Tuesday, May 13, 2008

ABC upfront, take one

Between the number of shows picked up months ago, the minimum of new shows on the schedule (most of ABC's shows in development haven't shot pilots yet) and all the leaked news about stuff like the "Scrubs" move, not a big Wow factor to the ABC schedule announcement. Thoughts and breakdown coming right up...

I'll have the full fall schedule at the end, but the highlights, such as they are:
  • "Scrubs," as we all knew, is moving to ABC, but won't be on the schedule until sometime in mid-season.
  • "Boston Legal" comes back for a final season (looks like only 13 episodes); Steve MacPherson didn't say anything about cast changes.
  • "Boston Legal" returning was part of the deal to pick up the "Life on Mars" remake (pictured above), since David E. Kelley was attached to produce at one point; he reportedly gave up his stake in the show in exchange for his other show coming back. The "October Road" producers will be running "Life on Mars" now; it gets the network's best timeslot (sort of; expectations are obviously much higher) after "Grey's Anatomy."
  • Only other new show on the fall schedule is an Ashton Kutcher-produced game show, "Opportunity Knocks."
  • "Eli Stone" comes back but doesn't get the traditional Monday at 10 timeslot that ABC generally gives to low-rated dramas it unexpectedly renewed. That goes to "Boston Legal," while "Eli Stone" goes to Tuesdays at 10.
  • The Wednesday lineup -- "Pushing Daisies," "Private Practice," "Dirty Sexy Money" -- not seen since the strike, returns intact.
  • "Lost" back at midseason, with an extra episode to make up for one of the ones lost by the strike.
  • "According to Jim," somehow still not dead. Why?!?!??!?!!?!?!?!
Fall schedule, night by night:
DAY TIME SERIES

MONDAY: 8:00 p.m. “Dancing with the Stars”
9:30 p.m. “Samantha Who?”
10:00 p.m. “Boston Legal”

TUESDAY: 8:00 p.m. “Opportunity Knocks”
9:00 p.m. “Dancing with the Stars the Results Show”
10:00 p.m. “Eli Stone”

WEDNESDAY: 8:00 p.m. “Pushing Daisies”
9:00 p.m. “Private Practice”
10:00 p.m. “Dirty Sexy Money”

THURSDAY: 8:00 p.m. “Ugly Betty”
9:00 p.m. “Grey’s Anatomy”
10:00 p.m. “Life on Mars”

FRIDAY: 8:00 p.m. “Wife Swap”
9:00 p.m. “Supernanny”
10:00 p.m. “20/20”

SATURDAY: 8:00 p.m. “Saturday Night College Football”

SUNDAY: 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”

Fire away with any questions.

49 comments:

Chanie said...

Did they say anything about Miss Guided? Even as a mid-season replacement? It was a really fun show.

Alan Sepinwall said...

No Miss Guided in the release, even on the list of returning shows for mid-season, so I'm assuming it's done.

Nicole said...

I don't have high hopes for the new Life of Mars because I love the original and I don't think anyone can replace Philip Glenister as Gene Hunt.

It may work for those who haven't seen the original, but I'm not expecting this to turn out like the Office. It is good that David E. Kelley is no longer producing because the last thing a time-travelling and/or cop in a coma needs are dancing babies.

Also, it looks like the clothes don't fit on the people in the picture. Part of the fun of the original show was that there was an element of cool nostalgia mixed in with the politically incorrect times. Those guys (and especially the woman with the ill-fitting pants) look like they put on their parents clothes for kicks.

Amy said...

What night will Scrubs be on?

Not that it matters, I don't know if I can bear to continue to live in a world where Aliens in America is cancelled and According to Jim lives.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Colm Meaney, in the Gene Hunt role, is the only reason I have any optimism at all for the remake, as he is one of the few actors I can imagine living up to what Glenister did in the original.

zodin2008 said...

Nicole,

While I wholeheartedly agree with you on tyhe brilliance and hilarity of Philip Glenister's memorable performance on the BBC version of "Mars", Colm Meany was the ONE hire for the Gene Hunt role that I had thought about in advance as the perfect actor that could pull it off.

You may or may not have been a loyal "Deep Space Nine" viewer like I was for 7 years, but 'Chief O'Brien' was one of the great characters on that terrific series, and Meany is a terrific actor. He's a perfect pick for the part.

I know nothing of the lead on this show so I am more skeptical to him as Sam Tyler.

I assumed "Miss Guided" wouldn't be back but I hope Chris Parnell continues to find more work as Dr. Leo Spaceman" on "30 Rock" and other roles. He's hysterical.

kathy said...

Somehow the news that the producers of "October Road" are being entrusted with "Life On Mars" doesn't fill me with confidence.

Anonymous said...

So was it Kelley that wanted out of Mars or ABC that wanted him out? And Nikki Finke was reporting at one point that the show was being retooled with everyone but Jason O'Mara getting recast. Is that no longer the case?

Btw...if ABC is still filming a bunch of stuff this summer for potential midseason bows, how much do you want to bet that Scrubs ends up getting pushed aside until next summer?

Mac said...

How the heck are you going to judge a show like "Life on Mars", Alan? They send out a Kelleyized pilot screener, but what can you tell from that? Will they even air the pilot?

Meaney is great.

Laura said...

What about Notes from the Underbelly? Dead?

Kristin said...

"Wife Swap" is still on the air? Oh, Lord. Guess it's good that I have other Friday night TV to watch.

On another note, seeing that Reaper (on another website) was renewed has me very happy today.

Anonymous said...

No Womans Murder Club?

mike said...

Alan,

Regarding Scrubs, Zach Braff also confirmed yesterday the show was moving to ABC. He said something (on his myspace page) about "the true finale would air in the fall on ABC".

Fall? I'm kind of confused by his timeline, especially if they're coming to ABC in midseason as you noted.

Also, are there still a couple of episodes in the can that have not aired yet, or did NBC air everything that has been filmed?

Thanks!

Lyle said...

My theory about Scrubs -- it'll air after Samantha Who once Dancing with the Stars cuts back to 60 minutes.

jim treacher said...

Colm Meaney, in the Gene Hunt role, is the only reason I have any optimism at all for the remake, as he is one of the few actors I can imagine living up to what Glenister did in the original.

I did a double-take when I saw this picture! "Wait, they got him to do the character over here?"

Anybody who remembers Meaney in Con Air knows he can play an asshole cop. And he can bring the stuff that's inside the asshole cop, which he'll kick your ass if you remind him about. Terrific choice.

Not so sure about the main guy. He's Irish too, right? All these Irish guys playing Americans...

Nicole said...

I preferred DS9 to all new Trek and so I know Colm Meaney is good, but I just don't trust the US production to capture the spirit of the original.

Glenister as Gene Hunt is iconic and you can't replicate that. This version will be like Synthehol.

Andrew said...

I notice that no mention was made of Cupid. Can we therefore assume that these announcements are far from all-encompassing?

Alan Sepinwall said...

I notice that no mention was made of Cupid. Can we therefore assume that these announcements are far from all-encompassing?

As I said near the top, the strike pushed back development so far that the contenders (including Cupid) haven't even shot pilots yet, and won't be considered for anything earlier than mid-season.

Life on Mars was actually developed a year ago, which is why they have a pilot for it and feel comfortable putting it on the fall schedule.

Alan Sepinwall said...

How the heck are you going to judge a show like "Life on Mars", Alan? They send out a Kelleyized pilot screener, but what can you tell from that? Will they even air the pilot?

MacPherson said they're going to reshoot parts of it, and there may be some recasting in the supporting roles. So the version that airs on ABC in the fall will be a hybrid of Kelley and Team October Road.

Rachel said...

I'm glad they left Brothers & Sisters on Sunday nights. That show has really grown on me, and I enjoy watching it last thing before the weekend is over.

Besides Lost, nothing else on the ABC schedule excites me, though I would like Grey's to bounce back.

Alan -- did you happen to watch last night's Bones? (Sorry to be OT.)

Alan Sepinwall said...

Not yet. Perhaps I'll Hulu it in between writing up ABC and waiting for official word on the CW.

Matt said...

I'd like Brothers and Sisters more if they weren't already heading toward a retread of the exact same plotline that occupied most of the first season. And while the Life on Mars slot is ABC's best slot in terms of leadin, it doesn't seem terribly compatible with the rest of what's a female-driven night.

Mo Ryan said...

one day someone will do a story on why According to Jim is the Show That Cannot Be Killed. Why oh why is it so damn unkillable? I know that the studio and network are owned by the same company and it's a reliable hole-plugger in ABC's schedule, but there must be more to it than that. Maybe. If only I had the mental energy to devote more than 3 seconds' thought to this miserable "comedy."

Ed said...

I watched “Life on Mars” religiously on BBCA, but I think it's DOA in the US, especially following chick shows.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I wasn't present for the ABC press conference. They had a conference call set up for people who wanted to listen in, but my friend Joe Adalian was there, and he says that after the official presser ended, MacPherson told several reporters that he thought "Scrubs" might actually have a life beyond this next season.

Rachel said...

Just curious to see your reaction -- Bones has really hit it's stride, I think. I don't watch Idol, but I guess a couple former contestants were guest stars last night.

Matt-I'm also worried that they'll be heading down the same path. And I worry that they'll be able to keep the Robert & Kitty storyline interesting now that he's out of the race and they are looking to adopt. Mostly I'm just a sucker for the big group scenes and all the gossip-spreading that goes on. Also, Sally Field is great.

I was thinking of Netflixing Life on Mars this summer. I assume you all would recommend it?

p.s. Mo -- if you see this, I am LOVING Cranford.

Kensington said...

Mo Ryan: "one day someone will do a story on why According to Jim is the Show That Cannot Be Killed. Why oh why is it so damn unkillable?"

I think that Jim Belushi is a Highlander; norhing short of beheading is going to finish this thing off.

Kensington said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alan Sepinwall said...

Guys, that's enough Bones talk here. Save it for if/when I have actually seen the episode and do a separate post on it.

Tom said...

If you want to see Colin Meaney as an asshole cop, check out the Irish film "Intermission." His scenes with Colin Farrell (as a skinhead hooligan) are priceless.

Beyond that...The "October Road" crew running "Life on Mars"? WTF?!?! Why not just give it to Shonda Rhimes and be done with it?

Anonymous said...

Boo to no Miss Guided.

jcpbmg said...

tom, don't you think that's a little harsh, after all Shonda did give us 1.5 quality seasons on Grey's and October Road didn't produce a single quality episode

Mo Ryan said...

Beyond that...The "October Road" crew running "Life on Mars"? WTF?!?! Why not just give it to Shonda Rhimes and be done with it?

Hey Tom, warn a person when you're going to cause them to do a massive spit-take, OK?

Heheh. Yeah, that's about how I feel. If anything, the October Road crew is worse for the Yank Life on Mars. Love me some Colm Meaney, but not feeling so hot about this show any more.

Cool, Rachel!

Nicole said...

Cranford - just shows how excellent Philip Glenister is as an actor... how many guys could go from Gene Hunt to a 19th century overseer and be credible in both?

Also, please don't let Shonda near Life on Mars. It has enough going against it as it is.

treved said...

Any idea what time/day Lost will be next year? Thurs @ 10pm again? I liked it earlier, personally...

Toby said...

I don't think the original "Life On Mars" is available yet from Netflix, Rachel.

Unless "Netflix" is a euphemism for acquiring it in some other manner....

PamelaJaye said...

I really haven't had time today to more than peek at the upfront list at thefutoncritic. I saw Boston Legal, and Scrubs at midseason and then I went back to whatever it was I was doing at the time (trying to feed a recalcitrant duck, trying to figure out how to install a compiler on linux, trying to figure out why one instance my backup software is permanently paused, and, oh yeah, getting to work.

I'm hoping there will *be* TV in the fall. Perhaps if SAG goes on strike, Scrubs will air sooner...

and I thought NBC did their upfronts a month ago??

Alan Sepinwall said...

Steve McPherson just said during the more formal upfront presentation that "Scrubs" will air Tuesdays at 9 at some point in mid-season, paired with the Mike Judge cartoon "The Goode Family."

Rachel said...

Toby:

Blast! You're right. I was just assuming it was available already. So no, no euphemism.

There goes that idea for the summer. I might be forced to read instead!

Taleena said...

Ditto on the Lost question. It is looking like the only show on ABC I'll be watching.

Sara Ann said...

Why aren't critics making a bigger deal about the October Road crew taking over Life on Mars? Every critic I've read HATED October Road, but so far not so much as a hick-up about them getting their hands on a translation of a well-respected Brit show. And how did it happen, anyway? Are they still under contract with ABC beyond the one (failed) show? Have they done something else that merits this confidence?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Why aren't critics making a bigger deal about the October Road crew taking over Life on Mars?

1)Because the thought of David E. Kelley running the show was even worse.

2)Because everyone assumes the show is going to stink, anyway, as the premise isn't designed for the long-term (though McPherson claims the October Road guys have figured out a way around that).

3)Because Life on Mars never reached the TV critic-approval saturation of some other BBC shows like The Office.

4)Because, for this critic anyway, while October Road was lousy, the same guys were responsible for Showtime's underrated Going to California, so they're not completely without talent.

Matthew L said...

So, regarding that photo:

I assume the second from the left is the new Sam, the woman is the new Annie, and I know Colm Meany (I like that casting, although the photo doesn't really make me feel confident - think of how Philip Glenister always looked threatening and dangerous in every photo, while Colm just looks like he's standing there.)

My question is - who is the guy on the left?

I'm not at all confident about Life On Mars as a US series, but there is an element of curiosity attached to it. If only because I want to see how they could have worked around the show's short-term premise.

Simon said...

Opportunity Knocks - is this a remake of the British programme from the 60s? Ha! You know a network's desperate if they're willing to go that far back for what is basically just the same as all the other talent shows out there...

As for the US Life on Mars - I'll probably watch the pilot but I do hope they don't let it outstay its welcome. I've a lot of respect for programme makers who are willing to finish something leaving us wanting more, rather than running it into the ground. So many brilliant shows have had their memories squandered by the later episodes. Think Friends for one...

Grunt said...

Alan,

I thought I heard somewhere that "Life" was getting a renewal but I didn't see it on the schedule nor did I hear it mentioned. Did it get cancelled months ago and I just missed the memo?

Alan Sepinwall said...

I thought I heard somewhere that "Life" was getting a renewal but I didn't see it on the schedule nor did I hear it mentioned. Did it get cancelled months ago and I just missed the memo?

No, but you missed the network. Life's an NBC show, and they picked it up for next season a few months ago.

Grunt said...

Thanks Alan, I realized after I posted it was probably NBC. Every time I tried to watch it I would switch to ABC because it FELT like an ABC show.

Sort of an unrelated question:
I notice that a lot of bubble shows I wouldn't have thought would get picked up during a regular non-strike season (Eli Stone, Life, Pushing Daisies, How I Met Your Mother, I know there are more than that) are getting pick-ups. Do you think the strike actually helped these shows?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Do you think the strike actually helped these shows?

Absolutely. Life probably would have been canceled by November if not for the strike, but NBC couldn't afford to pull the plug on any completed scripted programming, and the show got good enough towards the end that they decided to give it another shot next year.

M.A.Peel said...

Colm Meany fans should really see the film Kings, which is mostly in the Irish language with subtitles. Meany is superb in it.