Thursday, May 03, 2007

Addison's Anatomy

"Grey's Anatomy" (ABC, 9 p.m.) fans will get a sneak peek at the new untitled spinoff for next season that will feature Kate Walsh's character of Addison.

Since the rumors of this project first came out a few months ago, things have developed very quickly. Big-time actors like Taye Diggs and Tim Daly have been added to the cast, and it should get a plum time-slot on the schedule when ABC announces its new series for next season in a couple of weeks.

Tonight's episode is a two-hour affair that will continue "Grey's" normal plotlines, but also contain what is called a "backdoor pilot." Addison will attend a reunion where she will meet up with the other characters of the new series, which is to be set in L.A. and revolve around a private plastic surgery practice.

While ABC is expecting the spinoff to bring in big numbers, thanks to the "Grey's" audience, spinoffs are kind of hit and miss in the annals of TV. For every "Frasier," the brilliant spinoff of the classic "Cheers," there's a lot more "Joeys," the disaster that came out of the megahit "Friends."

"All In The Family" was the king of spinoffs, producing "Archie Bunker's Place," "Maude," "Gloria" and "The Jeffersons" for CBS. Though none of them ever reached the popularity of the original, all were solid shows that had decent runs.

Today, networks are looking to come up with franchises, which is why there have been four "Law & Orders" and three "CSIs." Arguably the most successful spinoff on the air right now that isn't part of a franchise is "NCIS," which emerged from a backdoor pilot from the TV series "JAG."

The Addison spinoff is probably coming at the right time for ABC, which I'm guessing will air it with "Grey's" and "Ugly Betty" on Thursdays next season until it establishes its own audience, then likely move it to another night to establish a beachhead there.

IS YOUR FIFTH GRADER SMARTER THAN THE AVERAGE AMERICAN?: Fox's hit game show, "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?" has been one of the surprise hits of the season. The show, hosted by Atlanta comedian Jeff Foxworthy, is looking for new fifth graders as presumably the current crop is graduating to the sixth grade. There will be tryouts all over the country, including Atlanta. For more information, go to http://fox.com/AreYouSmarter.

THURSDAY'S BEST BETS: CBS was kind enough to send me tonight's season finale of "Shark" (CBS, 10 p.m.) It's a pretty strong finish to what's been an entertaining if uneven freshman year for the James Woods hit. In tonight's episode, psycho murderer Wayne Collison (Billy Campbell) returns. The episode features some great work from Woods, Campbell and Jeri Ryan, whose character of D.A. Jessica Devlin was criminally underused this season as she shows tonight. The ending is something you won't see coming. It's preceded by a new "Survivor" and "CSI."

NBC is supersizing everything again, which means extra minutes from your favorite shows while extra work for your VCRs. With weird episode lengths of 37 minutes for the sitcoms, you may want to let your tapes run long or record the following program if you have a DVR. If you tune in just for "ER," note that it will start at 9:53 p.m. tonight. Supersizing episodes has to be one of the more annoying trends in recent memory.

"Ugly Betty" (ABC, 8 p.m.) is also new, preceding the "Grey's" two-hour event.

"Smallville" (CW, 8 p.m.) is built around a fantasy sequence set in the 1940s; they did something like this a few years ago when they did a 1950s episode, so we'll see. "Supernatural" follows.

COMING FRIDAY: The TV Guy interviews Michael Emerson, who plays the villainous Ben Linus on "Lost."

5 comments:

Phillip Ramati said...

Some breaking news, courtesy of Variety.com: The CW announced Thursday it will cancel Gilmore Girls. I don't know if this means a pickup for Veronica Mars, but the news is interesting nonetheless.

Hotspur said...

I agree with your comments abouy supersizing. It makes one really mad if you have a DVR. There is no plan if sports events run late. This is bad if golf or football is on the program.

zodin2008 said...

I am also very hopeful that the end (thank goodness) of the extremely annoying and overrated "Gilmore" helps the far better and criminally underrated, "Veronica".

As for supersizing, yes, it should stop. Even McDonald's doesn't supersize anymore.

Jonathan said...

You actually enticed me to possibly watch "Shark" tonight. As much as I love James Woods and looking at Jeri Ryan, the few times I've given this show a chance it has left me a little less than satisfied. If it wasn't for Woods I can't see how this show would even be doing as well as it is. It's suprising they even consider it a hit since only holding on to about half of "CSI's" audience would be considered for most shows a failure. But I guess with someone as high profile as Woods, it gets a bit of a pass.

Phillip Ramati said...

Shark is essentially a House clone, set in the world of law instead of medicine. The show has been pretty uneven, but there is enough there to keep tuning in each week. You're right, Jonathan, it does drop a big part of CSI's audience, but it's still a Top 20 show, and if Woods scores an Emmy nomination, that will just strengthen it on the schedule.

Zod, I wish VM's future would be a lock now because of GG's cancellation, but nothing official has come out. If they go the direction of putting Veronica in the FBI, it becomes a very different show, since pretty much the rest of the cast would be gone. VM has already made a lot of concessions, sacrificing the arcs and mini-arcs it used in storylines in an effort to make the show more accessible.