Friday, May 11, 2007

FIrst Word from the TV Net upfront presentations

Editor's Note: First out of the shoot, NBC. With a few disappointments (For ME, at any rate).

NBC Orders Five Dramas for Next Season
NBC took the first steps toward rebuilding its prime-time schedule yesterday by ordering five new hours of drama programs, which will be part of the fall schedule the network plans to announce to advertisers on Monday.

NBC may not complete its schedule until late this weekend, but executives in charge of the series that have won places on the schedule were notified yesterday.

The network has not yet made decisions on two long-running hits — “Law & Order” and its spinoff, “Criminal Intent” — but it has decided on some other series that had been considered in danger of cancellation. “Friday Night Lights,” which was among the best-reviewed shows of this season, though not a ratings success, will be renewed. So will the drama “Vegas,” which is adding Tom Selleck to its cast. Editor's Note: I like Selleck; for a Republican, he's kinda hot. But what is it with this show? Why was it EVER on, much less is it STILL on?

But NBC will cancel the dramas “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” “The Black Donnellys” and “Crossing Jordan.” Editor's Note: In order - SOBWOEWAIL, good riddance, and sniffle. (That last one is not a great show, but I've come to really enjoy the people and their interplay). It also is likely to pass up another year of the comedy “Scrubs,” which has become prohibitively expensive.

NBC will fill many of the holes with the new dramas. The network has yet to order any new comedies, though it probably will add one of three potential entries by Monday.

The drama that is certain to get the most instant recognition is “Bionic Woman,” a 21st-century remake of the 1970s series. This one stars Michelle Ryan as an accident victim remade with bionic parts who is embroiled in a secret government project, which also includes a previous bionic prototype, played by Katee Sackhoff. The series was once thought to be in trouble, but the pilot is now getting some of the strongest favorable reviews inside NBC. Editor's Note: So is Sackhoff not coming back to Battlestar, or is she going to be in both shows? (And if she has DIED in Battlestar, don't tell me. I will catch up this summer, I PROMISE).

NBC will have another science-fiction-based series in “Journeyman,” which stars Kevin McKidd (of “Rome”) as a happily married journalist in San Francisco who begins to travel back in time for reasons he cannot understand. Editor's Note: Wouldn't we be more worried if he DID understand?

A third series with sci-fi elements is “Chuck,” in which a young computer whiz, played by Zachary Levi, becomes a reluctant government agent after information from a supercomputer is downloaded into his brain. Editor's Note: Which presumes there is actually information in any government computers?

A new police drama called “Life” will star Damian Lewis, who had a lead role in HBO’s “Band of Brothers,” as a former police detective who returns to his old job after winning a huge cash settlement for a wrongful conviction for murder that sent him to prison for 12 years. Adam Arkin, once of “Chicago Hope,” and Robin Weigert of “Deadwood” are also in the cast.

The final new drama is “Lipstick Jungle,” based on the book by Candace Bushnell, whose previous book turned into the HBO hit “Sex and the City.” This show will cover similar territory, covering the lives of a group of successful professional women in New York. It stars Brooke Shields, Lindsay Price and Kim Raver, who most recently starred as Jack Bauer’s girlfriend in “24.” Editor's Note:'s like "LIFETIMEFORWOMEN" except with more explicit sex and the women wear more makeup. Yawn.... (now show a lumpy dweeblady with a really cute DOG, and THEN we've got a SHOW!)

Among the shows already renewed for next season are the comedies “The Office,” “Earl” and “30 Rock,” and the dramas “E.R.,” “Heroes,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Medium” and the game show “Deal or No Deal.”

The final decision on the other “Law & Order” series may not be made until next week, an NBC executive said.


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