Television as an industry is in need of a major overhaul. It's old, dusty, soiling itself, and not keeping up with the technology that changes from day to day. If it were an old, sick animal, or Larry King, it would probably be put to sleep. Alas, so many of us rely on the old biddy that it would be hard for us to say good-bye.
Luckily, I am a resourceful, intelligent and, dare I say it, gorgeous human being who has some ideas in mind to freshen up the television landscape. Yes, it may mean sacrifice from some of us (mainly network executives) and we may lose something in the process. But, in the end, the industry that we love to quietly despise while watching Cheaters will thrive once again.
Like anything, watching television can be a habit. There are certain shows that you tune into on a regular basis because they make you feel safe, comfortable and give you that feeling of stability that may or may not surround the rest of your life. Because of that it can be difficult to latch on to a new show to watch. There's that uncertainty, that fear that you won't get used to the plot or the characters or the general feel for the show.
This is particularly true in my case since I watch a certain set of shows each week for review. However, this season I have decided to expand my television horizons a bit and search for some new programs to get involved with. By new programs I don't mean shows premiering this season, but programs that have been on the air for a while that I have never sen before of have glanced at from time to time. So, without further pontification, here are five shows that I'm now tuning into.
Now, if we were back in time to the 1950s, there would be no leaks -- less air travel, no internet enabling the average Joe to spread the word. But in today's world it's really hard to have racers running through airports without folks taking notice.
Warning -- Extreme show spoilers after the jump!
Maybe the strike's not all bad. That's what some studio executives are saying in this Variety article. The winter TCA Tour has been canceled already and upfronts are now in jeopardy. And just as it took the lead in pulling out of the TCA, NBC has already said they will forgo the multimillion dollar extravaganza the upfronts had turned into.
But from the network's point of view these are good things, as they'd been wanting to cut some of these expenses for years. What does that mean? The TCA Tours may be done for good, ditto the upfront "events." And that may just be the start of changes in the television landscape we've come to know and love.
What do you do when it's Fall Pilot season but there isn't anyone available to write pilots? Things are getting a little scary for next season's slate of new shows that don't exist yet. And last night, as our own Joel Keller reports, the networks and Television Critics Association (TCA) agreed to cancel the winter tour. It makes sense considering the TCA Tour generally involves the networks touting their upcoming programming to the 200 or so members of the association so as to get good press (hopefully) to build buzz. With the way things are going, had the event occurred, it would have been a very dry affair.
"So, we've got some reality shows coming up, and we're looking at doing some reruns."
"Really. Wow, that's interesting, which network were you again ... Oh that's right. It doesn't matter."
We're in the middle of pilot season right now, and of the approximately 9000 different shows all fighting to be part of this fall's network schedule (as long as they aren't put up against American Idol), a handful have shown promise, some even more than was expected. Here's the buzz:
Dirty Sexy Money is at the top of the list. The ABC drama stars Peter Krause, Donald Sutherland, and William Baldwin and is about a lawyer who defends rich New Yorkers. It also has a title that catches your attention. Marlowe, the new modern take on the Raymond Chandler hero on ABC, is getting better than expected reviews. Other shows that look like winners: FOX's Action News, with Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton, ABC's Football Wives, and an untitled CBS drama starring Jimmy Smits.
Viva Laughlin, a musical produced by Hugh Jackman and based on the British series Blackpool, is also getting good early buzz, but I don't know. A weekly musical drama? Hmmm...
Ah, the Internet. With so much television content going over to the World Wide Web these days in the form of downloadable episodes or special features, it isn't surprising that the networks are offering previews of their new fall programming.
While FOX and The CW offer synopses of the new fall entries, CBS, ABC and NBC are offering video clips of all their new programming. Over at CBS, the previews of Jericho and James Woods' Shark look promising (although Jericho seems like Invasion) while Ray Liotta's heist drama Smith seemed to be Heist and Thief combined.
Okay, who gave the executives over at NBC the sensibility pills?
In what seems like an extremely logical move (at least for now), NBC has produced a Thursday night schedule for the new fall season that may make the phrase "Must See TV" truthful once again. As mentioned by the amazingly talented Bob Sassone in his post on the NBC fall upfronts, comedies My Name is Earl and The Office will be pushed back one hour to the 8-9 pm slot. Following will be the new Aaron Sorkin drama Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (which Aaron will hopefully shorten to just Studio 60). Network stalwart ER will round out the night in its usual 10 pm slot.
Notice something here? For the first time in many years, NBC may have a very solid Thursday primetime. With Earl and The Office anchoring the night, you are getting away from a curse the network had for many years; pairing a successful sitcom (such as Friends) with a mediocre or poor sitcom (Single Guy, Four Kings, or any other forgettable show). Both shows compliment each other and have been steady performers this past season.
It's probably a forgone conclusion that the executives at CBS will renew Two and a Half Men. The comedy, which stars Charlie Sheen, Jon Cryer and Angus T. Jones, is consistently in the Nielsen ratings' top 20 and is about to reach the magical syndication mark. In addition, it is one of the more popular comedies (How I Met Your Mother being the other) on the drama-heavy network.
And yet, there may be some apprehension amongst the CBS suits about renewal because of the recent antics of star Sheen. First the actor divorced his on-again off-again wife Denise Richards, then Richards obtained a restraining order against Sheen due to, among other things, alleged verbal and physical abuse, excessive gambling, and his frequent visits to child porn sites (maybe he needs to be a guest-star on Law & Order: SVU). To top it all off, he was sued by a woman who claimed that the character he portrays on his sitcom was based on her.
It's that time of year again, folks! Yep, some of your favorite shows are on the cancellation bubble and you can vote on which ones you'd like to see next fall and ones that should go far, far away. It's an annual tradition that sometimes predicts what shows will be renewed and which shows won't. So far you want your Scrubs.
In fact, according to the ninth annual USA Today 'Save Our Shows' survey (say that five times fast) a whopping 61 percent of you would like to see the NBC comedy renewed for a sixth season. Only fourteen percent of you want to see the show die a quick death. Scrubs is a good bet to be renewed for the fall, as long as the network is willing to pony up the increased dough to the show's production company, Touchstone Television. If NBC doesn't renew the program there is an equally good chance that Touchstone's sibling ABC (both are owned by Disney) would pick up the show.
Six more shows on the USA Today survey have more supporters than detractors: Veronica Mars (UPN), Commander in Chief (ABC), Everwood (WB), Invasion (ABC), Reba (WB) and The King of Queens (CBS). After ABC shelved Commander in Chief this week, there is a good chance that it will not be renewed; Kevin James, the star of The King of Queens, wants a bigger paycheck for the new season; and Veronica Mars and Reba are vying for spots on the new CW network, which will be a combination of the WB and UPN.
What shows have the least amount of supporters? FOX's one-camera comedies The Loop and Free Ride and UPN's Half and Half and One on One.
Gee, with all of the announcements NBC is making about its upcoming fall schedule, I'm not too sure what they're going to talk about during the upfronts come May. I guess they'll play charades with the press. Or perhaps their advanced notice is a subtle message to advertisers.
We first reported that NBC has renewed all three shows in the Law & Order franchise for next season. Now, three more dramas are joining the list: Medium, Las Vegas, and Crossing Jordan. What, no Joey? All three series drew about 11 million viewers per episode, with Las Vegas holding on to much of its audience during the show's move to Friday nights.
FOX isn't the only network that is jumping the gun in front of the May upfronts to make an announcement about the upcoming fall season. In what comes as no surprise (even though there were rumors that one of its members was on the cancellation bubble) NBC has renewed all three series in the Law & Order franchise: the original, SVU, and Criminal Intent.
All three series have been solid ratings draws this season on a network that is trying to find its way back to the top. SVU is having the best season out of the three with viewership of about 14 million per week. The original Law & Order is second with over 11 million and Criminal Intent, which went with a rotating cast this year and is up against powerhouses The Sopranos and Desperate Housewives, is pulling a bit under 11 million.
Next season will be the 17th for Dick Wolf's original Law & Order, which makes it the longest-running television drama currently running (far ahead of ER's 12 seasons). SVU will mark its eighth season and Criminal Intent will begin its sixth season in the fall. There is no word on whether the current rotating cast of Criminal Intent (Vincent D'Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe as detectives Goren and Eames one week and Chris Noth and Annabella Sciorra as detectives Logan and Barek the next) will continue into next season.
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