Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Analysis of ABC's New Fall Schedule

ABC announced their new fall schedule today (Tuesday) and there are lots of new shows to get excited about, and come the fall, ABC is definitely going to be the network I am watching most. The network has quite a few hit shows coming back next season (Lost will return at mid-season, adding to the depth and strength of the network) but there were still some questionable moves made by the network in their fall scheduling. So, let's take a look with a night by night analysis as I did for NBC's new fall schedule.

8:00 Dancing with the Stars
9:30 Sam I Am (new comedy)
10:00 The Bachelor

I likely won't be watching ABC much on Monday, as the only new show on the agenda is the new Christina Applegate comedy "Sam I Am" where Applegate stars as a coma patient who awakens with amnesia and soon realizes she wasn't a very nice person in her former life. Sounds decent enough, but I'm not a Christina Applegate fan, and surely not enough to not watch Heroes. And with all of ABC's great new dramas, including those saved for midseason (like Victor Garber's Eli Stone), they couldn't find anything better to show at 10:00 then the Bachelor? That decision, and the age and over-exposure of CSI potentially hurting CSI NY, means NBC's Journeyman may have a good shot to make it in the 10:00 Monday time period.


8:00 Cavemen (new comedy)
8:30 Carpoolers (new comedy)
9:00 Dancing with the Stars Results Show
10:00 Boston Legal

Cavemen, for those unfamiliar, is an adaptation of the Geico commercials. This thing is going to be a disaster for two reasons. First, while the caveman concept is funny in a thirty second spot, it doesn't work so well in a thirty minute comedy. Second, the actor from the commercial won't be in the television show. It seems like a small thing, but when you are trying to make a go of a comedy as absurd as the Geico Cavemen, to not put the only known (and well liked) caveman in the show, is just absurd. I'm sure the actor knew this and held out for a lot of money, but if they are going to try this, they needed everything to go right, and not signing the original actor is a big strike against a very questionable show to begin with.

And why would ABC not try to protect its new comedies by placing them after the highly rated Dancing With The Stars Results Show? I love Boston Legal, but it has proven this year that it doesn't benefit a whole lot from the DWTS lead-in (especially in the 18-49 demographic) and one would think the new comedies would need all the help they can get. Except, no, the comedies have to find their own audience, and the same show which squandered its large rating lead-in this season gets a chance to do the same next year. Sort of confusing. But, I love Boston Legal, so I'm not complaining.


8:00 Pushing Daisies (new drama)
9:00 Private Practice (new drama)
10:00 Dirty Sexy Money (new drama)

Should be the most interesting night for ABC. Trying out three brand new dramas all on the same night is really risky, but all three of these shows could be breakout hits. Pushing Daises, a dramedy about a man who can bring people back to life, is getting all the media buzz and everyone who has seen the pilot says it is a can't miss. The Televisionary Blog, for example, raved about it.

Pushing Daisies, in short, is the rare television show that actually changes the way you look at television, a dazzlingly lush production that seems more at home as a big budget feature film (think Big Fish and you've approximated the look) filled with charmingly eccentric folk whom you can't wait to meet up with again.

Private Practice, I think, will succeed where other recent spinoffs (like Joey) has failed. The cast (Kate Walsh, Merrin Dungey, Tim Daly, Taye Diggs, and Amy Brenneman) is top rate, Shonda Rhimes (creator of Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice) is a great storyteller, and as I said before, the show has the potential to be more mature, less melodramatic, and certainly less annoying (in a bad way, not in an endearing way) then Grey's Anatomy.

Dirty Sexy Money, as I've previously talked about, also has the potential to be a big show. Peter Krause was great on Sports Night (and people who watched said the same about Six Feet Under) and Donald Sutherland is a phenomenal actor as well. The show, where Krause stars as an idealistic lawyer representing a famous and controversial wealthy family, sounds like it could be a really good concept, and I'm very much looking forward to the show.


8:00 Ugly Betty
9:00 Grey's Anatomy
10:00 Big Shots (new drama)

So the show I've talked most about, Big Shots, get placed in the big shot timeslot, right after Grey's Anatomy. And with ER fading, and CBS likely to debut a new drama after CSI, the timeslot is very much up for grabs. The buzz on the Big Shots pilot has been uneven (most like the cast but didn't love the pilot as much as the initial offerings of Pushing Daisies or Dirty Sexy Money) but with the cast the show has, I think it has a very good chance at being successful, and launching after Grey's Anatomy is a good sign. It will also, though, mean added expectations, and perhaps less patience by the network should ratings struggle at the start, so here's hoping the show lives up to (or exceeds) the initial hype.


8:00 Men in Trees
9:00 Women's Murder Club (new drama)
10:00 20/20


8:00 Saturday Night College Football


7:00 America's Funniest Home Videos
8:00 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
9:00 Desperate Housewives
10:00 Brothers & Sisters

I don't have much to say about these three nights, other then to say I likely won't be watching any of the shows (though the new Women's Murder Club does star the great Angie Harmon) and even though I used to say, when Alias was on, that I would watch any show Ron Rifkin was in, Brothers & Sisters is not for me.

Overall, a strong schedule, as three or four of ABC's new dramas I think could be breakout hits. Their comedies, including Cavemen, are more questionable, and the scheduling of them (and the placement of the Bachelor on Mondays) is interesting (to say the least), but if Pushing Daisies, Private Practice, Dirty Sexy Money, and Big Shots live up to their potential, ABC could be the network to watch in 2007.

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SouthernGal said...

Thanks Scott for your analysis of the new fall schedule. I'm looking forward to reading more of your opinions on the new shows as the promotions start.


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