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

Tuesday, July 23

The Conners - "O Sister, Where Art Thou?" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Becky helps Harris keep a secret from Darlene, it opens up a can of worms that causes a rift between the two sisters. Jackie supports Peter with his Nordic history project, and Dan reunites with an old friend.

American Housewife - "Insta-Friends" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Katie feels left out and slightly jealous when Greg becomes fast friends with the newest member of the Westport Historical Guild. Meanwhile, Oliver fears Cooper is ditching him when he sees on social media that Cooper lied about his weekend plans.

Modern Family - "Whanex?" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
While preparing a presentation for his students about their future goals, Cam (Eric Stonestreet) must also contend with a bully at the school and Jay (Ed O’Neil) is having a little technical trouble during his video conference. Meanwhile, the local mall is holding a photo shoot for its new ad campaign and Gloria tricks Phil and Joe into participating.

black-ish - "Under the Influence" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Jack is going through an experimental phase and getting himself into trouble, so Dre chaperones the twins’ school dance to keep an eye on him. Meanwhile, Junior fights with his girlfriend, Niecy, after she thinks he spends too much time taking care of Devante.

Modern Family - "We Need to Talk About Lily" (ABC, 10:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Phil may have conquered his biggest real estate challenge when he thinks he found Pepper his dream home. Meanwhile, in an attempt to connect with Lily, Mitch and Cam get invited to an exclusive event for her favorite vlogger.

black-ish - "Each One, Teach One" (ABC, 10:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Dre feels like he has made a difference with the diversity at Stevens & Lido as the head of the Urban Division, but when Junior tells him that Josh is his mentor, Dre flips out. Meanwhile, Jack and Diane show their friends a video of Bow dancing and now she’s become the hot mom.

The Detour - "The Game Show" (TBS, 10:30PM ET/PT)
The Parkers are contestants on a Japanese game show.

Sydney to the Max - "Dancin' the Vida Loca" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When Sydney struggles with ballet, something her mom was great at, she starts to feel like she's losing touch of her mom.

Sydney to the Max - "How Sydney Got Her Phone Back" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When a cell phone ban policy during school hours goes up for a vote, Sydney is sure that her dad, who's on the Parent School Committee, will vote against it.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of July 22)

Tuesday, July 23

  • Fred Armisen (Los Espookys/Forever) - Catch Fred on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Tony Hale (Veep/Arrested Development) - Tony appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Eva Longoria (Telenovela) - Eva stops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Thomas Lennon (The Odd Couple/Sean Saves the World/Reno 911!) - Thomas visits The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Charlie Hunnam (Undeclared) - Charlie is a guest on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Rami Malek (The War at Home) - Rami appears on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • David Spade (Rules of Engagement/8 Simple Rules/Just Shoot Me!) - David drops by Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Lisa Kudrow (Friends/The Comeback/Web Therapy) - Lisa is a guest on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Kyle Richards (Down to Earth) - Kyle visits Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Anthony Anderson (black-ish/Guys with Kids/All About the Andersons) - Anthony visits The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Idris Elba (Turn Up Charlie) - Idris appears on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings. He also talks about Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Jason Priestley (Call Me Fitz) - Jason talks about the Casteel Family Movie Series on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Billy Eichner (Friends from College/Difficult People/Parks and Recreation) - Billy talks about The Lion King on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • David Spade (Rules of Engagement/8 Simple Rules/Just Shoot Me!) - David talks about Lights Out with David Spade on the BUILD Series at 2pm.


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

My Three Sons - The Third Season - Volume One Perfect Strangers - The Complete Seventh and Eighth Seasons The Brady Bunch - 50th Anniversary The Brady-est TV & Movie Collection Will & Grace (The Revival) - Season Two The Good Place - The Complete Third Season

05/07 - Baskets - The Complete Season Three
05/13 - I'm Dying Up Here - Season 2
05/13 - My Three Sons - The Third Season - Volume One
05/13 - My Three Sons - The Third Season - Volume Two
05/14 - The Donna Reed Show - Seasons 1-5
05/14 - Petticoat Junction - Seasons 1-3
05/28 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Seventh and Eighth Seasons (WBShop.com)
05/28 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Second Season (Blu-ray)
06/04 - The Brady Bunch - 50th Anniversary The Brady-est Brady Bunch TV & Movie Collection
06/18 - Will & Grace (The Revival) - Season Two (Blu-ray)
07/09 - Broad City - Season 5
07/09 - Broad City - The Complete Series
07/17 - The Practice (1976) - The Complete Series
07/30 - The Good Place - The Complete Third Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


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