Wednesday, May 16, 2012

ABC’s 2012-13 Season

abc_logoABC announced their new line-up for the 2012-13 season on Tuesday morning. The network made a limited number of cancellations – though it’s worth noting that four of them came from two timeslots (Sunday’s third hour and Thursday’s first hour) – and a small number of new shows. In fact the network has as many new shows waiting for mid-season as they do for the start of the year (five each – three dramas and two comedies). The network is taking a couple of risks – which is admirable – but whether that risk-taking will pay off is the big question.

Cancelled: Charlie’s Angels, Extreme Makeover Home Edition, GCB, Man Up, Missing, Pan Am, The River, Work It, Cougar Town (moving to TBS)

Moved: Revenge, Last Man Standing, Happy Endings, Dancing With The Stars Results

Renewed: Dancing With The Stars, Castle, Happy Endings, Don’t Trust The B---- In Apartment 23, Private Practice, Suburgatory, Modern Family, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, Shark Tank, Primetime: What Would You Do?, 20/20, America’s Funniest Videos, Once Upon A Time

New: The Neighbors, Nashville, Last Resort, Malibu Country, 666 Park Avenue

Held Until Mid Season: Body Of Proof, Wife Swap, Mistresses, Red Widow, Zero Hour, How To Live With Your Parents (For The Rest Of Your Life), The Family Tools

Complete Schedule (All times are Eastern; New shows in capitals)

8:00-10:00 p.m.: Dancing With The Stars
10:00-11:00 p.m.: Castle

8:00-9:00 p.m.: Dancing With The Stars Results (New Time)
9:00-9:30 p.m.: Happy Endings (New Day)
9:30-10:00 p.m.: Don’t Trust The B---- in Apartment 23 (New Day)
10:00-11:00 p.m.: Private Practice

8:00-8:30 p.m.: The Middle
8:30-9:00 p.m.: Suburgatory
9:00-9:30: Modern Family
9:30-10:00 p.m.: THE NEIGHBORS
10:00-11:00 p.m.: NASHVILLE

8:00-9:00 p.m.: LAST RESORT
9:00-10:00 p.m.: Grey’s Anatomy
10:00-11:00 p.m.: Scandal

Friday (until November)
8:00-9:00 p.m.: Shark Tank
9:00-10:00 p.m.: Primetime: What Would You Do?
10:00-11:00 p.m.: 20/20

Friday (starting in November)
8:00-8:30 p.m.: Last Man Standing (New Day)
8:30-9:00 p.m.: MALIBU COUNTRY
9:00-10:00 p.m.: Shark Tank
10:00-11:00 p.m.: Primetime: What Would You Do?

7:00-8:00 p.m.: America’s Funniest Videos
8:00-9:00 p.m.: Once Upon A Time
9:00-10:00 p.m.: Revenge (New Day)
10:00-11:00 p.m.: 666 PARK AVENUE

The Neighbors is set in the gated community of Hidden Hills, New Jersey. Townhouses in the exclusive development with its own golf course haven`t come on the market for ten years. When an opportunity to buy in the community comes up, the Weavers – Marty (Lenny Venito), Debbie (Jami Gertz) and their three kids – buy in. Things seem a bit odd at first. For one thing all of the other people in the neighbourhood have the same names as famous athletes, like Reggie Jackson (Tim Jo), Jackie Joiner-Kersee (Toks Olagundoye), Dick Butkis (Ian Patrick), and Larry Bird (Simon Templeman). At their first dinner with the neighbours, Marty and Debbie discover that all of their neighbours are actually aliens from the planet Zabvron, where people gain nourishment through their eyes by reading books, cry green goo from their ears, and where men have the babies. The Zabvronians have been on Earth for ten years waiting for instructions from their home world, but Marty and Debbie are the only actual humans that they’ve ever met.

Nashville stars Connie Britton as Rayna James, a country music legend whose career is starting to slip. Her record label thinks that a tour as an opening act for up and coming star Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettierre) will help boost her career. The problem is that Juliette can’t wait to grab the spotlight from Rayna. Juliette is a disrespectful, untalented vixen and Rayna soon finds herself in a power struggle with the younger woman. Maybe the undiscovered talent of songwriter Scarlett O’Connor (Clare Bowen) will help Rayna resurrect her career. Adding to the tension is Rayna’s wealthy and powerful father Lamar Hampton (Powers Booth) who, although he is estranged from Rayna is still a powerful figure in her life, particularly when he schemes to get Rayna’s husband Teddy (Eric Close) to run for Mayor of Nashville.

The Last Resort starts as a taut military thriller. 500 feet under the surface of the ocean the ballistic missile submarine USS Colorado is operating properly when a message comes to them on a radio channel designed to be used only if the United States has been destroyed in a nuclear war. Their orders are to launch the sub’s missiles against Pakistan. When the Colorado’s commander, Captain Marcus Chaplin (Andre Braugher) seeks confirmation of the order from the White House he is removed from command. When his executive officer, Sam Kendal (Scott Speedman) also seeks confirmation the submarine is attacked. Damaged and declared rogue by their own country Chaplin, Kendal and the men and women of USS Colorado seek refuge on an exotic island where they will find romance and the chance for a new life even as they seek to clear their names and return home. Also stars Daisy Betts, Dichen Lachman, Daniel Lissing, Sahr Ngaujah, Camille de Pasis, Autumn Reeser, and Jessy Schram. Robert Patrick also appears in a recurring guest star role.

Malibu Country marks the return of Reba McIntyre to weekly television playing Reba Gallagher. When Reba discovers that here country singer husband Bobby (Jeffrey Nordling) has been messing around on her, she gets a divorce and movers her two children and her sharp-tongued mother Lillie May (Lilly Tomlin) to a home in Malibu – just about the only asset they have left. Despite gaining a new friend named Kim (Sara Rue) and her son Sage, Reba feels out of place in Southern California. Nevertheless she sets out to revive the musical career she gave up when she married Bobby, with the help of her new manager Geoffrey (Jai Rodriguez).

666 Park Avenue is a new drama with supernatural overtones. For residents at “The Drake,” all of their ambitions and desires will be fulfilled, courtesy of the building’s mysterious owner Gavin Doran (Terry O’Quinn). Everything has a price of course, and the people living at the ominous address of 666 Park Avenue are involved in a Faustian contract. This includes the young midwestern couple, Jane Van Veen (Rachel Taylor) and Henry Martin (Dave Annable) who are hired to manage the historic building. They not only fall under the machinations of Gavin and his mysterious wife Olivia (Vanessa Williams) but begin to discover the shadowy supernatural forces within the building that imprison and endanger the lives of the residents of The Drake.

Mistresses, based on the British series of the same name, is the story of four sexy and sassy girlfriends who are on their own path to self-discovery. Alyssa Milano plays Savi, a successful career woman who is looking forward to make partner at her law firm, and to starting a family with her husband Harry (Brett Tucker). Her younger sister Josselyn (Jes Macallan) is totally different; a single woman partying, serial dating and leaning on her big sister for support. Their common friend April (Rochelle Yates) is a recent widow with two children trying to move forward and rebuild her life. Finally there’s Karen (Yunjin Kim) a successful therapist who reconnects with her three old friends after a complicated relationship with a patient goes too deep.

The brutal murder of Marta Walraven’s (Radha Mitchell) husband is the starting point for new drama Red Widow. Stay at home mom Marta’s first instinct is to protect her three young children but for Marta this has a different meaning from what it might have for others. Her husband’s business partners – Marta’s scheming and untrustworthy brother Irwin Petrova (Wil Traval) and Mike Tomlin (Lee Tergesen) – were involved in a drug deal with other mobsters and Marta’s husband paid the ultimate price. The world of mobsters is hardly new terrain for Marta. Her father Andrei Petrova (Rade Sherbedzija) and his loyal bodyguard Luther (Luke Goss) are gangsters too. Marta and her sister Kat (Jamie Ray Newman) always wanted a life without the danger and fear, and it was something that Marta thought she had before her husband died. Now she’s determined to take on both the Mob and the FBI to dig her way out of the underworld,

In Zero Hour Anthony Edwards plays Hank Galliston, the publisher of “The Modern Skeptic”. Hank has spent his career debunking myths and solving conspiracies. His motto has always been “logic is the compass,” but when his beautiful wife Laila (Jacinda Barrett) is abducted from her antique clock shop, Hank is embroiled in a mystery that spans around the world and through the centuries. Aided by two young associates – Rachel (Addison Timlin) and Arron (Scott Michael Foster) – and sexy FBI agent Becca Riley (Carmen Ejogo) Hank not only has to unravel the clues but also to keep the answers from falling into the hands of the man they call “White Vincent” (Michael Nyqvist) in order to find his wife and save humanity.

How To Live With Your Parents (For The Rest Of Your Life) is a new comedy starring Sarah Chalke. Polly (Chalke) is a single mom whose been divorced for a year. The change in her circumstances, combined with the current economy forces her to take her daughter Natalie (Rachel Eggleston) and move back in with her eccentric parents Elaine (Elizabeth Perkins) and Max (Brad Garrett). Polly and her parents are totally different in surprising ways. Polly is too uptight; her parents are too laid back. Polly is ultra-conservative when it comes to sex; her parents are still sexually adventurous. But with some help from her friends, including her best friend Gregg (Orlando Jones), her ex-husband Julian (Jon Dore) and her assistant Jenn (Rebecca Delgado Smith) Polly sets out to get a life, starting with a social life.

When Tony Shea (J.K. Simmons) has a heart attack he’s forced to turn over the keys to he beloved handyman business to his son Jack (Kyle Bornheimer). That’s the starting point for The Family Tools. The problem (of course) is that while Jack is enthusiastic and determined to make his father proud, his past career efforts have been less than successful. Needless to say, everyone expects him to fail, including his father’s rebellious troublemaking assistant Darren (Edi Gathegi) and Darren’s flirtatious sister Liz (Danielle Nicollet) who works at the local hardware store. In Jack’s corner are his Aunt Terry (Leah Remini) and his oddball cousin Mason (Johnny Pemberton).

ABC has some problems which they need to address. Some of them are fairly obvious. Their hold on the third hour of Sunday night has been tenuous since they folded Brothers And Sisters, with Pan Am, GCB both dying in the time slot. The first hour of Thursday night has been a problem even longer; the last time they had a show last even a full season in the timeslot was…well actually I’m not sure when they had a show run more than a season in that timeslot. In the past three years the time was held by Flash Forward, The Deep End, My Generation, Charlie’s Angels, and Missing. This past cycle of Dancing With The Stars has seen some erosion in the ratings thanks to going up against The Voice. Then too, some of their existing shows are aging, so while things are not as dire for ABC as they are for NBC, I think they do have concerns.

Looking at the new shows that ABC is bringing out, I’m not sure that they’ve really got a handle on their problems. Last Resort looks like it has a lot of action – at least in what I suspect will be the pilot – but while the pilot is vaguely reminiscent of the theatrical thriller Crimson Tide (with Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington) the description of what comes after feels like a mix of Jericho and Lost. I’m not sure what the audience wants in the Thursday timeslot but I don’t think it’s this. And sad to say I think  As to Sunday night, I like the idea of moving Revenge to the old Desperate Housewives timeslot although I might have put it in the third hour instead. The problem for me is 666 Park Avenue. It appears to have a good cast but we’ve seen shows with this sort of supernatural aspect come and go quite rapidly in the past. It’s a risk and I’m not sure it’s one that will pay off for the network. Moving Revenge to Sunday night opens up the third hour of Wednesday night, and I think that the female oriented Nashville is going to do fine there.

I’ve got a mixed opinion on ABC’s comedies. I like the idea that they’re going to program scripted shows on Friday, vaguely reminiscent of the old TGIF shows although aimed at an older audience. I was a big fan of Reba McIntyre’s WB series – the lady has a talent for comedy – and Malibu Country sounds good to me. The Tuesday comedy Neighbors on the other hand seems just plain dumb, and reminiscent of that other great comedy success (sarcasm most assuredly on) Cavemen. People with a modicum of taste should sink this one. The Family Tools is another show which seems weak to me. I don’t thinks it will be as bad as Neighbors has the potential to be and it’s certainly not as offensive as Work It was but the description is hardly attractive. On the other hand How To Live With Your Parents (For The Rest Of Your Life) does sound like a show with potential even if the “conservative daughter-liberal parents” thing is a bit old hat.

Finally, looking at the mid-season dramas I expect the Anthony Edwards series Zero Hour will replace Last Resort when that show falls and – despite the obvious rip-off of The DaVinci Code – I don’t think either Last Resort or Zero Hour will be renewed this time next year. Finally there’s Red Widow. I’m not really sure where this one is going to fit for the network. Is it Revenge set amongst Russian mobsters instead of rich people in the Hamptons, or are they trying to make the sort of hard hitting violent show that other networks are pushing? Whatever the case I’m not seeing it work on a network that tends toward the “light and airy.”

I applaud the efforts that ABC is making to shore up their line-up before things get significantly worse. If NBC back in the day had taken that attitude a few years ago we might not be seeing the collapse of that network and their seeming inability to get any traction when it comes to rebuilding. I’m just not certain that all of the moves that ABC is making are going to be successful. On the other hand enough of them are going to work that it won’t be a disaster.

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