Friday, May 15, 2009

Lot's of Upfront News

There's tons of rumors and guessing surrounding the network upfronts and what shows will be brought to life, which will be killed off and who will get a reprieve, so here's a bunch of small news bits that don't necessarily require a full post but I wanna make note of:

ABC is working hard to save "Samantha Who?" and word is they're looking to cut costs by turning the show from a single-camera to multi-camera, which would apparently save a bunch of money. I tend to enjoy single-cam comedies better, but if they can keep the quality, not have a studio audience or (God help us) laugh track, what ever works should be done. The network is also trying to put together a ninth season of "Scrubs". They're apparently just waiting to see if the cast accepts the offers that have been put on the table.

ABC shot down Lauren Graham and Jeffrey Tamboor's pilot, "Let It Go", which I posted about here. As for pickups, the network chose "Copper", which is a split US/Canadian production. The official description sounds decent enough:

COPPER is a youthful, heartfelt, one-hour, character-driven workplace drama about five rookie cops plunged into the high stakes world of big city policing - a world where even the smallest mistake can have life-or-death consequences. The series follows them just out of the police academy where they bonded together, fought together, drank together, worked together and slept together. And now they're on the job together. They're kids with guns, learning firsthand the hardest kind of policing there is. They are first responders and they are about to learn that no amount of training prepares you for life."

They also grabbed "Modern Family", a half hour comedy in the mockumentary style (getting old, I know) about an older man, his younger wife and teenage son and are still looking at a couple of other half hour comedies with some recognizable names. "Romantically Challenged" stars Alyssa Milano, "Awesome Hank" starring Kelsey Grammer, a buddy cop comedy starring Cedric The Entertainer called "The Law", "Cougar Town" starring Courtney Cox and "The Middle" with Patricia Heaton. All are are well known names, but I'm not holding out much hope for any of them to be good.

Maybe Alyssa Milano will take after Christina Applegate: They're both pretty hot and both starred in crappy 80's sitcoms ("Who's The Boss"/"Married With Children"), so it would be good to see Milano join a funny, witty show in the new century like Applegate did with "Samantha Who?". As for Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton, neither have been in a decent show in years, though "Cheers", "Frasier" and "Everybody Loves Raymond" all ruled. Let's not forget, though, their awful Fox loser "Back To You".

I'll admit Courtney Cox's previous series on FX, "Dirt", had it's short comings, but I thought it was pretty good. The problem with this new series is that the premise, overly tanned, middle-aged single moms trying to be sexy, aka cougars, is getting kinda tired. The series is based in a small town in Florida where the high school football team is the center of society and Cox plays a reluctant cougar. She's 40 recently divorced and wants to avoid the pathetic ways of cougars, but finds it hard to find a man her age.

Problem is, though, as someone that has traveled nearly every square inch of this swampy hell-hole called Florida, I have yet to find a small town obsessed with high school football ala "Friday Night Lights" Dillon, Texas. I'll fully admit that cougars will fit right in with the swamps but I don't buy the football premise.

CBS is thinking about moving "The Mentalist" to a 10pm slot on either Tuesday or Thursday nights, which would be great for the show. Word is the eye net picked up "The Bridge", a cop procedural about an officer who is also the head of the police union, based on the life of a real cop/union head from Toronto. Sounds like it could be a companion to CBS' Canadian hit "Flashpoint".

The network is also looking to save "How I Met Your Mother."

Fox picked up a series called "Past Life" about an ex-NYC homicide cop and a psychologist who help the re-incarnated solve "past-life traumas and present-day crimes" starring one of my favorite actors, Richard Schiff. He's best known as Toby Ziegler from "The West Wing" and I'd be very happy to see him return to prime time television.

Fox also picked up a series titled "Human Target". Official description says "drama revolves around mysterious freelancer Christopher Chance, who takes on a different identity each week to help those in need". This is apparently a remake of a failed 1992 series based on a story from DC Comics. Here's hoping it sticks this time. With the advances in technology and fantasy-based television, I'd say it has better chances this time. Fox has been doing very well with such fare, ala "Fringe", though stumbling with others like "Dollhouse" and "Sarah Connor Chronicles", both of which are hugely popular in the online blogging realm but not doing much on air.

Finally, Fox picked up "Sons of Tucson", a comedy about three rich brothers who hire a hustler to act as their father while their real dad is in prison for a white collar crime. The premise doesn't make much sense and Fox has not come up with a decent comedy in years (see note on Back To You above) so I'm not holding out much hope.

As for Fox's returning slate, "House", "Bones", "Lie To Me", "24" and "Fringe" will all definitely be back on the network and even "Dollhouse" still has a chance.

"House" will, of course, be a full season, "24" will return in January again and the fact that "Lie To Me" only received a 13 episode order means it will probably be a mid-season show, too.

At The CW it seems like the "Melrose Place" remake is gonna make it to air. Let's just hope it doesn't suck as much as their "Beverly Hills 90210" remake. The network is also going to pickup "Vampire Diaries", which I'm sure is getting a lift from all the "Twilight" hoopla. Hopefully they'll do a good with that.

NBC still has not said anything about "Medium", "Chuck" or "Law & Order", but most assume all three will return and things are still looking really bad for "My Name Is Earl", though it ain't over til it's over.

I previously posted about "Legally Mad" and "Lost & Found" here. NBC has confirmed that David E. Kelly's "Legally Mad" was not picked up but no word yet on Law & Order creator Dick Wolf's "Lost & Found". The "Legally Mad" decision was probably not made lightly as it was a put pilot, so the network has to pay some major penalties.

As I previously posted, NBC has officially picked up a number of series: "Community", "Trauma", "100 Questions", "Parenthood" and "Day One". Other than "100 Questions", I'm looking forward to all of them.

And finally, there's a tiny update to the Summer Schedule post about a new series on Fox premiering this summer called "Mental", though there's no date announced yet.

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