Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The least-interesting upfront week ever: ABC and The CW

ABC and The CW announced their fall schedules today, and both tried to highlight stability, even as both were faced with situations where their audiences have trickled away during the strike or where they didn't have much of an audience to begin with. ABC had a very good fall, and they seem determined to have another very good fall, because pretty much all they did was cancel Big Shots and replace it with a remake of the awesome British series Life on Mars that sounds ... problematic. Life on Mars worked because it ran the perfect amount of episodes for such a slight mystery. An American remake (presumably open-ended) will be forced to do more tap-dancing around whether the hero is actually time traveling or not, and I'm not sure how long Jason O'Mara will be able to do that. Since I have a general affection for the original series, I'll give it a chance, but the fact that the October Road dudes are running it is going to be a problem.

I DO like that ABC will be waiting to see pilots before picking them up (presumably sometime this summer), instead of just picking up a bunch of stuff on a gut feeling like NBC did (and, lest we forget, they're doing something about friggin' teenage Merlin or something). Unfortunately, this plan relies too much on everyone being just dying to figure out what's been going on with the gangs from Pushing Daisies, Private Practice and Dirty Sexy Money, all of which return on Wednesdays, where they won't have been seen for 9-10 months come September (I had to sit here for a good long while before remembering what Daisies cliffhanger even WAS, and I put that show on my 2007 top ten list). (And you'll have to dig a bit at that link to find me, but I'm there, I swear.) The lineup did pretty well with the key demos, and it wasn't a total disaster, but it also wasn't the hugely rated night of television ABC probably hoped for. I think Grey's Anatomy and Desperate Housewives can bounce back from ratings lows, but they're hugely loved series that people are familiar with. Who's going to take the time to figure out what's going on with the Darlings?

Then there's The CW, which is just nuts. Occasional ratings analyst Jon thinks they won't survive the decade, and I think that's a definite possibility, though I suspect they'll parlay their youth friendliness into a stint on basic cable or something. Anyway, they've gone all out on a remake of 90210 (pictured above) and the ever-foxy Lori Loughlin. They've also sold their Sunday nights out to an independent producer (that appears to be advertiser-backed). So there you go. As network television enters its twilight (and it's sort of useless to pretend it isn't doing so), it's going back to an economic model that worked in the earliest days of the medium.

Look below the jump for complete press release mumbo jumbo, and come back tomorrow to learn how CBS is betting big on comedy, the only genre to somewhat survive the strike (and finally surging again, apparently, just two years after I predicted it would!).


ABC:

MONDAY:
8:00 p.m. “Dancing with the Stars”
9:30 p.m. “Samantha Who?”
10:00 p.m. “Boston Legal”

TUESDAY:
8:00 p.m. “Opportunity Knocks” (NEW)
9:00 p.m. “Dancing with the Stars the Results Show”
10:00 p.m. “Eli Stone”

WEDNESDAY:
8:00 p.m. “Pushing Daisies”
9:00 p.m. “Private Practice”
10:00 p.m. “Dirty Sexy Money”

THURSDAY:
8:00 p.m. “Ugly Betty”
9:00 p.m. “Grey’s Anatomy”
10:00 p.m. “Life on Mars” (NEW)

FRIDAY:
8:00 p.m. “Wife Swap”
9:00 p.m. “Supernanny”
10:00 p.m. “20/20”

SATURDAY:
8:00 p.m. “Saturday Night College Football”

SUNDAY:
7:00 p.m. “America’s Funniest Home Videos”
8:00 p.m. “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”
9:00 p.m. “Desperate Housewives”
10:00 p.m. “Brothers & Sisters”

Scrubs and Lost will return at midseason (Scrubs, obviously, moving from NBC). Mike Judge's new show, The Goode Family, will also be on at midseason.

The CW:

MONDAY
8:00-9:00 PM GOSSIP GIRL
9:00-10:00 PM ONE TREE HILL

TUESDAY
8:00-9:00 PM 90210 (New Series)
9:00-10:00 PM SURVIVING THE FILTHY RICH (New Series)

WEDNESDAY
8:00-9:00 PM AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL
9:00-10:00 PM STYLISTA (New Series)

THURSDAY
8:00-9:00 PM SMALLVILLE
9:00-10:00 PM SUPERNATURAL

FRIDAY
8:00-8:30 PM EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS
8:30-9:00 PM THE GAME
9:00-10:00 PM AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL (Encore Presentation)

Reaper will be back at midseason.

And here are the titles of the Sunday night shows, according to the New York Times indispensible "TV Decoder" blog: “Surviving Suburbia,” “Book of Murphy,” “I.M. Valentine, Investigations” and “Fat City.” David and I, in particular, are looking forward to "I.M. Valentine, Investigations."

1 comment:

Carrie said...

No matter how much I like Gossip Girl, I will never forgive the head honchos for getting rid of my beloved WB for the trainwreck that is The CW. What a disaster that experiment has turned out to be. (Note to self: do not start a new network when overall viewership trends point towards the decline of network television.)

However, I am going to watch the HELL out of that 90210 spinoff.