Thursday, May 17, 2007

Network Upfronts IV: Fox

Technically, I have the upfronts for both Fox and the CW today, but I'll just focus on the former today and the latter tomorrow. (Sneak peek for tomorrow - "Veronica Mars" is 99.9 percent dead.)

Say this for Fox. It knows its audience. The networks upfronts show probably the broadest mix of shows that will be added to a pretty strong roster (ratings wise) already.

Fox being Fox, the new shows contain a higher mix of reality-based shows than the other networks, but considering Fox's bread-and-butter is "American Idol," this probably doesn't come as a shock.

Among the new reality shows is an "AI" spinoff, tentatively titled "The Search For the Next Great American Band" (Fridays, 8 p.m.), getting an odd timeslot considering the audience it's targeting. One would have presumed it would be in "AI's" slots, but hey, what do I know? It will be joined by "Nashville," (Fridays, 9 p.m.), from the producers of "Laguna Beach," about presumably very good looking people trying to make it on the Nashville music and social scene.

Gordon Ramsay will have a second show with the network, called "Kitchen Nightmares," in which he tries to turn around struggling restaurants.

On the scripted front, Fox has one of the more highly anticipated sitcoms for next year, "Back To You," starring Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton as newscasters.

Drama-wise, Fox is offering "K-Ville," (Mondays, 9 p.m.) starring Anthony Anderson and Cole Hauser as cops in post-Katrina New Orleans, and "New Amsterdam," (Tuesdays, 8 p.m.) about an immortal detective in New York, produced by Lasse Hallstrom.

Fox has probably done a better job than most networks in dividing up its fall and midseason schedules. After getting killed early on, Fox was able to ride out "AI," "24" and others to ratings victories. In fact, its midseason replacements look more intriguing than the stuff this fall. Among those shows are:

-"Canterbury's Law," starring Julianna Margulies as a win-at-all-costs defense attorney. The show is produced by Denis Leary and Jim Serpico of "Rescue Me" fame, so I have a lot of high hopes with this one.

-"The Sarah Connor Chronicles" picks up in the timeline between "Terminator 2" and "T3." Lena Headey ("300") takes over in the Linda Hamilton role.

-"Return of Jezebel James" is a comedy starring Parker Posey and Lauren Ambrose as sisters.

-"Starting Over," starring Rashida Jones of "The Office" is a sitcom produced by the Farrelly brothers.

On the bright side, Fox isn't foisting any more shows like "Vanished" upon us.

THURSDAY'S BEST BETS: Season finales galore tonight.

ABC leads things off with the final episodes this season of "Ugly Betty" at 8 p.m., followed by Christina and Burke's wedding on "Grey's Anatomy" at 9 p.m. At 10 p.m. is the intriguing "Lost: Answers" in which producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindleof attempt to answer some of the shows questions before next week's finale. My guess is that very little will be revealed.

"The Office" (NBC, 8 p.m.) wraps up its season with an hour-long finale. Two endings were filmed with this one, so don't necessarily believe anything you read about it on the Internet. It's followed by the season-finale of "Scrubs," in which presumably J.D. will choose between Kim and Elliott. "ER" also wraps up at 10 p.m.

"Smallville" (CW, 8 p.m.) wraps up its season on an awesome note, bringing back the Martian Manhunter (Phil Morris), while "Supernatural" has been awesome all season, so I expect nothing less out of tonight's finale.

CBS continues the Bob Barker celebrations by looking back at his 50 years in TV at 8 p.m., while "CSI" finishes up tonight at 9 p.m.


zodin2008 said...

Well, my wife & I are still WAY WAY behind on shows and the DVR is full (out of town last weekend and out some nights this week), but we managed to catch up a little and saw the "Office" finale last night...and what a hilarious twist ending w/ a certain 'junior' sales exec. getting the corporate job.

However, what does this mean with the character of Karen?

I assumed she'd get the job and they were writing her out, especially considering she has a Fox sitcom on the way (but let's be real...the shelf life of Fox sitcoms not starring animation is pretty limited; she should keep the 'Office' gig if offered). So, who knows? But Clearly Jim ended the episode going in a 'different' direction which also made my wife very happy.

We finally (over the last few days) caught up with the more important shows on our schedule...Lost, The Shield, 24 and Heroes.

Re: Lost

First, no update on Locke so we still don't officially know? Well, if you don't want a suprise ruined, do not look at this week's TV Guide. For the umpteenth time, an early release TV Guide has RUINED a TV surprise on a favorite show.

But this past week's "Lost" focusing on Charlie was one of the best episodes of the year. A gut wrencher.

Re: The Shield

Yes, as Phillip correctly pointed out, a show that has seen no dip (ever) in quality in 6 seasons. I wish this season was longer then 13 episodes but oh well.

And I am going to say here what I have been trumpeting for weeks now...Walton Goggins (who plays Shane Vendrell), deserves as much as anyone a supporting actor emmy nomination. Shane has become one of the most intriguing bad guys ever on TV.

I realize the emmy morons will never pay attention to the brilliance happening on Cable (other then HBO), but Goggins is a far more superior supporting actor for his show then the often nominated (though always good), Michael Imperioli as the now deceased Christopher Moltisanti on "The Sopranos".

Re: 24

The one comment we should all be making is that Rena Sofer, who's playing Jack's sister in law (and ex) on "24" has unwittingly become the queen of Monday night Television. It's so odd that Sofer is competing against herself on "Heroes" (as Nathan Petrelli's handicapped wife) and as Jack Bauer's ex, Marilyn. The woman is gorgeous so her face is always a welcome site.

Also, I didn't like him at first, but the character of Tom Lennox (Peter Macnicol) has become an instant classic. The "24" producers have in fact hit a creative home run with his character and his sardonic wit this past Monday made me laugh out loud at least 3 times.

He's a very blunt and shrewd chief of staff and considering how beloved the previous chief of staff was on this show (the now deposed character of Mike Novick who finally had a season without any appearances) they managed to get this right once again...Macnicol should dump the silly CBS procedural that only Phillip watches ("Numbers") and stick with "24".

Re: "Heroes"

Phillip will do the same but I urge ALL non "Heroes" fans to clear their DVR's and watch the "Heroes" marathon this's 21 hours and you can potentially catch up for Monday's season 1 finale. What a fantastic Freshman series.

Phillip Ramati said...

I plan on blogging about my personal Emmy nominees in the next week or so, and Walton Goggins is definitely on that list.

Jonathan said...

I just wanted to go along with Zodin and say I couldn't agree more with what Peter Macnichol has added to a rather drab season of "24." This season has really boggled my mind because I would say on a technical level it has been flawless. It has hit every note right on cue; every plot twist has been solved right on time, and it's moving along as quickly and efficiently as ever. However, maybe that's the problem; it's just all become too predictable. And with shows with more of an original twist out there like "Heroes" and "Friday Night Lights," and most definately "Lost," "24" kind of gets stuck in the background of been there done that territory. But the creative minds behind this show have always managed to suprise us in the past, so here's hoping that season six will be a welcome change of pace.