Monday, May 14, 2007

NBC's Fall 2007

Here's what NBC has done with its schedule. Bear in mind that what you see here might bear little if any resemblance to what actually airs in September, and probably no resemblance to what's on in January 2008. Or even by the end of this May.

Andy Barker PI, The Black Donnellys, Kidnapped, Crossing Jordan, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Megan Mullally Show, Thank God You're Here, 20 Good Years, Grease: You're the One That I Want, Identity, Raines, Real Wedding Crashers

30 Rock, Football Night in America, Sunday Night Football, Las Vegas, ER, Heroes, Law & Order: SVU, My Name Is Earl

Law & Order, Medium, Scrubs, Friday Night Lights

Lipstick Jungle, Bionic Woman, Chuck, Life, Journeyman

Also, no time has been listed for the next season of The Apprentice. Law & Order: Criminal Intent will air on USA with NBC retaining the right to air the show on the broadcast network. A third series, World Moves has been announced as a mid season replacement as has a new comedy, The IT Crowd. Finally Jerry Seinfeld will be presenting some "minisodes" inspired by his work on his new animated movie with Dreamworks Bee Movie which will be airing in the Fall.

Complete Schedule: (New shows in Capitals, all times Eastern)


8:00-9:00 p.m. Deal Or No Deal
9:00-10:00 p.m. Heroes/HEROES ORIGINS
10:00-11:00 p.m. JOURNEYMAN

8:00-9:00 p.m. Biggest Loser
9:00-10:00 p.m. CHUCK
10:00-11:00 p.m. Law & Order: SVU

8:00-9:00 p.m. Deal Or No Deal
9:00-10:00 p.m. BIONIC WOMAN
10:00-11:00 p.m. LIFE

8:00-8:30 p.m. My Name Is Earl
8:30-9:00 p.m. The Office
9:00- 9:30 p.m. 30 Rock
9:30-10:00 p.m. Scrubs
10:00-11:00 p.m. ER

8:00-9:00 p.m. 1 vs. 100/THE SINGING BEE
9:00-10:00 p.m. Las Vegas
10:00-11:00 p.m. Friday Night Lights (Moved)

8:00-9:00 p.m. Dateline NBC
9:00-11:00 p.m. Drama Series Encores

Sunday (Starting in January after the end of Football)
7:00-8:00 p.m. Dateline NBC
8:00-9:00 p.m. Law & Order (Moved)
9:00-10:00 p.m. Medium (Moved)
10:00-11:00 p.m. LIPSTICK JUNGLE

Heroes Origins is a six episode spin-off of Heroes which will apparently air in during the show's hiatus. The show will introduce a new Hero each week with a fan vote choosing one to become a series regular in the third season.

Journeyman is described as "romantic mystery drama series in which San Francisco journalist and family man Dan Vasser (Kevin McKidd) starts inexplicably travelling through time changing people's lives. His disappearances in the present time cause problems for him at work and at home, particularly when he reconnects with his former girlfriend. Moon Bloodgood, Gretchen Egolf, Reed Diamond and Charles Henry Wyson also star.

Chuck is a "comedy spy thriller" about computer geek Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi) who becomes the government's most important agent after an email subliminally downloads a server full of sensitive information into his head. Assigned to protect him is Major John Casey (Adam Baldwin) of the NSA while his partner – and first date in years – is top CIA agent Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strzechowski). Also stars Joshua Gomez and Sarah Lancaster.

The Bionic Woman is a remake of the classic show from the mid-1970's. Instead of being a star tennis player who becomes a teacher and secret agent after a skydiving accident with her astronaut boyfriend, in this version Jaime Summers (British actress Michelle Ryan) is a struggling bartender raising her younger sister on her own. She's severely injured in a car wreck. They can of course rebuild her, but it comes at a cost. Also stars Miguel Ferrer, Mae Whitman, Chris Bowers, Will Yun Lee, and Molly Price.

In Life detective Charlie Case (Damien Lewis) returns to the police force after having served time in prison for a crime he did not commit. Also stars Melissa Sagemiller as his lawyer, Sarah Shahi as his sceptical and demanding partner, Robin Weigart as his boss, and Adam Arkin as his former cell mate.

The Singing Bee is a "variety competition" show in which contestants have to accurately sing the lyrics to a popular songs, even when the band stops playing. According to the NBC press release "Family-friendly, broad in appeal and conducive to playing (and singing) along at home, The Singing Bee features popular, recognizable music that inspires hilarious wrong answers and amazing performances by those rare contestants who somehow manage to get every word right.

The Lipstick Jungle is a dramedy that features three driven career women – Kim Raver, Brooke Shields, and Lindsay Price – weathering the ups and downs of life "at the top of their game," balancing career and personal life (or in some cases not). Based on the novel by Candace Bushnell, but written by executive producers DeAnn Heline and Eileen Heisler.

The IT Crowd is an Americanized version of the hit British show about the guys in the basement who keep the office running by making sure the computers are operating despite the people using them. Roy (Joel McHale) and Moss (Richard Ayoade, from the British series) are the guys in the IT department whose social skills are just adequate to allow them to bond with each other but don't extend much beyond that. Denholm (Rocky Carroll) is the boss who wants to keep it that way.

World Moves comes from producer Randy Jackson (from American Idol). The NBC Press release explains it best: "Thousands of dance teams from around the world will audition for their shot to come to Los Angeles and compete for a global championship and an international touring contract. The live television event features young teams of five to seven members demonstrating their athleticism, creativity and innovative choreography in a presentation that highlights both the competition and the personal drama unfolding within each team. Viewers from across the globe will vote via the Internet, by text message, or by phone to eliminate one team each week. Ultimately, it's not just about winning a competition; World Moves involves stories that change lives and bring the world together."

Heroes Origins seems like an innovative move for NBC. The move effectively gives Heroes a 30 week run, eliminating the difficult hiatus period which has been disastrous for a number of series that are regarded by the networks as not repeating well (see Lost, Jericho) as well as setting up potential characters for a future season.

Journeyman sounds like one of those ideas doomed to be low rated. Reminiscent in some ways of Quantum Leap mixed with a bit of Early Edition (and it probably won't get into the various implications of time travel on changing established events yada yada yada). It could become something of a cult hit but I don't see it drawing a big audience if it's up against CSI: Miami.

Since I'm in the rut of comparing things to stuff Chuck has touches of Scarecrow & Mrs. King (the accidental secret agent) and the Keannu Reeves movie Johnny Mnemonic (a guy downloads computer data into his brain), and maybe just a touch of Now and Again. It's always good to see Adam Baldwin who can be a very funny guy playing things straight. It is still a question of whether an audience will accept a concept like this. I'm betting it won't though it might work better an hour earlier.

No need to drag out comparisons for The Bionic Woman – it's an updated version of the '70s classic. This isn't necessarily a bad thing if the approach is (as it sounds) similar to the approach that was taken to the update of Battlestar Galactica, a harder edged approach to what was, in the end, pretty campy material. If CBS retains Criminal Minds in this time slot could face an uphill battle, particularly once Lost returns on ABC.

Life has an interesting concept, but hey I liked Blind Justice and to be honest this sounds sort of like that show with prison replacing blindness. Damian Lewis, who starred in Band of Brothers, is a solid and watchable actor, and the character seems to be surrounded by strong women. Could do well depending on what ABC puts in the time slot now that they've announced that Lost will be moving back to the second hour.

The Singing Bee. What can I say about this? Karaoke when power goes off? Dancing With the Stars with singers but no stars? The concept at least sounds better than Identity or even Deal or No Deal. I guess it could be a big hit or a big bomb. What it is proof of is NBC's decision (realistic or stupid – I come down on the side of stupid) to abandon the use of scripted programming in the first hour of their nightly schedule.

The Lipstick Jungle: Wow, a concept from Candace Bushnell based on high powered women living in New York City. Where have I heard that one before?

The IT Crowd has the potential to go a long way if the producers are wise enough to handle the show like The Office and go in their own direction from the British concept. If they slavishly try to replicate things exactly NBC could end up with another Coupling.

World Moves sounds exceptionally ambitious. I suppose a cynical outsider (like maybe me) would ask whether an American audience is ready to embrace a "reality competition" show where the talent is not only drawn from outside the United States but where they aren't the sole arbiters of who is the best and in fact may be outvoted by people who live outside the area bounded by the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the 49th Parallel and the Rio Grande. This show could be amazing or – in the United States at least – it could be a huge dud.

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