I am in Chicago celebrating what my industry calls The Feast of the Epiphany. Wait. Scratch that. I am celebrating Christmas in May – also called Broadcast Network upfronts. I love it. Monday we saw NBC’s new schedule, Tuesday was ABC and today is CBS. Thursday is Fox (I can’t go – boohoo).
What is fantastic about this time of year is all of the jockeying for positiong. NBC, for example, has struggled for the past 2 seasons to bring forward strong programming. This year, they unveiled an awesome line up with new shows that are sure to at least help the situation. When you’re at rock bottom, I don’t think anything you do could make it worse.
Shows I am looking forward to on NBC:
Friday Night Lights – Football show about a town that rallies around their football team. The show highlights the struggles and celebrations of the high school football stars and their most loyal fans (friends & family). The pilot is sure to be at least a tear jerker. Let’s hope they didn’t waste all of the good scenes on the trailers.
Raines – Jeff Goldblum is back as a detective in a modern day film noir. The twist is Mediumesque because he solves the mysteries by talking to the victims – however, these victims are not ghosts but rather hallucinations and illusions. I can’t wait to see the pilot!
Studio 60 on Sunset Strip – Aaron Sorkin is baaaack! The show casts Matthew Perry and D.L. Hughley as creators of a comedic sketch show gone awry. Matthew’s character has a terrible memory and DL has a drug problem – very edgy dramady (humorous drama). Trademark fast-paced conversation ala West Wing and the ill-fated Sports Night. RIP, Sports Night, RIP.
NBC only unveiled 2 Comedies on the schedule in the fall: 30 Rock and 20 Good Years – both look awesome!
30 Rock – Tina Fey writes what she knows about: writing for a show. In the vein of Dick VanDyke, you never see the show she produces (however, you can watch the sketches online – very cool extension!! ). She works with a hard nosed network guy (Alec Baldwin – very funny) and a difficult comic. Cannot wait – this looks very good.
20 Good Years – John Lithgow (3rd Rock) and Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development) are best buds who decide that life is too short to not enjoy it. Determined to make their last 20 years the best years of their lives, they throw caution to the wind. Hilarious antics and awful speedos ensue.
Now for ABC. THere is only one comedy I am excited about for that network – Notes from the Underbelly. The dramas look promising, and it will be interesting to see how their new schedule works as they are changing every night on the schedule.
Notes from the Underbelly – A young husband persuades his resistant wife that it is time to have children. The show is based on their experiences with all things pregnancy: pregnant friends, and friends with children. Looks absolutely hilarious – maybe I like it because 1/2 the poeple I know are pregnant. HA!
Men in Trees – Ann Heche’s drama about a relationship coach that helps all women… except herself. Her fiance cheats on her and she figures it out on her way to Alaska for a speaking engagement. Stranded in Alaska, she finds a new direction in life courtesy of the Alaskan men (population of Alaska is mostly male). The Alaskan men are a riot and as the saying goes, “The odds are good but the goods are odd.” I can’t wait to see this one. I find it mildly entertaining that the woman that dated Ellen is doing a show about heterosexual dating. HA HA.
Brothers and Sisters – This tested poorly, but did better after rewrites. I think it looked interesting – it’s a story about a picture perfect family that discovers that all was not what it seemed. Calista Flockhart stars as the older sister who has a radio show. It’s like Frasier meets Desperate Housewives meets Dallas. or something. Not going to hang my hat on this one.
Traveler – This is not on the fall schedule (read: midseason replacement) and it looks awesome. Apparently Warner Bros. loves this pilot and is pushing for it to get on the air. It’s about three roommates who go to a museum to pull a juvenile prank. One roommate, Will Traveler, video tapes the other two roller blading through the museum, being chased by cops. When the roller blading roommates exit the museum, they receive a phone call from Traveler saying, “I’m sorry to do this to you.” And then the museum explodes. Chased by cops, the roommates run home to find Traveler has taken all of his stuff and disappeared into thin air. The search is on! This looks great – very young 24.
For those of you who care, the Bachelor is back, this time with an Italian prince.
Ok – that’s it. More later on CBS.