Upfronts 2013: NBC Releases Schedule for the 2013-2014 TV Season

I want to start off by saying that I have nothing but the deepest respect for TV reporters/journalists who actually have to follow all the renewals/cancellations/pilot pick-up shenanigans that come with broadcast network Upfronts. As a TV fan following all this news and writing about here, my head is spinning trying to keep track of all the new shows the networks have ordered. But of course, I don’t have to do this, I just choose to. So to all those who make a living out of doing this, I feel you.

With that being said, Upfronts are here again and NBC is up first, releasing their schedule today, ahead of its presentation to advertisers tomorrow. It’s been a rough year for the network, starting off the season as the #1 network with the aid of the fall cycle of The Voice, to going down to 4th after February sweeps. After a nearly clean sweep of its comedies and its new dramas (save for Revolution) not delivering as they had hope, NBC is hoping its pilot pick-ups for the new season will bring them back to #1. All in all, NBC has picked up 6 comedies and 5 dramas. Below, a look at the new shows, where they land on the schedule, and my initial thoughts.

ABOUT A BOY [Comedy – Midseason]: Based on the novel and movie of the same name, this new comedy brought to us by executive producer Jason Katims and Jon Favreau follows the bond formed between a bachelor man-child and the young boy and his mother who move in next door to him. The show stars David Walton, looking to finally score a TV hit, and Minnie Driver. Katims has proven himself on dramas Friday Night Lights and Parenthood, and though this is being dubbed as a comedy, I have the sense that this will veer towards dramedy. With Katims involved, there definitely isn’t anything wrong with that.

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THE FAMILY GUIDE [Comedy – Midseason]: A son (whose future self is voiced by Jason Bateman, also an executive producer on the show) recounts how his family grew closer after his parents divorce. It would certainly seem as though NBC is getting back with a more family-oriented comedy line-up. J.K. Simmons is the father whom the son idolizes for not letting his blindness hinder his ability to anything. The role of the mother who post-divorce, suddenly finds her chance at a second adolescence, was originally played by Parker Posey in the pilot, but soon after news of the show getting picked-up, Posey left the show. So now the show is looking to recast the role. For me, I think I’ll have to wait and see how it looks and feel before committing to it.

UNDATEABLE [Comedy – Midseason]: Bill Lawrence brings a new show to NBC about a guy who thinks he’s a professional when picking up girls and finds himself teaching his roommate and his friends (the “undateables”) the way to the dating world. Though I appreciate some of the other shows Bill Lawrence has done (Cougar Town, Scrubs), I’m not entirely sold on this show. Maybe it’s because I’ve watched 8 seasons of How I Met Your Mother and this just reminds me of Barney teaching Ted the ways of picking up girls.

THE MICHAEL J. FOX SHOW [Comedy – Thursdays @ 9:30]: Michael J. Fox’s return as lead on this show based loosely on his life (he previously appeared as a guest star on The Good Wife). Of note, this show has already been given a full 22-episode order, so obviously there is a lot of faith in it. I mean it’s Michael J. Fox’s big return! This is a big deal and is a sign of NBC trying to revive their “Must See TV.”

SEAN SAVES THE WORLD [Comedy – Thursdays @ 9]: Another big return is that of Sean Hayes, best known as Jack from Will & Grace. His new show centers around Sean, a divorced gay dad, who suddenly finds himself trying to parent his 14-year old daughter, who has moved in full-time with him. Sean Hayes was always one of the funniest parts of Will & Grace, so I’m quite excited to see how he does as lead of his own show. Over the years, he’s been doing shows on Broadway, as well as serving as an executive producer on Grimm, so it’s nice to see him back on TV.

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WELCOME TO THE FAMILY [Comedy – Thursdays @ 8:30]: Mike O’Malley (here to forth known as Burt Hummel, the best TV dad ever) stars in this show about two families, one Caucasian + one Latino, who bond over their children falling in love and expecting a child. I feel like it’ll be easy for them to make jokes about culture clashes, but if they can somehow move beyond the stereotypes, there might be hope for them yet.

NIGHT SHIFT [Drama – Midseason]: A medical show that follows the doctors and nurses who work the graveyard shift at a San Antonio hospital. If you’ve read my blog before, you’ll know how I tend to feel about medical/law/cop shows – meaning I’m not particularly fond of them – unless you give me something else to hook me in because this is nowhere near enough to get me to watch.

THE BLACKLIST [Drama – Mondays @ 10]: James Spader stars as one of the most wanted criminals in the world, who suspiciously turns himself in and is willing to give up the names of all the people he’s ever worked with – but he’s only willing to work with a new FBI agent, who has no connection to him whatsoever. I’ve never been a fan of Spader, and while I know plot should trump cast, I think both play a part in hooking in viewers for the first time. Honestly, my first reaction to this is that it reminds me a little bit of White Collar, without the lightness of that show, mixed in with a little bit of The Following.

CRISIS [Drama – Midseason]: A conspiracy action thriller set in the world of Washington, D.C., follows a Secret Service agent who finds himself in the middle of an international crisis situation. The show’s cast includes Gillian Anderson, Dermot Mulroney, Rachael Taylor, and James Lafferty among others. Conspiracy theories AND Scully? Count me in!

IRONSIDE [Drama – Wednesdays @ 10]: Based on the 60s cop drama of the same name, Blair Underwood is the lead of this show about an acerbic police detective, who after a shooting, is now relegated to a wheelchair. He has assembled a strong team of other detectives to help him solve the most difficult of cases. On first glance, it’s almost like the cop-version of House. The strength of the storytelling, the writing, and character development will really make all the difference because the show has assembled a really good cast.

Ironside - Season Pilot

BELIEVE [Drama – Midseason]: The team at Bad Robot are back with this show that pairs up a young girl with a recently released man from prison, who is tasked with protecting her from evil forces hunting her powers. I know, I know, another season, another J.J. Abrams produced show. As with all shows, the writing is what will make or break it and I am very hopeful.

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CHICAGO P.D. [Drama – Midseason]: The spin-off that one year ago, no one expected to happen. Dick Wolf successfully turned Chicago Fire into a franchise with this spin-off, focusing on the cops of Chicago. And just like that, I don’t care.

DRACULA [Drama – Fridays @ 10]: This series was actually ordered some time ago, with Jonathan Rhys-Meyers starring as the titular vampire. Dracula is prepared to destroy the Victorian society that ruined his life, until he falls for a woman who looks exactly like his long-deceased wife. It should be noted that the series is set for 10-episodes, meaning this is NBC’s attempt at cable-style/limited series events. Sure, Fridays aren’t exactly the best day to premiere a show, but with a solid lead-in in Grimm (which does go back to its Fridays @ 9 timeslot next season), we can at least look forward to a solid 2 hour Friday night.

Dracula - Season 1

Notable changes to the schedule for next season (seeing as there is a lot of movement over at NBC):

  • Parks and Recreation now anchors the Thursday night comedy block at 8 p.m.
  • Following the Thursday night comedies at 10 p.m., will be ratings underdog and critical favourite Parenthood. It certainly makes more sense to put an established show in the timeslot, as opposed to testing out a new series, where it will most likely to compete against ABC’s red-hot Scandal.
  • The Biggest Loser returns to its Tuesday at 8 slot, acting as lead-in to the second night of The Voice, with Chicago Fire following at 10.
  • Revolution shifts to Wednesdays at 8. It’ll be interesting to see how the show does in its second season without the cushion of The Voice lead-in, that it enjoyed its entire run this season.
  • Community, which surprisingly earned a 5th season, is being held off to midseason.

That is all from NBC. For complete description of all the new pilots, head on over to Deadline.com.

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Gearing Up for TV Upfronts 2013

It’s been some time since I have posted on the blog, but after¬† a relaxing vacation, I am back and ready for everything that May has to offer. TV shows on the broadcast networks are readying their finales, whether for the season or series ending. Some shows have been lucky enough to receive pickups for next season, while many others (and their fans) have been anxiously waiting to hear the fate of their favourite shows. In preparation for next week’s network Upfronts, what follows is a listing of all the shows that have already been renewed, cancelled, and still on the bubble (does not include reality shows because I feel like they run on a whole different business model). Although the networks have begun to announce pilot pick-ups, I’ll be reserving my opinions on these new shows for next week’s individual blog postings, once the networks announce their full line-ups at their respective Upfront presentations.

THE CW

  • Renewed: Arrow, The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural, Hart of Dixie, Beauty and the Beast, The Carrie Diaries, NIKITA!!
  • Cancelled: Emily Owens M.D., Cult, 90210, Gossip Girl

Back in February, the network announced early renewals for Arrow (arguably the biggest hit of all the new shows, on any network), The Vampire Diaries (The CW’s biggest hit), and Supernatural (strong following that grew stronger with its move out of Fridays and paired up with Arrow). The only surprise that came out of these renewals was how early the announcement was made; otherwise it was a no-brainer. Then a few weeks ago, the network made another announcement, calling for the renewals of Hart of Dixie and Beauty and the Beast. Dixie hasn’t been a ratings success but fans love the charming show, and I would presume that the fact that it shoots on the WB lot in L.A. makes it a cheap show to produce. Beauty and the Beast was given the post-TVD timeslot, and while there’s quite a drop-off from its lead-in, the show has developed a loyal following in its freshman season.

Gossip Girl was given a short, final season this time last year and ended its 6 year run in December. 90210, somewhat of a staple of the network for the past 5 years, saw its ratings continue to decline to laughable numbers (500k audience?!), and was told to wrap it up, as it was not going to be returning next season. Newbie Emily Owens was cancelled after a handful of episodes, but was allowed the opportunity to play out all 13 episodes. The same could not be said for Cult, which after abysmal premiere numbers, quickly got moved to Fridays, and then pulled off the schedule completely.

Which left 2 bubble shows awaiting their fate. High hopes were made for the Sex and the City prequel, The Carrie Diaries, but the brand name recognition could have also been its downfall. While ratings were average for the network (definitely more than its lead-out 90210, but still less than previous bubble show Hart of Dixie), there’s no denying that they were really banking on the show to work. And then there’s Nikita. As a HUGE fan of the show, it worried me that I had to once again wait it out to hear of word of a renewal. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Nikita is one of the best shows The CW has and it has been given a huge disservice by having to air on Fridays. And once again, my worrying was for naught as the network did renew this FANTASTIC show for a fourth season. Rumour has it now though that Nikita’s renewal will be for a shortened final season (network has not yet disclosed details of the renewal, just that it has been renewed, while Craig Silverstein tweeted that it won’t be a full season), to which I am simultaneously happy and mad about. Any show that gets to have a proper send-off is a great thing, but knowing that it is so close to that magic 88 (number of episodes that allow for better syndication) if given a full 4th season, it will make me a little mad if that happens.

ABC

  • Renewed: Modern Family, Once Upon A Time, Revenge, Grey’s Anatomy, Castle, Scandal, The Middle, Nashville, Last Man Standing, Suburgatory, The Neighbors
  • Cancelled: 666 Park Avenue, Last Resort, Don’t Trust the B– in Apartment 23, Private Practice, Zero Hour, Red Widow, Body of Proof, How to Live With Your Parents…, Malibu Country, Family Tools, Happy Endings

For a while, ABC had been the lone hold-out in announcing renewals for its current slate of TV shows. But that all changed late Friday night. Most of the shows renewed were for the network’s staples (Modern Family, Grey’s, OUAT, Castle) and includes Scandal, which has become such a huge success in its second season and Nashville, the network’s lone freshman drama to make it through to another season. Most surprising is the renewal of The Neighbors, the comedy that features a family who move into a neighborhood of aliens (I’m sure there’s more to it, but that is the original hook).

Despite being one of the funniest shows on television, Happy Endings is lucky to have seen the end of its third season and not unceremoniously pulled from the schedule. Unfortunately, it has now been cancelled, with only hope that cable network USA (or some another network) might pick it up, giving the show a 4th season. Another notable cancellation is that of Malibu Country starring country superstar Reba McEntire.

As far as the drama pickups from last season, I really do have to commend ABC for at least trying something different with their shows. It’s a shame that none of them (save for Nashville) lived long enough to see a second season – or even the end of their initial series orders.

CBS

  • Renewed: 2 Broke Girls, The Big Bang Theory, Mike & Molly, How I Met Your Mother, Two and a Half Men, Elementary, CSI, Blue Bloods, Elementary, The Good Wife, Hawaii Five-0, The Mentalist, NCIS, NCIS: LA, Person of Interest, Criminal Minds
  • Cancelled: Made in Jersey, Partners, CSI:NY, Vegas, Golden Boy, Rules of Engagement

As tends to happen, CBS had done a massive renewal back in March for most of their line-up and they were pretty much no-brainers. Even Two and a Half Men got renewed, but that was only after some contract negotiations with the former “half man” of the show Angus T. Jones now reduced to recurring status. How I Met Your Mother‘s renewal was also under tight negotiations, and while I do love the show, I feel like they probably could have ended it after this year. That being said, if the rumours are true and “the Mother” reveal does actually happen in this season’s finale, I can’t be too mad that they are giving the show a final season to let us get to know who “the Mother” is.

Of the shows cancelled, either early on in the season or recently, none of them did good enough numbers for the network. Even perennial benchwarmer Rules of Engagement, the show that apparently never died, finally got cancelled.

FOX

  • Renewed: American Dad, Bob’s Burgers, Bones, Family Guy, The Following, Glee, The Mindy Project, New Girl, Raising Hope, The Simpsons
  • Cancelled: Ben and Kate, Fringe, The Mob Doctor, Touch
  • On the Bubble: The Cleveland Show

I can’t say much about Fox’s animated shows, mainly because I don’t watch them. With that out of the way, the network’s renewals of its other shows pretty much made sense. I don’t watch New Girl but apparently a lot of people love it, and it’s become a great hit for Fox for the past 2 seasons. The Following was undoubtedly the biggest hit for the network this season, and even moreso when DVR numbers got added to live viewing. Raising Hope and The Mindy Project don’t have spectacular ratings, but they have been solid performers.

As for Glee, its renewal came a little later than the others only due to contract negotiations. After those negotiations were finalized, the network renewed the show for not only one, but two more seasons. Don’t get me wrong, I used to be a fan of Glee. The last time the network gave a 2-season renewal to the show was during S1 for obviously S2+3, and at the time, that made sense – Glee was a massive hit. Now, I can’t really say that the fandom for Glee is as big as it was, so I don’t see the justification for the guaranteed two seasons.

For the record, I’m still mad they cancelled Ben and Kate. And while I’m happy Fringe got its proper finale, I’m still sad that the show’s not still around.

NBC

  • Renewed: Parks and Recreation, Chicago Fire, Grimm, Revolution, Law & Order: SVU, Parenthood, Community
  • Cancelled: 30 Rock, Go On, Animal Practice, Deception, Do No Harm, SMASH, The Office, Up All Night, 1600 Penn, Guys With Kids, Whitney, The New Normal
  • On the Bubble: Hannibal

Oh NBC, what are we going to do with you? With all of NBC’s ratings woes in its second half of the season, I sometimes find myself making the joke that they are the Jerry Gergich (a character on Parks and Rec, for the unfamiliar) of the networks – can’t seem to do anything right and is the butt of the jokes. Yes, The Voice has pretty much been the saviour of NBC. Grimm recently got the chance to get out of its Friday slot to Tuesdays. Chicago Fire has somehow beat the odds and received not only a renewal, but a spin-off as well (say what now?!) And solid Law & Order SVU is still around (sorry, I’ve never watched the show). Parenthood and Parks & Recreation have been doing quite well for the network, with the former even beating its timeslot competition in the demo ratings on several occasions and the latter just being one of the best comedies on TV.

But what about everything else on the network? Sure, Revolution has been touted as the best new drama of the 2011-2012 season, but there was an outcry when NBC decided to give the show a 3 month break (not really the best idea for a new show…or any show). With 30 Rock and The Office in their final seasons, the network needed their new comedies to work and while Go On was a really good show that was unfortunate to have too much comedy competition in its timeslot, it ended up getting cancelled. Lest we not forget, NBC also brought us Animal Practice and 2 seasons of Whitney, so judge away.

But it’s not all bad as underdog Community got renewed for a 5th season. I had my conspiracy theories early on in the season that NBC not-so-secretly had it out against Community, but obviously there is a show of faith in the show. To be honest, I’m with a lot of other fans in saying that the show hasn’t been the same this season without the presence of show creator Dan Harmon, so I do have mixed feelings about the renewal. I feel like the fact that it got four seasons was great and I would rather have seen a second season of Go On, over a fifth season of Community. I hate to think that it was an either/or decision.

And then there’s SMASH, which I could probably write about in a post of its own. After a promising pilot last season, it was almost all downhill from there. Season 2 was supposed to be a new and better SMASH, with Josh Safran taking over as showrunner for series creator Teresa Rebeck. I’d hate to say that I didn’t have much faith in Safran taking over (his history involves the later seasons of Gossip Girl aka the seasons I watched and then quit completely), but there I was when S2 premiered, trying to see how the show was going to be saved. Unfortunately, it quickly became a huge joke, and it just as quickly got shipped off to Saturdays. Every one thinks Friday is bad for TV shows, but Saturday is where TV shows go to really die, as in, nail in the coffin. I’m actually surprised it took NBC this long to officially cancel the show.

 

At this point, the majority of all shows on the broadcast networks have been announced as either being renewed or cancelled. Now it’s all about getting ready for Upfronts presentations and seeing where all the new shows the networks announced will fall in the schedule with the current shows. Until then, let me know what shows are you most excited about getting renewed? And what shows are you disappointed got the boot?

The Issues of TV Scheduling

I know as of late, a lot of my posts have been about television, but I just can’t help it. I have always watched a lot of television and with that comes a lot of observations/thoughts/questions/concerns/pure enjoyment. The thought that’s been on my mind lately is the issue of program scheduling.

We currently live in a world where all our favourite TV shows (old and new) don’t necessarily have to be watched live and can be watched later on our DVRs and on the internet. We now essentially have the ability to create our own perfect TV schedule. At the same time though, the methods of measuring viewership of any given TV show is severely outdated and doesn’t give a precise count of how many people are actually watching a show. Nielsen ratings rely on the select households who have the Nielsen boxes, and watch shows live as they air. Progress has been made in that DVR viewings are being included up to 7 days after an airing, but again, internet viewing has yet to be accounted for. So where does that leave our TV shows that struggle in the traditional ratings? Social media is now playing a part in helping decide the fate of some shows – the more active the fan base, the better. But where a TV show fits on the network’s schedule sometimes plays a major part in viewership.

It’s probably just me, but I sometimes wonder exactly how network executives decide on how to schedule their lineup of shows. When Upfronts happen in May and networks unveil their schedules for the following season, a part of me wonders how much of the schedule is planned out ahead of the announcement and how much is a reaction of the other networks’ schedules. You look at something like The Voice and DWTS results show both being moved an hour earlier than it was previously; that can’t possibly be a coincidence right? That being said, all of the broadcast networks have yet to create a so-called “perfect schedule.”

There are days on the schedule where the networks have gotten a very solid line-up of shows that are complimentary, or at the least somewhat make sense with one another (particularly in the 8:00-10:00 P.M. block). For example, the comedy blocks of CBS, FOX, ABC, NBC on Mondays through Thursdays, respectively. The CW pairing Gossip Girl and 90210 together, as well as Hart of Dixie and Emily Owens, M.D. makes sense. ABC Sunday has 3 different shows in Once Upon A Time, Revenge, and 666 Park Avenue that, to me at least, works pretty well together. Let’s be real, most of the CBS lineup works because at least 80% of the shows are procedural dramas.

On other nights, the networks can completely falter in their scheduling, making it seem like those scheduling decisions were afterthoughts. Friday nights in particular, on FOX, NBC, and The CW, are a complete mishmash of programming. FOX currently has one of Gordon Ramsey’s shows, leading into the final season of Fringe. On NBC, they were going to have 2 comedies anchor the night, and lead into the second season of Grimm. And worst of all, the CW seemed to think that just because they are both female-fronted, America’s Next Top Model and Nikita would make a great pairing (they don’t). How do any of these scheduling choices make sense?

Below, I offer up options/thoughts as to what scheduling changes should be made on the part of the networks:

  • For midseason, The CW should deeply consider pairing their new hit Arrow with Nikita (which is in desperate need of viewership despite the fact that it is easily the best/most well-written show the network has). An action-packed night of television? Who doesn’t want that?
  • Now, I know fans of Supernatural have been thankful for the move to Wednesdays, following Arrow, but the show already has a solid fan base and it’s in its 8th season – how many more viewers do you think there’ll be? Way I see it, once Fringe ends its run over on FOX, Nikita can swap with Supernatural, which will compete better against Grimm on Friday nights, and get paired up with the new series Cult when it premieres.
  • I still don’t understand NBC’s decision to air Rock Center at 10 P.M., after 2 hours of comedy on Thursdays. It just seems like a waste of a time slot on a night that people (particularly the all-important 18-34 demo) would actually watch scripted television. I know the 10 P.M. slot doesn’t necessarily have to flow with the other 2 hours, but NBC could have easily made a 3 hour comedy block – although now that we see a few of its new comedies aren’t doing so well, that won’t happen. To me, the easiest solution would be swap Rock Center with Grimm. Grimm could probably get away with adding some more scary stuff, if they have a slightly later time slot.
  • I’ve mentioned before that ABC’s Last Resort deserves a better time slot than Thursdays @ 8, even though I don’t watch the show. The problem is, there isn’t much room to play with in ABC’s current schedule. Private Practice is wrapping up, so Last Resort (assuming it gets a full season pickup) could take that Tuesday @ 10 slot. That would then leave the 8 P.M. Thursday slot for Body of Proof, which is slated for a midseason return. ABC also has 2 other new dramas (Red Widow, Zero Hour) waiting to be aired, though those don’t quite fit in that time slot either.
  • Speaking of shows that are on tap for mid-season – where is Smash gonna go? Last season, it scored the slot after The Voice, which is now being occupied by Revolution, and that’s been picked up for a full season. After this cycle, The Voice is coming back for another round, but it has yet to be known when exactly the 4th season will start. So there’s a small window where Smash could appear in between Voice seasons.
  • Though come to think of it now, Parenthood‘s current 4th season is only 15 episodes long, so it will be done by February. Also, Grimm is nearly halfway through its season (thanks to its really early start following the Summer Olympics) – so is it possible that Grimm will end early in the season? Or will NBC do an extended hiatus mid-season (which is almost always a bad idea) and give a new show a chance during that hiatus, then wrap up Grimm‘s season in May?
  • You know what I still like to complain about? The one hour results show of American Idol…and by extension, The X-Factor, and even DWTS + The Voice. It can so easily be done in 30 minutes, so why do they feel they need to stretch it a full hour? It’s so tedious!
  • It has also come to my attention that a lot of scheduling issues could be solved if there was LESS competition reality shows. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching The Voice and DWTS, but it takes up 3 hours of programming! They should move one or two of these shows to the summer, when there’s NOTHING to watch except SYTYCD. Not to mention, why hasn’t anyone thought about putting these shows on Fridays? The general consensus it seems is that a lot of people don’t watch TV on Friday nights, so why not make people watch by putting one of these (apparently) highly rated/well-watched shows on Friday? And no one really cares about the results show, so Saturday is a perfectly fine day to air it. If I’m not mistaken the UK does this already, so why can’t it work here?

Whether or not any of the above actually happens, is beyond me. I am not a television network executive, I do not make these decisions. The business and politics of television baffles me and frustrates me just as much as the music industry. It pains me to see lack of viewership for some of my favourite shows, due to a weak or a non-complimentary lead-in. There just has to be a way for the networks to properly measure how many people actually watch a television show, that’s not based purely on Nielsen ratings. Not to mention, I live in Canada, so my viewership isn’t exactly accounted for in the grand scheme of things. I would love nothing more than to at least see my internet viewing count for something, but I can’t access Hulu or watch any videos on any of the official network websites, so that’s kind of a problem.

So fellow TV viewers, if you were a network executive, how would you schedule the shows on your network? Furthermore, despite this not being brought up in the post, do you think it’s time for the broadcast networks to adopt a model of less episodes a season, similar to the cable networks? Don’t you think that would solve a lot of scheduling issues, with too many shows and not enough airtime? And seriously, why hasn’t anyone tried putting a reality competition show on Friday nights? Share your thoughts below!

Upfronts 2012: NBC Reveals Its Schedule for Next Season

It’s Upfronts time, folks! Over the past week, the major broadcast networks have slowly announced which shows they are renewing or cancelling, and which new pilots have been picked up for next season. Today, NBC was the first of the networks to reveal what its schedule will look like come Fall 2012, and of course it came with some surprises. Below are my thoughts on the new shows NBC has picked up and where they land on the schedule (as always, this is completely based on the description of the show and the cast involved).

  • REVOLUTION [Drama – Mondays @ 8]: A new show from J.J. Abrams and Eric Kripke, the show is an adventure thriller featuring a world where all forms of technology have blacked out. Another season, another Abrams show. You’d think after last season, I would give up on Abrams (Alcatraz was a bust, Person of Interest probably deserves a second chance from me) but I still believe in the man who brought us Felicity and Alias. Not to mention he is joined by Kripke as an executive producer, who was responsible for giving us the world of Supernatural. For me, the cast doesn’t even matter on this one – two imaginative producers with an interesting set-up, is more than enough for me to give this show a try.
  • GO ON [Comedy – Tuesdays @ 9]: Matthew Perry returns to NBC in this new show about a recently widowed sportscaster attempting to move on with his life, while forced to attend group therapy sessions. It’s Matthew Perry, on NBC, why wouldn’t I give this show a shot? If Courtney Cox’s Jules Cobb on Cougar Town is like the next level of Monica Gellar, I have a feeling this is going to be the next level of Chandler Bing for Perry.
  • THE NEW NORMAL [Comedy – Tuesdays @ 9:30]: Consider this Modern Family, if it only focused on Cam & Mitch and they had followed through with that surrogacy plot from this past season. That’s what I take from it anyways. The show stars Justin Bartha (from The Hangover movies) and Andrew Rannells (from Broadway’s The Book of Mormon)¬† and is brought to us by the producers of Glee (seems appropriate that Murphy and Co. are in charge of this show). More than likely that I’ll watch it, but at the very least will give it a shot.
  • ANIMAL PRACTICE [Comedy – Wednesdays @ 8]: Centers on the antics at a veterinarian’s office, with a vet who loves animals, but hates people. This is one of those “you’ll never know” shows, meaning you can’t really tell if it’s going to be good or bad until you watch it. So I guess I’m going to have to await judgment until I watch the show (or at least watch previews for it).
  • GUYS WITH KIDS [Comedy – Wednesdays @ 8:30]: Jimmy Fallon executive produces this show about three thirty-something guys trying to hold on to their youth, while raising their newborn kids. I feel like this could be really funny, especially with Fallon as exec. producer.
  • CHICAGO FIRE [Drama – Wednesdays @ 10]: A show that revolves around the firefighters, rescue squad, and paramedics of Chicago, and stars Taylor Kinney and Jesse Spencer. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t there a show like this some years ago? I think it was called Third Watch? It doesn’t strike me as anything particularly original, so I’m not so sure about it.
  • DO NO HARM [Drama – Midseason]: Sort of a Jekyll/Hyde drama featuring a neurosurgeon. Alter egos are always an interesting thing, which certainly gets me intrigued. Only thing I’m worried about is that they are planning for this to air midseason on Sundays (after football is over) and it will be the only scripted show that night (following Fashion Star and Celebrity Apprentice). It’s one thing to have an established show follow some reality shows, but how does the network expect to launch a new show following two reality shows that aren’t doing that well in the ratings anyways?
  • SAVE ME [Comedy – Midseason]: Stars Anne Heche as a woman, who after having a near-death experience, discovers she has become a prophet…yeah…At the very least, this is a comedy and they’re not making some serious stuff out of it, but I still don’t think this sounds entirely promising.
  • 1600 PENN [Comedy – Midseason]: It’s a family show that is set in the White House. There’s really no other way to describe it, and yet I do think it is worth a look. What surprises me though is that they are not putting this on in the fall, especially with it being election time (or maybe that is especially why they decided against it).
  • NEXT CALLER [Comedy – Midseason]: The show is set at a satellite radio station featuring a foulmouthed DJ (played by Dane Cook) who now has to contend with a young feminist for a co-host. Another we’ll see about this.
  • INFAMOUS [Drama – Midseason]: It was bound to happen. With the success of Revenge over on ABC, NBC is attempting to its own murder mystery drama. This one stars Meagan Good as a detective tasked with uncovering the murder of a wealthy socialite, who was once her best friend when she lived as the daughter of the family housekeeper. Murder, mystery, intrigue…count me in! Not to mention Victor Garber (Jack Bristow!) and Tate Donovan (Jimmy Cooper!)? Sold.
  • HANNIBAL [Drama – Midseason]: Consider this the origins of Hannibal Lecter, before he became the man we knew from The Silence of the Lambs. Should be interesting, but I can’t help but wonder if this might be a better fit for the cable networks.

Other notable points in the schedule:

  • Looks like NBC is going forward with having The Voice on twice a year. Don’t get me wrong, you know I love the show but once a year is MORE than enough. Too much of a good thing is going to be a bad thing; it’s called over-saturation. NBC must be really desperate or don’t have enough faith in their pilots if they are going with this route. Also, does this mean they are going to have different coaches each season? Because there is definitely no way Adam, Blake, Cee-Lo, (maybe) Christina will agree to do this twice a year. Hello, they are successful music artists with careers! They’ve got touring and promo to do!
  • Community is moving to Fridays @ 8:30, following Whitney @ 8 (I still don’t understand how Whitney got renewed). Happy that Community got renewed, not so happy about this timeslot.
  • Rock Center with Brian Williams follows the Thursday night comedy line-up of 30 Rock, Up All Night, The Office + Parks and Recreation. I also don’t understand how Rock Center is still on and it gets that slot @ 10? What a waste! I still contend that they should’ve done a 3 hour comedy night, moving the 2 Friday comedies, move Grimm to 8 on Fridays, and then follow that up with Rock Center.
  • Smash is being held off until midseason, which I must say is probably for the best, giving it more time to develop itself after its uneven first season.
  • Officially Cancelled: Are You There Chelsea, Awake, Bent, Best Friends Forever, Harry’s Law, The Firm

For a complete look at the new shows and how the schedule is going to look, head on over to Deadline.com

Tomorrow morning, it’s Fox’s turn.

TV Renewals, Cancellations, and Pickups 2012 – In Preparation of the Broadcast Networks Upfronts

May. It’s the month that TV fans love to hate. We love our TV shows for the amazing work that they give us, ramping up the action and drama. We love hearing about our shows getting renewed for another season. We love getting excited about the possibility of new favourite shows from a batch of pilots getting picked up. On the other hand, we hate knowing that with all this great writing, cliffhangers abound, leaving us with an agonizingly long wait until our show comes back. We hate waiting for word on the fate of our other favourite shows and we hate it even more when our favourite shows get cancelled to make room for undeserving pilots. It truly is a love/hate relationship. With that being said, upfronts are just around the corner, and over the past week, the networks have slowly begun to announce which current shows are getting renewed, which pilots are getting picked up and which shows are getting cancelled. Below is a rundown of what’s been renewed and what’s been picked up (as usual, my thoughts on the pilot pickups will be reserved for the Upfronts blog postings next week).

THE CW

  • Renewed: NIKITA!, The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural, 90210, Hart of Dixie, Gossip Girl
  • Pilots Picked-Up: Cult, First Cut, Arrow, Beauty and the Beast, The Carrie Diaries
  • Cancelled: The Secret Circle, Ringer

Most people leave CW for last but for my own personal and selfish reasons, I’d like to highlight the network first. And why exactly? Because I had 2 shows that I absolutely love (for different reasons) that are on the bubble, Nikita and Hart of Dixie. It certainly didn’t help matters that the network had already decided to renew arguably one of its weakest shows creatively, 90210. I mean I know, it gets pretty decent ratings compared to most other shows on the network, but how do the CW expect to get taken seriously, when they renew shows like this? Turns out all my worrying was all for naught, as both Nikita and Dixie got renewed. Gossip Girl got renewed as well for a sixth and final season, with a shortened episode order.

Ringer was an obvious choice to get cut, despite the fact that it was Sarah Michelle Gellar’s return to TV. Unfortunately, what started out as a film noir-type thriller, turned into a campy, ridiculous mess. As for The Secret Circle? Personally, I liked it, but I didn’t love it. It seemed like a great idea this time last year, when it was announced that TSC would follow The Vampire Diaries on the schedule, but now I feel as though that became a detriment to the show. TVD has done such a great job with their storytelling that for TSC and the similar supernatural element that it has, it became too easy to compare the two shows. Not for a lack of trying, but TSC just missed some sort of spark that TVD has.

Now, rumours are swirling that CW might be considering cable-style (re: shortened) seasons for some of its shows (for the record, Nikita is renewed for a full 22-episode season). If this is the case, then I don’t see how this is anything but a win-win situation. The network gets to try out new shows, while at the same time keep a good chunk of their current slate on the air, even if it is for a shorter episode count. With the pick-up of 5 new shows, one thing is for sure: less reruns.

FOX

  • Renewed: FRINGE!, Glee, American Dad, Bones, New Girl, Raising Hope, The Simpsons, X-Factor, Family Guy, The Cleveland Show, Kitchen Nightmares, Touch
  • Pilots Picked-Up: The Mindy Project, Goodwin Games, The Following, Ben & Kate, Mob Doctor
  • Cancelled: Alcatraz, The Finder

I had already made a post when Fringe got renewed, so clearly I was excited about it. I didn’t watch The Finder, but did watch Alcatraz, and despite the fact that it was a J.J. Abrams show, I couldn’t really get invested in it. They had a pretty cool premise to start with, but they never seemed to use the premise to its full potential (the show instead decided to do typical case-of-the-week cop procedural stuff, which I find incredibly boring). Of the 5 pilots picked-up, I can say I’m legitimately interested in 3 of them, mainly based on cast alone.

CBS

  • Renewed: The Amazing Race, Survivor, 2 Broke Girls, How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, Blue Bloods, Criminal Minds, CSI, The Good Wife, Hawaii Five-0, The Mentalist, Mike & Molly, NCIS, NCIS:LA, Person of Interest, Undercover Boss, Two and a Half Men
  • Pilots Picked-Up: ???
  • Cancelled: ???

CBS had actually done a mass renewal spree back in March, not that there was much surprise in which shows did get renewed. Actually, HIMYM and TBBT, when they were renewed last season, got a 2 season pickup – so we knew those two for some time. At the time of this posting, there was no word yet on what new shows were getting picked-up and which shows on their current slate was getting cancelled.

NBC

  • Renewed: Community, Parenthood, 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, Up All Night, Grimm, Law & Order SVU, Smash, Fashion Star, Whitney
  • Pilots Picked-Up: Chicago Fire, Revolution, Go On, Save Me, 1600 Penn, Animal Practice, The New Normal, Guys With Kids, Do Not Harm, Infamous, Next Caller
  • Cancelled: Awake, Harry’s Law, Are You There Chelsea, Bent, Best Friends Forever

Though I didn’t get a chance to do a write-up for it, I was really hoping for NBC to renew Community because it is one of the smartest and creative comedies on television. Critically acclaimed Parenthood got a renewal (thank goodness), despite lackluster ratings, but it has such an incredibly talented cast and the writing is just perfection. The network also renewed 30 Rock for a 13-episode final season, while freshmen series’ Smash and Grimm were both renewed earlier last month. For me the most surprising renewal has to be Whitney – critics don’t like it, its got a very limited audience…so what justified the renewal?

As for the shows cancelled, Bent never stood a chance (the network burned off its 6 episode season over 3 weeks with little to no promotion) and I never really cared for to watch the other 2 comedies. I certainly feel bad for Awake; it was one of the shows I was really excited about when I heard about it last year, and then once it started airing mid-season, something just didn’t click with me (not for a lack of trying though).

Once again, we see NBC continuing its hardest to get themselves back up the ranks with this coming season’s string of pilot pick-ups. With almost all of its current comedy slate renewed (deals are still being made for The Office), I’m quite surprised by the number of comedies the network picked-up. Will any of these pilots (comedy and drama) help save NBC? We’ll see…

ABC

  • Renewed: Once Upon A Time, Revenge, Happy Endings, Modern Family, The Middle, Suburgatory, Grey’s Anatomy, Castle, Scandal, Dancing With the Stars, Shark Tank, The Bachelor, Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23, Private Practice, Body of Proof, Last Man Standing
  • Pilots Picked-Up: 666 Park Ave., Last Resort, How to Live With Your Parents For the Rest of Your Life, Nashville, The Neighbors, Malibu Country, Family Tools, Red Widow, Zero Hour
  • Cancelled: GCB, Missing, The River, Pan Am

Like CBS, most of the shows renewed were kind of no-brainers. Low rated Private Practice and Body of Proof managed to score themselves a renewal. When it was picked-up last year, I said that there’s no way Missing can possibly sustain itself for a full season, let alone multiple seasons, so I was not surprised at all that it got cancelled. I’m a little sad but not entirely surprised that GCB didn’t get a second season – it was by no means a great show, but it was a guilty pleasure. I obviously won’t go into details about the pilots just yet, however I have to say I am really happy/excited about 666 Park Avenue getting picked up and am quite interested in where it’s going to fit into the schedule.

Upfront announcements begin tomorrow (Sunday, May 13th) with NBC, followed by FOX, ABC, CBS, and ending with The CW.