Tuesday, May 12, 2009

SitcomsOnline.com 2009-10 Upfront Preview: ABC; Bio TV Premieres TV Reunions in June

Last fall ABC barely had any new series because of the writers' strike the previous season. That could change in a big way this coming season. I expect ABC to bring in many new shows, with lots of comedies for the first time in years. ABC should focus that 8pm hour to families. The past year ABC focused on launching 10pm series...it is time to redevelop that focus to 8pm.
Here is the SitcomsOnline.com ABC 2009-10 preview:

New Series Already Picked-Up: Modern Family (comedy), Flash Forward (drama), Copper (midseason drama)
New Series We Think That Are Almost Good To Go: Happy Town (drama), Inside the Box (drama), Romantically Challenged (sitcom), Awesome Hank (sitcom), The Cougar (sitcom), The Middle (sitcom).
New Series Perhaps Picked-Up for Mid-Season: Eastwick (drama), The Forgotten (drama), The Law (sitcom), V (event drama).

OUR FALL 2009 PREDICTION:

Sundays
7:00PM America's Funniest Home Videos
8:00PM Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
9:00PM Desperate Housewives
10:00PM Inside the Box (NEW!)

Mondays
8:00PM Dancing with the Stars
10:00PM Brothers & Sisters

Tuesdays
8:00PM Modern Family (NEW!)
8:30PM The Middle (NEW!)
9:00PM Dancing with the Stars: The Results
10:00PM Castle

Wednesdays
8:00PM Awesome Hank (NEW!)
8:30PM Romantically Challenged (NEW!)
9:00PM The Cougar (NEW!)
9:30PM Samantha Who?
10:00PM Happy Town (NEW!)

Thursdays
8:00PM Flash Forward (NEW!)
9:00PM Grey's Anatomy
10:00PM Private Practice

Fridays
8:00PM Captain Cook's Extraordinary Atlas (NEW!)
9:00PM Ugly Betty
10:00PM 20/20

Saturdays
8:00PM College Football

Comments: This was very hard. So far the hardest prediction I'm doing is ABC...remember this is what I think they could do, not necessarily what I would want them to do. They have many pilots and many of them are getting good testing. I am going with my gut that Captain Cook's Extraordinary Atlas makes it this year after being redeveloped. I want it picked-up, too. This is what exactly ABC needs on a Friday. I have many new comedies being picked-up, and it could be a stretch, but I think ABC could go out and bring us many comedies this fall. Most have tested so well and we could be in a surprise on how many comedies are airing. ABC could focus on a Wednesday two-hour comedy block and even have room for a comedy hour on Tuesdays.
So let's look at each night. I'll start with Mondays. Dancing with the Stars should be two-hours every week, enough said. The only time it should be 90-minutes is when they need to boost a comedy for a special airing during the week or two before the two dances per star starts. ABC will easily fill the two-hour hole from Jan-Mar with the resurgent The Bachelor and they should move Brothers & Sisters to Mondays all year-round, making ABC Monday strong all year.
On Tuesdays, Modern Family & The Middle are two of ABC's most praised family comedy pilots. They could work well with each other and could work well with family-themed Dancing with the Stars: The Results at 9pm (more so than Cavemen and Carpoolers a few years ago). Castle should move a night over to Tuesday at 10 since there will be no NBC crime show and perhaps CBS will not schedule a crime drama here anymore. ABC really needs to focus on JUST two post-Dancing shows at 10pm: Brothers & Sisters and Castle. That's it, with the exception of a week or two on Mondays with a special comedy airing at 9:30 (or even 8pm). This season it seemed so many shows aired out of it on both nights. So what happens to the 9pm hour from Jan-Mar? ABC could launch some comedies perhaps bringing back Scrubs/Better off Ted for 6-8 weeks or even new comedy The Law. Primetime: What Would You Do? is an option at an earlier time.
Wednesdays I think ABC is going to go all comedy. They could launch as many as 3 new sitcoms and bring back a returning comedy. I think they will start off with two new traditional comedies in Awesome Hank (starring Kelsey Grammar) and Romantically Challenged (starring Alyssa Milano). Perhaps the most buzzed comedy would be next at 9pm in The Cougar starring Courtney Cox and finally ABC needs to give Christina Applegate the comedy slot it deserves by airing Samantha Who? after Cox's show. Both are single camera and could fit with each other like a button. Closing the night I think they should try new drama Happy Town. I know it is very risky to do this, but Happy Town has a two-hour pilot and they could have the two-hour pilot on the first Wednesday of the year from 9-11pm, following a special Dancing Results, since they do a three-night premiere in the fall. So hopefully that would help the show build some type of an audience before all the comedies start the following Wednesday.
As for Thursdays, Betty is likely on the move, and ABC should try the most buzzed about series Flash Forward at 8pm giving ABC some life in this hour. Grey's and Private Practice will return in the 9 and 10pm hours for sure. Lost will return for its final season at the end of January for 16 or 17 weeks, possibly Thursdays at 8...but if Flash Forward does huge, Lost could go to Wednesdays.
I think ABC should go after Fridays with scripted series and I think they will, too. Comedy is an option, but I don't think ABC will try that. New family adventure drama Captain Cook's Extraordinary Atlas is exactly what they should air at 8pm. This could be a new type of TGIF for them using family dramas, and Ugly Betty would follow and that certainly has a family feel to it. Wife Swap and Supernanny were only on because nothing was ready last fall due to the strike. Both of those are too important and could fill key holes on other nights in midseason.
Saturdays will have College Football in the fall. Winter they could have movies or even go with cheap reality series, like Homeland Security USA.
Finally, on Sundays...I would leave 7-10pm alone even though right now the ratings are declining. Remember springtime is always like that and they perk up in the fall/winter. I think new drama Inside the Box would be a great fit out of Desperate Housewives and could reclaim that DH/Grey's early magic. Yes, I keep predicting ABC is going to move Brothers & Sisters, but they never do. Now it is time and with it airing the next night, lots of promos will air on Sundays so fans will for sure know.
Series that will be canceled or are ending include: According to Jim, Boston Legal, Dirty Sexy Money, Eli Stone, Pushing Daisies, Opportunity Knocks, Life on Mars, Cupid, The Unusuals, In the Motherhood.
Lost, The Bachelor
, Wife Swap & Supernanny will all return for mid-season. Other series like Scrubs, Better Off Ted, True Beauty, Homeland Security USA, Primetime: What Would You Do could be ordered for limited episodes at some point. ABC also has picked-up two new reality series, likely for midseason: The Shark Tank from producer Mark Burnett and an untitled cooking series with celeb Jamie Oliver from producer Ryan Seacrest. Supernanny spinoff SuperManny could also be in the running. As far as new scripted series for midseason, they already ordered Canadian crime drama Copper for midseason. Look for Eastwick, The Law, The Forgotten and perhaps even V in the running for midseason. There is a legal drama from David Hemingson in the works again, perhaps they could pick that up...but they have had so many legal dramas lately it seems.
Looking at the fall line-up prediction, yes lots of new shows. But there is a lot of protection, minus Wednesdays. Wednesdays is the only risk, but risks need to be taken in the fall when there is no American Idol. And if it doesn't work out, ABC has lots of series on the bench for midseason including the final season of Lost. ABC's goal in the fall should be to have strong 9pm shows every night. That is a recipe for success. ABC will have a better fall next season than it did this season for sure.
Discuss your thoughts on our prediction and feel free to make suggestions of your own.

Remember, next Tuesday (May 19) is the actual date when we will find out ABC's plans for the 2009-10 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 CBS's upfront.


Bio TV in June will broadcast special reunions of classic TV series from the past for the first time on Bio TV. We get both the 20th anniversary Happy Days reunion from 1992 and the 30th anniversary Happy Days reunion from 2005. The 20th anniversary premieres Tuesday, June 9 at 9pm following a day long theme of classic TV with Biography episodes of The Love Boat, M*A*S*H, Laverne & Shirley, Happy Days, Henry Winkler, Ron Howard and episodes of Shatner's Raw Nerve with guests Scott Baio, Tim Allen and Drew Carey.
On Tuesday, June 16, Bio TV will air the Laverne & Shirley Reunion from 1995 at 10pm. Just like the previous week, episodes of Biography and more will lead into it, such as Ozzie & Harriet, Barbara Eden, Andy Griffith, Ron Howard, Cheers, Truth Behind the Sitcom Scandals: Cheers/Laverne & Shirley, and the Happy Days 30th Anniversary Reunion premieres at 12pm and 6pm. We also get Shatner's Raw Nerve episodes featuring Valerie Bertinelli and Kelsey Grammar.
Thursday, June 18 at 10pm will see the premiere of Biography: Billy Crystal. On Tuesday, June 23, it's 90210's turn for a reunion. Beverly Hills 90210: The Final Goodbye from 2000 will first air at 10pm, followed by Beverly Hills 90210: The Reunion Show from 2003 at 11pm. Again before that, we get Biography episodes of Home Improvement, Tony Danza, Jason Priestley, Alyssa Milano, and Teen Heartthrobs.
View more on Bio TV's June 2009 highlights of TV/sitcom related specials, including encores of Biography episodes such as Gary Coleman, Charlie's Angels, and Child Stars: Their Story


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Sunday, October 22

The Mick - "The Haunted House" (Fox, 7:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Mickey and Jimmy organize a special Halloween party at their mansion, but the party soon goes awry; Sabrina hopes to further her legacy with the party; Mickey becomes determined to give a group of practical jokers a lesson.

Bob's Burgers - "The Wolf of Wharf Street" (Fox, 7:30PM ET/PT)
On Halloween night, Linda tries to impress the kids by taking them to look for a wolf that has been terrorizing the town; an injured and medicated Bob believes that Teddy has turned into a werewolf.

The Simpsons - "Treehouse of Horror XXVIII" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Maggie becomes possessed by an ancient demon; Lisa discovers a perfect version of her family in an alternate universe; Homer cannibalizes himself.

Ghosted - "Lockdown" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Director Romslo puts the whole office on lockdown when a deadly amphibious creature escapes in The Bureau Underground, giving Max and Leroy only 30 minutes to eliminate the threat.

Family Guy - "Follow the Money" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
After Chris gets a special $1 bill for his birthday and quickly loses it, the dollar gets passed from character to character throughout Quahog.

The Last Man on Earth - "Wisconsin" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Carol panics when Todd and Melissa leave for their honeymoon, and Erica and Gail decide to live on their own for a while.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 16)

Friday, October 20

  • Woody Harrelson (Cheers) - Watch Woody 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.
  • Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana) - Miley appears on a repeat of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Mark Feuerstein (9JKL/Good Morning, Miami/Conrad Bloom/Fired Up) - Mark is a guest on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Sofia Vergara (Modern Family/The Knights of Prosperity/Hot Properties) - Sofia appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Craig Robinson (Ghosted/Mr. Robinson/The Office) - Craig is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Julie Klausner (Difficult People) - Julie appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Niecy Nash (The Soul Man/Getting On/Reno 911!) - Niecy is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Susan Kelechi Watson (Louie) - Susan chats on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Garcelle Beauvais (The Jamie Foxx Show) - Garcelle guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Anne Heche (Save Me/The Michael J. Fox Show) - Anne talks about The Brave on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • James Burrows (Sitcom Director) - James is a guest on Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Jeremy Sisto (Suburgatory) - Jeremy appears on Steve, so check your local listings.
  • Michael McKean (Laverne & Shirley) - Michael will be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Alfonso Ribeiro (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air/In the House/Silver Spoons) - Alfonso talks about America’s Funniest Home Videos on the AOL Build Show at 10am.
  • Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Life) - Nia will be on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.


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