Monday, May 04, 2009

NBC announces (some) pick-ups for fall; 'Southland,' 'Parks and Recreation' and 'Heroes' renewed, 'Chuck' and 'Law & Order' in limbo

NBC's "infront" press release is out, and as many predicted, it contains neither a fall schedule, nor news on several bubble shows, including "Law & Order," "My Name Is Earl" and... "Chuck." Looks like we won't know for another two weeks, when NBC gives it another go during the traditional Upfront Week. Click on the link above for all the details at NJ.com

I'm heading into Manhattan in a bit for the press conference, but I don't expect to get a lot more out of these people.

75 comments:

Anthony Strand said...

ARGH!

So, let me get this straight - two new hospital dramas, a definite pick-up for Heroes, five hours a week of Jay Leno, and still no word on Chuck?

NBC is starting to sound like the worst network of all time.

I was a Law & Order fan for a lot of years, but when it comes down to a third season of Chuck or a 20th(!) season of Law & Order, I'd rather have the former anytime.

Pale Writer said...

So....Day One is Jericho, right?

David said...

Alan, Any chance you'll ask about Chuck at the news conference?

John said...

Two hospital dramas? How many are people going to watch. 3 hours of couch talks shows every night? Just keep doing the same thing NBC, that's what everyone wants. How about another cop show or an SNL spinoff?

dez said...

the addition of six new episodes of "Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday" skewering today's top stories in live half-hour primetime shows.
What on earth for? They can't even touch "The Daily Show" for this kind of comedy. Heck, they can't even sustain Weekend Update in the regular show some Saturdays! Bring back "Chuck"!

7s Tim said...

I don't know much about the show "Mercy" other than it sounds like Grey's Anatomy with nurses, but i got to hang out and watch some of the pilot being filmed, and it was a blast, so i was hoping it would get picked up just to watch that episode.

as for chuck, i am using the age old technique of just convicing m yself it will be back, in the hopes it convinces the execs at NBC too...

Alan Sepinwall said...

Alan, Any chance you'll ask about Chuck at the news conference?

Of course I will. But they won't say anything of value. They're waiting until May 19.

Adam said...

Remember when Erika Christensen had a movie career?

Anonymous said...

I lose hope more every day. I just can't believe this network would renew a turn like Heroes, who's ratings are in the toilet, and cancel Chuck, a show with more promise than almost anything on TV.

-DamnYankees

paul said...

"Trauma" sounds like a sexed up version of the old show "Emergency."

Angry Chuck Fan said...

"We are thrilled to be announcing such an awesome slate of new series that build on our existing quality brand and deliver emotional, human stories," said Ben Silverman, Co-Chairman, NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios.How dare Silverman use that word in a press conference where he doesn't announce the renewal of Chuck? If NBC doesn't renew Chuck in a few weeks when they announce the schedule, I'm going to consider that comment the equivalent of giving the finger to all Chuck fans.

Anonymous said...

Can someone please explain why they would renew Heroes but not Chuck? They get basically the same ratings, and in terms of both quality and buzz are going in opposite directions, with Heroes getting worse. Is it all about Zach Quinto or something?

-DamnYankees

Dean Winchester said...

I would have loved to sit in on the meeting when they decided to remake Jericho with the writer that ran Heroes into the ground. Real brilliant stuff from Silverman.

Any word on how long before his development shop has a new show that he can champion ad naseum?

Dean Winchester said...

I'm guessing that Silverman took a hard look at stripping Parks and Rec and Dateline and programming the remaining 30 hours a day of primetime with winter Olympic teaser pieces.

Scheduling in 30 seconds or less.

Stephanie said...

Argh! I can't believe we have to wait another two weeks to hear. I have to admit to being discouraged by this lack of news, and while I'm keeping my fingers crossed for renewal, I'm getting myself ready for disappointment. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

*sigh*

DonBoy said...

So, let me get this straight - two new hospital dramasOf course not! That would be silly. One's a paramedic drama. Expect a crossover with the nurse show in which they all agree that doctors are a-holes.

Zachary said...

Come on!

As bad as the waiting was the last week, the next two weeks are going to be torture.

Off-topic: I love the background on your Twitter page Alan.

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain the point of this "in front?" If they're holding all of the important info for another two weeks then why not just do the whole thing at the regular upfronts?

Matt said...

The biggest surprise to me is the lack of a pickup for "Legally Mad," which had a pretty high-power cast and (as I recall) a put-pilot commitment.

Anonymous said...

Rumor is that NBC may announce pick-ups for Legally Mad and Dick Wolf's Lost & Found in two weeks.

Personally, I think NBC is crazy to pick up either show. David E. Kelley hasn't done anything good in years. And another wacky legal drama? Really? And Dick Wolf has yet to create a single successful show without the words Law & Order in the title.

Lyson said...

I don't like the look of this - basically dealing with everything except Chuck & L&O. I mean Chuch has to be renewed right?
Here's the only sunlight I can imagine right now - I read somewhere that the David Kelley pilot- Legally Mad - that NBC made a financial commitment to is out of WB - just like Chuck - so the sunshine view is that Chuck is renewed but is hostage to the ongoing financial discussions re the Kelley project - just a guess but otherwise this makes no sense.

Jordan said...

I'm glad Parks and Rec got picked up, it's got a lot of potential. However, I was a little disappointed with the last episode, but not for a normal reason. (I think) I saw it was written by Alan Yang, so with a combination like that, I was just waiting for some government program to be called PECOTA or them to fire someone named Joe. Blah blah blah professionalism blah blah blah no one would get it. Still would have been awesome, though.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's because I'm a pessimist, but I don't see how Chuck could even fit into this schedule. Six new series, plus five less hours of programming doesn't seem like a good equation for our friend Chuck. If it's not renewed, I wish they'd just pull the band-aid now, instead of milking the "will they or won't they" for another two weeks.

geekily said...

So, basically, we didn't learn anything today that we didn't already know. I love Chuck, but I'm quickly growing weary of all this teasing and waiting. I think we've been patient for long enough - I just wanna get this over with, regardless of if the news is good or bad.

Liz said...

I, too, am waiting and hoping to hear good news about Chuck. The rest of the NBC schedule just doesn't look promising.

On a sort-of Chuck-related note -- well, okay, having to do with ratings in general -- I just read about Sunbeam Television suing Nielsen for unlawful conduct. Does anyone think this lawsuit has a chance? http://tvbythenumbers.com/2009/04/30/nielsen-sued-for-unlawful-conduct-by-sunbeam/17802

Nancy/mizenkay said...

None of those new shows sound terribly compelling. IMO, Parks and Rec is just excruciatingly NOTfunny. I stopped watching Heroes a while ago. For me it's Chuck or nothing.

And honestly, until I hear officially about Chuck, NBC is dead to me. Or at least in a coma.

Alan, there are rumors swirling all around today via Nicke Finke and a poster at TWoP who claims to have inside info that Chuck has been renewed. But do you think the delay is due to the fact they have no idea where to put it, or, horrors, it might not come back until Jan.

If this is the case, while I will be cheering the official news of a Chuck renewal - I have to keep confident - waiting NINE MONTHS to find out the resolution of "I know Kung Fu" might just kill me. And it might just kill the show for good.

All this is speculation of course, what do you think?

Anonymous said...

Why does no one ever bring up the idea of Chuck going to another network? Is it just that completely impossible? It seems like a show that would work with Psych and Monk and Burn Notice, which I believe air on a subsidiary of NBC. Why is there such reluctance, in general, to move shows with decent but passionate audiences over to cable? It just seems so dumb to me that a show like Chuck has to choose between NBC and death, when there is so much available space for programming on cable.

-DamnYankees

Brian said...

On the bright side: at least Parks and Rec got picked up. I think we can expect that show to come into its own in season two much as The Office did in its second season.

J said...

I'm actually more outraged at the renewal of Heroes than I could ever be about the fate of Chuck. Is Jim Belushi joining the cast?

cgeye said...

So, in two years the CW will have a first season FRANK, about a wacky help desk support clerk who gets a mind-blowing email intended for an exec spying in his evil corporation for a rogue branch of the NSA?

Really, NBC? ABC's FAST FORWARD's too threatening, even though all you zombies hate to use the phrase 'science fiction' in public? Even when Syfy (ugh!) is getting away from original fiction content? Really?

This feels borderline insulting. Why not nurture the SF you've got, instead of telling a sprawling story with writers who aren't as good as LOST's?

7s Tim said...

I think NBC, given its self-imposed schedule restrictions, should more actively pursue a different seasonal model. You only have 12, maybe 15 (if you count saturday) hours to showcase new television shows? Why not have more shows with fewer episodes? Granted, this would carry some higher per episode costs (i'm guessing making two shows of 12 episodes each would cost more than just stretching one show into 22-24 episodes). But you would also have a greater diversity, and if one show fails abismally, you'd have an already in production show ready to tag in. I'd wait 9 months in between something like Chuck coming back for a lean, straight thru series quite easily, as many people learned to do through the Sopranos and the Wire and such. Cable regularly does this, to much success, and given NBC's current poor showing all around, it might be a good idea.

eac said...

I, too, was curious about the possibility of Chuck being moved to a different network. I agree that it wouldn't be out of place on USA at all.

I also just don't understand why they couldn't put it on Thursdays with The Office and 30 Rock. That way I wouldn't have to watch NBC on more than one night of the week.

7s Tim said...

Actually, in a year CW will probably revive Jake 2.0, which was the beta test version of Chuck

asphyxia said...

Is there still a time slot left for Chuck with all these new shows? Coz why bother letting us wait if NBC no longer has a time slot for Chuck?

Anonymous said...

7s Tim:

This is what ABC does with Lost, of course. And I think Fox still does it with 24, though I stopped watching a few years ago. It clearly works.

-DamnYankees

Nicole said...

I wish Alec Baldwin would be able to be his Jack Donaghy character and actually run the entertainment division at NBC because at the moment, it is being managed about as well as GM.

None of these new shows seem that original and are basically the same crap but with a slightly different name. Including Chuck, I only consistently watch 7 shows airing on NBC, CBS and ABC, 2 of which I freely admit aren't that great (Castle and Mentalist) and 2 of which are reality shows that I just can't quit (Survivor and TAR).
This is a massive drop from about 15 years ago, where it was the exception rather than the rule that I would be watching something from the "Big three". I am still in the vaunted demographic, and will be for a few more decades, so it would be nice if the networks actually tried to air something different from the game shows, reality shows and lawyer/cop/doctor shows that are overpopulating the airwaves. And 5 days of Jay Leno ain't gonna cut it.

7s Tim said...

Exactly, although 24 gets a full *ahem* 24 episodes, but they just air them in the fall. This can work, and can be creatively beneficial. That's why they should do it

Pamela Jaye said...

two things on Chuck

there's nothing to say (yet)

some people will say it anyway

Nicole said...

The UK model also has 12-13 episode runs without breaks for its series, and seeing the overall quality of their dramas and comedies, as well as what happens on cable, confirms that this is a better model for the viewer, and probably is more cost effective as well as preserves quality by requiring less filler episodes.

Anonymous said...

I would hate to see Chuck go. I do record it to watch House, but I don't want to miss it. I do think it would be a fit with Monk, Psych, etc. as another writer mentioned. Tired of hospital dramas uness quality of St. Elsewhere. Lost interest in ER and Grey's Anatomy a long time ago. Chuck is quirky enough to save.

Victor said...

The reason no one brings up the possibility of Chuck being shown on another network (The CW) is because the chances of that actually happening are extremely thin (for: Scrubs; against: Arrested Development). I think it would be more likely that NBC would do a time-share with the show (a Friday Night Lights type deal), but that said, DirecTv probably doesn't have any more cash to spare.

The one thing Chuck does have going for it is that it's very product placement friendly. That and you could really tell in the latter half of the last season the budget for the show did drop a bit. It's never going to be a cheap show to make, but if they can cut some corners, then the chances for renewal rise that little bit.

On a side note, I'm happy to hear about Community being picked up, seems like a good fit.

Pamela Jaye said...

Way too many amusing comments to comment on!

Cool that you got to see Mercy being filmed and, in the spirit of Alan, who will watch paint dry (if it's in HD) would love to hear about it - anything that you didn't have to promise not to disclose.

Chuck - I feel as if NBC is *trying* to wear us down (or out) and we should try to outlast them somehow...
In the end they choose, but...

I saw someone suggest a bunch of people with signs outside of the Today show (they could say "please" rather than "you idiots!") and I wonder - is that a good idea or will it tick them off?
I just read somewherw that at least once in past history, a whole cast was flown by abc to NY for upfronts and then told "never mind."

Jesse said...

I don't understand the reticence to mention [i]Chuck[/i] either, because from what Nikki Finke said, insiders have mentioned as recently as Friday that the pickup's already a done deal:

"Ben Silverman is sporting a scraggly mustache and beard as NBC presents its "Infront" inside Studio 8H. That's as inexplicable as the network privately telling insiders that Chuck, Medium and Law & Order are picked up -- yet not announcing it today."

http://www.deadlinehollywooddaily.com/nbc-announces-20092010-primetime-sked/

To not announce is just needless torture for the fans.

Larry said...

Chuck me! (Is it me, or is this becoming the new frak?) Does a pick-up mean each show gets at least 13 episodes? If we start adding up episodes and Leno, where does that leave the buble shows? Is there even room on the (fall) schedule?

timburns said...

No one says anything about Earl? It's only one of the funniest, most clever shows on TV. My kids even love it. Now, if I have to explain to an 11 year old and a 10 year old how they can lose Pushing Daisies and Earl in ONE season, then I might put them off TV forever! [hold it, that would a good thing, right?]

What do these networks want? A group of pre-teens who thinks network TV is for American Idol and only American Idol. Originality, cleverness...these are actually hindrances to network TV in a way unsurpassed in decades!

PS Chuck's okay. It would certainly be better than any of their dreck pilots

Carmichael Harold said...

Jesse,

From my experience reading her site, Finke's scoops have a very high noise to signal ratio. I expect that the Chuck post from last week was something that fits into the "noise" category.

Memphizmike said...

Alan I think it is time for us as chuck fans to also start looking at getting the show picked up on another network on that will give this amazingly wonderful show that attention that it craves some have already said USA would be a good fit and I agree Chuck would fit in great with shows like psych and burn notice also Life could have new life on the network too

Nerd Herd 4 life !!!!!!

Joe Cobb said...

I'm slowly beginning to hate everything about Network TV.

"Life" "Journeyman" and now maybe "Chuck"?

really... NBC just needs to close up shop.

lizvelrene said...

Don't really care about Chuck, but I'm surprised that it hasn't renewed Law & Order yet. It's actually better than it has been in years, and NOW they're on the fence?

And more importantly, WHAT ABOUT LIFE??? Nobody's even mentioning it in this article. I guess it must be gone.

dez said...

USA should pick "Chuck" up because "Monk" is airing it's final season soon and they will need a replacement. Or they can bring back "The 4400" once they have the "Monk" money freed up. But "Chuck" should have priority :-)

Anonymous said...

Is it me or does 100 Questions sound just like a variation of The Ex List from CBS last year.

That show lasted, what, two episodes? Three? Four? Come on, NBC, do better. Renew Chuck.

Chaddogg said...

Say what you will about NBC, but they're playing this perfectly in one respect -- we're all talking about their infront lineup in May, 4 months or so before it starts airing.

I tend to believe that they've decided to renew Chuck, but are prolonging the agony for public relations purposes. They realize the buzz Chuck is eliciting in the blogosphere and media, and that fans are paying attention -- to the point that we're looking at their entire lineup to figure out where Chuck fits. That's some amazing free advertising and word-of-mouth (i.e. "I really want Chuck back, but Day One sounds cool!" or "I'm done with NBC unless Chuck comes back, and i hope they bring it back because "Community" sounds funny!") about shows that have yet to air.

If they KNEW they were cancelling Chuck, they'd rip off the bandaid and end it. I suspect this is all about milking the free advertising and building buzz on new shows....and maybe trying to gain a leg up in negotiations with Warner Bros. over costs of the show...

7s Tim said...

I gotta say this for NBC, making this announcement before everyone else, and having previews already available on HULU for all the new stuff, that shows at least a little savvy.

Stringer Sawyer Carmichael said...

Alan,

I can't believe this. This has to spell doom for Chuck. With Leno's new time slot, there's only what, 10 hours of primetime slots available (2 per weekday; Sundays are out because of Sunday Night Football)? There's 4 new dramas (presumably an hour long each). Southland is back as well, so that's 5 hours taken up. Heroes makes 6, Office/30 Rock makes 7. The two new comedies makes 8. So there's 2 hours left and I haven't even begun to list the reality shows that they'll throw at us. There just isn't any time left in the schedule for these shows that they are saying are in limbo. Best case scenario is they do partial seasons as mid-season filler for cancelled shows.

Unbelievable.

Chris the TV Sage said...

I can't watch clips at work - is "Community" single- or multi-cam ?

Anonymous said...

Scheduling question -- Southland is renewed right, but they're concerned about running it with its current content any earlier than 10p ET -- Leno's weekday slot.

Why not put it at 10p ET on Sundays after football ends?

Elena said...

Can't stand the suspense. Will have to go watch the last two episodes of Chuck to get back in a good mood. Come to your senses NBC and renew Chuck!

on a side note-the WA post live discussion about TV last week had a poll (thumbs up or thumbs down) on renewal of "bubble" shows, and the only one that got a thumbs up was Chuck (with 70% saying bring it back). All the rest, meh, let it go.

Vic DiGital said...

Hey.. instead of a simple midseason pickup for Chuck, don't you think Chuck could benefit more from a series of stand-alone sort of mini-series? Say a six episode "Chuck vs the Whatever" story that has a definite beginning, middle and ending?

Something like what Heroes was trying to do, but more focused (and better executed).

Angry Chuck Fan said...

@ Chaddogg -

Although it is true that NBC's move is causing a lot of people to analyze the shows they mentioned, the only problem with this is that all these shows are rip-offs of other series, and they all sound pretty lame.

Look at all these comments - has anyone actually said anything remotely positive about any of these new shows from the press release?

Paul said...

I'm on the record elsewhere, so I may as well state it here for the first time; I don't think Heroes warranted a 4th season pickup. Creatively, they crashed and burned like few shows have this decade. The pickup of Bryan Fuller amounted to jack-sh!t in the ratings.

As for Chuck, this is nothing more than Jericho Redux, and a lose-lose for NBC, which can't buy a break or win one in an EBay auction. Here's why; renew it, and they'll have a show that limps along in the ratings, struggling to get past a 2.5 in the demo, and there'll be as much a ratings bounce next season as there was for Jericho in its fitfully ratings-challenged second season.

Cancel it, and you tick off viewers who may bail on the network altogether. I don't see NBC climbing out of 4th overall out of the 5 majors either way. Sucks to be them. Brandon Tartikoff is doing pirouettes in his grave right now at the way Ben Silverman and his cabal have so f'd over NBC, yet they continually fail upward.

Tyroc said...

Nicole,

The BBC model sounds great except that majority of the shows are crap (just like the majority of American shows.) We only get the good stuff over here so it makes it seem like it's all good. It's not.

Also, the model wouldn't work for the current syndication economics. Granted, that's quickly changing, but at the moment, its still the way studios make any money off their shows.

And my guess if Chuck goes to Saturdays.

Tyroc said...

My guess IS Chuck goes to Saturdays. Not if. Typo!

Anonymous said...

Alan - what the heck happened to Kings? It couldn't even make it on Saturdays?

marenamoo said...

Alan,

Wasn't Chucks pick-up dependent on a pick-up of David Kelley's legal drama. If they did not pick that up does that impact the WB deal for Chuck?

Matt said...

I expect they're going to wind up with something like this:

Mondays:

8--"Parenthood" (moronic, since it's apparently their strongest pilot, and that's an ultra-competitive slot)
9--"Heroes," with "Day One" scheduled between "Volumes."

Tuesdays:

8--"100 Questions"
8:30--"Biggest Loser" (90 minutes)

Wednesdays:
8--"Trauma"
9--"L&O: SVU" (likely in some sort of "minimize reruns" arrangement with L&O: original recipe).

Thursdays:
8--"30 Rock"
8:30--"Community"
9--"The Office"
9:30--"Parks and Recreation"

Fridays:
8--Disposable Reality
9--"Mercy" ("Friday Night Lights" in Spring)

Saturdays:
Disposable Reality/Repeats

Sundays (post-football):

7--Dateline NBC
8--TBD, most likely either "Legally Mad" or "Chuck."
9--"Celebrity Apprentice"
10--"Southland"

"Medium" held as a midseason utility player.

Brandy said...

So life is officially toast. Sigh. I'm not surprised. I've seen the numbers. But it was a quality show despite a sophomore slump and I wish it had been able to catch on more

Alan Sepinwall said...

My story is up at NJ.com. Feel free to keep discussing things here, or in the post directly above this one.

Anonymous said...

OMG, Ben Silverman looks like an epic D-bag with that craptastic beard.

Sonia said...

All I want to say is, PLEASE renew Chuck!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

No one is bailing on the network if Chuck gets cancelled. We'll all move on, and if any of their other shows is any good, we'll watch those, and lament them when they are gone. Let's not be to overly dramatic about the betrayal aspect here.

Heroes gets a pick up because the name has cache and the show set up a lot of cross promotion andproduct placement deals in its first season that have continued. I laugh every time the commercial comes on that says 'Want more of your favorite heroes? Text "Hero" to _____ on your v-cast phone to get updates, deleted scenes and other nonsense." THey keep advertising it like it is a hit show.

The fact of the matter is that NBC has scheduled themselves into a Catch-22. They can't generate a hit and they want to keep Leno on the network, so they give him five hours a week, which means there is less time available to develop new shows, which means they have to rely more heavily on Leno, or SNL Weekend Update specials in a non-election year. They are in a vicious cycle of suckitude. It is very Wire-esque, actually. They keep trying to cover up the same faults to keep the institution going, even though it has long since passed the point where it is functioning effectively.

Geoff said...

The worst thing for me is that I've been here before with NBC and a great show that wasn't getting off-the-chart ratings but yet was a solid performer. That show was "Boomtown", back in 2002 and when NBC canceled it, I swore I'd never watch any new NBC show ever again. I held pretty much to that promise up until they started "Chuck" and I gave it a shot. Chuck didn't make me forget about Boomtown (nothing ever can) but it did assauge my anger at NBC for a bit. Only a bit. Now, I'm back in the same frakkin' situation. If NBC cancels "Chuck" after announcing that dreadful new schedule, then...

then I guess I'll never have anything to do with NBC ever again. They'll be completely dead to me.

Craig Ranapia said...

I'm glad Parks and Rec got picked up, it's got a lot of potential. Well, I thought the whole point of development is to realise as much of that potential as possible. With all due respect, this show isn't so much half-baked as a giant lump of badly mixed dough. And the worse thing is -- it didn't have to be that way.

dez said...

I'm glad "Parks and Recreation" got picked up. I thought the last ep was their best yet. It might help that I work in government and a lot of the jokes resonate with me.

Jordan said...

My reasons might be similar to dez. During the second episode, which many people agree to be the weakest, I was calling a colleague, "Do you see this? Tom Haverford is [other colleague]."

Jennifer said...

As for Chuck, this is nothing more than Jericho Redux, and a lose-lose for NBC, which can't buy a break or win one in an EBay auction. Here's why; renew it, and they'll have a show that limps along in the ratings, struggling to get past a 2.5 in the demo, and there'll be as much a ratings bounce next season as there was for Jericho in its fitfully ratings-challenged second season.I have to say, Paul is probably right. Not a lot of shows any more go from being a ratings "meh" to a ratings hit later on.

This doesn't mean I don't want a Chuck renewal, of course. But the fact that they are dragging it on this long, and realistically if it gets renewed we'd probably get seven episodes and then cancelation, well... yeah.

Has any show in the last few years gone from "meh" ratings to a hit upon not getting canceled after the first (or later) season?