4 years ago
Last year, we took a look at how all the major networks were trying to invest into cross-platform products and Internet-based entertainment (without much success).
This time around, we’re going to check if said major networks have any pulse left with their crazy fall slate changes and schedule moves.
The Network Effect: Between Déjà Vu and Madness
Changing cloned horses in midstream.
CBS’ “new” slate isn’t really all that new. They have about 15 returning shows (including the just-acquired Medium), 11 of which are at their fifth season or more. The least we can say is that the network likes to work with the old (including its main demographic, wink wink), and clearly doesn’t want to invest in original content. Out of the four new series premiering this fall on CBS, we have one spin-off, one medical drama, and a classic sitcom. It’s as if they are scared of fresh ideas.
Going where no network (with half a brain) has gone before.
The biggest ratings everyone is anxiously awaiting to see this year are the ones from Leno’s new 10PM show. We’ve already discussed in length last year (when it was announced) what the various implications such move had and will have on the television industry. There was also Silverman leaving his cushy NBC job last month. That was interesting.
Consequently, the peacock doesn’t have many fresh series this fall, barely three (including two medical shows). Community is probably the funniest new comedy this season, and surprisingly enough, in my mind, well promoted. We’ll see how it fairs under pressure as it will be against Survivor, FlashForward and Bones. This is tough competition to say the least.
And Heroes will probably fail yet again.
Congratulations, you’ve just found the F5 key.
Contrary to all the other networks, ABC brings in this fall an almost massive amount of new shows (count them, eight). Add to that those other three programs for mid-season and you’ve got yourself a pretty hefty slate.
What is interesting to see is that half of those shows are comedies. The Alphabet network is indeed launching this season their own little comedy night full of fresh series. It’s certainly a gamble, especially when you consider the competition: to name a few, So You Think You Can Dance, Glee, Criminal Minds, ands CSI: NY. At least half the sitcoms will probably get the axe, but I do think however that some of them might get better scores than the CBS comedies on at the same time.
We can also notice with this accumulation of series a trend opposite to last year’s. Indeed, with, at the time, literally a single fresh (now canceled) drama, ABC didn’t want to look towards the future and instead buried its head in the sand.
Last season I was talking about how:
ABC [is relying too much] on those 3 hits, [Lost, Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy], and I think that around 2010–2011, if they don’t have any new hit series, the network will be in a lot of troubles when said hits won’t be around anymore. The only fresh program this fall on ABC is Life on Mars, how original.
This year however, everything has changed. Eastwick is trying to get the Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives appeal while FlashForward has already been branded as the new Lost. V will probably struggle in the ratings when it takes the Shark Tank’s place in front of NCIS, The Biggest Loser and Hell’s Kitchen. Even if it’s a reliable alternative to all three shows, with a 3-part arc it’s as if even the creators know where the future is heading.
One thing we can say about ABC though is that, for once, it’s trying to relaunch itself.
Where laughter goes to die.
It’s a somewhat-surprising slate for FOX. For one it renewed Dollhouse. Who saw that one coming? That said, this season will be the last. Especially when you consider when the series is being broadcast (behind Brothers and ‘Til Death, on a Friday night, come on).
The network also seems to have a CBS vibe to it now with nine returning shows, and over half of them being in their fifth season (or more). As for their new programs, we have a third Seth MacFarlane production, as well as Brothers. That last one is so awful, it’s almost indescribable. Think of a multi-camera sitcom with all the funny sucked out of it. What’s even sadder is that the show has a more than decent cast, including the great CCH Pounder.
Anyways, unlike ABC they don’t have dying series on their hands (except 24), most of them can basically continue on forever (take a look at The Simpsons). So their risk factor is taken out of the equation.
To be continued (or canceled)…
Good ratings: They shall not pass!
With a few exceptions, The CW is basically keeping every show it has and giving them a maximum lifespan. They’re almost better at this than CBS with 80% of their series being over their fourth season.
The CW is also trying to bank on already-established genre/brands like 90210, Gossip Girl, and now both Melrose Place and The Vampire Diaries. Smallville on the other hand is almost dying of old age with its ninth season rearing its ugly head.
In short, the network is trying to repair their atrocious ratings by producing more of the same. That’s called a foolproof plan.
Because we blew all our money on TV pilots.
With about a gazillion upcoming projects, FX is trying to reinvigorate itself with fresh programming. Case in point this fall with two new comedies, Archer and the League, which will accompany Philadelphia’s fifth season. FX is kind of the HBO to AMC’s Showtime. A network with fading critical hits in desperate need of renewal.
We saw last month how FX doesn’t want to let its show die either. Nip/Tuck, despite a finished shoot, won’t have its series finale broadcast until mid-2011. Rescue Me will as well film its two final seasons back-to-back for a 9/11 homage broadcast during the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. By 2011, FX will only have a few shows left, such as Sons of Anarchy, and perhaps new series it’s creating at the moment.
It got so high; it just had to fall back down.
Not a lot of fresh content this fall given that most of its series have now changed to being Summer-based (Entourage premiered last year in early September for instance). I’m hoping Bored to Death does well as it both deserves it and is basically the only HBO show with fresh episodes (excluding Curb Your Enthusiasm). Another comedy, The Life and Times of Tim, has yet to return (hopefully before Christmas). Meanwhile, In Treatment and The N°1 Ladies’ Detective Agency are both on the bubble.
Like FX, HBO has a lot of projects on stand-by, including the long-awaited Game of Throne adaptation. Basically most of its fresh batch of episodes is scheduled to air only around mid-season, which almost allows Showtime free reign
over cable networks.
Pay close attention for we are about to be foolish.
Incidentally, Showtime itself should try looking into new series. Weeds will next year go into its sixth season, and Dexter is almost in its fifth. By all logic, one should be looking for fresh and exciting new programs.
However, earlier this year, Sho passed on four pilots with great potential (including a Matthew Perry/Peter Tolan comedy and a Tim Robbins drama). Pretty surprising choices to say the least. They’ll soon come a time when the cable network will have to reevaluate its slate of shows. It’s all a cycle.
Overall, it looks like most of networks do not want to change much, trying to rely on proven formulas as long as they hold.
The nets are either banking on the same types of shows they’ve been making for a decade, or doing very stupid decisions (I’m looking at you NBC).
Live and learn…
4 years ago
Let’s continue our TV 2009 review/coverage with this time around all the new shows that are premiering this fall.
Notice how eight of the twenty or so shows (more than a third!) are either direct spin-offs or remake/adaptations.
Newbies: They’re not that original.
- Accidentally on Purpose (premieres Sept. 21): Jenna Elfman comes back to TV with a show about a woman who “accidentally” gets impregnated after a one-night stand. I don’t see how this show can last over a season. But then again, the same thing was said about How I Met Your Mother…
- NCSI: Los Angeles (premieres Sept. 22): A fourth CSI show set in L.A. would have seemed way too suspicious so they instead opted for something way more original: a spin-off from a popular crime show. Can someone clarify for me the series’ relation to JAG?
- The Good Wife (premieres Sept. 22): Despite its standard CBS procedural aspect, I’ll give this one a try if only for Julianna Margulies (that, and both Ridley Scott & Tony Scott are execs). She’ll play the wife of a politician having been jailed following a public sex and corruption scandal. On the nose storyline.
- Three Rivers (premieres Oct. 4): I’m sensing a cancellation here.
- The Jay Leno Show (premieres Sept. 14): Crash and burn. Please?
- Community (premieres Sept. 17): The pilot was funny albeit with most, if not all, of its jokes in the trailer. The cast is enjoyable enough, but unfortunately John Oliver will only be part of two or so of the show’s 12-episode season.
- Mercy (premieres Sept. 23): Have mercy on yourselves and do not watch this.
- Trauma (premieres Sept. 28): It’s like E.R. and Third Watch but with a lot more budget so they can make everything explode. Plus Peter Berg.
- The Forgotten (premieres Sept. 22): That, it will be.
- Modern Family (premieres Sept. 23): Despite its good cast I’m still dubious of its comedic appeal. Especially when you consider that one of the creators was behind Stacked.
- Cougar Town (premieres Sept. 23): I wonder if Bill Lawrence will get busier with his Scrubs reboot than with this Courtney Cox show?
- Eastwick (premieres Sept. 23): Unnecessary adaptation of the 1987 witch film.
- FlashForward (premieres Sept. 24): I’ve been telling you about this awesome show for almost a year now. And here it finally comes.
- Hank (premieres Sept. 30): Kelsey Grammer tries his luck a second time with this sitcom about a fallen CEO forced to move back to his old town with his family. I’m not expecting much, despite David Koechner also being in the cast.
- The Middle (premieres Sept. 30): Where’s Malcolm?
- V (premieres Nov. 3): Reboot of the famous ‘80s TV show about aliens coming to Earth with no-so-noble intentions. The pilot was somewhat enjoyable but didn’t really impress me. Will this become The 4400 2.0?
- Glee (premieres Sept. 16): The pilot was surprisingly entertaining. I’m looking forward to what’s to come.
- Brothers (premieres Sept. 18): Oh CCH Pounder, what has thou done?!
- The Cleveland Show (premieres Sept. 27): Yet another Seth MacFarlane show. I’ll pass.
- Melrose Place (premieres Sept. 23): You surely have better things to do than watch this reboot/remake/spin-off/revival/adaptation.
- The Vampire Diaries (premieres Sept. 10): Did they just create a TV spin-off of Twilight?
- The Beautiful Life: TBL (premieres Sept. 16): Simply awful.
- Archer (premieres in October): James Bond meets Arrested Development meets The Office. Greatest combination ever?
- The League (premieres November): Fresh off the network’s pick-up list, here comes a comedy about a Fantasy Football League with Human Giant’s Paul Scheer, the lovely Leslie Bibb and My Name is Earl’s Nadine Velazquez. Plus, it was created by Seinfeld/Curb Your Enthusiasm alumni Jeff Schaffer & Jackie Marcus.
- Stargate Universe (premieres Oct. 2): Now that Battlestar Galactica is gone, SGU wants to be the gritty sci-fi show. The storyline and cast definitely piqued my interest but I’m unsure how dark a Stargate series can be…
- Bored to Death (premieres Sept. 20): Jason Schwartzman, Zach Galifianakis and Ted Danson, together. Simply brilliant. The show describes itself as “noir-otic” and centers on an alcoholic novelist (Schwartzman) pretending to be a private eye. Galifianakis plays his BFF, a struggling comic-book artist.
Tomorrow will be our third and final part of our complete Fall ’09 review. We’ll check out what’s going on with all the major networks. It’s gonna be epic (fail).
4 years ago
Following last year’s lead, it is now time for “the inevitable fall preview post that is on every TV blog!“
As always, it will be split into three parts (returning show, new shows, network talk)
No hazardous predictions this year seeing as I’m can’t seem to see very far.
Now, let us begin.
Back in all their glory; That, they are (not).
- Suvivor — Season 19 (premieres Sept. 17): A new season with a “treasure island” theme. Let’s pray that we’ll get a more interesting game than what we’ve been having for the past couple of years. I hope you love the Samoas because the 2010 edition was filmed back-to-back on the same location.
- How I Met Your Mother — Season 5 (premieres Sept. 21): Suit up! It’s time to go back in the game. Neil Patrick Harris is hosting this year’s Emmys so perhaps the show will garner more viewers. We should get finally this season some definite info on how Ted met his soon-to-be-wife…
- Two and a Half Men — Season 7 (premieres Sept. 21): Oh God, not this again.
- The Big Bang Theory — Season 3 (premieres Sept. 21): I was very reticent at the idea of watching this stereotypical show. But then I saw the first two seasons and liked it, a lot. It was much better than I expected it to be! The show was also renewed for two more seasons. Hopefully this year won’t be a crapfest.
- CSI: Miami — Season 8 (premieres Sept. 21): Put on your sunglasses. Utter a lame one-liner. You’re now ready to enjoy some terrible acting on your TV.
- NCIS — Season 7 (premieres Sept. 22): Not on my watch(list).
- The New Adventures of Old Christine — Season 5 (premieres Sept. 23): Nothing clever to say here.
- Gary unmarried – Season 2 (premieres Sept. 23): What the hell?! This was renewed?
- Criminal Minds — Season 5 (premieres Sept. 23):
- CSI: NY — Season 6 (premieres Sept. 23): I’ll probably check out the season premiere just to see the conclusion of last year’s cliffhanger (Hey, I had to prepare for that interview).
- CSI: — Season 10 (premieres Sept. 24): The show that wouldn’t die. I’m however dying of boredom when I’m watching this.
- The Mentalist – Season 2 (premieres Sept. 24): I’ll save you some time here: Go watch Psych instead.
- Ghost Whisperer – Season 5 (premieres Sept. 25): I don’t have to whisper to tell everyone how mediocre this series is.
- Medium – Season 6 (premieres Sept. 25): How well will Medium fare with the network switch? Tune it to find out.
- Numb3rs — Season 6 (premieres Sept.25): This endless equation continues for CBS thanks to great numbers. In the ratings.
- Cold Case — Season 7 (premieres Sept. 27): Obviously CBS doesn’t consider Cold Case “cold” enough to be classified. Ha. Ha. Ha. Get it?
- Heroes — Season 4 (premieres Sept. 21): Will my eyes heal once I gauge them out?
- Law & Order: SVU — Season 11 (premieres Sept. 25): Sorry peeps, I’m not interested.
- Parks and Recreation – Season 2 (premieres Sept. 17): Given that the first season got funnier by the episode, I’m looking forward to this one.
- The Office — Season 6 (premieres Sept. 17): Last season was pretty weak to say the least. I’ve heard good things about the upcoming episodes however, so cross your fingers.
- 30 Rock — Season 4 (premieres Oct. 15): Although a great show, I still feel that it’s The Sopranos of comedy (regarding its hype).
- Southland — Season 2 (premieres Oct. 23): The pilot didn’t really impress me (and I’m not that big on cop shows). There’s also this little Friday slot problem and the show being pushed back a month. Doesn’t show confidence…
- Friday Night Lights — Season 4 (premieres Oct. 28 — On Direct TV): The third season was much better than its second. It also opened the show to a whole range of new possibilities. Perhaps we’ll see the beginning of a two-season arc (the show having been renewed for two more years).
- Castle – Season 2 (premieres Sept. 21): Despite Nathan Fillion being on it, the show never really clicked with me.
- Grey’s Anatomy — Season 6 (premieres Sept. 24): Perhaps this year the onscreen drama will be more interesting than the backstage one.
- Desperate Housewives — Season 6 (premieres Sept. 27): The show can’t keep its 5-year leap momentum for long. I wonder how they’ll try to reinvent themselves this time around.
- Brothers & Sisters — Season 4 (premieres Sept. 27): I stopped watching the show two seasons ago. And, speaking of…
- Private Practice — Season 3 (premieres Oct. 1): …I gave up on this one last year.
- Ugly Betty — Season 4 (premieres Oct. 9): I’m assuming this is most likely the last season given its great schedule placement.
- Bones — Season 5 (premieres Sept. 17): Nothing to add here.
- Fringe – Season 2 (premieres Sept. 17): Answers shall be given. In that parallel universe where we’re not currently residing.
- ‘Til Death — Season 4 (premieres Sept. 18): You’re kidding me, right?
- House M.D. — Season 6 (premieres Sept. 21): As stated last year, I dropped out after a season and a half. The one good thing about House however is that his one-liners are funnier than Caruso’s.
- Dollhouse – Season 2 (premieres Sept. 25): The biggest surprise of last season was probably the renewal of Dollhouse. Epitaph One, despite its greatness and “bonus episode” aspect, was pretty much a game-changer that will be hard to play out organically inside the upcoming season. I wouldn’t hold my breath (again) for a third season. FOX putting it behind ‘Til Death and Brothers signals the end.
- The Simpsons — Season 21 (premieres Sept. 27): That other show that wouldn’t die.
- Family Guy — Season 8 (premieres Sept. 27): Their Emmy nom was so underserved. Go check out instead the early seasons of The Simpsons or, better yet, Futurama.
- American Dad — Season 5 (premieres Sept. 27): Still average.
- Lie to Me
– Season 2 (premieres Sept. 28): I won’t lie to you, I don’t care about this show. Even if it has Shawn Ryan as its showrunner.
I shan’t comment since I neither watch nor care about The CW shows.
- 90210 – Season 2 (premieres Sept. 8)
- Supernatural — Season 5 (premieres Sept. 10)
- One Tree Hill — Season 7 (premieres Sept. 14)
- Gossip Girl — Season 3 (premieres Sept. 14)
- Smallville — Season 9 (premieres Sept. 25)
- Dexter — Season 4 (premieres Sept. 27): I’ll sum up this upcoming season in two words: John. Lithgow.
- Californication — Season 3 (premieres Sept. 27): The move to NYC should mix things up a bit. I wonder how all of this will play out.
- Sons of Anarchy — Season 2 (premieres Sept. 8): I’m not really interested in the show, though I’ve heard great things about it.
- It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia — Season 5 (premieres Sept. 17): Almost a year after the fourth season’s finale are we getting this fresh batch of episodes. About time I say.
- Nip/Tuck — Season 6 (premieres Oct. 14): Funny how the last two seasons were shot at the same time yet we won’t get a series finale until 2011…
Whew, that was a long first part.
There won’t be any script review tomorrow; instead you’ll have another kind of review with part deux of this wonderful list (albeit with new shows this time).
4 years ago
While I was posting my little rant about the Weinstein Company’s “way out”, some new infos have been surfacing regarding TV stuff:
Damages’ third season has added another regular to its table: Royal Pains’ Campbell Scott.
Also, Greek’s Jesse Williams (who will soon star in Cabin in the Woods) has just joined Grey’s Anatomy for a multi episode arc.
Dollhouse has added loads of great actors including kind of a Whedonverse reunion with Summer Glau and Alexis Denisof. Michael Hogan and Keith Carradine are also joining the cast.
Does the show have the best cast on TV right now or what?
And Superman Returns’ Brandon Routh is joining Chuck for a substantial arc.
Speaking of, Josh Schwartz is teaming up again with another Chuck exec, Matt Miller, to write a multicamera sitcom script for CBS. The potential show would follow young newlyweds shortly after their honeymoon. The series is supposedely inspired by both Miller and Schwartz’s recent marriages.
I wonder how that will turn out.
After The L Word, here comes another letter-word Showtime series, The C Word.
The cable network has ordered to pilot a show that would star none other than Frasier/John Adams’ Laura Linney. C Word, created by Darlene Hunt, will be a dark comedy about cancer. Linney will play “a suburban mom forced to deal with a cancer diagnosis”.
And finally, some fantastic news for all Leverage fans out there.
The show has already been renewed for a third season (to be aired later next year).