Pickups and Renewals
When considering the future of some shows on Fox and the CW, in the case of the former, there are only a couple of programs on the fence. Fox, overall, has had a strong year highlighted by the success of 'Glee,' which trumps nearly any disappointment execs might have over already cancelled shows like 'Sons of Tucson' or 'Past Life.'
On the other hand, the CW has a few hours teetering on the brink amid some solid, if not spectacular, already renewed shows like 'Vampire Diaries' and 'Supernatural.' To check the threat assessment for the Fox and CW programs on the bubble, read on:
The past season was a tumultuous one for NBC, what with the Jay Leno experience turning the primetime schedule into a whirl. The fact that Leno's ten o'clock show was a disaster resulted in NBC scrambling to fill in during the second season. Fortunately, at least one legit hit has emerged -- 'Parenthood.'
Still, as the network contemplates the future, there's really six programs that could be called on the bubble, teetering between a pick up or a cancellation. So what is the likelihood that NBC will renew these shows? Here's our take:
Abrams co-wrote, produced and directed the pilot about two former married CIA agents -- played by Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (pictured) -- who get reactivated after years of retirement. According to the Hollywood Reporter, this is the first pilot Abrams has directed since 'Lost' in 2004.
"We have tremendous confidence in this promising series and feel this is a great way to kick off our upcoming Upfront development announcements," said Jeff Gaspin, chairman of NBC Universal Television Entertainment, in a statement. "J.J. has delivered another signature series along with our partners at Warner Bros. and we couldn't be happier."
And who can blame them? First of all, this is NBC we're talking about, a network that would pull a show off-the air five minutes into its premiere episode if the ratings didn't please "Darth Zucker." Plus, 'Top Gear' isn't just an institution to gear junkies and "petrolheads." It's one of the most accessible and hilarious shows on television. Even if you drive a used 2001 Pontiac Sunfire and subsequently know nothing about good cars, you can still enjoy it just as much as the octane-brain who takes a brand new Gumpert Apollo to work.
Now The History Channel is taking a crack at rebuilding the show's stalled engine from scratch. I say give it a chance. Anything has the potential to be good if its heart is in the right place. But before you tell me to do something that would get your mouth washed out with soap and a Brillo pad by your mother, don't take my word for it. Take it from one of the show's upcoming stars.
That would make for a very solid night of comedy, likely Wednesday again, which is what worked so well this season for ABC -- with the exception of Kelsey Grammer's woeful 'Hank,' which was mercifully axed by ABC last November.
The mini-series will actually be about the rise of the first three hosts of 'The Tonight Show': Steve Allen, Jack Paar and of course Johnny. It will focus on NBC's history of screwing them over (except for Carson, who managed to beat them at their own game). If done with tremendous historical detail to the level of 'Mad Men,' it could be very good.
That's likely the direction they're going in since the project has been described as "The Rat Pack version of 'The Late Shift.'" A&E would actually be a good channel to host this concept, but more likely it will go to one of the premium channels like HBO.
So who should play Johnny? Please don't say Rich Little. It's been done.
But as the May upfront approaches, when the network has to make difficult decisions about what new shows to order and which programs to axe, it's a good time to assess what might happen. Here's our look at what's Tiffany network shows are on the brink ... and how it might play out.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the next coming will be an original made-for-TV movie based on Mark Peter Hughes' cult fave, 'Lemonade Mouth.'
The novel, about 5 outcast "freaks" at a New England high school whose chance meeting in detention leads to them form what becomes "Rhode Island's most influential band," has been adapted by April Blair ('Christmas Caper') and will be produced by Debra Martin Chase ('The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,' 'The Cheetah Girls').
The original title of the game show was 'What? Where? When?' and I like that title better than the new one they've given the show, 'The Six.' Networks love having numbers in the title of TV shows for some reason. The premise: teams of players have to get together to solve a puzzle in one minute for a lot of cash. No idea how much money is involved yet but I bet it's at least $500. Merv Griffin Entertainment ('Wheel of Fortune' and 'Jeopardy') is producing the show.
Direct from the "Not a Big Surprise" department comes news that TLC has reupped 'L.A. Ink' for another run and that production on season 4 is already underway.
A spin-off of 'Miami Ink,' which ended in 2008, 'L.A. Ink' follows tattoo artist Kat Von D at her High Voltage shop in West Hollywood. The show is currently averaging 1.4 million viewers per week. Those are impressive numbers, not just because they come from a cable-based show, but because it airs on Thursday nights at 10PM a hotbed of original programming on the Big Three and One-Third networks.
The numbers are also impressive, because 'L.A. Ink' comes from an older generation of TLC shows -- with four years equaling one television generation. With the network full of programs featuring height-challenged families, weight-challenged families and, soon enough, 18 hours of original Kate Gosselin programming, the show is able to maintain its popularity.
Meanwhile, TruTV has lined up another hidden-camera series: 'Rogue Soiety,' which will "expose bigots and scam artists though various pranks." (They should have gotten Kutcher involved on that one as well, as he knows a thing or two about prank shows.)
Also on tap: 'Ma's Roadhouse,' which will take viewers inside a Texas saloon, 'Limo Bob,' about owner of a fleet of limos in Chicago, and 'The Naked Office,' which follows a business that raises office worker spirits through an unorthodox method of group therapy.
And, of course, you can't get into reality TV without a restaurant series ('America's Toughest Boss') and one exploring supernatural phenomenon ('Disclosure').
No word yet on when these series will hit the airwaves.
In the clip, Eric and Pam are auditioning new dancers for Fangtasia and there are more than a few comic relief moments. There is even a male dancer that is reminiscent of an old 'Saturday Night Live' Chippendale's sketch with Chris Farley. It's a self-contained story so the viewer doesn't have to worry if he or she has never watched 'True Blood' before.
The video is available after the jump. It is a bit racy, so be careful if you're watching it from a work or school or otherwise NSFW location. Let us know what you think of it in the comments.
According to The Wrap, the new reality series is tentatively called 'Catch Me,' and is set to contain several of the action elements that made 'Amazing Race' a hit. Producers are reportedly looking to cast teams of two in the project, with contestants who "have an adventurous streak and a poker face." Player recruitment will begin in Chicago.
For more, check out Inside TV.
This is comforting news, as ratings for its current season haven't been stellar, despite the excellent pseudo-season finale, which was written before its six-episode extension was commissioned. Our own Joel Keller has an excellent interview here on TV Squad with 'Chuck' co-creator Chris Fedak about "Season 3.2."
While the previous episode had (spoiler alert!) Chuck and Sarah hooking up at the end, it does make one wonder where the series could go from that point onward. After all, that seemed to be the point of the series since the first episode. The good news is that we're going to find out when the first of six new episodes begin airing on Monday.
The news last week that NBC had renewed 'Parenthood' for a second season was not a big surprise. Yes, the show had a rocky start, considering that it was forced into a midseason premiere because producers had to recast actress Maura Tierney's role while she was battling breast cancer. But since then, it has been well-received and even bested its main competition Tuesdays at 10PM ET, 'The Good Wife,' a few times in the ratings. So there was every reason for NBC to give the Ron Howard/Brian Grazer production a second season. It earned it.
The show has actually been getting better. It's on its way to becoming a hit, and with just a few changes in the season to come, it could succeed. We've narrowed it down to four specifics, our suggestions for how 'Parenthood' could get even better than it is right now. Read our list and then weigh in with your thoughts.
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