The ABC 2011-2012 Primetime Schedule

09/24/2011 at 7:37 pm | Posted in iamnoahjames.com, Net/Spec | Leave a comment
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Below is the 2011-2012 primetime schedule, including premiere dates:

MONDAY

8p – Dancing with the Stars (9/19)

10p – Castle (9/19)

TUESDAY

8p – Last Man Standing (10/11) NS

8:30p – Man Up (10/18) NS

9p – Dancing with the Stars Result Show (9/20)

10p – Body of Proof (9/20)

WEDNESDAY

8p – The Middle (9/21)

8:30p – Suburgatory (9/28) NS

9p – Modern Family (9/21)

9:30p – Happy Endings (9/28) NT

10p – Revenge (9/21) NS

THURSDAY

8p – Charlie’s Angels (9/22) NS

9p – Grey’s Anatomy (9/22)

10p – Private Practice (9/29)

FRIDAY

8p – Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (9/25 – a Sunday) NT

9p – Shark Tank

10p –20/20

SATURDAY

8p – Saturday Night College Football

SUNDAY

7p – America’s Funniest Home Videos (10/2)

8p – Once Upon A Time (10/23) NS

9p –Desperate Housewives (9/25)

10p – Pan Am (9/25) NS

SPECIAL SCHEDULING NOTE

Cougar Town will return midseason.

NS notates new series – NT notates a returning show moving to a new time period.

THOUGHTS ON RETURNING SHOWS

This is the final season of Desperate Housewives.

Giving Happy Endings the cushy spot after Modern Family shows their level of confidence in building Endings into another ABC powerhouse. 

ABC had a very good year last season – so their schedule is almost the same as last year (with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition as the exception).

THOUGHTS ON THE NEW PROGRAMS

Last Man Standing – Here’s how ABC described it in their press release:

“Today it’s a woman’s world, and this man’s man is on a mission to get men back to their rightful place in society.  Tim Allen returns to ABC in this new comedy from Jack Burditt (“30 Rock”). Men may have built civilizations, invented the locomotive and created ESPN, but they’re about to find out that it’s not a man’s world anymore. You can’t get manlier than Mike Baxter. He’s the marketing director for an iconic outdoor sporting goods store, he loves to have adventures while he’s traveling for work and, of course, he drives a pick-up truck. While Mike is king of the hill at work, he’s the odd man out in a home that is dominated by women — namely his wife, Vanessa, and their three daughters, 22- year-old Kristin, 17-year-old Mandy and 14-year-old Eve. After being a stay-at-home mom for years, Vanessa recently returned to the workplace and was quickly promoted (much to the dismay of her primarily male co-workers). As a result of Vanessa’s increased work load, Mike is pulled into more hands-on parenting than ever before.   The show stars Tim Allen (“Home Improvement”) as Mike, Nancy Travis (“So I Married an Axe Murderer,” “Three Men and a Baby”) as Vanessa, Molly Ephraim as Mandy, Alexandra Krosney as Kristin, Kaitlyn Dever as Eve and Hector Elizondo (“Chicago Hope”) as Ed.”

Let me simplify this for you:  Tim “The Toolman” Taylor living in a woman’s world.

So will this show succeed? It’s placed in a decent spot, launching a new comedy block right before the Dancing with the Stars Results Show.  While Dancing’s ratings have hit some lows, it still gets enough viewers that its (and Tim Allen’s) appeal should generate interest in this new show.  And with Allen getting a reported $225,000/episode, ABC is counting on it.

Man Up – Here’s how ABC described it in their press release:

Three modern men try to get in touch with their inner tough guys and redefine what it means to be a “real man” in this funny and relatable comedy.  Will’s grandfather fought in WWII. Will’s father fought in Vietnam. Will plays Call of Duty on his PS3 and drinks non-dairy hazelnut creamer. So what happened to all the real men? They’re still here — they just smell like pomegranate body wash now. Meet Will (Mather Zickel). His evolved, sensitive nature is why his awesome wife, Theresa (Teri Polo), married him. But Will and his friends find themselves wondering — in a world of Axe ads and manscaping — what does it really mean to be a guy anymore? Will is more interested in finding the perfect gift for his son Nathan’s (Jake Johnson) 13th birthday than in doing his job selling insurance; sensitive soul Craig (Christopher Moynihan) still pines for his college ex, Lisa; and Kenny (Dan Fogler) clamps down on his anger and asks himself, “What would Tobey Maguire do?,” when his ex, Brenda (Amanda Detmer), starts seeing a guy (Henry Simmons) who is everything he’s not and much better looking. After Craig crashes Lisa’s wedding to try to win her back, they are all faced with an opportunity to Man Up and be like their forefathers.  The show stars Christopher Moynihan as Craig, Mather Zickel (“The Cape”) as Will, Dan Fogler (“Balls of Fury”) as Kenny, Teri Polo (“Meet the Fockers”) as Theresa, Amanda Detmer (“What About Brian”) as Brenda and Henry Simmons (“Shark”) as Grant.  “Man Up” comes from writer/executive producer/actor Christopher Moynihan (“100 Questions”), executive producer Victor Fresco (“Better off Ted”), Ron West and Kelly Kulchak of Tagline Television (Psych) and director Beth McCarthy-Miller (“SNL,” “30 Rock”). ”Man Up” is produced by ABC Studios.”

Let me simplify this for you:  Taking manhood back from the metrosexual to its old style mentality.  I have a feeling this show will be guys trying to be “guys”, but failing due to their nature. Similar to It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. 

So will this show succeed?  I don’t know.  It’s sandwiched between Last Man Standing and Dancing’s Results Show – so it would SEEM like it could do well.  However, if the dip in ratings between those shows is too big, expect Man Up to be replaced by a midseason sitcom.

Suburgatory – Here’s how ABC described it in their press release:

“Single father George only wants the best for his 16-year-old daughter, Tessa. So when he finds a box of condoms on her nightstand, he moves them out of their apartment in New York City to a house in the suburbs. But all Tessa sees is the horror of over-manicured lawns and plastic Franken-moms. Being in the ‘burbs can be hell, but it also may just bring Tessa and George closer than they’ve ever been.  Tessa (Jane Levy) and George (Jeremy Sisto) have been on their own ever since Tessa’s mom pulled a “Kramer vs. Kramer” before she was even potty trained. So far, George has done a pretty good job of raising Tessa without a maternal figure in their lives, but suddenly he’s feeling a little out of his league. So it’s goodbye New York City and hello suburbs. At first Tessa is horrified by the big-haired, fake-boobed mothers and their sugar-free Red Bull-chugging kids. But little by little she and her dad begin finding a way to survive on the clean streets of the ‘burbs. Sure, the neighbors might smother you with love while their kids stare daggers at your back, but underneath all that plastic and caffeine, they’re really not half bad. And they do make a tasty pot roast.  The show stars Jeremy Sisto (“Law & Order”) as George Altman, Jane Levy (“Shameless”) as Tessa Altman, Carly Chaikin (“The Last Song”) as Dalia Royce, Allie Grant (“Weeds”) as Lisa, Alan Tudyk (“V”) as Noah Lerner and Cheryl Hines (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) as Dallas Royce. Ana Gasteyer (“Saturday Night Live”) guest stars.  Emily Kapnek (“Hung”) writes and executive-produces this bitingly ironic single-camera comedy. “Suburgatory” was directed by Michael Fresco (“Raising Hope”), who also executive-produced the pilot. It is produced by Warner Bros. Television.”

Let me simplify this for you:  Fish out of water story about a single dad moving to a suburb, where they experience Mean Girls and Desperate Housewives.

So will this show succeed?  It’s in a great spot on Wednesdays, so its chances are good.

Revenge – Here’s how ABC described it in their press release:

“Wealth, beauty and status define the people in this town, but one woman is willing to destroy everyone for the sake of Revenge.  Emily Thorne (Emily Van Camp) is new to the Hamptons. She’s met some of her wealthy neighbors, has made a few new friends and seemingly blends into the town. But something is a little odd about a young girl living in a wealthy town all on her own, and the truth is that Emily isn’t exactly new to the neighborhood. In fact, this was once her old neighborhood, until something bad happened that ruined her family and their reputation. Now Emily is back, and she’s returned to right some of those wrongs in the best way she knows how – with a vengeance.  “Revenge” stars Madeleine Stowe (“We Were Soldiers,” “The Last of the Mohicans”) as Victoria Grayson, Emily Van Camp (“Brothers & Sisters,” “Everwood”) as Emily Thorne, Gabriel Mann (“The Bourne Identity”) as Nolan Ross, Henry Czerny (“Mission: Impossible,” “Clear and Present Danger”) as Conrad Grayson, Ashley Madekwe (“Secret Diary of a Call Girl”) as Ashley Davenport, Nick Wechsler (“Roswell”) as Jack Porter, Josh Bowman (“Prowl”) as Daniel Grayson, Christa B. Allen (“13 Going on 30”) as Charlotte Grayson and Connor Paolo (“Gossip Girl”) as Declan Porter.  “Revenge” is written and executive-produced by Mike Kelley (“Swingtown”), along with executive producers Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey (“Twilight”). The pilot is directed and executive-produced by Phillip Noyce (“Salt”). “Revenge” is produced by ABC Studios.”

Let me simplify this for you: Another primetime soap for ABC.

So will this show succeed?  Things are looking good.  It debuted to great numbers for ABC in a time period that has proved troublesome in the past.  Once its usual lead-in has its season premiere (Happy Endings) we’ll be able to see where the ratings settle.  Either way, the year-to-year increase has to make ABC happy.

Charlie’s Angels – Here’s how ABC described it in their press release:

“Everyone deserves a second chance — even a thief, a street racer and a cop who got in a little too deep. After all, the three women who solve cases for their elusive boss, Charlie Townsend, are no saints. They’re Angels… Charlie’s Angels.  Set in Miami, this fun, glamorous, action-packed take on the 1970s smash hit series introduces us to three new Angels, all fearless detectives, head-turning beauties and close friends. There’s Abby (Rachael Taylor), a Park Avenue princess who became a world-class thief. Then there’s Kate (Annie Ilonzeh), a Miami cop who fell from grace, losing both her career and her fiancé. Finally there’s Gloria, a disgraced army lieutenant who has a way with explosives. When one of the Angels’ missions ends in Gloria’s tragic death, Charlie persuades them to partner with Gloria’s childhood friend, Eve (Minka Kelly), a street racer with a mysterious past. They may not know each other yet, but one thing’s for sure — Abby, Kate and Eve will always have each others’ backs.  “Charlie’s Angels” stars Annie Ilonzeh (“General Hospital”) as Kate Prince, Minka Kelly (“Parenthood,” “Friday Night Lights”) as Eve, Rachael Taylor (“Grey’s Anatomy”) as Abby Sampson and Ramon Rodriguez (“The Wire,” “Daybreak”) as Bosley.  Written and executive-produced by Alfred Gough & Miles Millar (“Smallville”), “Charlie’s Angels” is also executive-produced by Drew Barrymore (“Charlie’s Angels” movies), Leonard Goldberg (the original “Charlie’s Angels”) and Nancy Juvonen (“Charlie’s Angels” movies). It’s directed and executive-produced by Marcos Siega (“Vampire Diaries,” “Dexter”). “Charlie’s Angels” is produced by Millar/Gough Ink, Flower Films and Panda Productions in association with Sony Pictures Television.

Let me simplify this for you: Charlie’s Angels Lite.  If you’ve seen the Charlie’s Angels movies (also produced by Drew Barrymore) you know what to expect – minus (hopefully) the awful slapstick of Full Throttle.

So will this show succeed?  It debuted alright (way above last year’s abysmal My Generation), but time will tell.  Unless ratings go up, I’m skeptical it will see a second season.  They’ve only aired one episode, so it is anyone’s guess at this point.

Once Upon A Time – Here’s how ABC described it in their press release:

“From the inventive minds of “Lost” executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis comes a bold new imagining of the world, where fairy tales and the modern-day are about to collide.  And they all lived happily ever after – or so everyone was led to believe. Emma Swan knows how to take care of herself. She’s a 28-year-old bail bonds collector who’s been on her own ever since she was abandoned as a baby. But when the son she gave up years ago finds her, everything starts to change. Henry is now 10 years old and in desperate need of Emma’s help. He believes that Emma actually comes from an alternate world and is Snow White and Prince Charming’s missing daughter. According to his book of fairytales, they sent her away to protect her from the Evil Queen’s curse, which trapped the fairytale world forever, frozen in time, and brought them into our modern world. Of course Emma doesn’t believe a word, but when she brings Henry back to Storybrooke, she finds herself drawn to this unusual boy and his strange New England town. Concerned for Henry, she decides to stay for a while, but she soon suspects that Storybrooke is more than it seems. It’s a place where magic has been forgotten, but is still powerfully close… where fairytale characters are alive, even though they don’t remember who they once were. The epic battle for the future of all worlds is beginning, but for good to win, Emma will have to accept her destiny and fight like hell.  “Once Upon A Time” stars Ginnifer Goodwin (“Big Love”) as Snow White/Sister Mary Margaret, Jennifer Morrison (“House MD”) as Emma Swan, Robert Carlyle (“The Full Monty,” “Trainspotting,” “SGU Stargate Universe”) as Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold, Lana Parrilla as Evil Queen/Regina, Jamie Dornan as Sheriff Graham, Jared Gilmore (“Mad Men”) as Henry, Josh Dallas as Prince Charming/John Doe and Raphael Sbarge as Jiminy Cricket/Archie.  “Once Upon A Time” was written by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, who are also executive producers, along with Steve Pearlman (ABC’s “V”). The pilot is directed and executive-produced by Mark Mylod (“Entourage”). “Once Upon A Time” is from ABC Studios.”

Let me simplify this for you: See my thoughts on NBC’s Grimm.  Pretty much the same, but with a female lead.

So will this show succeed?  Maybe.  It’s pretty niche, but it has a great time slot as lead-in to Desperate Housewives.

Pan Am – Here’s how ABC described it in their press release:

“Passion, jealousy and espionage… They do it all – and they do it at 30,000 feet. The style of the 1960s, the energy and excitement of the Jet Age and a drama full of sexy entanglements deliciously mesh in this thrilling and highly-original new series.  In this modern world, air travel represents the height of luxury and Pan Am is the biggest name in the business. The planes are glamorous, the pilots are rock stars and the stewardesses are the most desirable women in the world. Not only are these flyboys and girls young and good looking, but to represent Pan Am they also have to be educated, cultured and refined. They’re trained to handle everything from in-air emergencies to unwanted advances – all without rumpling their pristine uniforms or mussing their hair. There’s Dean (Jonah Lotan) – a cocky, charismatic and ambitious new pilot – the first of a new breed not trained in the war. On the sly against company policy, he’s dating Bridget, a stunning beauty with a mysterious past. A rebellious bohemian, Maggie (Christina Ricci) turns into a buttoned up professional for work so she can see the world. Rounding out the crew are flirtatious Collette (Karine Vanasse), the adventurous Kate (Kelli Garner) and, finally, Laura (Margot Robbie) – Kate’s beauty queen younger sister, a runaway bride, who recently fled a life of domestic boredom to take to the skies.  “Pan Am” stars Christina Ricci (“Penelope”) as Maggie, Kelli Garner (“Going the Distance”) as Kate, Karine Vanasse (“Polytechnique”) as Colette, Margot Robbie (“Neighbours”) as Laura, Jonah Lotan (“24”) as Dean and Michael Mosley (“Justified”) as Ted.  Jack Orman (“ER,” “Men of a Certain Age,”), Tommy Schlamme (“The West Wing,” “Parenthood,”
Mr. Sunshine”) and Nancy Hult Ganis (“Akleeh and the Bee”) are the executive producers of “Pan Am.” Orman is also the writer, with Schlamme directing. “Pan Am” is produced by Jack Orman Productions, Out of the Blue Entertainment and Shoe Money Productions in association with Sony Pictures Television.”

Let me simplify this for you: One of two shows trying to capitalize on Mad Men’s tone (The Playboy Club being the second).  Expect similar story arcs and set pieces.

So will this show succeed?  With Desperate Housewives as a phenomenal lead-in, it has a better chance (and getting better reviews) than The Playboy Club.  It needs to retain the majority of viewers to be seen a hit for ABC’s standard in that prime real estate.

 

Thoughts?

The CBS 2011-2012 Primetime Schedule

09/18/2011 at 9:19 pm | Posted in iamnoahjames.com, Net/Spec | Leave a comment
Tags: ,

Below is the 2011-2012 primetime schedule, including premiere dates:

MONDAY

8p – How I Met Your Mother (9/19)

8:30p – 2 Broke Girls (9/19 at 9:30) NS

9p – Two and a Half Men (9/19)

9:30p – Mike & Molly (9/26)

10p – Hawaii Five-O (9/19)

TUESDAY

8p – NCIS (9/20)

9p – NCIS: Los Angeles (9/20)

10p – Unforgettable (9/20) NS

WEDNESDAY

8p – Survivor: South Pacific (9/14)

9p – Criminal Minds (9/21)

10p – CSI (9/21) NT

THURSDAY

8p – The Big Bang Theory (9/22)

8:30p – How to Be a Gentleman (9/29) NS

9p – Person of Interest (9/22) NS

10p – The Mentalist (9/22)

FRIDAY

8p – A Gifted Man (9/23) NS

9p – CSI: NY (10/23)

10p –Blue Bloods (9/23)

SATURDAY

8p – Rules of Engagement (10/8) NT

8:30p – COMEDYTIME SATURDAY

9p – CRIMETIME SATURDAY

10p – 48 Hours Mystery

SUNDAY

7p – 60 Minutes

8p – The Amazing Race (9/25)

9p -The Good Wife (9/25) NT

10p – CSI: Miami (9/25)

SPECIAL SCHEDULING NOTE

NS notates new series – NT notates a returning show moving to a new time period.

Other than Rules, Saturday will be encore programming from during the week.

THOUGHTS ON RETURNING SHOWS

CBS has always had a love/hate relationship with Rules of Engagement.  Even only getting midseason airings, Rules has always garnered good ratings – even better than new fall shows.  Last year, CBS actually broke habit and gave it a full season.  Well, CBS is now moving it to Saturdays with reruns and 48 hours.  My feeling is that once it reaches the number for syndication, CBS will drop it.

CSI is moving out of its once powerful time period.  The years with Laurence helming brought down the ratings quite a bit (don’t blame him, blame the exit of William Petersen).  This year it is moving to Wednesday with Ted Danson as the lead.  I’ll be very interested to see how that pans out!

The Good Wife moving to Sunday makes sense.  CBS wants a show that gets better ratings, but wants to keep this critical hit.

THOUGHTS ON THE NEW PROGRAMS

2 Broke Girls – Here’s how CBS described it in their press release:

“A comedy about two young women waitressing at a greasy spoon diner who strike up an unlikely friendship in the hopes of launching a successful business – if only they can raise the cash.  Sassy, streetwise Max (Kat Dennings) works two jobs just to get by, one of which is waiting tables during the night shift at the retro-hip Williamsburg Diner.  Sophisticated Caroline (Beth Behrs) is an uptown trust fund princess who’s having a run of bad luck that forces her to reluctantly give waitressing a shot.  At first, Max sees Caroline as yet another in a long line of inept servers she must cover for, but she’s surprised to find that Caroline has as much substance as she does style.  When Caroline discovers Max’s knack for baking amazing cupcakes, she sees a lucrative future for them, but they first need to raise the start-up money.  While they save their tips, they’ll stay at the restaurant, working with Oleg (Jonathan Kite), an overly flirtatious Russian cook; Earl (Garrett Morris), a 75-year-old kool-kat cashier; and Han Lee (Matthew Moy), the new, eager-to-please owner of the diner.  Working together, these two broke girls living in one expensive city might just find the perfect recipe for their big break.  Michael Patrick King (“Sex and the City”) and writer-comedian Whitney Cummings (“Chelsea Lately“) are executive producers for Warner Bros. Television.”

Let me simplify this for you:  An out of luck pair of girls with talent and sarcasm.

So will this show succeed? Every year, CBS cancels one or two new sitcoms.  If CBS doesn’t see a dramatic dip in viewers between Mother and Men, the show might have a chance.

Unforgettable – Here’s how CBS described it in their press release:

“Stars Poppy Montgomery as Carrie Wells, an enigmatic former police detective with a rare condition that makes her memory so flawless that every place, every conversation, every moment of joy and every heartbreak is forever embedded in her mind.  It’s not just that she doesn’t forget anything – she can’t; except for one thing: the details that would help solve her sister’s long-ago murder.  Carrie has tried to put her past behind her, but she’s unexpectedly reunited with her ex-boyfriend and partner, NYPD Detective Al Burns (Dylan Walsh), when she consults on a homicide case.  His squad includes Det. Mike Costello (Michael Gaston), Al’s right-hand man; Detective Roe Saunders (Kevin Rankin), the junior member of the team; and Detective Nina Inara (Daya Vaidya), a sassy, street-smart cop.  Being back on the job after a break feels surprisingly right for Carrie.  Despite her conflicted feelings for Al, she decides to permanently join his unit as a detective solving homicides – most notably, the unsolved murder of her sister.  All she needs to do is remember.  Ed Redlich, John Bellucci, Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly are executive producers for Sony Television Studios in association with CBS Television Studios.”

Let me simplify this for you:  Just like Prime Suspect except…well, you know…she remembers everything.

So will this show succeed?  Maybe.  CBS’s weakest 10p slot is on Tuesdays –the last one to do well was Without a Trace, which Poppy also starred in – so starting a new show in that slot is risky. 

How to Be a Gentlemen – Here’s how CBS described it in their press release:

“Inspired by the book of the same name, is a comedy about the unlikely friendship between a traditional, refined writer and an unrefined personal trainer.  Andrew Carlson (David Hornsby) is an etiquette columnist whose devotion to ideals from a more civilized time has lead to a life detached from modern society.  Infectiously optimistic, Bert Lansing (Kevin Dillon) is a reformed “bad boy” from Andrew’s past who inherited a fitness center, but can still be rude, loud and sloppy.  When Andrew’s editor, Jerry (Dave Foley), tells him to put a modern, sexy twist on his column or be fired, he hires Bert as a life coach in the hopes of learning to be less “gentle man” and more “real man.”  Andrew’s mom, Diane (Nancy Lenehan), and his bossy sister, Janet (Mary Lynn Rajskub), support the plan, as would Janet’s husband, Mike (Rhys Darby), if he was allowed to have an opinion.  Though Andrew and Bert’s views may be centuries apart, they may find they’re each other’s missing link.  David Hornsby (“It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia“), Adam Chase (“Friends”), Ted Schachter (“The Invention of Lying”), Joe Hipps and Modi Wiczyk are executive producers for CBS Television Studios.”

Let me simplify this for you:  The Odd Couple, co-starring Drama from Entourage.

So will this show succeed?  Like I said before, CBS cancels one or two new sitcoms every year. Last year’s Bang lead-out was cancelled, so we’ll see.

Person of Interest – Here’s how CBS described it in their press release:

“Stars Jim Caviezel, Emmy Award winner Michael Emerson and Academy Award nominee Taraji P. Henson in a crime thriller about a presumed dead former-CIA agent who teams up with a mysterious billionaire to prevent violent crimes by using their own brand of vigilante justice.  Reese’s (Caviezel) special training in covert operations appeals to Finch (Emerson), a software genius who invented a program that uses pattern recognition to identify people about to be involved in violent crimes.  Using state-of-the-art surveillance technology, the two work outside of the law using Reese’s adept skills and Finch’s unlimited wealth to unravel the mystery of the Person Of Interest and stop the crime before it happens.  Reese’s actions catch the attention of the NYPD, including homicide detective Carter (Henson), and Fusco (Kevin Chapman), a cop who Reese uses to his advantage.  With infinite crimes to investigate, Reese and Finch find that the right person, with the right information, at the right time, can change everything.  Emmy Award winners J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk (“Lost”), Academy Award nominee Jonathan Nolan (“Memento”), David Semel (“Heroes”) and Greg Plageman (“Cold Case”) are the executive producers for Warner Bros. Television.”

Let me simplify this for you:  Source Code: The series (which is weird, because a Source Code show IS being developed).

So will this show succeed?  CBS wants it to – giving it one of their prime slots.  Caviezel is getting $100,000/episode, so I’m sure they want this to work.

A Gifted Man – Here’s how CBS described it in their press release:

“A drama about a brilliant, charismatic surgeon whose life changes forever when his deceased ex-wife begins teaching him the meaning of life from the “hereafter.”  Michael Holt (Patrick Wilson) is an exceptional doctor who lives a materialistic life of luxury thanks to his work-obsessed career and powerful and wealthy patients; however, Michael’s ordered world is rocked when his ex-wife, Anna (Jennifer Ehle), an idealistic free-clinic doctor and the love of his life, mysteriously appears to him.  Michael’s off-beat sister, Christina (Julie Benz), a single mom to her teenaged son, Milo (Liam Aiken), is thrilled that Anna’s back in her brother’s life, even as an “illusion,” because Michael was always a better person with her.  Curious about Michael’s sudden change in behavior is his efficient assistant, Rita (Margo Martindale).  When Anna asks Michael to go to her clinic to help keep it running, he meets Autumn (Afton Williamson), a volunteer carrying on Anna’s work with the underprivileged.  Touched by those in need and accepting of Anna’s compassionate “presence,” Michael’s attitude toward serving the rich and poor is turned upside down, and he begins to see that there’s room in his life for everyone.  Academy Award nominee Susannah Grant (“Erin Brockovich”), Academy Award winner Jonathan Demme (“The Silence of the Lambs”), Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly and Neal Baer (“ER”) are executive producers for CBS Television Studios.”

Let me simplify this for you:  Sixth Sense-ish series.

So will this show succeed?  I don’t know.  The ratings will be pretty low, since it’s on Fridays; but they are paying Wilson $100,000+/episode, so I would be shocked if they are just trying to burn these episodes off.

Thoughts?

The NBC 2011-2012 Primetime Schedule

09/18/2011 at 7:28 pm | Posted in iamnoahjames.com, Net/Spec | 1 Comment
Tags: , ,

Below is the 2011-2012 primetime schedule, including premiere dates:

MONDAY

8p – The Sing-Off (9/19) NT

10p – The Playboy Club (9/19) NS

TUESDAY

8p – The Biggest Loser (9/20)

10p – Parenthood (9/13)

WEDNESDAY

8p – Up All Night (9/14) NS

8:30p – Free Agents (9/14) NS

9p – Harry’s Law (9/21) NT

10p – Law & Order: SVU (9/21) NT

THURSDAY

8p – Community (9/22)

8:30p – Parks & Recreation (9/22) NT

9p – The Office (9/22)

9:30p – Whitney (9/22) NS

10p – Prime Suspect (9/22) NS

FRIDAY

8p – Chuck (10/21) NT

9p – Grimm (10/21) NS

10p –Dateline NBC (9/23)

SUNDAY

7p – Football Night in America

8:15p – NBC Sunday Night Football

SPECIAL SCHEDULING NOTE

NS notates new series – NT notates a returning show moving to a new time period.

Saturday will be encore programming from during the week.

Due to Tina Fey’s pregnancy, 30 Rock’s sixth season won’t debut until midseason.

These last 13 episodes of Chuck will conclude the series.

THOUGHTS ON RETURNING SHOWS

NBC has done a great job wrapping new shows around their strong performers.  Judging by the brisk pace of The Sing-Off its first year (multiple installments a week for 2-3 weeks), I doubt they thought it would generate the amount of ratings it did.  So now they are doing what they should have done in the first place – running it for two hours once a week.  It isn’t really a great fit as lead-in for The Playboy Club, but it should help holdover a large number of viewers.

The Biggest Loser is NBC’s highest-rated unscripted program, and Parenthood always gets just enough ratings to justify renewals; so I see this as NBC wanting to keep Parenthood alive – since they could have understandably given Loser a new show as lead-out.  Jillian Michaels will no longer be on Loser, as she decided to scream at people on The Doctors this season instead.

Harry’s Law was like Parenthood last year; meaning, the ratings weren’t amazing, but good enough for renewal.  I personally believed it would have a better chance with SVU as its lead-in, and not the new NBC comedy block.  I’ll be interested to see what happens.  I will also be interested to see how big of a hit SVU takes when the two lead detectives are transitioned out and the two new actors take over.

For my viewing pleasure, I’m thrilled with the Community/Parks & Rec/The Office block.  Ratings-wise, it also makes sense.  Last season, Community held its own against Big Bang, and managed to keep its audience even when American Idol emerged midseason.  As for The Office – NBC’s highest-rated scripted show – I will be interested to watch the ratings now that Michael Scott is gone.

THOUGHTS ON THE NEW PROGRAMS

The Playboy Club – Here’s how NBC described it in their press release:

“From Academy Award-winning executive producer Brian Grazer, “The Playboy Club” is a provocative new drama about a time and place that challenged the social mores, where a visionary entrepreneur created an empire and an icon changed American culture. It’s the early ‘60s, and the legendary Playboy Club in Chicago is the door to all of your fantasies — and the key is the most sought-after status symbol of its kind. Inside the seductive world of the bunny, the epitome of beauty and service, the clientele rubs shoulders with the decade’s biggest mobsters, politicos and entertainers. Nick Dalton (Eddie Cibrian, “CSI: Miami”) is one of the city’s top attorneys and the ultimate playboy, rubbing elbows with everyone in the city’s power structure. With mysterious ties to the mob, Nick comes to the aid of Maureen (Amber Heard, “Zombieland”), the stunning and innocent new bunny who accidentally kills the leader of the Bianchi crime family. Dating Nick is Carol-Lynne (Laura Benanti, “Take the Lead”), a bombshell and established star at the club who knows her days as a bunny are numbered and finds herself continually at odds with Billy (David Krumholtz, ”Numb3rs”), the club’s general manager. Adding to the charm of The Playboy Club is Janie (Jenna Dewan Tatum, “American Virgin”), the carefree life of the party who is dating Max (Wes Ramsey, “CSI: Miami”), an overly protective bartender. Also starring are Naturi Naughton (“Fame”) and Leah Renee (“True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet”). In addition to Grazer (“A Beautiful Mind,” “American Gangster”), the executive producers on “The Playboy Club” include Chad Hodge (“Tru Calling”), Francie Calfo (“Scoundrels”), Jason Burns (“The House Bunny”) and Dick Rosenzweig (“Kendra”). Hodge also wrote the pilot, which was directed by Alan Taylor (“Mad Men,” “The Sopranos”). The series is produced by 20th Century Fox Television and Imagine Television.”

Let me simplify this for you:  Mad Men feel/look/tone/time period, etc – but in The Playboy Club.  This is actually one of TWO shows trying to tap into Mad Men’s appeal (the other is on ABC). 

So will this show succeed? I’m not convinced.  Part of it is the time slot – Monday at 10p.  With Castle on ABC and Hawaii Five-O on CBS, I wonder what rating it will have to average for NBC to be happy with continually being in 3rd place.  The other part is the fact that this show was created because Mad Men is “successful” – however, the success is critical and not ratings-wise.  I’ll be interested to see if NBC can succeed in something Mad Men can’t – getting decent ratings.

Up All Night – Here’s how NBC described it in their press release:

“From Emily Spivey (NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” NBC’s “Saturday Night Live”) and legendary Emmy Award-winning producer Lorne Michaels, comes “Up All Night,” a modern take on Parenthood that shows the challenges of balancing a career, marriage and a new baby. Christina Applegate (“Samantha Who?”) stars as Reagan, a successful public relations executive, and Will Arnett (“Arrested Development”) plays Chris, Reagan’s supportive, stay-at-home husband. The two have just become parents – a surprise that has set their lives on a new path as responsible adults — for the most part. Maya Rudolph (“Saturday Night Live,” “Bridesmaids”) stars as Ava, Reagan’s outlandish boss and best friend, whose whirlwind social escapades serve as constant reminders of Reagan’s former carefree life. James Pumphrey (“High Road”) portrays Brian, Reagan’s socially Awkward hipster assistant. “Up All Night” is a production of Universal Media Studios and Broadway Video. Spivey is the creator and serves as executive producer along with Michaels and Jon Pollack (NBC’s “30 Rock”).”

Let me simplify this for you: Mr. Mom meets new parents trying to raise a baby while also managing the attention-hungry, selfish, Oprah-like boss.  The jokes /stories will be centered on outside elements stretching the couples thin – mostly Applegate’s character, who has to steer the ship at her office too.

So will this show succeed?  While I didn’t care for the pilot that much (Maya’s character was too abrasive), that doesn’t mean anything.  A lot of shows get notes and retool after the pilot.  What’s working against it is launching a new night/block of comedy for NBC that also includes another new series.  However, with Lorne Michaels as an Executive Producer, this show might be given more time to breathe.  Going against Survivor isn’t doing it any favors either.

Free Agents – Here’s how NBC described it in their press release:

“A crooked workplace/romantic new comedy from creator John Enbom (“Party Down”) and Emmy Award-winning director Todd Holland (“Malcolm in the Middle”) based on the cult U.K. series of the same name that explores the trials and tribulations of two public relations executives on the rebound. Alex (Hank Azaria, “The Simpsons,” “Huff”) is newly divorced and can barely keep himself together while his co-worker Helen (Kathryn Hahn, “Hung”) thinks she has it together but is obsessed with her deceased fiancé and actually is falling apart. Then a drunken Alex and Helen end up in bed together, and in the resulting sober confusion, Helen decides that they should only be friends. Meanwhile Alex’s co-workers, Dan (Mo Mandel, “Love Bites,” “Modern Family”) and Gregg (Al Madrigal, “Wizards of Waverly Place,” “Gary, Unmarried”), and Stephen (Anthony Head, “Merlin,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) fail in their attempts to help him get back out on the dating scene. When Alex finally agrees to a date, Helen gets a little jealous, and he gets cold feet, so they end up back where they started — in a casual, intimate and beautifully Awkward relationship. Also starring is Joe Lo Truglio (“Backwash,” “Mad Love”) and Natasha Leggero (“Ugly Americans,” “’Til Death”). “Free Agents” is a production of Universal Media Studios in association with Dark Toy and Big Talk Productions. Enbom is executive producer/creator along with executive producer/director Holland. Karey Burke (“Miss/Guided”) executive-produces, along with Big Talk Productions’ Kenton Allen (“Free Agents,” BBC Network) and Nira Park, as well as Chris Niel.”

Let me simplify this for you:  I can’t.  I really know very little about this show.  From everything I’ve seen on it, it seems like a sitcom vehicle for Hank Azaria.

Will this show survive?  Probably not.  It’s in the same boat as Up All Night, since it’s the second sitcom on the new NBC Wednesday comedy block.  However, unlike Night, Lorne Michael is NOT attached – so expect the show to get canned if it doesn’t match Night in ratings (NBC has many sitcoms on deck for replacements).  If it does get cancelled, Hank will be alright; he makes $600,000/episode on The Simpsons.

Whitney – Here’s how NBC described it in their press release:

“A hilarious look at modern love, “Whitney” is a new multi-camera comedy series about Whitney (Whitney Cummings, “Chelsea Lately”) and Alex (Chris D’Elia, “Glory Daze”), a happily unmarried couple. Together for five years, the duo is in no rush to get hitched. However, after attending yet another one of their friends’ weddings, Whitney realizes that she and Alex are dangerously close to relationship boredom. Determined not to let that happen, Whitney consults her close circle of opinionated girlfriends — including Lily (Zoe Lister-Jones, “The Other Guys”) and Roxanne (Rhea Seehorn, “The Starter Wife”) — and then snaps into action. A few Awkward sexy costumes and one botched seductive evening later, the couple ends up in the emergency room. Even so, Whitney and Alex realize that while their relationship might not be perfect on paper, they really do love each other — and that works for them. Also starring are Maulik Pancholy (NBC’s “30 Rock”) as Lily’s perfect boyfriend, and Dan O’Brien (“How I Met Your Mother”) as an eternal bachelor. “Whitney” is produced by Universal Media Studios and Scott Stuber Productions. Stuber (“The Break Up”), Quan Phung, Betsy Thomas (“My Boys”) and Barry Katz (“Last Comic Standing”) are executive producers. Cummings also serves as executive producer/writer. Andy Ackerman (“Seinfeld,” “The New Adventures of Old Christine”) is an executive producer and directed the pilot.”

Let me simplify this for you:  A “fresh” take on relationship comedy (I use quotations because studios always use “fresh” to make it sound completely original).  Whitney Cummings actually created this herself, so that’s impressive.  I just hope her attitude doesn’t delve too deep into Roseanne’s. 

Will this show survive?  NBC seems to want it to – since it has The Office as its lead-in.  Last season, Outsourced got great ratings by retaining most of the audience from The Office; however, once Outsourced moved from being The Office’s lead-out, its ratings tanked – getting it cancelled by May.  So I suspect if Whitney stays at 9:30 and maintains a majority of the viewers, it should be fine.

Prime Suspect – Here’s how NBC described it in their press release:

“Based on the critically acclaimed British television series of the same name, “Prime Suspect” has been redeveloped for American audiences by writer Alexandra Cunningham (“Desperate Housewives,” “NYPD Blue”), director Peter Berg (NBC’s “Friday Night Lights”) — and stars Maria Bello (“A History of Violence”) as tough-as-nails Detective Jane Timoney. Timoney finds that being a homicide detective in New York City is tough enough and having to contend with a male-dominated police department to get respect makes it that much tougher. She’s an outsider who has just transferred to a new precinct dominated by an impenetrable clique of a boys’ club. Timoney has her own vices too — with a questionable past — and she tends to be forceful, rude and reckless. But she’s also a brilliant cop who keeps her eye on one thing: the Prime Suspect. Also starring are Aidan Quinn (“Unknown”), Brian O’Byrne (“Flash Forward”), Tim Griffin (“Star Trek”), Kirk Acevedo (“Fringe“), Joe Nieves (“How I Met Your Mother“), Damon Gupton (“The Last Airbender”) and Peter Gerety (“Blue Bloods“). “Prime Suspect” is produced by Universal Media Studios, ITV and Film 44. Cunningham is the executive producer/writer along with executive producer/director Berg and executive producers Sarah Aubrey, Julie Meldal-Johnson, Paul Buccieri and Lynda LaPlante.”

Let me simplify this for you:  UK-imported show about a tough-as-nails female cop who has to prove herself with all the men.  Oh, and she’s better than the other cops.

Will this show survive?  I don’t know.  NBC wants it to, since they are paying Bello $125,000/episode; but NBC has been getting crushed on Thursday’s 10p time period – so it isn’t looking like a sure bet.

Grimm – Here’s how NBC described it in their press release:

“A new drama series inspired by the classic Grimm‘s Fairy Tales. Remember the fairy tales your parents used to tell you before bedtime? Those weren’t stories — they were warnings. Nick Burkhardt (David Guintoli “Turn The Beat Around”) thought he prepared himself for the realities of working as a homicide detective until he started seeing things he couldn’t quite explain. When his ailing Aunt Marie (guest star Kate Burton, “Grey’s Anatomy”) arrives, Nick’s life turns upside down when she reveals they are descendants of an elite group of hunters, also known as “Grimms,” who fight to keep the balance of humanity safe from the supernatural creatures of the world. As Nick digs deeper into her past, he realizes that he will have to shoulder the responsibility of his ancestors — and contend with a larger-than-life mythology of the Brothers Grimm that is now all too real. Russell Hornsby (“Lincoln Heights”), Bitsie Tulloch (“Quarterlife”), Silas Weir Mitchell (“Prison Break”), Reggie Lee (“Persons Unknown”) and Sasha Roiz (“Caprica”) also star. “Grimm” is a production of Universal Media Studios and Hazy Mills Productions. Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner (“Hot In Cleveland”) serve as executive producers, Jim Kouf (“National Treasure,” “Angel”) and David Greenwalt (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel”) are the creators/executive producers and Marc Buckland (“My Name Is Earl”) is the director.

Let me simplify this for you:  The Brothers Grimm (movie) meets Supernatural meets The X-Files.

Will this show survive?  Probably not.  Fridays are usually where shows go to die, or – like Chuck & Fringe – where low-rated-but-loved shows go to conclude their run.  But listen, I’m rooting for this show.  I love Supernatural and The X-Files (still haven’t seen Brothers Grimm), so this sounds like it could be pretty cool.  But looking at historical data, I’m not convinced it will survive.

2011-12 Season Disclaimers

09/12/2011 at 11:32 pm | Posted in iamnoahjames.com, Net/Spec | 1 Comment
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As I delve into the networks’ 2011-2012 line-up over the next few days, I thought it would be best to explain a few things.  This way, I don’t have to repeat myself.  If you have any questions – or think I’ve missed a few things – please email or reply in the comments.

For the new season, I will be starting with The CW (since The Ringer starts tomorrow).  However, I will not be including The CW in the network comparison posts.  This is not a diss to the network that CBS/WB built.  I won’t include it because The CW’s metric for programming and their shows’ success/failure isn’t the same as the Big Four.  The CW doesn’t base renewal/cancelation decisions completely on ratings.  Their (CBS & CW) primary goal is to produce original content in order to sell it into global syndication.  As long as they don’t lose money in the process, they typically keep the show on. 

In fact, they are notorious for bundling more popular shows with lower performers – this gives the global stations better deals on buying two shows – but has caused some friction with executive producers of some shows.  The Alfred Gough and Miles Millar (who adapted Smallville, and were the showrunners for the first 7 seasons)  actually sued, claiming that they were owed more than half of the residuals on global sales, since the stations were only buying the lower rated show because it was bundled with the hugely popular Smallville – had Smallville been sold separately, they claimed the other show wouldn’t have been.

Alfred Gough & Miles Millar

Regardless, as of this posting, the system has been working well for both co-owners.  They do tend to cancel the lowest rated of the shows – not counting Friday shows (which we will discuss soon) – but that tends to be the only time they look at Nielsen.

Moving on from CW…

I will be including premiere dates for the shows in the network specific posts – but not the Network v. Network daily breakdown ones.

For the new shows, some will be described using known properties (you’ll know what I mean when you read The CW post).  This is not a dig at the show for being unoriginal.  In fact, most of your favorite shows and movies were pitched to studios and executives using other shows/movies to create an instant picture.  You only have a little time to pitch your idea, and you have to be able to make the tone as vivid as you can to get the top brass excited.  A murky pitch does not get a show greenlit.

I might repeat this when I address the Friday schedule, but oh well.  The fact is that all four of the big networks have scripted dramas on that night.  Other than Fringe and Chuck (who are on Fridays to let them run their course), the ONLY reason networks put scripted shows on the night with the lowest weekly viewership is for advertiser dollars.  Advertisers still don’t spend as much on reality/unscripted shows as they do scripted – unless a proven entity like Survivor or American Idol – so networks try and grab as much of the money up for grabs as they can.  So what happens when that show usually get cancelled, but the advertisers paid for more episodes of it?  Same thing that happens when a show doesn’t perform as well as promised to advertisers: Makegoods – meaning they get those (ratings) points made good by the network airing free spots on other programs.

Finally, I will not be covering midseason shows (except possibly FOX).  I’ve found that a good chunk of those new programs either come-and-go, get pushed back to being burned off on the summer schedule, or get shelved – so there’s not much reason to invest time in them until they actually see the light of day.  FOX is an exception because – due to American Idol – their midseason schedule has been known to be drastically different than their fall one. 

Without further ado, I will start the new 2011-2012 schedule breakdown for each network.  This will be followed by addressing each day of the week (minus Saturdays) and predicting which network will win in the prime demos – A18-49 and Households.  Feel free to join in the prediction/analysis fun!

FOX Role Call

08/17/2011 at 9:52 pm | Posted in iamnoahjames.com, Net/Spec | 2 Comments
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UPDATED:  FOX has reversed their decision to cancel Breaking In!  The show will be back for a second season.

Last but not least, FOX – the undisputed king of the all-important A18-49 and A18-34 demos.  What shows survived the 2010-2011 season, and what shows bit the big one.  Scroll down for the complete list of shows – as well as my thoughts on the network’s decisions:

Renewed:

Fringe

American Dad

Raising Hope

Bob’s Burgers

The Cleveland Show

The Simpsons

Bones

Family Guy

House

Glee

Cops

Hell’s Kitchen

Kitchen Nightmares

So You Think You Can Dance

Cancelled:

Running Wilde

The Good Guys

Lie to Me

Lone Star

Traffic Light

The Chicago Code

Human Target

Breaking In

America’s Most Wanted

My Thoughts:

Not too many surprises for FOX.

After running on (ratings) fumes this season, canceling Lie to Me, Human Target, & The Good Guys was inevitable.

Gordon Ramsay can do no wrong on FOX, as everything he touches usually brings in viewers by the droves.  His summer show MasterChef is continuing the successful partnership.

What’s not surprising is Cops being renewed for another season – as FOX’s Saturday lineup has consistently won the night for many years now.  What is surprising is the cancelation of America’s Most Wanted.  FOX’s president explained that the network hasn’t made any money off of the show in quite some time.  However, he is still keeping it in the FOX family by airing an AMW special every three months.

Sadly, most of FOX’s freshman shows didn’t make it to a sophomore year.  Running Wilde, Traffic Light, & The Chicago Code never even premiered with a respectable number. 

Breaking In’s termination makes the 3rd show in a row for Christian Slater to be canned in its first season.  NBC’s My Own Worst Enemy lasted 13 episodes, ABC’s The Forgotten had 17, and now Breaking In being canceled after its midseason run.

Despite Lone Star getting fawned on universally by critics, virtually no one showed up for the first two episodes – making it one of the first shows of the official fall network season to be axed.

After Glee, House is FOX’s highest-rated show – so its renewal was a no-brainer.  However – due to contract negotiations for the veteran drama, Lisa Edelstein (Cuddy) walked away after her salary negotiations didn’t meet her (or, probably more realistically, her rep’s) requirements.  Sad for House fans – as Cuddy is a fan favorite – but lucky for CBS’s The Good Wife, where she will have a recurring role next season. 

Fringe got renewed for a full 22-season order.  Despite my belief that it looked likely for cancelation, I image WB came in and practically gave away the show to FOX.  After the 4th season, WB will have at least 88 episodes of the show produced – making a syndication sale possible (88 is the least number you need).  Don’t be surprised if this is the final season of the sci-fi show.

So what do YOU think?  Are you happy/upset about any of the choices FOX made?  Would you have done anything differently? 

Sound off below in the comments section, or email me at iamnoahjames@yahoo.com

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