Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Network Upfronts II: ABC

Sorry for the late update, I had newspaper work to do. Then I saw what ABC is presenting for next season, and I didn't feel so bad.

Of course, the big hope for the network is "Private Practice" the spinoff to "Grey's Anatomy" that was introduced as a backdoor pilot two weeks ago. It focuses on Dr. Addison Shepard (Kate Walsh) and stars the likes of Tim Daly, Amy Brennaman and Taye Diggs. Interestingly, ABC is using the show to establish a strong beachhead on Wednesdays, giving it the 9 p.m. slot that has been a black hole for the network since it moved "Lost" out of there.

"Private Practice" will be joined by two other new shows on Wednesdays: "Pushing Daisies," about a kid who can revive the dead (one-upping Haley Joel Osment), and "Dirty Sexy Money," a prime-time soap opera.

Besides "Private Practice," the other series that is drawing a lot of attention is "Cavemen." Based on the Geico commercials, it's about Cro-Magnons in modern-day Atlanta (must...resist...urge...to...make...joke...here...). It's hard to think of another series for next fall that got as much panning as "Cavemen," but I suppose I could have missed one. ABC pretty much axed all of its other comedies, except for "According to Jim," which hasn't gotten a decision either way.

In a good news/bad news scenario, "Lost" won't be returning until midseason as ABC continues to kill a golden goose, but at least it will air uninterrupted over the course of next season.

Other shows on the schedule this fall:

-"Big Shots" stars Dylan McDermott, Michael Vartan, Christopher Titus and Josh Molina as dysfunctional CEOs who are also all buddies.

-"Eli Stone," about a lawyer who suffers a brain aneurysm, then starts to have visions.

-"Carpoolers," a sitcom focusing on four men from different lifestyles who bond together on the way to work.

-"Cashmere Mafia," about four women professionals in the "Sex & The City" model. NBC is also trying to rip off that formula.

-"Women's Murder Club" is based on James Patterson's books. It's about four women (a cop, a D.A., an M.E. and a reporter) who work together to solve murders. I guess if the "Sex & The City" gals were moved to "CSI," it'd look something like this.

-"Miss/Guided" is a sitcom about a former geek becoming the guidance counselor at her old school, where she must work beside her former nemesis, the popular cheerleader who is now a teacher.
-"Sam I Am," starring Christina Applegate, is about a woman with amnesia who finds out she was a lousy person in her former life.

TUESDAY'S BEST BETS: "Gilmore Girls," one of the few signature shows from the old WB that made the leap to the CW, ends its run tonight with the series finale (CW, 8 p.m.) The bad news is that it breaks the hearts of "GG's" small, but fanatic followers, but gives hope that "Veronica Mars" (CW, 9 p.m.) may stand a better chance of being renewed.

"American Idol" (Fox, 8 p.m.) gets down to the nitty-gritty with its final three. Incidentally, "AI" is holding a charity auction beginning Monday in which its hosts and famous alums are donating clothing to charity. Visit www.clothesoffourback.org for more details. It's followed by a new "House" at 9 p.m.

Before turning to cavemen, ABC will air two hours of "Dancing With The Stars" at 8 p.m., followed by a new "Boston Legal" at 10 p.m. Continuing with a musical theme, you can catch the Country Music Awards (CBS, 8 p.m.) tonight.

Last, and certainly not least, "The Shield" (FX, 10 p.m.) is all-new. It's one of the few shows you can make a case for that has never suffered a drop in quality in any season.


zodin2008 said...

Buh bye, Gilmore Girls...don't let the door hit you on the way out. Even better then this annoying show going away is that helps "Veronica" possibly. A win-win scenario if I ever saw one.

I agree w/ your assessment of "The Shield". Never a drop in quality, one bit. Kind of like it's FX counterpart, "Rescue Me". Speaking of "Rescue Me", there was news recently that Hesch from "The Sopranos" (the wonderful Jerry Adler), is taking over this season as the new firehouse Chief.

This either means he's in the big chief role, or he's taking over for 'The Chief', Chief Reilly, who's character's life hung in the balance at the end of last season.

The only other shows I can think of on air that have had multiple seasons and have yet to have any drops in quality are "How I Met Your Mother" and "Bones". yes, "Heroes", "30 Rock", "Friday Night Lights" and "Ugly Betty" all had fantastic Freshmen seasons, but those shows have only had 1 season each. Can't compare--yet.

Some of the other best or most entertaining shows on TV like "24", "Veronica Mars", "Battlestar", "Lost", "The Office" and "Scrubs" (among others) have all had their mostly ups, but occasional downs.

For example, "Scrubs" has had a pretty ridiculously great run, but I have found this season extremely uneven, though still better then most comedies. Obviously, this has been "24" worst season to date.

zodin2008 said...

Re: ABC's new schedule

To be fair to NBC, phillip, you have no idea that they are ripping off ABC with their similar show, "Lipstick Jungle". In fact, yuo could make a far stronger case for 'Jungle' with not only casting (Kim raver, Brooke Shields, et all) but it's also based on Candace Bushnell's (autho or "Sex and the City") best selling novel of the same name.

I think spinoff could be a hit, but ABC may have been far more shrewd had they put "Private Practice" at 10 PM on Thursdays and fed off the "Grey's" lead in and at the same time, could have finally put the ancient, never ending "er" out to pasture. Turn "Practice" into a hit first and then move it over to dominate another night.

The good news is no matter how low the "Lost" numbers may sink by taking an inordinate amount of time off, it will still come back & be #1 among the key demos.

Phillip Ramati said...

TV Guide is reporting that the CW won't make a decision about VM until after the upfronts, so it's still very much in limbo.

HIMYM and Bones are both good shows, but since they've only been around two seasons, you can't really make the comparison with those, either.

Of all my favorite shows, for me, The Shield has remained the most consistent. Not a slight on other shows, though. It probably helps that The Shield runs on FX and only has to do 13 episode runs, not the standard 22 on a network. It helps the writers focus on quality.

Phillip Ramati said...

Re: ABC, I didn't say they were ripping off NBC. I said both shows were basically ripping off SATC. For all I know, ABC had its idea first. I'm just bemoaning the death of originality is all.

zodin2008 said...


They are also ripping off "Quantum Leap" (on NBC) and "Angel" (on CBS), so I suppose if you are going to rip off shows, it might as well be two of my all time favorites.

But yes, originality is hard to sell to the public, when for the most part, the idiotic public only seems to want endless CSI ripoffs and cheesy reality.