Saturday, May 12, 2007

More TV Upfront Buzz as Monday Approaches

NBC officially kicks of "TV Upfront" week starting on Monday, and given it's the weekend before the 2007 fall television schedules will be unveiled to the public (and more importantly, the advertisers), rumors, speculation, and mock schedules are floating around all over the place. Shows thought to be shoo-ins for places on the fall schedule (like ABC's Marlowe) are being axed at the last minute due to budget issues and other shows may make it on the air or may make it another season (like NBC's Scrubs) despite conventional wisdom being they may be finished. I've added a 2007 TV Upfronts category so all of the posts over the next few days (and my pasts posts like the Top 5 Shows to Save for Next Season).

So what is the latest news on some of of the pilots I've been hoping make it to air and some of the latest scheduling buzz?

**NBC: The good news is, for fans of some of NBC's "on the bubble" shows, two shows which were very much in danger of being canceled are being brought back for next season. On Friday, work leaked that Scrubs was being brought back for a seventh and final season and earlier in the week Friday Night Lights was also returning for its second season. I like both shows, but I'll be honest, I don't really watch either of them. Scrubs I watched when it first came on the air, then for whatever reason (probably because it was scheduled against another show I watched) and now I catch up on the DVD season sets as they are released (Season Five is released in a few weeks). Friday Night Lights I always wanted to watch, and I'm hoping to catch up over the summer.

According to Pilot Buzz Central which has been monitoring the advertiser chatter from the upfronts, NBC may move Friday Night Lights to Fridays at 8:00, which to me, doesn't make a lot of sense. While the show didn't do that well in the ratings Tuesday's at 8:00, putting a show, about high school football, on at a time when high school football is being played (thus a large segment of the interested audience isn't home to watch) is puzzling. I understand NBC has had success with similar family-friendly dramas in the past on Friday nights, but I think given the choice between a drama about high school football and real high school football, most will choose to go to their local high schools. As for the rest of NBC's rumored schedule, I don't know a lot about their pilots (I've read the synopsis for them, they sound very strange, a lot of science-fiction elements to them) but there are quite a few new shows on the horizon (The Bionic Woman, Life). Once I learn more about them on Monday, I'll see if they sound any better.

** ABC: ABC presents on Tuesday, and I've already talked quite a bit about Dirty Sexy Money, Private Practice, and the formerly named Perfect Gentlemen (previous to that it was called Bedrooms & Boardrooms, now its titled "Big Shots", which while better then Bedrooms & Boardrooms, is probably not as good as "prefect Gentlemen". The good news is, all three received series orders according to The Futon Critic.

Over on the newcomer side, the dramas include the much-ballyhooed "Grey's Anatomy" spin-off "Private Practice," two series from "Brothers & Sisters" executive producer Greg Berlanti ("Dirty Sexy Money," "Eli Stone") and efforts from "Sex and the City" creator Darren Star ("Cashmere Mafia"), "Reunion's" Jon Harmon Feldman ("Big Shots"), "Heroes'" Bryan Fuller ("Pushing Daisies") as well as a small screen take on James Patterson's book "Women's Murder Club."

And on the comedy front, there's the equally-ballyhooed "Cavemen," based on the Geico commercials, along with the Christina Applegate-led "Sam I Am" and Bruce McCulloch's ensemble "Carpoolers."

Yes, you read that right, there's going to be a show about the Gieco Cavemen living in Atlanta while dealing with prejudice as people look down on them, because, well, they are cavemen. That is either going to be a disaster or a huge success, and absolutely nowhere in between. And Eli Stone's pickup (it looks as if it will be a midseason replacement) makes Alias almuni 3-3 on ABC as Victor Garber stars as a lawyer in Eli Stone, joining Merrin Dungey (Private Practice) and Michael Vartan (Big Shots). With Ron Rifkin (Brothers & Sisters) and Greg Grunberg (Heroes) on other hit shows, the Alias family tree is doing very well at the moment (now all we need is Terry O'Quinn's Locke to survive on Lost and we are all set).

According to Pilot Buzz Online's ABC schedule rumors, it looks like Dirty Sexy Money will be on at 9:00 Tuesday's leading into Boston Legal, and Big Shots may get the coveted post Grey's Anatomy slot, Thursday's at 10:00, with Private Practice on 9:00 Wednesdays. All of those time slots work with me, and don't conflict with other shows that I watch (if Shark moves, as is rumored below), so I'd be happy with that. ABC looks to have a really strong schedule right now.

** CBS: Like with NBC's pilots, because I've been so interested in ABC's pilots, I haven't read much about CBS' new offerings. Though it does look like How I Met Your Mother will return for another season (I need to start doing a better job watching that on CBS Online because it's a funny show but I always watch Prison Break instead 8:00 Mondays). And still no word on whether Jericho will return. One thing which does bother me is that Pilot Buzz Online has Shark moving to 10:00 Tuesdays, which just be frustrating. There aren't too many courtroom dramas on TV to start with (especially with Law & Order being endangered at the moment) and for the two strongest, Shark and Boston Legal, to go head-to-head, that isn't good for either show, and will be frustrating for me as a fan of both shows. Even though both are courtroom dramas, they have such completely different tones (light for Boston Legal, dark for Shark) but both can succeed as shows. I'm not sure if they can against each other though.

** FOX: The only show I'm really looking forward to here is the Kelsey Grammar/Patricia Heaton news anchor comedy "Back To You." It's supposed to be hilarious and both Grammar and Heaton are very very funny. Otherwise, Prison Break in the fall and 24 in the winter, and that's FOX (at least to me). Maybe I should start watching House because everyone loves it, but I watch enough shows as it is and there are enough good pilots to keep me busy next year.

** The CW: I don't watch or care about the CW. Ever since they canceled Jack & Bobby a few seasons back, the only show in the history of the network (going back to when it was the WB and UPN) I liked, I tend to stay away.

Aside from the links I've used in my analysis above (Pilot Buzz Online, Kristen at E-Online, website The Futon Critic) there are a few other places to be checking out in the next week as the pilots and schedules are unvelied. Zap2It has a great message board with all sorts of news, as does Mediaweek's Program Insider. TV Guide also has their own pilot blog, and The Televisionary Blog also has good anlaysis.

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Clever WoT said...

As a heads up, my wife and I both liked Scrubs a lot until this most recent season. It got just godawful terrible, to the point where we stopped TiVoing it midseason.

Hopefully you'll disagree when you get to these episodes.

Addled said...

Looks like Studio 60 is canceled (don't have a link, I think I read it in the NYT), which truly saddens me. West Wing was one of my favorite shows, probably of all time; they should have given Sorkin a chance to really develop the show - you're right about the cast, and of course the writing was top notch. Looks like they'll be playing the last few episodes, for whatever that's worth (to us fans).

Love Scrubs, though, and really happy they picked it up for at least one more year.

Scott Warheit said...

Kurt -

Yeah, Scrubs has always been one of those shows that's right on the border between being really funny and being really ridiculous (and unfunny) for me, but overall I've liked it. But, maybe it's uneven nature is also one of the reasons I never went out of my way to watch it's on, and thus, inevitably get caught up on the DVDS (and, BTW, I'll have an e-mail back to you on LCD vs. Plasma later today).

Addled - It looks like Studio 60 is gone, which is sad, because it had so much potential. Goes to show you I guess never to get too excited during the early buzz over a television show. Just never could live up to its expectations, sadly.



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