Tuesday, May 13, 2008

More Pickups

ABC guaranteed itself at least 90 minutes of my viewership per week next season by renewing "Eli Stone" and picking up "Scrubs" from NBC.

Though "Eli's" ratings were middling, it's one of those rare shows that struck an emotional chord, and really picked up week after week. (Between "Eli" and "Pushing Daisies," has any network had a better year creatively with its new shows than ABC?) This is a star-making turn for lead Jonny Lee Miller, and the supporting cast is terrific. (I am, however, demanding at least one Victor Garber musical number every other episode, ABC).

"Scrubs" star Zach Braff announced the show's long-rumored switch to ABC on his MySpace page yesterday. "Scrubs" has long been one of my favorite sitcoms, and it deserved to go out on its own terms, not with a strike-truncated season. Now creator Bill Lawrence can write the finale he wanted to for next year.

"Reaper" (CW, 9 p.m.) also will return. After its outstanding pilot, the show struggled creatively, but has shown signs of life over recent episodes by examining the Hell hierarchy. And Ray Wise has been Emmy worthy as the Devil.

CBS' "The Unit" somehow defied the odds and bought another season. As TVGuide's Michael Ausiello noted yesterday, the show is slated to run on Fridays at 9 p.m. next season, leaving the fate of cult favorite "Moonlight" up in the air. My gut feeling is that "Moonlight" will survive somehow, even as a midseason replacement. "How I Met Your Mother" should be getting its official renewal soon (so enough with the Britney Spears appearances, guys), but "New Adventures of Old Christine" is still in limbo. However, indicators remain strong that it will join "Scrubs" and switch to ABC if CBS doesn't pick it up.

Among the not-so-lucky were ABC's "October Road" and "Women's Murder Club." The former was savaged by critics, but I thought the latter had some potential which never quite panned out.

There have also been a bunch of new projects announced, including ABC's "Bad Mother's Handbook," starring Alicia Silverstone and Megan Mullally; a Ryan Seacrest reality show for NBC called "Momma's Boy;" and a Fox reality show called "Secret Millionaire," in which real-life millionaires go undercover to live in bad neighborhoods, where they meet poor people, to whom they will give money in the final episode. Who said TV is running out of good ideas?!?

Previously announced new shows on CBS include "The Ex-List," based upon a popular Israeli series about a woman destined to be with a guy she previously broke up with; problem is, she doesn't know which of her ex-boyfriends it is; "Eleventh Hour," Jerry Bruckheimer's adaptation of a BBC thriller (the original starred Patrick Stewart and Ashley Jensen); and "The Mentalist," starring Simon Baker. There's also a Jay Mohr sitcom on the slate. CBS is also mining the wedding market with "Harper's Island," a murder-mystery set on an island during a wedding, and the sitcom "Worst Week of My Life," seemingly similar to ABC's failed sitcom "Big Day."

Finally, PBS announced a new version of the children's classic education show, "The Electric Company." Unlike the version I grew up with, I'm guessing this one won't have Morgan Freeman or Spider-Man appearing regularly. I hope at least they bring back "Letter-Man."

TUESDAY'S BEST BETS: Someone is supposed to get killed on "NCIS" (CBS, 8 p.m.), and I'm starting to get worried that it will be someone I like rather than Director Shepherd, whom I don't care too much about and who seems to be gettiing written out anyway. I mean, they can't kill off Gibbs (Mark Harmon), but it would truly suck if they killed off Tony, Ziva, Ducky or McGee. (It'd also suck if they killed off Abby, but I don't think the producers would ever do that. I hope.) Of all the above, I worry the most about Ziva. Even though Don Bellisario is no longer associated with the show, he has a history of constantly replacing the female leads. "JAG," the show that spun off "NCIS," went through three other female leads in its first season before they settled on Catherine Bell. Ziva (Cote De Pablo) herself was brought in after a couple of other women to replace Kate, who was killed off, who was the replacement for another actress who appeared in the backdoor pilot from "JAG." Plus, they focused on the germ-phobic agent a couple of weeks ago. I know the episode has already been shot, but guys, please don't kill off Ziva. It's followed by a new "Shark."

Catch "Women's Murder Club" (ABC, 10 p.m.) while you can; if follows the "Dancing With The Stars" results show at 9 p.m.

"Reaper's" penultimate episode follows the finale of "Beauty and The Geek" (CW, 8 p.m.)

"American Idol" (Fox, 8 p.m.) is down to its final three and is followed by a new "Hell's Kitchen." "Law & Order: SVU" (NBC, 10 p.m.) is also new.

Finally, "Frontline" (PBS, 9 p.m.) is doing a documentary on climbers who were trapped on Mt. Everest during a blizzard.


Jonathan said...

I personally think it will be Shepard, but you never know. I just don't see how they could kill off anyone else, unless they decided to go with the OCD officer who pops up every third week or so; I can never remember her name.

TV Guide also reported a few weeks ago that there would be two possible deaths on "Bones." However, I wonder if they got the Booth shooting confused with one of them because obviously he's not going to die. Which is why I always get annoyed with cliffhangers like that. It's kind of hard to be shocked when you know the character is going to be back next season. Although, that was a much better episode last night than I thought it was going to be.

Still, I was trying to think of who they could kill on that show that would make sense. Zack? Maybe.

Phillip Ramati said...

The rumors implied NCIS would be killing off one of the stars, not one of the recurring characters, but you never know.

Bones was pretty dreadful last night in its predictablility. My guess would be either Zack or Cam, who are the two most expendible ones.

Jonathan said...

I think while with some shows the strike helped them tighten up and provide a much more satisfying season, I think for some shows it did the exact opposite.

"Bones" is feeling very rushed, and I believe they had a fairly in depth and well thought out track for several storylines including the serial killer and Brennan's dad. Hell, even the crazy stalker could have lasted a few more episodes given the time; although I found that sub-plot to be rather annoying, so maybe not. Just my two cents; this could be the way they planned it all the while, but I feel like they could have used that extra 8 or 9 episodes to flesh some of this out more.

Also, I just read that "Moonlight" is getting the axe most likely. How sad is it that the only CBS show getting a sophmore season will be "Big Bang Theory?"

zodin2008 said...

I'm very pleased about 'Eli Stone' as it was one of the best shows on the air by the time it left last month.

I am less thrilled about 'Scrubs' which still makes me laugh but is a shell of its former self and has become tired. I not only didn't love the finale fantasy, but I was pissed that they showed the episodes OUT OF ORDER, since all of a sudden, Kelso was back in charge at Sacred Heart.


Anonymous said...

I am disappointed about 'Moonlight' but not heartbroken. I was heartbroken when The WB royally screwed over 'Angel', but 'Moonlight' was a nice show.

Frankly, considering they had a fast rising hearthrob of a star in Alex O'Laughlin as Mick on 'Moonlight', I am surprised they wouldn't have kept it for the fall.

L said...

I hope your gut is right about Moonlight.

Phillip Ramati said...

UPDATE: OK, guys, bad news. Moonlight didn't make the cut. I'm actually surprised that CBS chose The Unit over this, since Moonlight has a pretty loyal cult following. Also a goner is Shark.

Old Christine, however, was retained by CBS and won't be going to ABC.

Kudos to TVGuide.com for the story.

Anonymous said...

"The Unit" being picked over "Moonlight" is NOT a surprise considering the network - CBS. "The Unit" is more in line with all their other dreary shows, whereas "Moonlight" was something different.

That being said, who knew that shows from 2 completely different nights with 2 completely different audiences would compete?

The greater injustice is that pure trash like "Ghost Whisperer" seems to somehow survive and gett better numbers than the solid "Moonlight".

Phillip Ramati said...

Moonlight was losing 13 percent of its Ghost Whisperer lead-in, which is why it's going.

However, given the alternative of moving The Unit there, where it will lose what little of its audience is left, makes even less sense. Moonlight, at least, had a cult following, especially among women, and could have been built up over the summer and through word of mouth.

Even picking up Shark and sticking it with Numbers might have been a better decision than The Unit, which doesn't fit in with either show.

Anonymous said...

Sorry about "Shark". Will be mad if they kill off Ziva who is one of the most interesting characters.
What about "Friday Night Lights"?

Phillip Ramati said...

Anon, FNL was picked up a couple of months ago.

Through a unique setup with DirecTV, original episodes of season 3 will begin airing in October. People without DirecTV will get to watch the same episodes on NBC beginning at the end of January. it's a long wait for us, but at least the show is coming back, which is the most important thing.

Anonymous said...

Re your previous post about the pickup of Boston Public for another season. 13 new episodes will give the show near 100 making it very siutable for a long career on cable in reruns. It was a business decision not an artistic one although I do find the show amusing.

Phillip Ramati said...

Well, sure, any show that reaches its fifth season is going to pass the 100-episode mark, though the syndication rules are a little less hard and fast than they used to be. It just means there's one more year for someone more deserving to be screwed out of an Emmy nomination.