Monday, February 11, 2008

Early ABC pick-ups for next season, plus other strike fallout

The strike is basically over (barring something strange in the WGA group vote tomorrow, everyone goes back to work on Wednesday), but as I mentioned in my story this morning, the networks are still trying to figure out which shows will actually make more episodes this season. The NY Times says that "24" has already been pushed back to 2009 (and that "Heroes" won't make any more episodes until fall), and while it's clear that most hits will be back for at least a few episodes in early spring (and that "Lost" will be able to make something close to a full season), it's still unclear what shows have aired their last original episode for the '07-'08 season. ("Chuck," for instance, isn't coming back until fall.)

To take some uncertainty out of the equation about the long-term future for some shows, ABC just announced fall pick-ups for a bunch of their shows: "Brothers & Sisters," “Desperate Housewives," "Dirty Sexy Money," "Grey's Anatomy," "Lost," "Private Practice," "Pushing Daisies," "Samantha Who?" and "Ugly Betty." So even though "Pushing Daisies" probably isn't coming back until fall, either, ABC can now say that they support that show and intend to continue with it once they have time to do a proper relaunch campaign (and don't have to schedule it opposite "American Idol.")

None of the shows on that list are really a surprise for renewal (maybe "Dirty Sexy Money," but even that did well enough to survive in this weird season), and the only scripted ABC show that I'm confident will be renewed but wasn't on the list is "Boston Legal," which often moves on its own schedule. (There was a brief period where it wasn't on the current fall schedule, for instance.)

My chief concern for the immediate future is "Scrubs," which had seven episodes left on the order for this final season. Bill Lawrence says in an interview with Ausiello that he can wrap up all the storylines in four episodes if he needs to, and that he'd likely get the budget to produce them for the final season DVD if NBC won't air them, and that Ben "But what about '30 Rock,' dude?" Silverman hasn't seemed very enthusiastic about giving the show a proper on-air send-off.

People have been asking questions about show status in the post linking to the strike column, but feel free to ask more here. I can't promise to know everything -- guys like Ausiello and Bill Carter are more plugged into this than I am -- but I'll do my best.

46 comments:

rukrusher said...

Do you think Shawn Ryan now gets to go back and re-edit the final episode of the Shield? He made quite a big deal over that issue when he supported the strike.

jcpbmg said...

In no world should Ausiello be compared to Bill Carter (okay, so maybe in the world of celebrity ass-kissing, but that's about it).

Alan Sepinwall said...

Do you think Shawn Ryan now gets to go back and re-edit the final episode of the Shield? He made quite a big deal over that issue when he supported the strike.

I'm sure he's already working on that. As mentioned in my story from today's paper, Shawn has had rough cuts of the last few episodes sitting in a manila envelope at his house so that, as he said a few weeks ago, "If the strike ends at 11 p.m. on a Monday, I can start editing them at 11:01." FX deliberately didn't have someone else finish the editing because they wanted Shawn to be able to do it whenever the strike ended. (And since the final season probably won't air until summer at the earliest, he'll have plenty of time to do it.)

Alan Sepinwall said...

In no world should Ausiello be compared to Bill Carter (okay, so maybe in the world of celebrity ass-kissing, but that's about it).

Michael's still much more plugged into matters of production than I am. (As he should be, since he's a full-time reporter, and I'm a critic who dabbles in the whole talking-to-people thing.) I was interviewing someone at one of the networks on Friday in anticipation of the strike ending, and he said that Ausiello's chart of what shows would be filming how many episodes was fairly accurate compared to what this exec was either planning or hearing.

isaac_spaceman said...

Is Chuck a lock for pickup? And what are the odds of FNL getting to complete one or three of the jillion unfinished storylines that it currently has going?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Chuck is basically a lock for a pick-up (and to not return until fall). I seriously doubt NBC will want more FNL episodes for this season, so the question becomes whether fans can pester Silverman as successfully as the peanut-senders pestered Les Moonves to bring back Jericho.

(And, oy, I am going to get hate mail for tomorrow's "Jericho" review column.)

Alan Sepinwall said...

Chuck is basically a lock for a pick-up (and to not return until fall). I seriously doubt NBC will want more FNL episodes for this season, so the question becomes whether fans can pester Silverman as successfully as the peanut-senders pestered Les Moonves to bring back Jericho.

(And, oy, I am going to get hate mail for tomorrow's "Jericho" review column.)

velvetcannibal said...

Thanks for the update. What I want to know is how this affects the final season of Battlestar Galactica. You have any info on that?

rukrusher said...

Summer at the earliest, wow, I thought they were doing another March start. I was all set to roll from the Wire into the Shield. Why the wait?

P.S. Of course maybe if I just go read the paper. . . . .

Alan Sepinwall said...

Thanks for the update. What I want to know is how this affects the final season of Battlestar Galactica. You have any info on that?

Galactica's back on April 4. I think they're going to air 10 episodes in that batch, and then it's unclear when the final 10 will end (either the fall or early '09).

Alan Sepinwall said...

Summer at the earliest, wow, I thought they were doing another March start. I was all set to roll from the Wire into the Shield. Why the wait?

They want to bring back Dirt and The Riches first, as well as give The Shield a fairly wide-open field to go out in style.

They may change their minds now that the strike is ending and Shawn can start putting his special touch on the final episodes, but when I talked to the FX guys a few weeks ago, it sure sounded like they had summer in mind.

chris w said...

As much as I like/love other shows, my main concern is that Lost gets a chance to make as many episodes they can for this season. From all I've read, it sounds like they'll make at least 6 more which is good news.

One thing that struck me is Ben Silverman's pestering the Radar reporter about watching 30 Rock. Despite saying how it's the greatest show on TV (this second season has left me a little cold I must say), was I the only one getting the impression that he was really saying, "I know all you critics and fans say 30 Rock is the best comedy on TV right now, but you better start watching it....or else!"

Alan Sepinwall said...

was I the only one getting the impression that he was really saying, "I know all you critics and fans say 30 Rock is the best comedy on TV right now, but you better start watching it....or else!"

The sense I get from it is that Silverman's message is, "Stop asking me about low-rated boutique drama because I'm going to make low-rated boutique comedy my charity case."

Donny said...

Any word on HBO shows like Big Love and Entourage? Are their writers part of the WGA and thus affected by this strike? Thanks.

Dark Tyler said...

Entourage's writers are, rather strangely, very much part of the WGA.

Big Love's also, although not as strangely.

Jim said...

So the same guy that wants to kill of FNL is also cutting Scrubs short?

I don't think I much care for this "Silverman" guy. (Wasn't that the name of the NBC exec back in the seventies that Saturday Night Live used to pick on? Are they related?)

mjryan said...

I read on Ausiello's list that Life won't return until fall. Is it a safe bet that it will return or has the linger strike changed their mind? I hope not. It was my favorite new show, by far.

dez said...

And, oy, I am going to get hate mail for tomorrow's "Jericho" review column.

Why you gotta hate, Alan? ;-)

jim treacher said...

So if ABC doesn't allow Lost to produce all 8 episodes remaining in the season, which snack food should the fans inundate them with? I'd say Apollo Bars, but they don't really exist...

Cassie said...

If Lost has to condense the rest of the season down a little bit, that doesn't bother me. Faster storytelling is usually to the show's benefit.

lunatic96 said...

What's the deal with the USA detective shows, Psych & Monk? I assume they're coming back, but they have such screwy airing schedules that I don't know if they still have more episodes, or if they're all out.

Donny said...

I think the condensing of 'Lost' is only from 16 down to 13 episodes. I agree with the theory that a faster paced Lost is a better Lost. Just wanted to clear up that they will in fact be producing the full 8 episodes they have done....as well as potentially 5 more....from what I've heard/read.

Steve said...

Is "Life" in the same boat as "Chuck" with no new episodes this year but returning in the fall?

treved said...

any hope for journeyman, or should i just give up on that dream? ;)

jim treacher said...

Yeah, they've already got the first 8 episodes of Lost done, I thought.

chris w said...

This is extremely off-topic but since this seems to be a general catch-all thread I'm going to go ahead and throw it out there.

I recently discovered a show I missed in 2004 called Century City that aired on CBS for 4 episodes and then was canned (they made 9 episodes). I read about it on Entertainment Weekly.com in a feature of shows that were cancelled that people want back. It sounded interesting and I found *a-hem* alternative means of getting the episodes.
The show was a legal drama set in...THE FUTURE! It dealt with ethical stuff we're only beginning to talk about now (cloning, nanotech, microchip tracers in kids, etc.).
I was curious if you reviewed it or what you thought of it. The legal stories were pretty dramatic and engaging although some of the drama surrounding the characters was sappy and forced.

xtina said...

Is there any news about season 2 of Flight of the Conchords?

Mo Ryan said...

Kooky trivia -- David Shore, creator of House, wrote for Century City.

It scares me that I know that. Only reason I remember it is because I interviewed Shore around that time for a story on sci-fi flavored TV.

I think I watched it but don't remember a thing.

Hope I'm not overstepping, but to answer a question - Psych and Monk have one or two episodes each from their 'winter seasons' or whatever USA calls it. Then they return in the summer. And Journeyman is dead.

I heard one campaign to save FNL involves sending lightbulbs. Doesn't GE have enough of those? Yeesh. Love the enthusiasm, but there's got to be something a bit safer, less breakable and more, uh, small to send.

Mo Ryan said...

As for HBO shows, there's no scheduling news on any of them. They've got John Adams coming up in March, that's all they'll confirm as far as dates.

Feel free to delete this if you'd rather I didn't answer these questions, alan.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why NBC and these other networks wouldn't relaunch the majority of their shows. I can understand something like heroes which needs the fx, but I think it is more harmful to not bring back these other shows. It is one thing for fans of a HBO or even the fx shows to wait longer for episodes, different type of viewer, I just don't think it will work with a show like Chuck or Pushing Dasies. The shows will have lost their momentum and I just don't see how they will attract new viewers. I don't particularly care for any of these new shows it just sucks for the people that do.

Also this Silverman guy sounds like a real jerkoff. I've never really watched Scrubs, but to let a long running series just end without a finale is bush-league. He doesn't deserve to be associated with FNL.

And as for the mention of the John Admas series, boy does that look good. I have always sided more to Jefferson/Madison in terms of political thought and never found Adams all that interesting. The preview for the series looks wonderful though.

Art Fleming said...

Okay just another thing about cable shows: Do you know anything aboud true blood, 12 Miles of Bad Road or The United States of Tara?

The Office is probably gonna air a few episodes this spring?

jcpbmg said...

The Office is probably gonna air a few episodes this spring?

Of course, if there's one thing we can count on from Silverman, it's ensuring his production company always has work.

I seriously hope Silverman goes the way of Ovitz, how awesome would that be.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Mo, feel free to answer as many questions as you want. Less work for me! :)

Alan Sepinwall said...

Chris, the only thing I remember about "Century City" is that the first episode featured the line "Give me back my nano pants!," which a bunch of snarky TV critics (myself included) began tossing around as a catchphrase at that winter's press tour.

LoopyChew said...

Oh God, I hope HIMYM gets to show the 30th birthday goat. They'd better show us the 30th birthday goat! HEAR THAT, THOMAS AND BAYS? WE WANT THAT GOAT!

Taleena said...

I have heard, correct me if I am wrong Alan, that with HBO's True Blood Alan Ball has a few episodes in the can but was waiting to move forward with the project until the writer's strike ended because he wasn't going to put out a partial season. Here's hoping that we get it this spring.

LA said...

Instead of lightbulbs, I think FNL fans should send those little bottles of Clear Eyes eyedrops.

Mo Ryan said...

Only two episodes of True Blood were shot. The rest have yet to be filmed. And HBO likes to film a complete season of any show before deciding where to schedule it.

My guess is -- and this is only a guess -- is that the series to come after John Adams might be 12 Miles of Bad Road. At least half that show's season is in the can, so if they get back up and running soon, they could slot that in and get a lot of hype for it in April or so, when new network shows will still just be trickling back on to the schedule.

So, no dates for 12 Miles and True Blood, and also for these shows: “Big Love”; “Curb Your Enthusiasm”; “Entourage”; “Flight of the Conchords”; “Tell Me You Love Me.”

Mo Ryan said...

As for United States of Tara-- It's not on Showtime's schedule any time soon. I wouldn't expect it in the next several months, at least.

I wonder if it's a good idea for Lost to compress what would have been an 16 episode season down to 13 eps. I know the show can be deadly when nothing's going on, but it seems like they really have a plan now and I like the new characters and I wouldn't want them to have to go too fast...

Eye drops -- excellent idea for a FNL campaign.

Pamela Jaye said...

>I don't think I much care for this "Silverman" guy. (Wasn't that the name of the NBC exec back in the seventies that Saturday Night Live used to pick on? Are they related?)

Fred Silverman, ABC, late 70's? I believe he was responsible for Donny & Marie and possibly also Charlie's Angels, but don't quote me on either (and don't laugh, I'm still a fan of Donny, and Marie's okay)

I think all the other TV critics should come over and join in the comments. It's probably sad that I know more of what a NJ critic likes than the local TampaBay guys, or Boston critics. (great marketing ploy Alan. Even if I still don't comment over at your paper (it's a pain to try to remember whether I've already signed up or not. I do read them though - if I'm interested in whichever show you are covering.)

the TV Guide "chart" has updated to include ER (since yesterday) but I still want Scrubs finale and I have read the interview with Bill Lawrence and posted at both TVGuide.com and NBC.com (sent in a comment) to that effect.

I can only wonder what Shonda's doing with herself for two days with no writers and no post-production to finish... (checked greyswriters. no updates there. found someone on the Grey's message board who I knew from United Hollywood Live "chat interface" where a bunch of us hung out yesterday, despite there being no show.)

Pamela Jaye said...

oh and I thought the Silverman thing was a parody. it was that stupid. but apparently it's not?

Pamela Jaye said...

I saw a bit of one ep of Century City (and *also* recently read that David Shore had a part in it). I think it had to do with a hockey player. It might have aired on Saturday nights (I was at a friend's house, doing other things, and someone was watching it) and perhaps one of the sons from Home Improvement was one of the clients.

(I wish I could find season 3 of Once & Again, thru other means. or any means at all. I have homemade VHS with one episode totally missing, and ABC/whoever still isn't releasing them)

Brown Sound said...

peanuts???
eyedrops???
I don't get it

jim treacher said...

Century City starred Kristen Lehmann, which was nice, and Eric Schaeffer, which was not as nice. Also Nestor Carbonell, Ioan Griffudd, and Hector Elizondo. I remember the first episode was about a "boy band" made up of a bunch of 70-year-olds, all of whom had undergone repeated rejuvenation procedures to keep them looking 23. Except for one guy, who wanted to age naturally. So naturally, the other guys in the band sued him for messing with their meal ticket. The only line of dialogue I really remember was the leader of the band talking about how great the rejuvenation process was: "I saw Mick Jagger in Boston last year. He looks great!" The idea of Mick still touring and partying at 95 was funny and depressing at the same time. Oh, and Anthony Zerbe played the old guy.

Anyway, interesting idea for a show. They only aired 3-4 episodes, I think.

special k said...

Brown Sound, eye drops refers to the "Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, CAN'T LOSE!" motto of the Dylan Panthers.

I like that idea. Over on TWoP some are trying to organize funding to send in footballs... I'll do whatever it takes to try and get FNL back! (Read more about efforts to save the show here: http://blogs.usatoday.com/popcandy/2008/02/how-can-we-save.html)

dez said...

^If you want them to see how serious you are, you should send in beef hearts ;-)