Saturday, May 26, 2012

Pilot Review: Bunheads

Bunheads (Mondays at 9:00 on ABC Family; Premieres June 11)

If you've seen the previews for Amy Sherman-Palladino's new series Bunheads, you'll be surprised to learn that the pilot actually does not suck. For whatever reason, the promotional materials for the show make it look amateurish, unfunny, boring, and silly. But Bunheads is none of those things, and is actually the direct opposite in most cases.

Michelle (two-time Tony winner Sutton Foster) is an aging Vegas showgirl still looking for her big break. She botches an audition for a lead dance role and realizes her life is going nowhere; so she impulsively accepts a marriage proposal from Hubbel (Alan Ruck), a much older man whom has been in love with her for years. Michelle moves into Hubbel's home in Paradise, California, a home he shares with his eccentric mother Fanny (Kelly Bishop). Fanny owns a dance studio next door to the house where she is training a group of young ballerinas for an audition at the Joffrey. She is none to excited to learn her son has married Michelle in secret and she proceeds to break down their relationship.

I've never been a fan of Sutton Foster's stage work. I saw her in multiple shows in New York and thought she played the same over-the-top character every time. Considering how large she performs on stage, I was dreading seeing her on the small screen. Her performance is a little broad, but it works for the character in this case, which is completely different from anything I've seen her do before. She's subdued, and the writing serves her sense of comedy. I never found her annoying, so that's a success right there.

Speaking of the writing, it really is the strongest part of the pilot. Amy Sherman-Palladino (Gilmore Girls) writes fantastically well-rounded female characters, and Bunheads is no exception. Michelle is quirky but understandably so; Fanny is eccentric but scared. The studio's young dancers don't have much personalities yet. They're more broad generalizations of female adolescence than real characters yet, but that's okay. They have defining traits already, so with added layers they will become more flesh-and-bone. The dialogue is snappy and smart, and it feels authentic (which was one of the best things about Gilmore Girls). Palladino's script is truly funny, even if the story has a bit of a been-there-done-that feeling. There are only so many times we can see the aging performer having a crisis and coming out a teacher. I will give the script this: the ending was totally unexpected and shocking.

There is some silliness to the whole thing; Fanny is eccentric to a point that she seems like a caricature (for example, every bit of wall space in the entire house is occupied by an oversized picture or painting, and sometimes even a tacked-on stuffed animal). And the whole Michelle-Hubbel relationship is totally strange and uncomfortable for the majority of the episode. But when it's all said and done, Bunheads is completely enjoyable. It's very cute and very well done, and it often reminds one of Gilmore Girls but in a dance studio rather than a diner. It feels a bit adult for ABC Family, with many pop culture references I think will go over the teen audience's heads. But it deserves a chance, for sure.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What I'm Watching This Fall

Monday

8:30 - Partners (CBS)
9:00 - Gossip Girl (CW)
10:00 - Castle (ABC)
10:00 - Revolution (NBC)

I say it every year, and this year it's for real: I've stuck with Gossip Girl through it all, so I will see it through to the end of its final season... despite how awful it is. Well, that's not entirely true. Even though last week's season five finale did some interesting and unexpected things, it was mostly silly and left many characters in pretty much the same places they've been all along. But with only eleven episodes to wrap it all up, I'm hoping for a return to season one greatness.

I'm going to give Revolution a chance. It seems cool enough, but I was kind of bored after the three minute trailer, so that doesn't bode well for me with the series as a whole. I'm hoping it will not be mythology-heavy, as most of Abrams' series tend to be, so I can just enjoy an action series for once. But it doesn't look too promising based on the first footage released. Partners I just know I will love; welcome back, KoMut!

Tuesday

9:30 - The New Normal (NBC)
9:30 - Don't Trust the B- in Apt 23 (ABC)
10:00 - Vegas (CBS)

So far, there is an extreme lack of shows I'm interested in. I'm very excited for The New Normal, which looks pretty funny based on the trailer, and I will continue to enjoy Apt 23 (especially James Van Der Beek... he's utterly brilliant). Vegas sounds like something I could get into, but the first footage CBS released at upfronts was extremely underwhelming and slow-paced. But with so much star power, I can't imagine the show is bad; hopefully it's just an example of bad editing.

I'll sample Emily Owens, MD on the CW as well, but I'm not expecting to like it. I love Mamie Gummer though, so I'll give it an episode or two.

Wednesday

8:00 - Survivor: Phillippines (CBS)
8:00 - Arrow (CW)
10:00 - Nashville (ABC)

I'm excited to find out who the returning contestants are on the newest season of Survivor, because this spring's cycle was so boring I couldn't stand it. The show has been on the air so long that everyone there knows exactly what to say and do to play the game, so it's no longer interesting; it really does need returning players to inject some real experience and excitement into it. Arrow looks promising, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it all plays out. Green Arrow isn't a hugely popular character, and he's one I'm not terribly familiar with, so I'm excited for that child-like feeling I used to get reading comics and watching cartoons with new heroes I was just discovering; now it seems like the market is saturated with a bunch of the same old characters appearing over and over, so it'll be a nice change of pace.

Nashville will get a few episodes, soley based on the fact that it stars Connie Britton and Hayden Pannetierre. I'm not a country music person, so it may not end well, but I imagine these two ladies will be stellar, and that may be enough to keep me around.

Thursday

8:00 - The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
8:00 - The Vampire Diaries (CW)
8:00 - Last Resort (ABC)
9:00 - Beauty and the Beast (CW)
9:00 - Glee (FOX)
10:00 - Elementary (CBS)

Once again, Thursdays are the most crowded night on my DVR. Of the new shows, I'm actually most excited to see Last Resort. The trailer was great, and I'm intrigued by how the concept will play out over multiple episodes. It seems like a great idea for a film, so I'm wondering how it will develop and grow over thirteen episodes (or so). I'm not expecting stellar ratings, however, since it will face The Big Bang Theory and The X-Factor, so I'm leery of getting too invested. Then againg, it might turn out to be horrible and I won't have to worry about that.

Beauty and the Beast is still a mystery to me. The teaser footage was totally empty, but I liked the darkness of it all. Early script reviews were positive, but I just don't like Kristin Kreuk. I'm torn on it, but I'll give it a few episodes. Same with Elementary. The concept itself is interesting, and I liked the trailer (particularly what they showed of Jonny Lee Miller's performance). I just don't see it being something I look forward to watching every week.

Friday

8:00 - Whitney (NBC)
8:30 - Malibu Country (ABC)
9:00 - Grimm (NBC)
10:00 - Blue Bloods (CBS)

There are an abundance of CBS shows on my schedule this year, which almost never happens. I didn't particularly like the end of the Blue Bloods first season, so I didn't watch a few episodes of the second; but when I started watching again about midway through the season, I found the quality of the show was dramatically improving. Whitney got a miracle renewal, so I'll enjoy it no matter where it ends up on my schedule. I'm still shocked that I like the show considering how hard I was on it this time last year (based on trailer footage... you'd think I'd learn my lesson in judging shows so early on). And I love Reba, so Malibu Country is a must... especially with Lily Tomlin and Sara Rue also on board.

Sunday

8:00 - Once Upon a Time (ABC)
9:00 - Revenge (ABC)
9:30 - American Dad! (FOX)
10:00 - 666 Park Avenue (ABC)

I didn't plan on sticking with Once Upon a Time. Most of the first season bored me to tears; I'm not a Disney person, so I was never excited to see these revised backstories of popular characters, especially when it didn't make sense in the context of the show (Emma is the sheriff in a tiny town where no one can leave... how is she meeting new people every week?). But the season finale was great, so I'll stick around for a bit to see where things go. Revenge, on the other hand, has had me addicted since episode one. And 666 Park Avenue looks like an intriguing blend of both of these shows (fantasy elements of Once, sexual tension and guilty pleasureness of Revenge).

Of course, I will sample as many pilots as I possibly can, which may lead to some schedule revisions. These are the shows that caught my eye following upfronts... but I have to say, I'm once again much more excited for midseason with The Following on Fox; Do No Harm and Infamous, plus the return of Smash, on NBC; Zero Hour on ABC; and Cult on the CW.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

2012 Fall Schedule: CW

90% of the CW's schedule has changed... epic. They're also attempting to air less repeats by starting their seasons in October, about two weeks after the other networks typically begin. Many of the ordered shows will also be shortened, cable-like seasons (Gossip Girl, The Carrie Diaries, Cult, and whatever Cult replaces).

Monday

8:00 - 90210 (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Gossip Girl (New Timeslot)

Is this the first time these shows have been paired together? If so, what took so long? 90210 is one of the more consistent performers for the CW, even though "consistent" does not mean "highly rated." It should provide a decent baseline for Gossip Girl's final 11-episode season. Hopefully the veteran show can go out on top, both in terms of ratings and creativity (both of which have lagged the past two seasons). In any event, this is the start of a smart schedule from the CW: soap night.

Tuesday

8:00 - Hart of Dixie (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Emily Owens, M.D. (NEW)

Okay, I'm getting it. Now I understand why Hart of Dixie got the renewal it doesn't really deserve. It leads off a new medical drama night, followed by newbie Emily Owens, M.D. (formerly First Cut, a much better title). The CW seems high on M.D.'s lead, Mamie Gummer (Meryl Streep's daughter), so I find it strange they would provide it with such a weak lead-in and competitive timeslot. Either way, M.D. was a smart pickup for the network, providing it with a true medical procedural while still not straying far from its roots in the 18-34 demographic.

Wednesday

8:00 - Arrow (NEW)
9:00 - Supernatural (New Timeslot)

I expected these two shows to be paired together, I just didn't expect it to not be on Friday. But Supernatural is a really good performer for the CW, especially considering its Friday slot. Now it will be moved away from any other genre shows (it was previously up against both Grimm and Fringe) to anchor a male-centric evening. This could be good for Arrow, the new adaptation of the DC Comics hero Green Arrow. Both shows will be going up against mostly female-skewing (ABC comedies, The X-Factor) or older-skewing (Survivor, Criminal Minds) series, so there's room for success.

Thursday

8:00 - The Vampire Diaries
9:00 - Beauty and the Beast (NEW)

The Vampire Diaries is the one show to stay put, though it will get a new companion in Beauty and the Beast, a semi-remake of the 1980s police procedural-by-way-of-fairy-tale series. If The Selection was not going to go forward, this seems like the best option to place in the post TVD slot. So Thursdays will be fantasy night on the CW; hopefully Beauty and the Beast can finally get the TVD audience to stick around afterward.

Friday

8:00 - America's Next Top Model (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Nikita (New Timeslot)

There's no official theme to this evening, but I'm going to call it the night of failures. ANTM skydove in its spring season to horrifically low ratings, so it absolutely deserves this Friday slot. Without its longtime team on board, the show looks like it's on its last legs. Nikita, whose renewal is still a mystery to me, gets pushed back to the more competitive 9:00 slot. Expect the worst from this night, CW... that's what you're going to get.

Midseason

Once Gossip Girl airs its final episode, The Carrie Diaries will inherit its timeslot at 9:00 on Mondays in January. Cult will also be fit into the schedule at midseason.

Wow... for how confusing NBC's schedule was in its attempt to overhaul the network, it's nothing compared to what the CW has done. It changed 9 out of 10 of its programs. That's ridiculous... and necessary. Overall, this schedule is about as good as it gets. They finally went for "theme nights," and they're taking risks. Cult, for example, is a really strange and complex series which would be more at home on cable; but the CW has committed to it, and I applaud that. Mark Pedowitz has done a bang-up job releasing his first solo schedule; he is attempting to move the network out of the "teen girls only" mindset it had previously and into something more, but he's also not completely abandoning the core audience either. He's ushering out the network's flagship shows (Gossip Girl, America's Next Top Model) with dignity and trying to introduce a new era of shows that can appeal to both sexes and all ages (now that I'm thinking about it, that's probably the primary reason Nikita was renewed). I'm excited to see how they do in the fall; I don't expect miracles, but hopefully the CW can rise a little bit.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

2012 Fall Schedule: CBS

For some reason, the network which needed to make the fewest number of changes ended up making quite a few, some seemingly for no good reason.

Monday

8:00 - How I Met Your Mother
8:30 - Partners (NEW)
9:00 - 2 Broke Girls (New Timeslot)
9:30 - Mike & Molly
10:00 - Hawaii Five-0

I like Partners as an 8:30 show, and I'm sure it likely fits thematically and tonally with How I Met Your Mother; but since CBS seemingly enjoyed it so much (it is one of only two comedy pilots they ordered, and the only one on the fall schedule), I don't know why they wouldn't try to give it the best lead-in possible by placing it after The Big Bang Theory. The real surprise is that Two and a Half Men was moved away from the "Must-See Monday" line-up, rather than 2 Broke Girls or Mike & Molly.

Tuesday

8:00 - NCIS
9:00 - NCIS: LA
10:00 - Vegas (NEW)

I still really think the NCIS lead-in should go to a new show, especially after how poorly Unforgettable performed in the 10:00 slot this season. Vegas does not fit in any way with the NCIS shows, so it will be interesting to see what happens with it. It's got some star power, so hopefully that will be enough to carry it.

Wednesday

8:00 - Survivor: Phillippines
9:00 - Criminal Minds
10:00 - CSI

Moving CSI to the 10:00 slot was probably the smartest thing CBS did last season; it reinvigorated a tired slot, and from what I've heard they have breathed new life into a very aged show.

Thursday

8:00 - The Big Bang Theory
8:30 - Two and a Half Men (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Person of Interest
10:00 - Elementary (NEW)

I can only imagine that CBS is hoping that by moving Two and a Half Men, it will help grow Person of Interest, and therefore give Elementary a stronger lead-in. Not that CBS will really need it; NBC has all but given up and will air a newsmagazine (Rock Center) in the 10:00 slot, and ABC is airing Scandal, which has been stuck at or below a 2.0 this current season. So unless it's a total flop creatively, Elementary should have no problem being the time period winner. I'm just surprised that Two and a Half Men was moved without it anchoring a new comedy block; it seems to me like it should be leading in to something new.

Friday

8:00 - CSI: NY (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Made in Jersey (NEW)
10:00 - Blue Bloods

I get why Made in Jersey (seriously, that title is even worse than its original: Baby Big Shot) would be paired with CSI: NY and Blue Bloods. But I don't get why CBS thinks CSI: NY will provide any type of dependable lead-in for it. It was routinely beaten in the 9:00 timeslot by NBC. It's an aging show, and I don't anticipate it playing much better at 8:00 than it did at 9:00. Then again, that could work in Made in Jersey's favor: should Made in Jersey fail as well, part of the blame will be placed on CSI: NY's weak lead-in.

Sunday

8:00 - The Amazing Race
9:00 - The Good Wife
10:00 - The Mentalist (New Timeslot)

I don't understand why, if anything, CSI: NY was not moved to Sundays at 10:00. Now The Mentalist will be routinely preempted and/or pushed back ~30 minutes due to football overrun in the fall. This is not a vote of confidence for the show.

Midseason

CBS didn't outline any specific midseason plans. It will debut the new comedy Friend Me, as well as the new drama Golden Boy. Also on tap are the returning reality series Undercover Boss and new reality series The Job. Discussions regarding the future of Rules of Engagement are on going; should a deal be reached, it will also return at midseason.

I don't watch very many shows on CBS (just Survivor and The Big Bang Theory), but I'm always intrigued by them. It's rare that something flops horribly on CBS, and it's rare that they need to toy with their schedule. So I'm fascinated by how many timeslot shifts there are here (even though some are minor). Moving Two and a Half Men is a big deal and should now make them the champions of the full 8:00 hour rather than just the first half where The Big Bang Theory airs. Moving 2 Broke Girls back to 9:00 seems silly, since it would probably would provide a better lead-in to Partners than How I Met Your Mother will;  after all 2 Broke Girls rated higher in 21 of 22 episodes it aired this season than its lead-in.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

2012 Fall Schedule: ABC

Monday

8:00 - Dancing with the Stars
10:00 - Castle

I don't understand why ABC doesn't want to try a new drama behind Dancing with the Stars. Yes, Castle does very well when Dancing is on the air, but wouldn't it stand to reason that something new could potentially take off in the same position? Especially this season when Dancing will be an "All-Stars" edition with fan favorites from the past returning to compete.

Tuesday

8:00 - Dancing with the Stars - Results (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Happy Endings (New Timeslot)
9:30 - Don't Trust the B- in Apt 23 (New Timeslot)
10:00 - Private Practice

I still think this pair of comedies would have been a better fit on Fridays rather than launching a new show, but pairing them together is a step in the right direction. The only problem? Now all three networks that have announced their schedules will have comedy blocks in the 9:00 hour. How will Happy Endings fare against New Girl? The last time Happy Endings stood on its own (without Modern Family as a lead-in), it didn't do so well; this was in a later timeslot and on a different night, so who knows what will happen.

Even though I don't watch Private Practice, I'm entirely annoyed on behalf of its fanbase. It's getting shafted in favor of Scandal, and for what is likely its final season. Not cool.

Wednesday

8:00 - The Middle
8:30 - Suburgatory
9:00 - Modern Family
9:30 - The Neighbors (NEW)
10:00 - Nashville (NEW)

I'll get to Revenge in a minute. Let's talk about how awful The Neighbors sounds: it's about a family that moves into a very private gated New Jersey community to discover the neighbors are all aliens. The actual wording from the press release is so horrifyingly stupid, I can't believe I'm reading it right: "Over dinner, Marty and his family discover that their neighbors receive nourishment through their eyes by reading books, rather than eating. The Weavers soon learn that the entire community is comprised of aliens from Zabvron, where the men bear children and everyone cries green goo from their ears." REALLY?!

Nashville doesn't strike me as a 10:00 drama, especially in a slot which ABC has previously had little success, save for Revenge. But if you're going to put any new drama there, it might as well be Nashville; it'll get some decent exposure at least.

Thursday

8:00 - Last Resort (NEW)
9:00 - Grey's Anatomy
10:00 - Scandal

The last time ABC tried a male-skewing drama at 8:00 on Thursdays (Flash Forward), it started massively and quickly plummetted, ending up canceled after just one season. Since everything else has failed there, might as well try again with another male-skewing show, Last Resort. I don't anticipate it doing too well, but perhaps if the show is strong enough I'll be proven wrong. Scandal gets to sit pretty in its cushy timeslot, where it has garnered average ratings for its first season; that pisses me off a little bit, but I don't watch it so whatever.

Friday

8:00 - Shark Tank
8:00 - Last Man Standing (New Timeslot - in November)
8:30 - Malibu Country (NEW - in November)
9:00 - Primetime: What Would You Do?
9:00 - Shark Tank (New Timeslot - in November)
10:00 - 20/20

ABC is being really strange and starting the season with an all-reality Friday night before it reintroduces TGIF in November. Why November? Why wait until all the momentum of fall premieres has gone to debut a new comedy in Reba McEntire's Malibu Country? Anyway, this isn't the dumbest move ever. Last Man Standing fell pretty precipitously in the spring, so moving it to Fridays is a good option. I don't think debuting a new comedy after it is particularly smart, but I guess ABC wants to appeal to families and older people who will be in front of the TV on Friday nights.

Sunday

8:00 - Once Upon a Time
9:00 - Revenge (New Timeslot)
10:00 - 666 Park Avenue (NEW)

Oh dear. Here we go. On the one hand, I like the idea of Revenge inheriting the Desperate Housewives slot. It says a lot about how ABC feels about Revenge. But putting it after a family-oriented show? There's not much crossover between the two audiences. And on Sundays it will be up against football in the fall (if not on the broadcast networks, at least on cable) and the myriad awards shows in the spring (and it will even be frequently preempted then as well for the ones ABC airs). I just don't like it, and I don't see it ending particularly well. Hopefully I'm wrong. I also don't understand why 666 Park Avenue was picked up if it was not going to be a companion show to Once Upon a Time. Why not put it at 9:00 and Revenge at 10:00? That makes more sense to me, considering 666 Park Avenue has the fantasy/supernatural element, which would pair with Once's magic/fairy tale elements. Revenge sticks out like a sore thumb, and it's plopped right in the middle. Strange.

Midseason

ABC announced a 2-hour comedy block on Tuesdays last year for midseason and never went through with it. They announced plans to do the same this morning, with How to Live with Your Parents... and The Family Tools joining the Tuesday line-up at 8:00 and 8:30, respectively. I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't happen again, depending on how Fox does with its 8:00 comedy block in the fall and how the other new comedies fare.

ABC will have three new dramas (Red Widow, Zero Hour, Mistresses) plus the return of Body of Proof to schedule midseason, in addition to the two new comedies above. I wouldn't be surprised if Zero Hour airs in the vein of The River, a short season in between cycles of Dancing with the Stars. It also seems likely that Private Practice's order will be for only 13 episodes, with Body of Proof reclaiming its old timeslot when that show is over.

All in all, this could've been worse. It also could've been better.

Monday, May 14, 2012

2012 Fall Schedule: Fox

After NBC's crazy overhaul yesterday, Fox's schedule seems... completely boring.

Monday

8:00 - Bones
9:00 - The Mob Doctor (NEW)

As expected, Fox's new medical drama The Mob Doctor replaces its departing medical drama House. I don't think the new one will come anywhere near the level of creativity and quality of its predecessor, and Mondays are generally a difficult night to launch a new drama. But this move is not unexpected.

Tuesday

8:00 - Raising Hope
8:30 - Ben & Kate (NEW)
9:00 - New Girl
9:30 - The Mindy Project (NEW)

I don't really know why Fox is so high on this two-hour comedy block idea. It didn't exactly work for them this spring, when Raising Hope's ratings plummetted and New Girl sank without its Glee lead-in. I expect the 8:00 hour to fail, though I have higher hopes for the 9:00 comedies. The Mindy Project seems like an ideal companion to New Girl (but they should go back to It's Messy as the title, the new one is so vain and silly), and Mindy Kaling does have a decent following.

Wednesday

8:00 - The X-Factor

Nothing to say.

Thursday

8:00 - The X-Factor - Results
9:00 - Glee (New Timeslot)

I suppose this makes sense. Glee is basically going to be rebooting itself in the fall when the vast majority of its characters graduate, so it's essentially like launching a new show. It's a no-brainer to pair it with a singing competition (in fact that's where Glee has its roots, airing behing American Idol), and if the rest of the networks keep their schedules the same (with ABC airing Grey's Anatomy and CBS airing Person of Interest), Glee has a chance of winning the timeslot. I still think Fox should have used the sizeable X-Factor lead-in to launch something new (like Ben & Kate followed by Raising Hope, if they wanted to use more comedies), but this isn't the worst decision.

Friday

8:00 - Touch (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Fringe

After beating the odds year-in and year-out, Fringe will air its final 13 episodes this fall. I will never understand how this final season renewal happened with such dire ratings, but that's why I don't run a network. Touch is a good companion piece for Fringe, and despite rapidly declining ratings it was never going to get canceled after one season with Kiefer Sutherland on board and all of Fox's freshman dramas performing so terribly.

Sunday

7:30 - Football Overrun/The Cleveland Show
8:00 - The Simpsons
8:30 - Bob's Burgers
9:00 - Family Guy
9:30 - American Dad

Fox must really not like The Cleveland Show. I have to say I agree; it's not funny, especially compared to Seth MacFarlane's other comedies. They renewed both Family Guy and American Dad for new production cycles, ensuring their spots on the schedule through 2014... but not The Cleveland Show. And now it's being thrown to the wolves once again in favor of Bob's Burgers. In the 7:30 timeslot it will often be pre-empted for football doubleheaders and overrun. But I'm just glad that American Dad can keep its 9:30 slot.

Midseason

The Kevin Bacon/James Purefoy starrer The Following will launch at 9:00 on Mondays at midseason; The Goodwin Games will joing the Tuesday comedy lineup then as well. Hell's Kitchen will replace Fringe on Fridays. Kitchen Nightmares has also already been renewed, and it will presumably replace something that does not work in the fall. Fox made no indication of Sunday night changes at midseason, so it's possible that Bob's Burgers will produce additional episodes.

Overall, this schedule is very tame and safe. There's no risk taken in the newly acquired series (The Mob Doctor sounds terrible, Ben & Kate sounds standard); the biggest risk is probably moving Glee, a fourth-year show. And it also looks like they're putting all their eggs in one basket, as they have only one midseason drama (which will not be ready to launch in the fall if something bombs a la Lone Star) and one midseason comedy. I don't particularly care for much of the schedule, and I won't personally be watching anything but Glee and possibly The Mindy Project. I was really hoping to see The Following on the fall schedule, but so is life.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

2012 Fall Schedule: NBC

Who knows... perhaps this schedule will work wonders for NBC and help it rise from the depths of fourth-place mediocrity. Or perhaps it will just go down as one of the absolute worst, nonsensical schedules I've ever seen.

Monday

8:00 - The Voice
10:00 - Revolution (NEW)

Good news: The Voice will be back in the fall. It may not rate as well as it does in the spring because of vocal competition overload, but I don't see it bombing at all. And it gives a great lead-in for Revolution, the new Abrams-produced and Favreau-directed post-apocalyptic drama. All good so far.

Tuesday

8:00 - The Voice (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Go On (NEW)
9:30 - The New Normal (NEW)
10:00 - Parenthood

Okay, here's where you start to lose me. Why is The Biggest Loser not on the schedule? It may not be as highly rated as it was, but that's how it goes with mammoth hits. It's still one of NBC's best performers. Even if it were scaled back to an hour, it should be on the schedule. Instead it is replaced by two new comedies, Go On starring Matthew Perry and The New Normal by Ryan Murphy. I don't really understand how they go together (the former is about a sportscaster and the latter a gay couple starting a family... "sports" and "gay" don't typically go hand-in-hand), but at least they will receive a nice lead-in from The Voice results shows. Not the worst decision, just a little bit of a headscratcher.

Wednesday

8:00 - Animal Practice (NEW)
8:30 - Guys with Kids (NEW)
9:00 - Law & Order: SVU (New Timeslot)
10:00 - Chicago Fire (NEW)

Now I'm lost. You start the night off with a single-cam comedy about an offbeat veterinarian with no true "name" attached to it (it actually stars Justin Kirk from Weeds, but that show isn't exactly a phenomenon) and follow it up with a multi-cam comedy about three dads living with young children. Don't get it. Then you move Law & Order: SVU back into a slot where it previously failed so that a new drama can debut at 10:00, Chicago Fire. The problem? SVU hasn't cracked a 2.0 in the ratings in months and really won't provide much of a lead-in. And the Wednesday 10:00 slot is relatively difficult (hence the reason it took ABC so long to find a hit there, as it now has with Revenge). This doesn't seem like the smartest of moves.

Thursday

8:00 - 30 Rock (New Timeslot)
8:30 - Up All Night (New Timeslot)
9:00 - The Office
9:30 - Parks & Recreation
10:00 - Rock Center (New Timeslot)

While I'm shocked Rock Center is still on the schedule, putting it on Thursdays at 10:00 is probably the smartest move of this entire fall schedule. It gets horrible ratings, so it really won't hurt them if it can manage its current ratings in this new position (it rates about the same as Awake right now, which currently occupies this slot but is scripted and therefore more expensive). The episode orders for both 30 Rock and Up All Night are supposedly for 13, so the entire 8:00 hour should open up come midseason. It's not a bad way to begin the evening, but Up All Night just doesn't fit thematically with the rest of these shows (all set in the workplace). It should have been paired with Guys with Kids (HELLO!), if they were going to pair a single cam with a multi-cam.

Friday

8:00 - Whitney (New Timeslot)
8:30 - Community (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Grimm
10:00 - Dateline NBC

Again... WTF. Why are Whitney and Community paired together? Not only do they have nothing in common (not even their formats! again with the single-paired-with-multi!), but they're both very low-rated on their regular nights. What will happen when they have to lead-off Fridays? It looks like suicide to me. I mean, on the one hand I get it... you want to quietly usher Community to syndication, so you renew it and put it on Friday. Fine. But why would you renew Whitney to pair with it? I assumed the whole point of renewing Whitney was to pair it with Guys with Kids, the only other multi-cam comedy the network ordered. Why not try something new with Community? If it fails, it fails, and then you move something at midseason or whenever. I mean, Next Caller with Dane Cook has only a 6-episode order; why not put it with Community and see what happens? Stupid. And then you follow it up with Grimm, a supernatural-fantasy-horror police show. Brilliant move, NBC.

Sunday

Football


Midseason

New sitcoms 1600 Penn, Next Caller and Save Me will debut at midseason. New dramas Do No Harm, Hannibal and Infamous will also debut then. These dramas will be joined by Smash, which was renewed but placed on the schedule. They also announced some returning reality series: Betty White's Off Their Rockers, Fashion Star, The Celebrity Apprentice and The Biggest Loser.


NBC announced a preliminary Sunday night schedule for midseason, which sees Fashion Star returning at 8:00; The Celebrity Apprentice reduced to one hour and airing at 9:00; and the medical drama Do No Harm debuting at 10:00.

Overall, this schedule is just doing too much. They threw comedies at the schedule to see where they would stick, and it looks like a mess. Four nights of comedy is excessive, especially when their surrounding programming makes no sense. I get that they're trying to establish new comedies to replace their aging Thursday night lineup, but randomly scattering a bunch of new comedies across the schedule with a half-dozen returning ones looks both desperate and confusing. It doesn't make sense to me.

And look at how many shows have changed times! I don't recall ever having seen this many moves.

Also once again, NBC has reserved its best pilots for midseason. The Revenge-like undercover drama Infamous and the well-tested comedy 1600 Penn are both held back.

Updated Renewals, Cancellations, Pickups

NBC's fall schedule announcement is minutes away, but CBS has decided to steal some of their thunder by canceling and picking up quite a few shows. So here's an updated scorecard for the network renewals, cancellations, and new series orders.

ABC

Renewed Dramas: Body of Proof, Castle, Grey's Anatomy, Once Upon a Time, Private Practice, Revenge, Scandal

Renewed Comedies: Don't Trust the B- in Apt 23, Happy Endings, Last Man Standing, The Middle, Modern Family, Suburgatory

Canceled: Charlie's Angels, Cougar Town (moving to TBS), Desperate Housewives, GCB, Man Up!, Missing, Pan Am, The River, Work It

New Dramas: 666 Park Avenue, Last Resort, Mistresses, Nashville, Red Widow, Zero Hour

New Comedies: The Family Tools, How to Live with Your Parents for the Rest of Your Life, Malibu Country, The Neighbors

Fate Undetermined: None


The magical procedural pilot Gotham remains in contention for midseason. All other pilots will not go forward.



CBS

Renewed Dramas: Blue Bloods, Criminal Minds, CSI, CSI: NY, The Good Wife, Hawaii Five-0, The Mentalist, NCIS, NCIS: LA, Person of Interest

Renewed Comedies: 2 Broke Girls, The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, Mike & Molly, Two and a Half Men

Canceled: CSI: Miami, A Gifted Man, How to Be a Gentleman, NYC 22, Unforgettable

New Dramas: Elementary, Golden Boy, Made in Jersey (FKA Baby Big Shot), Vegas (FKA Ralph Lamb)


New Comedies: Friend Me, Partners

Fate Undetermined: Rob, Rules of Engagement

No other pilots remain in contention.


CW

Renewed: 90210, Gossip Girl, Hart of Dixie, Nikita, Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries

Canceled: One Tree Hill, Ringer, The Secret Circle  


New Dramas: Arrow, Beauty and the Beast, The Carrie Diaries, Cult, First Cut

Fate Undetermined: None

No other pilots remain in contention.



Fox

Renewed Dramas: Bones, Fringe, Glee, Touch

Renewed Comedies: American Dad, Bob's Burgers, The Cleveland Show, Family Guy, New Girl, Raising Hope, The Simpsons

Canceled: Alcatraz, Allen Gregory, Breaking In, The Finder, House, I Hate My Teenage Daughter, Terra Nova


New Dramas: The Following, The Mob Doctor

New Comedies: Ben & Kate, The Goodwin Games, The Mindy Project (FKA It's Messy)


Fate Undetermined: Napoleon Dynamite

The Cuba Gooding, Jr. pilot Guilty remains in contention for midseason. All other pilots will not go forward.


NBC

Renewed Dramas: Grimm, Law & Order: SVU, Parenthood, Smash

Renewed Comedies: 30 Rock, Community, Parks & Recreation, Up All Night, Whitney

Canceled: Are You There Chelsea?, Awake, Bent, Best Friends Forever, Chuck, Free Agents, Harry's Law, The Playboy Club, Prime Suspect

New Dramas: Chicago Fire, Do No Harm, Hannibal, Infamous, Revolution

New Comedies: 1600 Penn, Animal Practice, Go On, Guys with Kids, The New Normal, Next Caller, Save Me

Fate Undetermined: The Firm, The Office

The Munsters remake Mockingbird Lane has not begun production, but it will be considered for midseason. The spin-off pilot The Farm, starring Rain Wilson's character from The Office, will be considered for midseason.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

What the Hell is Going On?

Today was the busiest day yet in the week leading up to upfronts... and the one that has made the least sense.

ABC

  • Renewals: Body of Proof, Castle, Grey's Anatomy, Once Upon a Time, Private Practice, Revenge, Scandal, Don't Trust the B- in Apt 23, Happy Endings, Last Man Standing, The Middle, Modern Family, Suburgatory
  • Canceled: GCB, Missing, Pan Am, The River
  • New Drama Pickups: 666 Park Avenue, Last Resort, Nashville, Red Widow (FKA Penoza), Zero Hour
  • New Comedy Pickups: The Family Tools (FKA Red Van Man), How to Live with Your Parents for the Rest of Your Life, Malibu Country, The Neighbors (FKA Down to Earth)
I just... wanna vomit on ABC right now. How the hell did Body of Proof eke out a renewal over better-rated freshman GCB? How did The Neighbors, a sitcom about aliens living next door, get picked up over the star-studded The Family Trap? Where did Zero Hour come from? There were no early reviews of its script, no buzz surrounding its development and testing... I'm just confused. And even though I predicted it, it still hurts the Scandal got renewed over GCB as well, considering the former had a much stronger lead-in and has now dropped in the past couple weeks to levels even with the latter.

CW

  • Renewals: Gossip Girl, Hart of Dixie, Nikita
  • Canceled: Ringer, The Secret Circle
  • New Drama Pickups: Arrow, Beauty and the Beast, The Carrie Diaries, Cult, First Cut
Dear CW: This is why your network is in the toilet. You renew Hart of Dixie over The Secret Circle and Nikita over Ringer. None have done particularly well in the ratings, so I would love to know the reasoning behind it all. Especially since both Hart of Dixie and Nikita have gotten full 22 episode orders. Gossip Girl should have been axed as well, but I can at least understand ordering 11 episodes to provide a swan song to the show which put your network on the map. But I cannot get behind the Hart of Dixie renewal. Ridiculous. The Secret Circle has consistently out-rated or rated as well as it.

And where is The Selection? I don't care if that pilot was a mess, you re-cast it, re-shoot it, re-cut it, WHATEVER, and you put it on the schedule and capitalize on its similarities with The Hunger Games. Look what the Twilight similarities did for The Vampire Diaries. You're idiots.

NBC
  •  Renewals: Community, Parks & Recreation, Up All Night, Whitney
  • Canceled: Awake, Harry's Law, Are You There Chelsea?, Bent, Best Friends Forever 
  •  New Comedy Pickups: Next Caller
Apparently NBC is aiming to air only sitcoms and reality shows, because I can see no other reason to renew Up All Night and pick up another new comedy. The order for Parks & Rec is a full season, while Community is for only 13. Why not make it 18 and get yourselves to syndication ASAP? Silly. The cancellations were no surprise.

Now NBC has seven new comedies and five returning, and the fate of one (The Office, which should make the tally six returning) still to be determined. Even if they're not all on the air at the same time, that's a ton of comedies to schedule.

Next week's schedule announcements are going to be crazy.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Early Pickups: Scorecard

So much happened today! How about a recap of the early pickups/renewals so far?

Fox
  • Renewed Touch for a second season
  • Canceled Alcatraz and The Finder
  • Picked up two drama pilots: The Following (FKA Untitled Kevin Williamson Project) and The Mob Doctor (FKA Untitled Berman/Wright Project)
  • Picked up three comedy pilots: It's Messy (FKA Untitled Mindy Kaling Project), Ben & Kate (FKA Ned Fox is My Manny) and The Goodwin Games
These shows join the previously renewed Fringe, Bones, Glee, New Girl and Raising Hope.

This leaves only the fates of Breaking In, I Hate My Teenage Daughter and Napoleon Dynamite to be formally announced (or not announced and simply left off the schedule) at next week's upfronts.
R
NBC
  • Renewed Law & Order: SVU
  • Picked up drama pilot Chicago Fire
  • Picked up comedy pilot Guys with Kids
These shows join the previously picked up pilots 1600 Penn, Animal Practice, Go On, The New Normal, Save Me, Hannibal, and Revolution.

These shows join the previously renewed Grimm and Smash.

This leaves the fates of 30 Rock, Are You There Chelsea?, Bent, Best Friends Forever, Community, The Office, Parks & Recreation, Up All Night, Whitney, Awake, The Firm, Harry's Law and Parenthood to be formally announced (or not announced).

No other networks have added any new series as of yet, though some have made decisions about returning shows.

ABC
  • Canceled: Charlie's Angels, Desperate Housewives, Man Up!, Work It
  • Renewed: None
  • Fate to Be Announced: Everything Else
CBS 
  • Canceled: How to Be a Gentleman
  • Renewed: Blue Bloods, Criminal Minds, CSI, The Good Wife, Hawaii Five-0, The Mentalist, NCIS, NCIS: LA, Person of Interest, 2 Broke Girls, The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, Mike & Molly
  • Fate To Be Announced: CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, A Gifted Man, NYC 22, Unforgettable, Rob, Rules of Engagement, Two and a Half Men
 CW
  • Canceled: One Tree Hill
  • Renewed: 90210, Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries
  • Fate To Be Announced: Gossip Girl, Hart of Dixie, Nikita, Ringer, The Secret Circle 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

2012 Fantasy Schedule: Fox

With a slew of freshman failures, the finale of House just around the corner, Glee's mighty fall, and the stringing along of the abysmally-rated Fringe for one more season, Fox is now in need of some new blood to turn themselves around and get back on top without relying on American Idol (which is way down in the ratings this season) and The X-Factor (which was never as big as its sibling show but light years beyond Fox's scripted content).

Monday

8:00 - Bones but
9:00 - Untitled Berman/Wright Project (NEW)

Bones always gets the short end of the stick, jumping around the schedule without rhyme or reason and always performing decently no matter where it ends up. Hopefully it can anchor a new Monday evening block. With House ending this month, I think Fox will want to replace it with another medical drama, and that's where the new Berman/Wright pilot about a woman moonlighting as a mob doctor comes in.

Tuesday

8:00 - Glee
9:00 - New Girl
9:30 - Untitled Mindy Kaling Project (NEW)

 New Girl started off as a break-out hit for Fox, but it has fallen significantly since its first weeks. Glee is now a shadow of its former self (both in terms of ratings and creativity), but the combination of it and New Girl is relatively strong. Adding another female-centric, slightly bizarre single camera comedy to the evening could help to restrengthen it.

Wednesday

8:00 - The X-Factor
9:30 - Raising Hope

Yup, it's back. It's possible that Fox will try a new sitcom late in the show's run when the finalists begin to dwindle, but that didn't really do much last season for I Hate My Teenage Daughter so it may not happen again. Instead I think Raising Hope will be saved until then.

Thursday

8:00 - The X-Factor - Results
9:00 - Untitled Kevin Williamson Project (NEW)

Odd that none of Fox's frontrunners for series pickups have titles. Hmmm. Anyway, the Kevin Williamson serial killer project, which boasts the first regular series gig for Kevin Bacon, is apparently a lock for pickup following strong early reviews of the script, good casting, and solid execution. This is the prime slot to debut it, unless it is held for midseason to follow American Idol on Thursdays. But with viewership down so much in the spring, I think they'd want to get eyes on it ASAP.

Friday

8:00 - Touch
9:00 - Fringe

Despite awful ratings, even for Fridays, Fringe somehow eked out a final season renewal last month. I think pairing it with Touch would make a lot of sci-fi fans happy. Plus Touch has been performing okay, but not great, and this would be a good place to try it out without eating up a prime slot.

Sunday

7:30 - Bob's Burgers
8:00 - The Simpsons
8:30 - The Cleveland Show
9:00 - Family Guy
9:30 - American Dad

Bob's Burgers will have enough episodes leftover from its current production cycle to at least fill in the fall schedule. It performs about evenly with The Cleveland Show in the 8:30 slot now, but it is untested against football; so I think Cleveland will return to its original timeslot.

Midseason

For some reason Fox seems to be high on this sitcom block when Glee goes on winter hiatus, so I think they will move Raising Hope there and pair it with a new sitcom, or start a new comedy block on another night (possibly Fridays?). I'd guess there will be two midseason sitcom pickups; I'm going with Rebounding and Ned Fox is My Manny (which really needs a new title). I'd also expect one more midseason drama to go forward, most likely the Cuba Gooding, Jr. vehicle Guilty. And now that Seth MacFarlane's The Flintstones remake isn't happening in the spring, I think that opens up the possibility of Napoleon Dynamite being renewed.

Bottom Line Predictions

New Series - Untitled Berman/Wright, Untitled Kevin Williamson, Guilty, Untitled Mindy Kaling, Rebounding, Ned Fox is My Manny
Canceled Series - House, Terra Nova, Alcatraz, The Finder, Breaking In, I Hate My Teenage Daughter, Allen Gregory

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

2012 Fantasy Schedule: ABC

For the first time in quite some time, ABC had a really strong year with its freshman series. Many shows had decent enough ratings to warrant renewals, which puts ABC in the position of making some difficult decisions. Do you go with the steady-but-not-stellar performers? Or take a gamble on a new series? This is especially true of midseason entries GCB and Scandal, which are bringing in nearly the same numbers.

Monday

8:00 - Dancing with the Stars
10:00 - Americana (NEW)

Despite it being nowhere near the dominating force it once was, Dancing with the Stars is still one of the biggest shows on TV. Castle has survived on its lead-in for four seasons now; it's time to try something else. Americana has some relatively popular actors on board and will likely be female-skewing (it's about a famous fashion designer and his family), just like Dancing.

Tuesday

8:00 - Last Man Standing
8:30 - Malibu Country (NEW)
9:00 - Dancing with the Stars - Results
10:00 - Castle

With moving Castle to Tuesdays at 10:00, ABC kills two birds with one stone: they likely improve a consistently low-rated hour, and Castle gets to keep its Dancing with the Stars lead-in. Last Man Standing started very strong in the fall but has faded in recent months; however, Tim Allen is still a draw (and has a great working relationship with the network's owner, Disney) and it's the lone multi-camera comedy ABC has on the air. I don't see them starting over from scratch in that respect, so I think it will be back with the new Reba McEntire vehicle Malibu Country, which seems similar in tone to Last Man Standing.

Wednesday

8:00 - The Middle
8:30 - Suburgatory
9:00 - Modern Family
9:30 - The Family Trap (NEW)
10:00 - Revenge

Now that ABC has finally found a suitable drama for the 10:00 slot on Wednesdays with Revenge, they can work on finally finding a suitable lead-out for Modern Family. Nothing has really hit a homerun in the 9:30 slot yet, but the Mandy Moore vehicle The Family Trap could work. It fits thematically with the family single-camera sitcoms of the night and has a few familiar faces to help draw in viewers as well (Stockard Channing, Kurt Fuller and Majandra Delfino also star).

Thursday

8:00 - Nashville (NEW)
9:00 - Grey's Anatomy
10:00 - Private Practice

Despite it having been moved to Tuesdays at 10:00 for a few episodes this spring, I think Private Practice will return to its regular timeslot to finish out a final, shortened season. Scandal has done decently in the same slot, so I can see it returning at midseason. Nashville is one of ABC's stronger pilot offerings, and it has the characteristics of a family-friendly 8:00 show. The 8:00 period has been difficult for ABC, so really anything could be thrown there.

Friday

8:00 - Reality (Shark Tank/What Would You Do?/etc.)
9:00 - Happy Endings
9:30 - Don't Trust the B in Apt 23
10:00 - 20/20

There have been rumbling for years about ABC returning to the TGIF sitcom lineup. They've shied away from original scripted programming on Fridays, but with so many strong comedies, now would be a good time to try it out. Happy Endings and Apt 23 both performed well enough to warrant renewals, but not necessarily well enough to warrant the post-Modern Family slot. With this, they both remain on the schedule in a low-pressure (relatively speaking) time period. It's also possible that Last Man Standing and a new comedy get put here, though I think ABC would rather not try brand new shows here.

Sunday

8:00 - Once Upon a Time
9:00 - 666 Park Avenue (NEW)
10:00 - Mistresses (NEW)

Once Upon a Time was a breakout hit for ABC this season, so now they need to work on finding something to pair with it since Desperate Housewives is exiting. There are three pilot possibilities (Gotham, 666 Park Avenue, Beauty and the Beast), but 666 makes the most sense to me. It features two popular ABC stars (Terry O'Quinn and Vanessa Williams) and blends both family-friendly and adult material. Beauty and the Beast is a strong contender because of its Disney ties and fairy tale origin, but early word on the script was not good and the final pilot is not yet even finished. Mistresses was originally a summer order, but it could easily fill in for Housewives and could potentially do better than or as well as GCB, so I think it will make the fall schedule.

Midseason

As I said earlier, I think Scandal will return when Private Practice goes. I think they will order two other midseason dramas. My guesses are Devious Maids, from Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry, to fill in for Mistresses; and possibly a male-skewing drama as well, either Last Resort or the Roland Emmerich pilot Dark Horse, but I'm leaning toward the latter since it is an ABC Studios production. On the comedy front, I think they will try two more, one single camera and one multi-camera. I'm guessing How to Live with Your Parents for the Rest of Your Life as the former and Only Fools and Horses, featuring John Leguizamo and Christopher Lloyd, as the latter.

Should Scandal not return, I'd expect the new Shonda Rhimes-produced pilot The Gilded Lilys to take its place. But for now, I'm betting on Scandal getting another season.

Bottom Line Predictions

New Series - Americana, Nashville, 666 Park Avenue, Mistresses, Devious Maids, Dark Horse, Malibu Country, The Family Trap, How to Live with Your Parents..., Only Fools and Horses
Canceled Series - Desperate Housewives, Charlie's Angels, Missing, The River, Body of Proof, Pan Am, GCB, Man Up!, Work It, Cougar Town

Monday, May 7, 2012

2012 Fantasy Schedule: NBC

Well... I didn't think I'd have to rush to get this schedule out there, but NBC went on an early-pickup spree today. I'm not at all confident in about 75% of this schedule, but that's because NBC is so messed up that no fantasy scheduler will ever come close to figuring their convoluted process out.

For example, apparently they're trying to get a group of new comedies ready in time to debut immediately following their coverage of the Summer Olympics. It's a good idea in theory, since the games are so widely watched, but will young adults be willing to give up their final weeks of summer to watch a bunch of new shows? There's a reason the fall season typically starts after Labor Day...

Plus that makes timeslots almost impossible to figure out. Whatever.

Monday

8:00 - The Voice
10:00 - Chicago Fire (NEW)

 The Voice has been holding open auditions for months now, so I'm assuming they're prepping a fall season. They'd be stupid not to considering how big the ratings were for the first part of the season. Chicago Fire ensures a solid relationship with Dick Wolf (Law & Order), and it helps that the pilot has been getting decent reviews thus far as well. A series about firefighters is an easy sell, but not totally overdone the way cop and lawyer shows are.

Tuesday

8:00 - The Biggest Loser
9:00 - The Voice
10:00 - Parenthood

While it has fallen in the ratings recently, The Biggest Loser is still one of NBC's strongest performers. I do think, however, that they will cut it back to an hour once The Voice goes to live shows. And Parenthood is the network's most consistent drama on the ratings front, so I don't see it going anywhere.

Wednesday

8:00 - Table for Three (NEW)
8:30 - Guys with Kids (NEW)
9:00 - Smash
10:00 - Law & Order: SVU

While I think it would be smart of NBC to renew Whitney and try something similar to the "Happy Hour" thing they had going this spring, I just don't think it'll happen. Whitney Cummings just signed a deal with E! to do a weekly talk show, and Whitney was never a ratings juggernaut to begin with. So I think they'll try another multi-camera comedy block with some new shows, and my picks are Table for Three from Aaron Kaplan and Guys with Kids, the new Jimmy Fallon-produced show. Smash has pretty much squandered its lead-in on Mondays this spring, so it will be moved; Wednesdays at 9:00 are currently a dire place for NBC (this season the timeslot was home to Harry's Law and Rock Center, both of which routinely rate below 1.0 in adults 18-49), so Smash could bring the slot up... or at the very least, not do as poorly as everything this year.

Thursday

8:00 - Save Me (NEW)
8:30 - The New Normal (NEW)
9:00 - The Office
9:30 - Go On (NEW)
10:00 - Revolution (NEW)

Until I just looked at all the NEWs, I didn't realize how ridiculous this night looks. I don't know if this will happen, but it would certainly be a gamble with the potential to pay off. The current Thursday-night comedies NBC has are pretty horribly rated, so it can't hurt to try something new and then if it doesn't work (or even if it does) reintroduce the veterans at midseason. I would personally go with a three-hour comedy block extended into the 10:00 hour, but since NBC is pretty dumb I think they'll try another new drama instead.

Friday

8:00 - Do No Harm (NEW)
9:00 - Grimm
10:00 - Dateline

Do No Harm has two things going for it: it's a medical procedural, and it's got a supernatural twist. The former is something NBC has lacked on its schedule, and the latter makes it a good companion for Grimm. I admit that I thought it was a horrible idea for NBC to try a new show on Fridays last year, but Grimm has become something of a hit for them so I think they should try to capitalize on that with a new drama.

Midseason

Oh boy... here goes. NBC has already given a series order to Hannibal, a show based on the popular Hannibal Lecter character. I wouldn't be surprised to see it debut in the winter months and carry over to spring. I think they'll order at least one other drama for midseason, possibly Notorious, a Revenge-like undercover mystery thriller. Then I think they'll eventually pick up the Bryan Singer-led Munsters remake Mockingbird Lane as well. As for comedies, I think 30 Rock, Community and Parks & Recreation will all be be back in some capacity. Community only needs 17 episodes to make it to the magical syndication number (88), and it's already been sold to Comedy Central. So despite low ratings and being pulled from the schedule for months this spring, I think it will be back. 30 Rock is still a critical darling and a flagship series, so it should be back. And Parks & Recreation has stabilized at a decent level that should safely see it return as well. I think they'll also pick up one more single camera comedy, likely the Bill Pullman vehicle 1600 Penn, and one more multi-camera comedy, possibly the return of Roseanne and John Goodman in Downwardly Mobile. Keep in mind that they will also need to fill Sunday nights once Football ends, so...

That's a lot. Then NBC also has the new dating show Ready for Love to debut this winter, and I would think Fear Factor and another shortened run of The Sing Off would be back for December/January runs as well. I'd also expect new episodes of Who Do You Think You Are and The Celebrity Apprentice. So that's a shit ton of shows to put on the air.

Bottom Line Predictions

New Series - Hannibal, Revolution, Chicago Fire, Do No Harm, Notorious, Mockingbird Lane, Go On, Save Me, The New Normal, Table for Three, Guys with Kids, 1600 Penn, Downwardly Mobile
Canceled Series - The Playboy Club, Prime Suspect, Awake, Harry's Law, Chuck, The Firm, Free Agents, Up All Night, Are You There Chelsea?, Bent, BFFs, Whitney, Rock Center  

2012 Fantasy Schedule: CBS

Monday

8:00 - How I Met Your Mother
8:30 - My Idiotic Twenties (NEW)
9:00 - Two and a Half Men
9:30 - Mike & Molly
10:00 - Hawaii Five-0

CBS's Monday lineup is stable as is, but with 2 Broke Girls being such a big hit, I think they'll want to move it to anchor a second comedy hour on Thursday night. That leaves a space open for a new comedy. CBS has been slow to add a single-camera comedy to its lineup, but word is that Nick Stoller's new pilot is strong and would pair well with How I Met Your Mother.

Tuesday

8:00 - NCIS
9:00 - Elementary (NEW)
10:00 - NCIS: LA

NCIS: LA has had the benefit of its parent show's lead-in for three years now; after some strong recent ratings (especially one with a Hawaii Five-0 crossover) I think it should have to stand on its own. Elementary is one of CBS's strongest-looking pilots of the year, and it has the procedural element standard of CBS's Tuesday lineup.

Wednesday

8:00 - Survivor
9:00 - Criminal Minds
10:00 - CSI

No changes here.

Thursday

8:00 - The Big Bang Theory
8:30 - Over & Out (NEW)
9:00 - 2 Broke Girls
9:30 - Partners (NEW)
10:00 - Person of Interest

Martin Lawrence is still (inexplicably) a draw for audiences, so I think it's a safe bet that his new series Over & Out gets picked up. Kohan & Mutchnik's new pilot Partners is getting strong early reviews; it could also be easily paired with The Big Bang Theory to maximize its exposure, though I don't know how much of an audience the two shows would share. Person of Interest has shown itself to be a strong performer, and I think it could do even better (creatively) in the 10:00 hour when shows generally are darker and more adult in nature.

Friday

8:00 - Ralph Lamb (NEW)
9:00 - The Mentalist
10:00 - Blue Bloods

CBS tried The Mentalist out on Friday night earlier this year, and it garnered strong results: it was the evening's highest-rated show. With its Thursday night ratings slipping, Friday would be a good fit. While I'm not fond of the idea of debuting another new show on Friday after the extremely lackluster performance this year of A Gifted Man, I don't think CBS has much choice. Ralph Lamb has an all-star cast in Michael Chiklis and Dennis Quaid, so if anything has a chance of success on the evening it's this pilot.

Sunday

8:00 - The Amazing Race
9:00 - The Good Wife
10:00 - CSI: Miami

I don't think CSI: Miami will get a full season order, but it would be silly of CBS to try to debut a new show on Sunday night with all of the football overrun that happens; as a result, the 10:00 show often gets pushed back a half-hour or so. So I think CSI: Miami will be on the fall schedule (especially considering the lucrative syndication deal it landed with AMC last year) but something new will take over in the spring. Of every night on CBS's schedule, I think Sunday nights are their most vulnerable... but I also don't see that changing this year.

Midseason

I can see CBS ordering just one more each of dramas and comedies. My guesses would be Widow Detective as the drama (it's the most generic-looking, so I'd be stupid to think it wouldn't get a pick-up... this is CBS, after all) and Oh F*ck, It's You as the comedy. I also think Rules of Engagement, the ultimate utility player, will get a shortened order as schedule spackling and a potential replacement for any comedy bombs.

Bottom Line Predictions

New Series - Elementary, Ralph Lamb, Widow Detective, My Idiotic Twenties, Partners, Over & Out, Oh Fuck It's You
Canceled Series - Unforgettable, A Gifted Man, CSI: NY, NYC 22, How to Be a Gentleman, Rob