A desperate housewife headed your way? Cross the street.
In the case of the Golden Globes, the escape route leads to Monday night, where the awards show will air next January for the first time in its modern broadcast network history. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association made the announcement Thursday.
The move came at the urging of NBC, home to the Globes since 1996. Last winter, in the show's traditional Sunday slot, but opposite ABC breakout hit Desperate Housewives, ratings for the telecast plunged more than 35 percent from 2004.
"It's a cultural phenomenon that we're facing," NBC spokesman Bob Meyer said.
A Nielsen phenomenon, too. Going up against the Globes in January, Housewives didn't bat an eye. While an average of 16.8 million were watching series star Teri Hatcher win a spherical-shaped trophy over on NBC, a whopping 24.1 million were watching her emote over on ABC.
The Globes' planetary shift to Monday night will be tried for at least a year, NBC said. Airing on Jan. 16, 2006, the federal holiday marking Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the leading pre-Oscars award distribution effort not only will be clear of Desperate Housewives, but also of ABC's Monday Night Football, which will have wrapped by the end of December. It is, however, likely to face CBS' comedy block, and, more daunting, could face Fox's American Idol.
Fox said it didn't have a premiere date yet for the fifth-season launch of its own resident cultural phenomenon. Last season, Idol bowed in mid-January. On Monday night.
Finding a safe airdate, however, is not the sole concern of NBC and the Globes. The 2004-05 season was brutal on almost every major awards show, even ones that didn't go up against the women of Wisteria Lane.
Desperate Housewives hadn't even premiered yet when the Emmys, airing on ABC, sunk to record-low ratings, down nearly 20 percent from the previous fall. The Grammys, airing on CBS and opposite Housewives, saw its fan base fall by more than 25 percent. The Miss America Pageant, not an award show, per se, but just as much a TV institution, fell off the runway, skidding to 9.8 million viewers for ABC. Only the Oscars and the American Music Awards, both on ABC, held relatively steady.
Next season, the Grammys will try its luck on Wednesday night, Miss America will strut her stuff on cable in January, and the Oscars, undeterred and unbowed, will bring award season to a close on March 5, a Sunday. There was no word on where the American Music Awards will end up--just that it'll end up somewhere on ABC in November.
Like the Oscars, the Emmys are staying put on Sunday. The 57th annual Primetime Emmy Awards are set for Sept. 18 on CBS. Fortunately for the show, the rules of network engagement dictate that the competition holds their fire, and their season premieres, for the days following the broadcast.
In short, new episodes of Desperate Housewives don't return until Sept. 25.