CW sold programming rights to Media Rights Capital
1 -- Number of talent agencies (Endeavor) with partial ownership of Media Rights Capital
13 -- Number of cast members for this season's Dancing with the Stars
7 -- Number of major motion pictures which star any of these DWTS cast members (excluding Frau Blucher -- neigh neigh)
13 -- Number of hour-long dramas on CBS
* Dancing with the Stars, Worst Week, Ugly Betty, Life on Mars, The Moment of Truth, Kitchen Nightmares, Kath & Kim, The Office, Wife Swap, Super Nanny, America's Funniest Home Videos, American Idol, Hell's Kitchen, Secret Millionaire, 90210, Knight Rider, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles, Law & Order: SVU, Private Practice, The Game, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, The Cleveland Show, The Office spin-off, Privileged, Lipstick Jungle, Smallville, Crusoe, Eleventh Hour, The Ex-List and Merlin
**Dancing with the Stars, America's Toughest Jobs, Biggest Loser, America's Next Top Model, Stylista, Deal or No Deal, Survivor, Moment of Truth, Kitchen Nightmares, Wife Swap, Super Nanny, Are you Smarter than a Fifth Grader, Don't forget the Lyrics, Cops, Americas Most Wanted, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, America's Funniest Home Videos, The Amazing Race and American Idol
***based on Sheen's reported salary of $825,000/week and typical PA salary of $10/hr.****CSI, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, NCIS, Without a Trace, Numbers, Cold Case, Eleventh Hour, Criminal Minds, The Mentalist