hammock
n. A television time slot between two established, popular, programs.

Example Citations:
NBC’s sophomore comedy “The Single Guy,” which has enjoyed the 8:30 Thursday hammock between the hits “Friends” and “Seinfeld,” is moving to the much-tougher 8:30 p.m. Wednesday slot starting March 26.
—“NBC Sweeps to Top Again, with CBS a Happy Second,” New York Daily News, February 27, 1997

Simply put, programmers feel they must use their best time slots to establish new series, since few programs have become hits in recent years without the benefit of such a showcase.

Small wonder, then, that NBC has placed two series this season (“Suddenly Susan” and “The Naked Truth”) in the “hammock” between “Seinfeld” and “ER.” A third comedy—“Fired Up,” starring “NYPD Blue’s” Sharon Lawrence—will get a shot there beginning April 10.
—Brian Lowry, “Time for shuffling TV habits,” Los Angeles Times, February 25, 1997

Earliest Citation:
Antonowsky relies on Trendex, a computerized telephone “call-back” system that polls viewer reaction to new shows in 25 cities. “Trendex told me people didn’t like ‘Fay’,” he shrugs. His conversation is peppered with technical jargon like “audience flows” and “scheduling hammocks” (the time slot between two strong shows).
—Harry F. Water, “The Big 3’s Big 3: The Numbers Man,” Newsweek, February 16, 1976

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