Monday, May 05, 2008

SitcomsOnline.com 2008-09 Upfront Preview: ABC; Sci Fi and WE tv Acquire Ghost Whisperer, Classics Coming to Sci Fi Such As Mork & Mindy

NBC is the first network going at upfront, which will be next Monday, but they have already announced their 2008-09 schedule last month so we can't preview and make predictions for NBC...so we decided to go with the next network ... ABC (which will go next Tuesday). With the writers' strike causing a lot of delays to the pilot season, many pilots won't be ready before the upfronts, thus we won't see many new shows this fall, unfortunately. I think mid-season will see a lot more shows than normal.
So, ABC will likely build on their sophomore shows (the current freshman series such as Pushing Daisies, Private Practice, Dirty Sexy Money, and Samantha Who?). Most of those have not returned after the strike ended, so they will likely do large return promotions for these. New shows wise, I expect maybe 1-2 new dramas or 1-2 new sitcoms on ABC this fall, with lots of new shows being ordered for mid-season.
Here is the SitcomsOnline.com ABC 2008-09 preview:

New Series Already Picked-Up: Section 8 (6 episode order, but doesn't mean it will be on in the fall).
New Series We Think That Are Almost Good To Go: Good Behavior (drama), Captain Cook's Extraordinary Atlas (drama), My Brother's Hot And Other Dilemas (wt for Milano series) (sitcom).
New Series Perhaps Picked-Up for Mid-Season: Prince of Motor City (drama), Life on Mars (drama), Cupid (dramedy), Bad Mother's Handbook (sitcom), Never Better (sitcom), This Might Hurt (sitcom).

OUR FALL 2008 PREDICTION:

Sundays
7:00PM America's Funniest Home Videos
8:00PM Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
9:00PM Desperate Housewives
10:00PM Dirty Sexy Money

Mondays
8:00PM Dancing with the Stars
9:30PM Samantha Who?
10:00PM Good Behavior (NEW!)

Tuesdays
8:00PM My Brother's Hot (And Other Dilemas) (NEW!)
8:30PM Miss Guided
9:00PM Dancing with the Stars: The Results
10:00PM Boston Legal

Wednesdays
8:00PM Pushing Daisies
9:00PM Private Practice
10:00PM Brothers & Sisters

Thursdays
8:00PM Ugly Betty
9:00PM Grey's Anatomy
10:00PM Eli Stone

Fridays
8:00PM Captain Cook's Extraordinary Atlas (NEW!)
9:00PM According to Jim
9:30PM According to Jim or Cedric the Entertainer Project (NEW!)
10:00PM 20/20

Saturdays
8:00PM College Football

Comments: It is really hard to predict what shows will be ready for the fall since the strike has caused a lot of production delays. I'm hoping new dramas Good Behavior and Captain Cook's Extraordinary Atlas will be ready for the fall...they sound very good. For Mondays, I'm leaving 8-10 intact right now but 10pm needs a change. The Bachelor is an average performer, but they can do better...especially with the high profile Good Behavior, which is the Outrageous Fortune Australian remake. The Bachelor would come back in January. My Brother's Hot (And Other Dilemas) is the new Kristin Newman sitcom project that will star Alyssa Milano! I think Miss Guided should return. It was fed to the strike and it had to start itself off without any support and besides it is very funny and should be given another chance. It would do well out of Milano's show. However, if there is a chance CBS drops Old Christine, then I think ABC should really go after it and air it 9:30 Mondays after Dancing with the Stars because I think a multi-camera sitcom would do better. Thus if that happens, then I would slide Samantha Who in the 8pm hour on Tuesdays paired with Alyssa Milano's sitcom, and hold on to Miss Guided for later. ABC should start Boston Legal in the Tuesday at 10 slot for the fall since not many new shows will be available, and this show proves it can do decent in this slot out of Stars..so don't mess with it until mid-season. Wednesdays ABC should bring back the combo of Pushing Daisies and Private Practice from 8-10pm because they were very solid and helped ABC win this past fall on Wednesday nights. Closing the night I think the addictive Brothers & Sisters should move to this night and give a nice flow to the night...as it has proven itself already on Sunday nights. As for Thursdays, Betty and Grey's are a given, but I think Eli Stone should return for a second season and air in the fall at least. If it doesn't work, then try something else...but it should be tried because the show is high class and deserves to be given a shot after Grey's. If Betty continues to slide (which I think it will perk up when Lohan comes), they could try something else in the slot mid-season. Lost will return in February most likely for 16 or 17 straight weeks, possibly Thursdays at 10 again? Or maybe on another night? I don't see that happening though unless they want to have an all male night with Scrubs and a new comedy (possibly This Might Hurt). Speaking of Scrubs, I think ABC will indeed pick it up but not air it until January. I have no idea where they would slot it, too. Tuesdays at 8 in January or Thursdays at 8 giving Betty a break in January? I think ABC should go after Fridays. They shouldn't give up. They should go after the family audience. And new adventure drama Captain Cook's Extraordinary Atlas is exactly what they should air...especially in the the colder months between October-February when viewership is higher. I think According to Jim should wrap up its series run in the fall rather than being fed to American Idol in the winter/spring. I would double up on it because I'm too scared to launch a new sitcom, like Cedric the Entertainer's new sitcom. I guess they could double pump Jim for a while then bring in Cedric in one of the slots if this night clicks. Finally, on Sundays...I would leave 7-10pm alone. I think Dirty Sexy Money would be a better fit out of Desperate Housewives than Private Practice was...so yes it is a risk to move Brothers & Sisters, but I think that drama can do well on another night, too.
Series that will be canceled or are ending include: Notes from the Underbelly, October Road, Women's Murder Club, Big Shots, Cashmere Mafia, Cavemen, Carpoolers, Duel, MEN IN TREES.
The Bachelor
, Wife Swap & Supernanny will all return for mid-season or maybe December/January on Monday nights. Other reality shows like Oprah's Big Give, Here Come the Newlyweds, and Dance War all did decent, and should be tried again for mid-season or maybe next summer.
Looking at the fall line-up, ABC is pretty stacked with shows that are hits and sophomores that could build and be big hits...but with the strike it is very hard to tell what new shows will be available in the fall. Some shows that should make it sometime this season that I haven't mentioned yet are dramas Prince of Motor City, Life on Mars, Section 8 (has a 6 episode order), and comedies Bad Mother's Handbook, Cupid, Never Better, and the animated Goode Family.
Anyway, this season ABC had some decent hits like Private Practice, Samantha Who, Pushing Daises and some promising shows such as Eli Stone, Miss Guided and Dirty Sexy Money. But this coming year will have ABC trying to build on those even more with their mega hits like Dancing with the Stars, Desperate Housewives, and Grey's Anatomy. Hopefully there isn't an actors strike to mess the TV landscape again.
Discuss your thoughts on our prediction and feel free to make suggestions of your own, by clicking HERE!

Remember, next Tuesday (May 13) is the actual date when we will find out ABC's plans for the 2008-09 season. So, come on back next Tuesday and we will let you know the details and you can see how much we were right (or wrong). Stay tuned tomorrow for a preview on The CW's upfront.


Turning to the news, Ghost Whisperer was acquired by ION Television starting in September 2009 for broadcast rights, but now the show has been sold to cable as well! Both Sci Fi Channel and WE tv will share the show in a joint contract. Sci Fi Channel will air the show in four hour marathon blocks once a week, while WE tv will air it daily, similar to ION. We will have more on WE tv's part soon, but Sci Fi has already announced their plans this morning.
SCI FI Channel has secured off-network cable rights to CBS's Emmy-nominated series, Ghost Whisperer, from CBS Television Distribution. SCI FI will launch the series in the fall of 2009.
In addition, SCI FI will have access to shows in the CBS-Paramount library, including Star Trek: The Next Generation, which will premiere Monday June 2, 2008 on SCI FI, Charmed, Early Edition, Highlander, Highlander: The Raven, Seven Days, The Sentinel, The Invaders, Friday the Thirteenth: The Series and the classic Robin Williams sitcom Mork & Mindy, among others.
We will have more details on those classic series later, but we know Star Trek: The Next Generation starts Monday, June 2 and will air Mondays from 7-11pm. SCI FI likes to air shows in marathon blocks, so they have something fresh each day. Look for the classic series to be rotated into their morning daytime rotation slots. Nice to have a sitcom on SCI FI! Maybe they can get Webster from CBS-Paramount as well? We all know Webster was secretly an alien...just kidding! Seriously, they should get more sitcoms of this nature from other studios like Debmar-Mercury's ALF, 20th Century Fox's Small Wonder and Universal's Out of this World...just my suggestions and thoughts. Mork & Mindy is a nice start, though! We will keep you up to date on these library shows. Yes, the Charmed deal will be shared with TNT ... so SCI and TNT can air it.
In other news, WE tv has also secured rights to the last three seasons of the sitcom Girlfriends! BET will have rights to the other seasons still. We will have more on this shortly. We already mentioned WE tv has acquired The Golden Girls for March 2009, in a shared deal with Hallmark, so it seems WE Tv is loading up more on off-net programming. Meanwhile, SCI FI will launch Lost this fall, as we stated previously.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, October 19

Superstore - "Workplace Bullying" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Tensions arise among the employees after an attempted robbery, pitting Dina (Lauren Ash) against Jonah (Ben Feldman). Meanwhile, Glenn (Mark McKinney) has a tough time firing the store security guard, and Amy (America Ferrera) discovers that her coworkers have been hanging out without her.

The Good Place - "The Trolley Problem" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Chidi (William Jackson Harper) and Eleanor (Kristen Bell) tackle a famous ethical dilemma, leading to a conflict with Michael (Ted Danson). Meanwhile, Tahani (Jameela Jamil) harbors a secret and confides in Janet (D'Arcy Carden).

Will & Grace - "Grandpa Jack" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Jack (Sean Hayes) is stunned to learn that his estranged son, Elliot (guest star Michael Angarano) has a son of his own, Skip (guest star Jet Jurgensmeyer). Moreover, Skip needs the kind of help only Will (Eric McCormack) and Jack can provide. Grace (Debra Messing) and Karen (Megan Mullally) behave badly with the hot new guy at work.

Great News - "Award Show" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
For the first time in years, "The Breakdown" has been nominated for an American Journalism Award. Katie (Briga Heelan) is looking forward to spending the night as a peer with the very reporters she has admired her whole life. Fearing her mother will ruin it, Katie tries to stop Carol (Andrea Martin) from attending but is unsuccessful when Carol secures a position as a seat-filler. Katie is stuck babysitting her mom all night but gets distracted by Jeremy (guest star Reid Scott), a handsome New York Times reporter who looks down on cable news. Chuck (John Michael Higgins) is excited to reunite with all of his old anchormen friends, especially Len Archer (guest star Christopher McDonald), an idol of Chuck's who is receiving a lifetime achievement award.

Better Things - "Eulogy" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Sam demands satisfaction.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 16)

Thursday, October 19

  • Tracy Morgan (30 Rock/The Tracy Morgan Show) - Catch Tracy on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Paul Shaffer (A Year at the Top) - Paul sits in with Cleto and The Cletones on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) - Jim is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Michael Keaton (Working Stiffs/All's Fair) - Michael appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Amy Landecker (Transparent) - Amy is a guest on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Carl Reinder (The Dick Van Dyke Show) - Carl appears on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Garcelle Beauvais (The Jamie Foxx Show) - Garcelle guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Cedric Yarbrough (Speechless/Reno 911!) - Cedric is a guest on Steve, so check your local listings.
  • Angela Kinsey (Haters Back Off/Your Family or Mine/The Office) - Angela talks about the new season of her Netflix show Haters Back Off on the People Now at 8:30am.
  • Jeff Garlin (The Goldbergs/Curb Your Enthusiasm) - Jeff appears on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Henry Winkler (Happy Days/Out of Practice) - Henry is a guest on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Hayley Orrantia (The Goldbergs) - Hayley appears on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Joanna Garcia Swisher (Reba/Better with You) - Joanna teams up with Michael Symon in the kitchen, giving the scoop on her new show and whipping up a tasty dish on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT. She also talks about Kevin (Probably) Saves the World on the AOL Build Show at 11am.
  • Redman (Method & Red) - Redman appears on the AOL Build Show at 3pm.
  • Debra Messing and Eric McCormack (Will & Grace) - Debra and Eric are guests on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (June/July/August)

Father Knows Best - Season Six Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Sixth Season Alice - The Complete Fifth Season Rhoda - Season Four Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Four

06/13 - The Andy Griffith Show - Return to Mayberry
06/13 - That's My Mama - The Complete Series
06/20 - Workaholics - The Final (Seventh) Season
06/20 - Workaholics - The Complete Series
06/27 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Third Season
07/04 - Superstore - Season Two
07/18 - Father Knows Best - Season Six
07/25 - Diff'ernt Strokes - The Complete Sixth Season
07/25 - Girls - The Final (Sixth) Season (Blu-ray)
08/01 - Alice - The Complete Fifth Season (WBShop.com)
08/01 - Crashing - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
08/15 - Rhoda - Season Four
08/22 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Four
08/29 - Will & Grace - Season One (Universal)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest