Monday, May 14, 2007

Network Upfronts I: NBC

No network this season came through with better quality programs than NBC - and none had more blow up in their face.

"Kidnapped," "Studio 60" and "The Black Donnellys" were just some of the shows the network had high hopes for, only to see them fizzle out with the ratings. Even some of the new shows that did make it, such as "30 Rock" and "Friday Night Lights," were more critical successes than commercial. Only "Heroes" qualifies as a genuine bona fide hit for NBC.

As the network announces its new shows for next season today, the questions are, will the quality still be there? And, can NBC find some ratings success this season?

With NBC, it's hard to tell. I thought "Kidnapped" and "Studio 60" would be the next big things for the network, and neither was a ratings smash.

On the drawing board for the Peacock are:

--"Journeyman," which gets the post-"Heroes" timeslot Monday. Starring Kevin McKidd ("Rome"), it centers on a reporter who travels back in time to help people. (Insert "Quantum Leap" allusion here.)

--"Chuck," which will air Tuesday at 9 p.m., is a lighthearted look at a techie who accidentally becomes a spy.

--"Bionic Woman." Snicker all you want about remakes of 1970s TV shows, but look at well "Battlestar Galactica" has turned out. It's being produced by BSG's David Eick and "Kidnapped's" Jason Smilovic, so I actually have high hopes for this.

--"Life" (Wed., 10-11 p.m.) stars Damian Lewis of "Band of Brothers" as a cop wrongly jailed for seven years returning to the force.

--"Lipstick Jungle" is the newest opus from "Sex & the City's" Candace Bushnell, airing Sundays at 10 p.m. It could, in theory, pick up some of the post-"Desperate Housewives" crowd from ABC.

--"The IT Crowd" is a remake of a British sitcom focusing on tech guys in an office. NBC tends to be real hit ("The Office") and miss ("Coupling") when it remakes Britcoms.

--Also on the schedule are a worldwide dance contest show from "American Idol's" Randy Jackson; "Singing Bee," a game show in which the contestants must sing the lyrics to popular songs; and a project from Jerry Seinfeld. In addition, "Heroes" will expand to 30 episodes with a project called "Heroes: Origins," in which people can go to nbc.com and vote in new characters and backstories for familiar ones.

NBC is also either very likely, or already has, renewed "Scrubs" (yay!) and the "Law & Order" franchise for additional seasons.

MONDAY'S BEST BETS: TV's current longest-running sitcom takes a final bow tonight with the final two episodes of "King of Queens" (CBS, 9 p.m.) It follows what may be the series finale (hopefully not) of "How I Met Your Mother" at 8 p.m. and "2 1/2 Men" at 8:30 p.m. "CSI: Miami" is also new tonight.

George Takei returns as Hiro's father in the penultimate "Heroes" (NBC, 9 p.m.), which will be followed by a new "Law & Order: CI" at 10 p.m. "24" (Fox, 9 p.m.) is also new. How can we go on without Milo?

"The Riches" (FX, 10 p.m.) is nearly done with its first season, but has already been renewed for a second one.

Finally, "American Experience" (PBS, 9 p.m.) profiles Alexander Hamilton, who I personally think is the most fascinating figure in American history, though most people seem to prefer his rival, Thomas Jefferson.

3 comments:

zodin2008 said...

I also don't know how to go on without Milo but we will all make due.

The more George Takei, the better on this fantastic show. So thrilled to hear we are getting "extra" Heroes episodes next year.

Phillip Ramati said...

You can never have too much Sulu!

Phillip Ramati said...

I should mention that NBC is running clips of its new pilots right now on nbc.com if you want to catch a glimpse of what is on the fall slate.