Monday, May 09, 2011 2011-12 Upfront Preview: NBC and Fox

Next week is the big week in the TV world--the network upfronts! And as usual, the week prior to the upfronts, we preview on what we think the networks will do! NBC and Fox are up first next Monday (May 16), so we will preview them first. So let's get right to it!

NBC has been stuck in fourth place for a many years now and they are trying to come back but have failed so far with the exception of reality hit The Voice. Will this be the year they finally get a scripted hit? All of their "buzz worthy" shows (Undercovers, The Cape, The Event) this past season fizzled or just plain bombed.
Here is the NBC 2011-12 preview:

New Series Already Picked-Up: Betty White's Off Their Rockers (reality) - last year at this time, they picked up many scripted pilots.
Already Renewed Returning Series: 30 Rock, Parks & Recreation, Community, The Biggest Loser, Who Do You Think You Are?, The Sing-Off and The Office.
Likely Returning Series: Parenthood, The Voice, Law & Order: SVU, Harry's Law, Minute to Win It, Celebrity Apprentice (pending Trump's Presidential bid) and of course Dateline.
Likely To Be Canceled or Already Canceled: Chase, The Event, Undercovers, Outsourced, The Paul Reiser Show, Perfect Couples, School Pride, America's Next Great Restaurant, Law & Order: LA, The Cape, Friday Night Lights, Outlaw and yes Chuck.
Likely New Series Pick-Ups (our picks): Whitney (comedy for fall), Are You There Vodka? It's Me Chelsea (comedy for fall), Alpha Mom comedy for fall), Smash (drama for fall), Prime Suspect (drama for fall), The Firm (drama for fall), Playboy Club (drama for fall), Metro (drama for fall), REM (drama for mid-season), and Help Wanted (comedy for mid-season).


7:00PM Football Night in America
8:00PM Sunday Night Football

8:00PM Minute To Win It / Betty White's Off Their Rockers (NEW!)
9:00PM Prime Suspect (NEW!)
10:00PM Metro (NEW!)

8:00PM The Biggest Loser
9:00PM Whitney (NEW!)
9:30PM Are You There Vodka? It's Me Chelsea (NEW!)
10:00PM Parenthood

8:00PM Smash (NEW!)
9:00PM Law & Order: SVU
10:00PM The Firm (NEW!)

8:00PM Alpha Mom (NEW!)
8:30PM 30 Rock
9:00PM The Office
9:30PM Parks & Recreation
10:00PM Playboy Club (NEW!)

8:00PM Who Do You Think You Are?
9:00PM Dateline
10:00PM Harry's Law

8:00-11:00PM Repeats

COMMENTS: NBC needs major revamping once again. Once again, as with last season, NBC has some buzz-worthy pilots, but as I keep saying, they still need to prove it will work on air. Last season they picked-up five pilots at this time and none of those ended up working. It goes to show you that it is all about scheduling and promotion and NBC has been very poor at that since about 2004. Mondays needs a total revamp (again!). Ideally, they should try and go female, but Dancing will kill that. They tried to go young men and that failed due to Monday Night Football. Perhaps they can go with an older audience and with a game show starting it off, like Minute To Win It and then later in the fall Betty White's Off Their Rockers, which looks like it could do well with the Betty White craze. At 9pm, perhaps one of their best pilots is Prime Suspect. A crime drama might be a good alternative to Dancing and CBS comedies. And this could have more mass appeal than Fox's Chicago Code. At 10pm, perhaps another crime drama such as Metro, but Chase didn't work either, so who knows. On Tuesdays, The Biggest Loser will continue to lead-off, but perhaps it is cut down to just one-hour? Multi-camera comedies might be a good option in the 9pm hour like with Whitney Cummings and a comedy from Chelsea Handler. The women theme would continue at 10pm with Parenthood, which skews well with young women. NBC's big hit The Voice will likely NOT be used in the fall, so it would probably return in February (after the Super Bowl)? Perhaps the comedies or Parenthood will finish their seasons by then.
Wednesdays right now is a hot mess, save for SVU. Perhaps a Glee-like dramedy like Smash is the way to go to lead off the night? Former NBC star Debra Messing stars. At 9pm, I hate to do this, but SVU would leave 10pm again and air at 9pm leading into a new drama, perhaps The Firm, which is near a 22-episode pick-up already. On Thursdays, the comedies are very low rated or declining like The Office and 30 Rock. Without Steve Carrell, this night might be even more down, so perhaps a new comedy could start the night off because Community is not cutting it. The single-camera comedy starring Christina Applegate might be the way to go. Lorne Michaels is involved, so 30 Rock would be a good lead-out. The Office and Parks & Recreation would follow. NBC doesn't have as strong of a comedy block like CBS Monday or ABC Wednesday, so 10pm comedies are likely gone. Perhaps the period drama Playboy Club would air at 10pm. It would repeat horribly, though. Something else could air in mid-season, like REM. Community and perhaps another comedy will be on the bench if needed for 8-10pm. Fridays is likely cheap from 8-10pm, but I think Harry's Law would be a good option for them at 10pm. I don't think it does well enough in 18-49 to air on Mondays at 10 again. And Saturdays is just repeats, like always.
NBC's fall savior Sunday Night Football could be delayed or not airing at all due to the NFL lock-out. I am not sure what NBC could do if the NFL does have a delay or a lock-out. I'm sure the schedule they release next week will not have any shows on Sundays and will have Sunday Night Football. Anyway, with The Voice and the Super Bowl (if there is an NFL season) next season, NBC will likely grow but they still need to find SOME other hits to go anywhere near the leaders. No scripted series have worked in such a long time. Will multi-camera comedies change that?

Remember, next Monday (May 16) is the actual date when we will find out NBC's plans for the 2011-12 season. So, come on back next Monday and we will let you know the details and you can see how much we were right (or wrong). Stay tuned next week for the official fall line-ups for all the networks. I love this time of year!
Discuss your thoughts on our prediction and feel free to make suggestions of your own!

Fox is coming off a good season and Glee grew but then slowed down. American Idol is still is the number one show on TV, but they will need some more hits, especially in the fall with House now declining.
Here is the Fox 2011-12 preview:

New Series Already Picked-Up: Terra Nova (drama) and The X-Factor (reality).
Already Renewed Returning Series: The Simpsons, Bob's Burgers, The Cleveland Show, Family Guy, American Dad!, Bones, Glee, Raising Hope, Fringe, Hell's Kitchen, Mobbed, Cops, and of course American Idol.
Likely Returning Series: House, Kitchen Nightmares, Million Dollar Money Drop, Breaking In, Lie To Me, Chicago Code, Cops, and America's Most Wanted.
Likely To Be Canceled or Already Canceled: Good Guys, Lone Star, Running Wilde, Traffic Light, Human Target.
Likely Additional New Series Pick-Ups (our picks): Family Album (comedy for fall), Weekend at Bellevue (drama for mid-season), Alcatraz (drama for fall), Exit Strategy (drama for mid-season), The New Girl (comedy for fall), Allen Gregory (animated comedy for mid-season), and Napoleon Dynamite (animated comedy for mid-season).


7:00PM NFL Overrun / Animated Encores
8:00PM The Simpsons
8:30PM Bob's Burgers
9:00PM Family Guy
9:30PM American Dad!

8:00PM Alcatraz (NEW!)
9:00PM House

8:00PM Glee
9:00PM Family Album (NEW!)
9:30PM Raising Hope

8:00PM The X-Factor (NEW!)
9:30PM The New Girl (NEW!)

8:00PM The X-Factor Results (NEW!)
9:00PM Terra Nova (NEW!)

8:00PM Bones
9:00PM Lie To Me

8:00PM Cops
8:30PM Cops
9:00PM America's Most Wanted

Comments: Fox will try to take the same timeslots of American Idol in the fall with the Simon Cowell series, The X-Factor. The series is all but set to air on Wednesdays from 8-10pm and Thursdays 8-9pm. The performance show will likely be reduced to 90-minutes in early October, so perhaps a comedy will air at 9:30pm. House has weakened, so I think it will be on the move on Mondays, but moving to 9pm. They should use the 8pm slot to try and launch the JJ Abrams new drama Alcatraz. If you recall, LOST started as an 8pm series as well. As for Tuesdays, I think Glee will remain in the slot leading into two comedies. Raising Hope will be back, but perhaps it will slide to 9:30pm to make room for a new comedy, like the Mike O'Malley vehicle Family Album. On Wednesdays, as mentioned The X-Factor will air in the current 90-minute Idol slot leading into a new comedy, perhaps the Zooey Deschanel series The New Girl. That seems like a good fit. On Thursdays, X-Factor will be at 8pm, perhaps leading into the hyped series Terra Nova. The series was set to preview this May, but it wasn't ready so they will hold it until the fall. Fridays will likely be scripted this time because they have a lot of shows to use, so it looks like Bones will finally make that Friday move. Either Lie to Me or The Chicago Code would make a good companion at 9pm. I don't think Human Target has a chance over those two series. Saturdays will probably remain intact, but Fox is trying repeats of Chicago Code this summer, so maybe that will be an option? A long shot, I'd say. As for Sundays, animation domination will continue of course with a mix of the 5 series they have already, but likely one will be benched to January because of NFL overruns. Perhaps Cleveland Show will be that series. Fox also has two animated series that I believe were ordered for mid-season 2012, so this night could have potentially two new series next winter/spring. I think of the series I mentioned that have a shot of returning, the one with the least chance is Breaking In, because they just don't have the room. But I would bring it back.
So, Fox hopes to do explode in the fall (like they do in mid-season) with reality and trying to duplicate Idol with The X-Factor and not So You Think You Can Dance's one season in the fall. Look for Fringe to likely be benched until January and be used if anything fails or back on to Fridays at 9 out of Bones, like it did on Thursdays. And finally, Fox could also use Mobbed and Million Dollar Money Drop in December or so. Will Fox find major success in The X-Factor or has NBC's The Voice stolen that audience before it could even air? Only time will tell...

Remember, next Monday (May 16) is the actual date when we will find out Fox's plans for the 2011-12 season. So, come on back next Monday and we will let you know the details and you can see how much we were right (or wrong). Stay tuned next week for the official fall line-ups for all the networks.
Discuss your thoughts on our prediction and feel free to make suggestions of your own!

Stay tuned tomorrow for our prediction for ABC!

New on DVD/Blu-ray (September)

The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season Modern Family - The Complete Season 7

09/06 - Coach - Season One (Mill Creek) / Season Two / Seasons One and Two
09/06 - South Park - The Complete Ninteenth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season
09/20 - 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season
09/20 - Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season
09/20 - Modern Family - The Complete Season 7
09/20 - Veep - Season 5
09/27 - The Wonder Years - Season Six
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest

Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, October 27

The Big Bang Theory - "The Fetal Kick Catalyst" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Penny is surprised to learn she has fans of her performance in “Serial Ape-ist” when she attends Van Nuys Comic Con with Leonard. Also, Amy hosts a Sheldon-style brunch at Penny’s apartment, and Wolowitz makes an impulsive purchase when he starts stressing out about the baby on the way.

The Great Indoors - "Pilot" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Joel McHale stars as Jack, a renowned adventure reporter for an outdoor magazine who must adapt to the times when he becomes the new desk-bound boss to a group of millennials in the digital department of the publication.

Mom - "High-Tops and Brown Jacket" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Bonnie and Adam’s relationship is tested when he moves in with her and Christy for a few weeks. Also, Christy learns the hard way that it may be a mistake to try and meet men with Jill.

Life in Pieces - "Annulled Roommate Pill Shower" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Heather and Tim enlist Clementine’s unusual parents, Mary-Lynn (Megan Mullally) and Spencer (Nick Offerman), to help convince Clementine and Tyler to annul their unexpected marriage. Also, Tommy moves in with Colleen, to the chagrin of her roommate, Dougie (Fortune Feimster); John and Joan run into “complications” after John takes the wrong dose of his daily pill; and Jen and Greg keep a secret from the family.

Superstore - "Halloween Theft" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Dina (Lauren Ash) throws a wrench in everyone's Halloween plans when something goes missing from the store and declares that no employee can leave until someone confesses to stealing. Amy (America Ferrera) is determined to find out who is responsible because she doesn't want to miss trick-or-treating with her daughter and Mateo (Nico Santos) prepares for his secret date with Jeff (recurring guest star Michael Bunin). Meanwhile, Jonah (Ben Feldman) and Cheyenne (Nichole Bloom) struggle to bond until they discover they have more in common than they thought. Garrett (Colton Dunn) has a difficult time defending himself during the store-wide investigation.

The Good Place - "Most Improved Player" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Michael (Ted Danson) has a private meeting with Eleanor (Kristen Bell). Meanwhile, Chidi (William Jackson Harper), who has been harboring a secret, contemplates what to do.

Better Things - "Scary Fun" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Sam makes a point.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 24)

Thursday, October 27

  • Martin Short (Mulaney/The Martin Short Show) - Catch Martin on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds) - Mary-Louise visits The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • January Jones (The Last Man on Earth) - January appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Lauren Lapkus (Clipped/Are You There, Chelsea?) - Lauren is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Abbi Jacobson (Broad City) - Abbi visits Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Ron Howard (Happy Days/The Andy Griffith Show) - Ron appears on Chelsea on Netflix. He also talks about Inferno on NBC's Today in the 10am hour and on the AOL Build Show at 2:30pm.
  • Nathan Lane (Modern Family/Charlie Lawrence/Encore! Encore!), John Goodman (Roseanne/Normal, Ohio) and John Slattery (Maggie) - They talk about Broadway's The Front Page on The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Joel McHale (The Great Indoors/Community) - Joel guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana) - Miley is a guest on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Eva Longoria (Telenovela) - Eva appears on The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Angelique Cabral (Life in Pieces/Enlisted) - Angelique talks about Life in Pieces on the AOL Build Show at 11am.