Tuesday, May 16, 2006

ABC's Fall 2006

Upfront week continues with ABC announcing its new schedule today.

Cancelled: Alias; Emily's Reasons Why Not; Hot Properties; The Night Stalker; Crumbs; The Evidence; Freddie; In Justice; Jake In Progress; Rodney; Sons & Daughters; Invasion; Less Than Perfect; Hope & Faith; Commander-In-Chief.

Retained: Lost; Desperate Housewives; Extreme Makeover: Home Edition; Boston Legal; The Bachelor; Supernanny; What About Brian; America's Funniest Home Videos; American Inventor; Wife Swap; 20/20.

Moved: Grey's Anatomy; Dancing with the Stars.

New: Betty the Ugly; Big Day; Brothers & Sisters; Help Me Help You; Just for Laughs; Let's Rob...; Men in Trees; The Nine; Notes from the Underbelly; Six Degrees; ABC Saturday Night College Football.

In addition; a new series Set for the Rest of Your Life will replace the Tuesday night edition of Dancing with the Stars and new episodes of According to Jim and George Lopez will replace the Wednesday night results show. Supernanny will replace The Bachelor. ABC has the following shows planned as mid season replacements: Day Break; In Case of Emergency; Greg Behrendt's Wake-Up Call; Traveler. Primetime returns as a series of limited specials, and American Inventor has been renewed but without a specific time or date.

Complete Schedule: (New shows in Capitals.)
8:00 p.m.: Wife Swap
9:00 p.m.: The Bachelor
10:00 p.m.: What About Brian

8:00 p.m.: Dancing with the Stars (new night)
9:00 p.m.: LET'S ROB...
9:30 p.m.: HELP ME HELP YOU
10:00 p.m.: Boston Legal

8:00 p.m.: Dancing with the Stars (new night)
9:00 p.m.: Lost
10:00 p.m.: THE NINE

8:00 p.m.: BIG DAY
9:00 p.m.: Grey's Anatomy (new night and time)
10:00 p.m.: SIX DEGREES

8:00 p.m.: BETTY THE UGLY
9:00 p.m.: MEN IN TREES
10:00 p.m.: 20/20

8:00 p.m.: ABC Saturday Night College Football

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

Let's Rob... is the story of a group of guys in dead end jobs who've never so much as shoplifted a candy bar but decide to finance their plan of opening a bar by robbing Mick Jagger's apartment. Sir Mick makes a cameo appearance and is also listed as one of the executive producers along with Rob Burnett Jon Beckerman. Stars Donal Logue, Maz Jobrani, and Sofia Vergara.

Help Me Help You stars Ted Danson as a crazy and self-obsessed shrink who hides behind his image as a well-respected author of self-help books. He leads a therapy group which includes Jere Burns, Charlie Finn and Suzy Nakamura. Jane Kaczmarek appeared as a guest star in the pilot but has been added as a regular.

The Nine starts with a bank robbery gone wrong which turns into a 52 hour hostage situation. The series then follows these people as their lives are changed and intertwined by the experience. Stars Chi McBride, Tim Daly, Kim Raver, Scott Wolf and Jon Billingsley.

Big Day is described as a mix of 24 and Father of The Bride as a young couple's wedding day is detailed event by event. Stars Marla Sokoloff, Josh Cooke and Wendie Malick

In Notes From The Underbelly Lauren and Andrew discover that they are going to have a baby and unfortunately don't do a very good job of keeping it secret which means that they have to deal with advice from family and well-meaning but highly competitive friends. Stars Peter Cambor and Jennifer Westfeldt.

Six Degrees follows the old idea that we are connected to each other by no more than six links. In this series six New Yorkers of very different backgrounds have an impact on each other without even being aware of it...yet. Stars Jay Hernandez, Bridget Moynahan, Campbell Scott, and Erika Christensen.

Betty The Ugly is an hour long comedy about a relative plain jane who is hired by a publishing mogul to be his son's assistant at a fashion magazine because she's the only woman in New York he won't sleep with. Stars America Ferrera, Eric Mabius, Vanessa Williams, and Alan Dale. Salma Hayek is listed as one of the executive producers.

Men In Trees takes the old idea of someone who is able to tell other people what to look for in a relationship but can't apply it to her own life and puts a new spin on it. Marin (Anne Heche) is a successful relationship consultant on her way to a speaking engagement in Alaska when two thing happen - she finds out that her fiance has cheated on her and she is snowbound in an Alaska town full of eligible men. Also stars James Tupper, Suleka Mathews, and Abraham Benrubi.

Brothers & Sisters: Marti Noxon and Ken Olin are executive producers on this show about the tensions and secrets within an apparently happy family. This "this warm, humorous and relatable drama" stars Calista Flockhart, Ron Rifkin, Balthazar Getty, and Patricia Wettig.

This is probably just me, but I just can't imagine how a number of these shows are going to survive, so they probably won't. If Men In Trees uses its setting in the same way as the classic Northern Exposure it could do all right. Help Me Help You sound like one of Bob Newhart's old shows but substituting Danson's aggravatingly egotistical personality for Newhart's calm level-headedness. Let's Rob... seems like it could either die a very quick death or be a real success, depending on people's willingness to accept the rather quirky premise. I'm putting my money on quick death I'm afraid. I have to wonder if Big Day will last long enough for the young couple to make it to the altar, and Notes From The Underbelly just seems like an old concept. Six Degrees is mildly intriguing but will have to give us a hook pretty quickly before it can be destroyed by the combination of ER and Without A Trace. Still it significant that for the first time in decades ABC is running a dramatic series in this time slot, probably banking on the ability of Grey's Anatomy to deliver an audience. Based on the first two network upfronts and the inevitability of CBS retaining CSI in its current slot, the second hour of Thursday is looking to be one of the most closely contested nights in the 2006-07 schedule. I'm not sure what to think about Betty The Ugly simply because I don't know who it will appeal to. On the other hand it does remind me of Sara Rue's series Less Than Perfect. As for Brothers & Sisters, it should match up fairly well with Desperate Housewives and the two shows should work by attracting a demographic that will complement rather than conflict with Sunday Night Football on NBC. So far the only series that has me even close to excited is The Nine. The cast is very strong and it has an interesting premise. Whether it can succeed depends on whether it can crack elements of two of the top franchises in television - the original Law & Order and CSI: New York. I think it may last the year but renewal is hardly assured.

No comments: