This is the week of "Upfronts", one of the Holy Weeks of O'Bligation in Televisiology, when each day a network steps up to the plate to announce its plans for the coming season - which shows stay, which are goners, and which pilots got picked up to be offered in sacrifice to the Powers That Be (Nielsen families).
ABC was next up in the batter's box to make their pitch - wait a minute, that's a totally screwed up metaphor. Anyway, here's a breakdown of how things will shape up for the 2007-08 season in Alphabet City:
Returning: Grey's Anatomy, Ugly Betty, October Road, Notes from the Underbelly, Men In Trees, Brothers & Sisters, Wife Swap, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Desperate Housewives, The Bachelor, Dancing with the Stars, Lost, Supernanny, America's Funniest Home Videos, Boston Legal, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, 20/20, Primetime (specials and special series)
Out: The Nine, Six Degrees, The Great American Dream Vote, Show Me The Money, Day Break, In Case of Emergency, The Knights of Prosperity, What About Brian, George Lopez, According to Jim (finally!)
New: Big Shots, Carpoolers, Cashmere Mafia, Eli Stone, Dirty Sexy Money, Cavemen, Miss/Guided, Private Practice, Pushing Daisies, Sam I Am, Women's Murder Club, Oprah's Big Give
Moving: Men In Trees moves from Thursdays at 10 to Fridays at 8. Notes from the Underbelly and October Road (along with Cashmere Mafia) will premiere when Dancing with the Stars and The Bachelor end their seasons. Lost will begin airing in February and show no repeats, in a Wednesday time slot that's still to be determined.
Surprises for the Toobster? Probably only that 'Notes From The Underbelly' survived and that 'George Lopez' didn't. (Of course, 'Underbelly' won't be back until after the second half of the season kicks off.)
I only saw a few eps of the Lopez show, and didn't find it unfunny, just not appointment viewing for a comedy jolt. And I think Lopez' complaints about the cancellation not serving a segment of the audience were spot on.
I liked 'Notes From The Underbelly' every time I saw it; I just couldn't make it a definite date. (I especially like Cooper; it's a neo-traditional role, but the actress makes it work so well.)
Along with the returning 'October Road' and the new 'Cashmere Mafia' (ugh - I hate that title!), 'Underbelly' won't be showing up on the air until later in the fall season - once 'The Bachelor' and 'Dancing With The Stars' wrap up their runs.
Here's the new ABC lineup for the fall, with the caveat that they may switch things around by crunch time:
8:00 p.m. "Dancing with the Stars"
9:30 p.m. "Sam I Am" (new comedy series)
10:00 p.m. "The Bachelor"
8:00 p.m. "Cavemen" (new comedy series)
8:30 p.m. "Carpoolers" (new comedy series)
9:00 p.m. "Dancing with the Stars the Results Show"
10:00 p.m. "Boston Legal"
8:00 p.m. "Pushing Daisies" (new drama series)
9:00 p.m. "Private Practice" (new drama series)
10:00 p.m. "Dirty Sexy Money" (new drama series)
8:00 p.m. "Ugly Betty"
9:00 p.m. "Grey's Anatomy"
10:00 p.m. "Big Shots" (new drama series)
8:00 p.m. "MEN IN TREES"
9:00 p.m. "Women's Murder Club" (new drama series)
10:00 p.m. "20/20"
8:00 p.m. "Saturday Night College Football"
7:00 p.m. "America's Funniest Home Videos"
8:00 p.m. "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition"
9:00 p.m. "Desperate Housewives"
10:00 p.m. "Brothers & Sisters"
It's weird to look at that schedule and not see 'Lost' on there. Knowing that it will come back in the spring for an uninterrupted 16 week run is a fantastic game plan, but it just brings home the idea that we'll have to go over half a year before we can pick up the story again. For me, this is a lay-off that's worse than the ones that happened between seasons of 'The Sopranos'
Okay, so now a look at some of those new shows (at least the ones that catch my Toobworldian eye):
Big Shots - A story about four CEOs, friends who are at the top of the world.... But it's their women who really control them. (At least I think they do - I could be misreading the one-line sum-up.)
I suppose it's generic enough to eventually find something to make Toobworld connections - I'd even guess that it's not out of the realm of possibility that there might be an appearance during Sweeps by lawyers from Crane, Poole, & Schmidt! But I think that for the most part this is a show I'll track via online plot summaries after the fact.
Still, you can't beat the combo of Dylan McDermott, Michael Vartan, Joshua Malina, and Christopher Titus as these four guys!
'Cashmere Mafia' - The flip side of 'Big Shots' in that it's about four female friends who help each other out in their climbs up the corporate ladder.
And as was the case with 'Big Shots', it might lend itself to crossover possibilities with established shows like 'Boston Legal', 'Grey's Anatomy', 'Desperate Housewives', 'Brothers & Sisters', and even 'Men In Trees' (depending on who gets to do the road trip).
Who knows? Maybe even 'Ugly Betty' could help out in their empowerment quest!
This is the second show that sounds like it's trying to fill in the void after 'Sex And The City' departed. ('The Lipstick Jungle' is the other.) Again, I hate that title.
'Dirty Sexy Money' - After the death of his father, a young lawyer who still has his ideals (Good luck on keeping those!) takes over for him in dealing with an old-money family, and becomes susceptible to the allure that brings.
Donald Sutherland is listed as one of the stars (along with Peter Krause and William Baldwin), but I've read he's playing Krause's father. So I guess he's "starring" in this like Tom Skerritt "starred" in 'Brothers & Sisters'.
I could see a 'Brothers & Sisters' crossover in this, but again, perhaps one with 'Boston Legal' might be more likely.
'Eli Stone' - This one won't be coming out until mid-season. Whenever I read something like that, then I begin to wonder which show the network expects to fail in order to provide the slot. But nowadays, that could also mean a limited-term reality show ending its run....
Eli is a lawyer with an inoperable brain tumor which gives him something of a messianic quality. He has to deal with visions (a la 'Raines'?) and finds that they have an impact on his life.
Seems perfect for a 'Boston Legal' crossover!
'Private Practice' - Yeah, this is the spin-off from 'Grey's Anatomy'. I don't watch that one, so I see no reason to watch this either. It's already made the Toobworld link via it being a spin-off, and 'Grey's Anatomy' got a shout-out link thanks to one of the last episodes of 'The O.C.'. So my interest has already been trumped by a "been there, done that" attitude.
'Pushing Daisies' - There's this guy, see, and he can bring things back to life just by touching them. Doesn't even need the Resurrection Glove from 'Torchwood'. With Bryan Fuller behind this, it's tempting to dream of this character as being part of the new generation of 'Heroes'. Too bad they're on rival networks.
Still, who knows? Maybe Mr. Linderman is the biological daddy for this guy.
The only two things that will kill this show for me - I'm already committed to 'Bones' in that hour (until 'Lost' comes back, which might snare this same slot should 'Pushing Daisies' fail), and the fact that Kristen Chenowith is one of the stars. Her speaking voice is fingernails on a chalkboard time for me......
'Women's Murder Club' - The head of ABC described this show at the Upfronts as the "most traditional procedural this year, with an ABC tone." It's about four women - a detective, a DA, a medical examiner, and a reporter - who work together to solve crimes.
It's just begging for a 'Desperate Housewives' crossover!
'Carpoolers' - ABC's "The IT Crowd': a comedy about a group of people brought together by something in common (in this case, they share rides to work) and then the stories can branch out from there. Some might interconnect, maybe not, but I'm guessing by the end of the episode it all comes back to the ride home for the four major players. Assuming the cars hold four people....
It's 'Seinfeld' on wheels, I think. But I'll root for it since Bruce McCulloch is behind it.
'Cavemen' - Here's the one that got the most advance buzz and not much of it good. That much attention I think dooms it to failure already. Just some kind of innate curse on the process.
But it will generate a few posts for this blog, with its link to the original Geico ads and ruminations on past shows like 'It's About Time'. So that's always good - for me. Can't say what the experience will be for those viewing at home!
'Miss/Guided' - Judy Greer is one of those names I see all the time in episode summaries and I never can picture her. She'll be playing a guidance counselor at the high school she attended and realizes that you never leave your own experiences behind.
Sounds like "Welcome Back, Miss Kotter" for the 21st Century.
You know who I'd like to see show up in this? Karen Valentine as Alice Johnson, her character from 'Room 222'!
'Sam I Am' - Christina Applegate plays a woman who wakes up from a coma and finds out that she was not a nice person in her life pre-coma. She then takes the steps necessary to avoid that happening again.
This was the fear that Michael Alden had in 'Coronet Blue'. He was an amnesiac who thought that maybe he wasn't such a good guy in his former life.
As this is a sitcom, there's not much opportunity for crossing it over to some other ABC show this season. 'Carpoolers', maybe, but I can't see it linking up with 'Cavemen'. But perhaps they could do a sitcom/dramady crossover with 'Ugly Betty'?