May 26, 2009

upfront thoughts: cbs

I don't watch a ton of CBS programming. I've never gotten into the CSI conglomerate or the ever popular NCIS, but I'm a huge fan of Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother. Old Christine is pretty good too, though I don't watch regularly. Not so much for the other reigning comedy, Two and Half Men. I just don't see the appeal. Sorry Ducky.

I digress. Historically, CBS has skewed to an older audience and takes fewer chances with plots. Basically, they stick with what works for their audience. This upfront season, CBS has very few programs in their cancellation list and a few intriguing new show announcements.

What's Staying
How I Met Your Mother
Two and a Half Men
The Big Bang Theory
CSI Miami
New Adventures of Old Christine
Gary Unmarried
Criminal Minds
The Mentalist
The Ghost Whisperer
The Amazing Race
Cold Case
Rules of Engagement (midseason)
Big Brother
Flashpoint (midseason)

What's Going
Eleventh Hour
The Ex List
The Unit
Without a Trace
Worst Week

What's New

Medium: CBS snatched this up after an NBC cancellation. They're pairing it with Ghost Whisperer on a historically successful Friday night CBS lineup.

Accidentally on Purpose: This new comedy has the best seat in the house on CBS Monday comedy night between HIMYM and Two and Half Men, followed by Big Bang Theory. Can keep up with the pack? A single woman finds herself accidentally pregnant after a one-night stand with a younger guy, and decides to keep the baby and live with the guy platonically. Notables includes Jenna Elfman (I have a love/hate relationship with her), Ashley Jensen (played the lovely Christina on Ugly Betty) and the young guy is played by Jon Foster, who's familiar from a few things.

The Bridge (midseason): Police drama about a cop who is elected as the police union leader where he takes on corruption in the ranks as well as Joe Criminal on the street. The one name I recognize is the star - Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica).

The Good Wife: Julianna Margulies' new drama about a wife and mother who assumes full-time responsibility for her family and re-enters the workforce after her husband's very public sex and political scandal lands him in jail. Tough break. This is actually quite a leap for CBS. I think I will check it out. Other notables: Chris Noth (Mr. Big will play her husband), Josh Charles (an old favorite from Sports Night and Dead Poet Society), the lovely Christine Baranski, and Matt Czuchry, who Gilmore Girls fans may recognize as Logan Huntzberger.

Three Rivers: The network's first attempt at a medical drama in a while. This one focuses on organ donors, the recipients and the surgeons in a top transplant hospital - city is unclear at this point. Notables include: Alex O'Loughlin (The Shield and August Rush), Katherine Moennig (The L Word), and Julia Ormond - a bit of a surprise to see her doing television, but I've always liked her.

Miami Trauma (midseason): Yet another medical drama - this one a Jerry Bruckheimer production about a team of trauma surgeons focusing on the "golden hour" or 60 minutes after being critically injured when a patient's life hangs in the balance. Notables include Jeremy Northam - a classic British actor who was most recently in The Tudors - I loved him in Emma, and Omar Gooding (Cuba's brother from Barbershop and Hangin' With Mr. Cooper).

NCIS: Los Angeles: Another CBS spinoff with a creative name. NCIS is hugely popular - I've seen an episode or two but never really got into it. The spinoff will focus on the Office of Special Projects division of NCIS that is charged with apprehending dangerous elusive criminals that pose a threat to the nation's security. Notables include: Chris O'Donnell and LL Cool J.

And two new reality series from the network that historically leads in this category (i.e. Survivor and Amazing Race):

Undercover Boss (midseason): High level corporate executives slip anonymously into low level jobs within their companies, where they get their hands dirty, find out what employees really think of them and how the company really runs. Of all the "financial crisis" themed reality shows on the docket for the fall, this looks the most interesting.

Arranged Marriage (midseason): Three adults who are anxious to get married rely on their closest family and friends to choose someone for them to marry based on shared goals, values, etc. The series documents these three arranged marriages. This could be a train wreck, but I'm sort of fascinated with the premise.


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