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


New on DVD/Blu-ray (October/November)

Dr. Ken - Season One Mike & Molly - The Complete Sixth and Final Season Family Matters - The Complete Ninth Season The Lucy Show - The Complete Series The Mindy Project - Season Four

10/04 - The Andy Griffith Show - The Christmas Special (Colorized)
10/04 - I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #1 (Colorized)
10/11 - Dr. Ken - Season One
10/11 - Mike & Molly - The Complete Sixth and Final Season
10/11 - Mike & Molly - The Complete Series
10/11 - Nurse Jackie - Seasons One and Two
10/11 - Weeds - Seasons One and Two
11/01 - Schitt's Creek - Seasons One and Two
11/08 - Family Matters - The Complete Ninth Season
11/08 - Your Family or Mine - Season One
11/15 - Community - The Complete Series
11/15 - The Lucy Show - The Complete Series
11/15 - The Mindy Project - Season Four
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Sunday, December 11

The Simpsons - "The Nightmare After Krustmas" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Krusty tries to impress his daughter as they spend Christmas with the Simpsons. Meanwhile, Reverend Lovejoy seeks converts after church attendance plummets, and Maggie is haunted by a spooky Christmas toy.

Son of Zorn - "The War on Grafelnik" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Torn between Edie’s Christmas and Zorn’s Grafelnik – the Zephyrian holiday of revenge – Alan realizes he can play his parents off each other to get better presents.

Family Guy - "How the Griffin Stole Christmas" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Peter is asked to fill in for the mall Santa, until he gets drunk on the power when he realizes that Santa can get away with anything. Meanwhile, Stewie and Brian crash holiday office parties for the free food, drama and women.

The Last Man on Earth - "If You're Happy and You Know It" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Carol is bummed about Gail’s absence, so Tandy tries to cheer her up with the honeymoon vacation they never had. Meanwhile, Lewis finds new success with his pursuits in aviation and Melissa is contained.

The Dick Van Dyke Show - Now in Living Color - (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Spread the holiday cheer with “The Dick Van Dyke Show – Now in Living Color!,” a new one-hour special featuring two newly colorized back-to-back classic episodes of the beloved 1960s series, to be broadcast Sunday, Dec. 11 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Series creator and co-star Carl Reiner personally supervised the colorization of the episodes.

The special features the groundbreaking episode “That’s My Boy??” and “Coast to Coast Big Mouth,” which ranked #8 on TV Guide’s list of the “100 Greatest TV Episodes of All-Time.” Both episodes were written by Bill Persky & Sam Denoff. The main titles and end credits of the two episodes are seamlessly combined into one set – at the beginning and end of the hour – with no interruption between the episodes.

In “That’s My Boy??,” as Rob and Laura host a dinner party with a few friends, Rob recalls the hectic days after their son Ritchie was born, when he was sure the hospital had given him and Laura the wrong baby. The episode, originally broadcast on Sept. 25, 1963, was the third season premiere.

In “Coast to Coast Big Mouth,” Laura Petrie blurts out a top secret on a national television quiz show, revealing that comedian Alan Brady wears a toupee. The episode, which was the show’s fifth and final season premiere, was originally broadcast on Sept. 15, 1965. “Coast to Coast Big Mouth” won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series in 1966.

Bizaardvark - "Agh, Humbug" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Bernie gets bummed about not being invited to the Vuuugler-only holiday party, so the gang tries to turn him into an overnight online star so that he can attend, too.

Best Friends Whenever - "Revenge of the Past" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Shelby gets trapped in the 16th century after trying to save Daisy from marriage, so the friends join forces to help rescue her.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of December 12)

Monday, December 12

  • Jennifer Lawrence (The Bill Engvall Show) - Watch Jennifer Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle) - Bryan is a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. He also chats about the film Why Him? on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • John Goodman (Roseanne/Normal, Ohio) - John appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. He will also be on CBS This Morning sometime between 7-9am.
  • Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation) - Chris visits The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Olivia Munn (Perfect Couples) - Olivia is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS. She joins the Chew Crew on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Matthew Perry (The Odd Couple/Go On/Mr. Sunshine) - Matthew stops by The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Kevin Nealon (Man with a Plan/Weeds/Hiller and Diller/Champs) - Kevin appears on Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Will Smith (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) - Will talks about Collateral Beauty on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Henry Winkler (Happy Days/Out of Practice/Arrested Development) - Henry will be on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Megan Mullally (Will & Grace) - Megan is a guest on the AOL Build Show at 4pm.
  • Kathy Griffin (Suddenly Susan) - Kathy appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.