Most average TV viewers don't know this, but a few times a year, the industry runs special programming to get big ratings and uses them to garner the highest prices they can from their advertisers. It's called Sweeps and it happens in November, February, May and July.
Why should you care? Typically, this means big event programming such as cross-over episodes, mini-series, mid-season finales, new show launches and watercooler programming. So, without further ado, here's a quick list of what you can expect this Sweeps period:
Survivor: One World: The original reality show is back with "the most shocking rose ceremony ever." Oh, wrong show. Ok, well, Survivor always has tricks up its sleeve and this season promises to be no exception with another battle of the sexes concept and, for the first time ever, competing teams share one beach. Catch it Wednesday nights at 8/7c on CBS.
The Simpsons: It's hard to believe, but FOX's landmark animated show is celebrating its 500th episode on Sunday, February 19th. Even more interesting, it features the guest voice of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. It's sure to get tongues wagging.
Glee: Will Rachel and Finn tie the knot? Will the New Directions beat the Warblers at regionals? Get your song fix and don't miss the winter finale of Glee on FOX at 8/7c on February 21st.
Cougar Town: The best show with the worst name, or so say the creators, this Courtney Cox comedy comes back to the ABC lineup. Catch it Tuesday nights at 8:30/7:30c and wonder why ABC can't find a permanent home for this smart show that really has nothing to do with cougars of any kind.
A special edition of 20/20 - Before They Were Famous, with Robin Roberts: February sweeps includes the OscarsR, so of course ABC wants to milk that for all it's worth. This special Oscars-themed edition of the broadcast showcases a side most of us have not seen of our favorite nominees - their childhoods. Tune in Wednesday, February 22 at 10/9c on ABC.
The 84th Academy AwardsR: Brad or George? Meryl or Viola? The Artist or The Descendants? Tune in to see these head-to-head battles for Oscar gold and of course all the fashion, faux pas and festivities. Sunday, February 26, 8:30/7:30c on ABC.
Those are just some of what Sweeps holds in store. What are you most looking forward to this February? Share your favorite shows here.