May 21, 2009

upfront thoughts: nbc

Over the past week, we've heard "upfront" announcements from the major networks. Upfronts are meant to announce the fall/spring lineup to advertisers, so they can begin planning for the following year. It's also when we learn which shows will return next season, which have seen their last days, and also get a preview of new pilots that made it to pick up.

By now, it's no secret that NBC is taking a huge leap next year with Jay Leno taking the 10pm ET timeslot 5 nights a week. Honestly, I haven't been overly impressed with NBC programming for a season or two now (save for a few strong favorites), so I don't have high hopes for Ben Silverman's decisions. Creatively, it's a shame to miss out on 5 timeslots that could go to some new, original programming - but it just doesn't seem like that's a priority for the network at this point, in large part due to financial constraints.

Here's a rundown of the 2009/2010 NBC schedule.

What's Staying
30 Rock
The Biggest Loser
Celebrity Apprentice
Friday Night Lights (I'm hearing this will be delayed to Summer 2010)
Law & Order
Law & Order: SVU
The Office
Parks & Recreation
Southland (13 episodes)

And most importantly...Chuck! For only 13 episodes in 2010, but I will take it!

What's Going
Kath & Kim
Knight Rider
Lipstick Jungle
Medium (CBS may pick it up)
My Name is Earl (Fox or ABC may pick it up)
My Own Worst Enemy
America's Toughest Jobs
Chopping Block
Momma's Boys (does anyone know what this is?)

I'm not sad about any of those except for Life. I really enjoyed that show. With more support from the network, it could have done really well. Good news is, they were able to wrap up the finale really well. I would recommend watching the 2 seasons on DVD - well worth it.

What's New

The Jay Leno Show: Self-explanatory.

Parenthood: From the producers of the 1990s movie - Ron Howard and Brian Grazer - billed as an hour-long drama. Wasn't the movie a comedy? Four grown siblings sharing the joys of parenthood. Big names lined up for this one, including Peter Krause, Maura Tierney, Craig T. Nelson, Dax Shepard and Monica Potter.

Trauma: A medical drama (shock) from the producers of FNL about first-responder paramedics in San Francisco. Hey, at least it's a new city. Notables are...ok I don't know any of these names, though I'm sure I should - Derek Luke, Cliff Curtis, Anastasia Griffith, Aimee Garcia, Kevin Rankin, and Jamey Sheridan.

Community: From the directors of Arrested Development - a comedy about a community college student misfits, including high school losers, newly divorced housewives, and old people who want to keep their minds active. Notables include: Joel McHale of The Soup, Chevy Chase, and Alison Brie, who plays Pete Campbell's wife on Mad Men.

100 Questions (after Biggest Loser ends): Sitcom about Charlotte, a girl looking for Mr. Right, whose dating counselor forces her to answer an 100-question compatibility test for an online dating site. Bored yet? Charlotte will be played by Sophie Winkleman. I don't recognize anything from her IMDB profile except for The Chronicles of Narnia.

Day One (spring premiere): From EP/writer Jason Alexander from the likes of Heroes, Lost and Alias (promising), a drama about teh story of life on earth following a global catastrophe that has devastated the world's infrastructures. Notable among the band of survivors: Catherine Dent from The Shield and Julie Gonzalo, who played Maggie on Eli Stone, and Carly Pope, who was on 24, but I remember her from Popular.

Mercy (spring premiere): Another medical drama (seriously?), but this one comes to us from a "unique" point of view - from that of the nurses at Mercy Hospital, city is unclear. Notables are Michelle Trachtenberg and James Tupper from Men in Trees.

... Last and least, the new reality riff raff

The Marriage Ref (spring premiere): At first, I didn't even want to read about this one, but then I saw Jerry Seinfeld's name. Must be worth a skim, right? Seinfeld produces this show where celebrities, comedians, and sports stars judge who's right and who's wrong in real-life disputes between real-life couples. I take that back. Unskim.

Breakthrough with Tony Robbins: He is that scary promotional speaker guy, right? I don't want to know.

Who Do You Think You Are?: Each episode will consist of a celebrity unearthing the history of his or her family tree tying the story into major moments in history. Cheesey or possibly interesting? Celebs lining up included Sarah Jessica Parker, Susan Sarandon and Lisa Kudrow. How long before they're left with the actor who played Ugly Naked Guy?

The Sing Off: No word on this one yet.

Overall, nothing has me reeling with excitment. I think the play to watch at NBC next season is Jay Leno - sink or swim?


tall-boy said...

Jamey Sheridan was some sort of police lieutenant on Criminal Intent and Kevin Rankin was the RA on Undeclared

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