With relatively few specials from its competitors and a full lineup of new episodes, CBS increased its lead over 2nd place ABC by almost 2 million viewers. Two and a Half Men seems to have stabilized at just under 15 million viewers a week, but it looks as though The Big Bang Theory will reign as TV's top comedy for the foreseeable future. Fox, meanwhile, slipped into fourth place due to the absense of football spillover into its Sunday night lineup and the slipping ratings of most of its series. This allowed NBC to jump up to third place without gaining any viewers.
Over at ABC, Charlie's Angels was sent to cancellation heaven as of last week's episode. It's 8th and final episode will not air. The AMAs that aired Sunday saw an increase in viewers over last year's event and gave ABC a stronger Sunday than usual. It will be interesting to see if the pre-emption of the network's surprise hit Once Upon a Time will have a negative effect on the ratings when the series returns.
ABC scored its best week in terms of average viewers thanks to a strong performance by this year's Country Music Association Awards, which the network's highest-rated show of the week and pre-empted its Wednesday night lineup. ABC would likely have won the week if the CMAs were held on Thursday, a weaker night for the the network. However, this Thursday's Grey's Anatomy episode did gets its best viewership of the season for its fall finale, which was up against a rerun of Person of Interest, which fell out of the top 30. Once Upon a Time retained all of its viewers from last week and remains one of the few new fall series with any buzz although Revenge (pre-empted this week) is starting to heat up as well.
Elsewhere, there were no real surprises. The new fall series seem to have found their audiences, for better or worse, and most notched similar ratings to last week's episodes.
In cancellation news, yet another NBC series, Prime Suspect, was announced as getting the axe after its 13th episode airs. In January, The Firm, a sequel to the John Grisham novel and movie adaptation, will air in its timeslot on January 12, 2012 following a special two-hour premiere on Sunday, January 8. Josh Lucas takes over the Tom Cruise role as lead protagonist Mitch McMeere.
With the World Series over, CBS reclaimed its usual number one spot in the weekly ratings with a season-best thanks to a special broadcast of NCAA football on Saturday, which drew 20 million viewers and was a hair's breadth away from being the number one show for the week. It's been quite a long time since any Saturday show could make that claim. Elsewhere, CBS's lineup remained strong, although Two and a Half Men continues to lose, with a single exception, at least a million viewers each week . The Big Bang Theory, in contrast, soared to its second-highest audience level of the season, taking Men's place as America's top comedy.
Fox remained strong at number 2, but the shows pre-empted by the World Series did suffer ratings drops. New Girl returned after 3 weeks off and lost 1.3 million viewers from its previous episode on October 4. Terra Nova likewise lost a chunk of its audience – about 1.7 million viewers – from the last time it aired. Glee's return after a month saw its lowest ratings in two years. However, Bones returned to the lineup with its 7th season premiere and drew an audience of 10 million – about even with its season 6 premiere.
NBC saw its strongest weekly average in about a month, but its shows struggle every night. Grimm is a relative bright spot as its second episode only lost 600,000 viewers from its premiere, but Chuck, in its last season, is dying a painful death in the Friday 8pm timeslot, coming in 97th place with 3.1 million viewers. Brian Williams' debuting newsmagazine Rock Center brought in worse ratings than the premiere of the already-canceled The Playboy Club in the same timeslot. Rock came in 80th place with 4.1 million viewers. Besides football, only Harry's Law and Law & Order: SVU manage to crack the top 50 for NBC.
Over at ABC, Tim Allen's sitcom return, Last Man Standing, continues to lose a noticeable amount of viewers each week, while Once Upon a Time and Revenge are holding their audiences. Modern Family remains ABC's biggest hit entertainment series, but none of the other sitcoms around it are approaching its numbers. Perhaps ABC should consider moving The Middle to the 9:30 slot to form a stronger one-hour block. Happy Endings loses almost 6 million viewers from its Modern Family lead-in, and when Cougar Town returns mid-season, it will likely not fare much better.
Although this year's World Series started off weakly, it ended on a strong note as Friday's final game was the most watched Series game since 2004 thanks to a tight competiton that pushed the Series to a full 7 games – the first since 2002. The Series has wreaked havoc with Fox's primetime lineup which had a ton of pre-emptions, but a second week at number one made up for that. X Factor, airing a two-hour installment on Tuesday, ratched up its best ratings since its premiere episodes in September. However, Sunday's premiere of Allen Gregory, the final piece of Fox's Sunday Animation Domination lineup, debuted weakly at number 60 with 4.8 million viewers.
In its second episode, ABC's Once Upon a Time held up nicely and remained in the top 20. It was the highest-rated entertainment program on Sunday. CBS remains strong every night of the week and has top 20 hits from Sunday to Thursday. In contrast, NBC has problems every night and really doesn't have any blockbuster entertainment series to build on. Grimm debuted on Friday to 6.6 million viewers – the second best debut for a new NBC series this season, but it was good for only 47th place. Still, that was acceptable given that it was up against the final game of the World Series. However, football remains NBC's only real ratings draw.
The World Series battle between the Rangers and the Cardinals, although relatively low-rated, led Fox to its first weekly win of the season. Expect this to be a more regular occurrence once American Idol returns in January.
However, the other networks didn't seem phased by the Fall Classic at all as each network actually posted gains in audience over last week. That is, except for NBC who basically sat in the dugout on Thursday by putting up a night of reruns against Game 2, which drove it to a season-low average of 5.3 million viewers for the week. Once again, Harry's Law was the network's top scripted series, coming in at number 42 with 8.4 million viewers.
NCIS, now in its 9th season, remains the number 1 show for a second week, while Tim Allen's Last Man Standing lost about 3 million viewers and fell all the way to 30th place. Man Up! debuted even more poorly: it muscled up a wimpy 7.8 million viewers – good for 46th. Ratings declined from there in its second outing on October 25 (to be seen in next week's chart), so the series will likely be castrated shortly. On the plus side, another ABC series, Once Upon a Time, debuted extremely well on Sunday in a difficult timeslot opposite both the fourth game in the World Series and NBC's Sunday Night Football. If ratings hold, this could be the surprise breakout hit of the season as series that have been much more heavily hyped – Charle's Angels, Pan Am, Prime Suspect, and The Playboy Club – have all fizzled.
The Sheen-less Two and a Half Men loses a noticeable amount of viewers with each successive episode, but it's still the highest-rated comedy on television. Another Chuck Lorre series, The Big Bang Theory, is nipping at its heels this week, though.
After a 12-year absence from network television, Tim Allen returned to prime time with the one-hour debut episode of his new series Last Man Standing and promptly landed right back in the top 10. Only the premiere of 2 Broke Girls had more viewers for a sitcom premiere this season. Speaking of Girls, the show has lost about 8.5 million viewers since it began, but is still one of the highest-rated comedies airing right now and builds on its lead-in, How I Met Your Mother. Elsewhere at CBS, Person of Interest and Unforgettable have settled comfortably in the top 20 as has X Factor on Fox. The news wasn't all good at CBS, however, as it canceled How to Be a Gentleman for a second time after its single airing in its new Saturday night timeslot drew only 2.4 million viewers.
Back at ABC, Charlie's Angels was given its pink slip after its October 13 episode aired. However, an additional four episodes will be broadcast before the Angels are sent to cancellation heaven permanently. Given that Pan Am performed even worse and has lost almost half its audience since its premiere last month, we think it likely that this period drama will be grounded once its initial order of episodes has run.
Major League Baseball playoffs on Fox pre-empted its shows on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, but vaulted its ratings over ABC to come in second place behind perennial front runner CBS. NBC crashed with its worst ratings of the season drawing an average of only 6.4 million viewers for the week and landing with a thud in fourth place. As can be seen in the charts below, NBC's highest-rated new series for the week was Up All Night, which only managed to come in 58th place. NBC's ratings will look even worse after football seaon is over. The Kathy Bates vehicle, Harry's Law, remains NBC top-rated scripted series landing in 40th place.
In week 3, The Playboy Club aired its final episode on NBC, and notice came down that Free Agents, another NBC series, was canceled after its fourth episode aired on October 5. Likewise, The CW canceled its ratings-anemic H8R after its fourth episode aired the same night.
CBS remains the number one network by a comfortable margin, and there's nothing on the horizon from any network that will unseat it from that position. The Tiffany network is unstoppable on most nights with Tuesdays being particularly strong as its three series all land in the top 20. However, there are some cracks in the armor: Person of Interest is not a worthy successor to CSI in the Thursday 9pm timeslot ratings-wise, and A Gifted Man provides only a mediocre lead in for CBS's Friday night lineup.
ABC has no breakout new hits, but its returning shows are still doing relatively well. Modern Family has been firmly ensconced in the top 10 all season and is the network's highest-rated scripted series. However, ABC's much-hyped Pan Am continues to hemorrage viewers. It likely won't last past a single season.
The second week's ratings are in, and the new series are starting to find their audiences for better or worse. There are no breakout new hits this year as the sole new entry in the top 10 last week, 2 Broke Girls, has shed about 7.5 million viewers from its premiere and has dropped to number 17 this week. That makes Person of Interest the current top new series, which comes in at number 13. It's ratings are off slightly from CSI's 11th season average in that same timeslot, however.
As we stated in our Fall TV Preview article, period dramas tend not to do well on network television, and that has borne out as The Playboy Club became the first casualty of the season. It's third episode, which aired Monday, October 3, was its last. Production will continue until the sixth episode has wrapped, and then NBC will try to see if it can be sold to another network like Bravo (also an NBCUniversal company). The other period drama, Pan Am, has also seen its ratings decline about 3.5 million viewers in its second week.
Three new series debuted this week, and two of those managed to attract a decent sized sampling: Fox's Terra Nova landed at number 33 with 9.2 million viewers opposite longtime favorites Dancing with the Stars (ABC) and How I Met Your Mother (CBS). On ABC, Suburgatory did better, nabbing 9.8 million viewers – more than three times its direct timeslot competition, NBC's Free Agents (3.1 million). Free Agents was NBC's lowest-rated series for the week, and we predict it will be quietly removed from the schedule shortly. The other debut this week, The CW's Hart of Dixie, starring The OC's Rachel Bilson, caught the attention of 1.9 million viewers – about what could be expected from a CW series.
Sunday, September 25 ended the first official week of the new television season, and on the surface, not a lot changed from last season: CBS was still the number one network, and NBC was still number four. Of the new network offerings, 2 Broke Girls, Unforgettable, and Person of Interest – all on CBS – cracked the top 20 as did Simon Cowell's X Factor (both episodes) on Fox.
In spite of a change in management, NBC's fortunes continued to dwindle. Its top rated series were The Office and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit – both tied for 46th place with 7.6 million viewers each. That a major network cannot place a single entertainment series in the top 45 is astonishing. NBC was putting a lot of marketing muscle behind its adaptation of the British hit, Prime Suspect, but it pulled in fewer than half the viewers of its timeslot competitor, The Mentalist, which entered its fourth season on CBS. Football remains NBC's only bright spot as this week's showdown between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Indianapolis Colts was the number 2 watched broadcast.
Over at Fox, X Factor, while much hyped, underwhelmed. The reunion of Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul only mustered up 12.5 million viewers on each of its two airings this week. Cowell himself had gone on record saying that anything less than 20 million viewers would be a disappointment. Perhaps he meant the two installments added together? Still, the series is Fox's top-rated entry right now as Glee began its third season with 9.2 million viewers and a #41 rank.
Speaking of much hyped, ABC had solid-if-unspectacular starts for its soaps, Pan Am (#26 for the week) and Revenge (#35). Desperate Housewives entered its 8th and final season ranked #36. The network's remake of its 1970s classic Charlie's Angels was its lowest-rated new series coming in at #44. Thursdays at 8pm has been a difficult timeslot for ABC since forever, so if ratings hold steady, there's still a chance the series could get a full season pickup.
Based on this week's ratings, we'd predict quick cancellations for NBC's The Playboy Club and Free Agents. Watch them now while you can. Up All Night will likely hang around a little longer as it has gotten good reviews.
The CW continues to be a non-factor in the ratings as it is routinely beaten by Spanish-language network Univision. The CW's highest-rated series was The Vampire Diaries with 2.5 million viewers coming in at #98 – its only series to crack the top 100. America hates H8R – its second episode, which aired September 21, was the lowest-ranking new episode of any series on any network.
for the week:
CBS: 12.1 million
ABC: 9.9 million
FOX: 8.4 million
NBC: 7.5 million
Univision: 3.7 million
The CW: 1.6 million
HOW THE NEW SERIES DID:
2 Broke Girls
Person of Interest
X Factor Results Show
A Gifted Man
Up All Night
The Playboy Club
The Secret Circle
The CW, Th
The CW, Tue
The CW, Wed
NETWORK TOP 20, September 19-25, 2011
Two and a Half Men
NBC Sunday Night Football: Steelers v Colts
2 Broke Girls
Dancing with the Stars
NCIS: Los Angeles
The Big Bang Theory(8:30 special episode)
Dancing with the Stars Results Show
Modern Family(9:00 episode)
Modern Family(9:30 special episode)
The Big Bang Theory(8:00 episode)
Person of Interest
X Factor Results Show
Charity Event: SIXTH ANNUAL WOMEN OF WONDER DAY
Written by Scott Katz
Saturday, 29 October 2011 18:58
Doing his part for National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, best-selling author and DVD documentary producer, Andy Mangels, is spearheading the annual Women of Wonder Day charitable event, which he created back in 2006. We spoke to Mr. Mangels at length about his background and about the event, and the section of the interview pertaining to Women of Wonder Day can be heard by clicking on the audio player widget below.
The Women of Wonder Day event will be held on Sunday, October 30, 2011 at three comic book stores across the country: Excalibur Comics, 2444 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, Oregon; Comic Fusion, 42 Main St., Flemington, New Jersey; and Heroes and Fantasies, 4945 NW Loop 410, San Antonio, Texas. Money is raised for domestic abuse prevention & intervention charities via auction either at the stores or on ebay.
Bidders will vie to own exclusive pieces of art created by some of today's leading comic book artists featuring some of comics' powerful female characters. Additionally, autographed memorabilia has been contributed by some of today's hottest actors including Robin Williams, Lynda Carter, and the casts of Glee, The Big Bang Theory, Chuck, Nikita, and Castle. At the Portland event, comic book writer Brian Michael Bendis will be auctioning off a chance to be written in to one of his upcoming comics.
The event and the artwork are designed to be family-friendly and admission to the stores to participate in the auction is free. 100% of the proceeds go to the charities to benefit programs in the communities where the three stores are located. To find out more information about Women of Wonder Day, please visit http://www.womenofwonderday.com
Also, we now have the full audio interview with Andy Mangels, which ran about two hours and included discussions on a wide variety of pop culture topics from DVDs and animation to comic books and beyond. Click on the second player below to listen!
The 2011 New York Comic Con was held at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City on October 13-16, and it was packed to the rafters with comic book fans, publishers, anime producers, celebrities, special guests, and eye-popping displays. The following galleries can only give you a small taste of the spectacle of the event, so if you're in the New York area next October, be sure to get your tickets to see it all in person!
Click on the tabs just below to see each of the three photo galleries of the weekend bash.
And, if you want to see our coverage of the 2010 New York Comic Con, click here...
The Fall 2011 television season officially premieres on Monday, September 19, and the five networks are unveiling no less than 27 new series: 5 on first place network CBS, 7 on ABC, 6 on NBC, 5 on Fox, and 4 on The CW. Fall TV season is always brutal and the few that survive should always count themselves lucky.
Of the 23 series that premiered in September 2010, 17 have been canceled – some after just a handful of episodes were aired. The six returnees: Hawaii Five-O, Mike & Molly, Raising Hope, Nikita, Blue Bloods, and Body of Proof – three from CBS, and one each from ABC, FOX, and The CW. All of NBC's new shows from last September, including the much-hyped The Event, are gone. However, mid-season replacement Harry's Law performed strongly and is back for a second go-round.
Looking over the offerings, we see a few gems, but we think most of these series are rather uninspired and will die a quick death. Once again, we're seeing the continuation of hip, single camera comedies that tend to be neither hip nor funny. Other trends include some period dramas (Pan Am and The Playboy Club), fairy tales come to life (Grimm and Once Upon a Time), and that old chestnut, The Odd Couple (2 Broke Girls and How to Be a Gentleman).
(l-r) Kat Dennings, Beth Behrs [Photo Credit: CBS]
2 BROKE GIRLS
8:30pm • CBS • premieres September 19
Stars:Kat Dennings, Beth Behrs, Jonathan Kite, Garrett Morris, Matthew Moy
Premise: Think Laverne & Shirley in a diner. Odd couple Dennings (the tough/brash one) and Behrs (the girly/prissy one) work at a diner (in a shocking departure from the brewery) while trying to make their dreams come true by raising the money to start their own cupcake business. Sensibilities of the show will lean more toward crass one-liners than the broad physical comedy of Marshall and Williams, however.
Chances for survival: It's slotted between How I Met Your Mother and Two and a Half Men, so its success largely depends upon how well the two aging shows fare against ABC's powerhouse Dancing with the Stars and Fox's new adventure series Terra Nova not to mention how well America takes to Ashton Kutcher.
Jason O'Mara (l) and cast of Terra Nova[Photo Credit: Fox Broadcasting]
8:00pm • FOX • premieres September 26
Stars: Jason O'Mara, Stephen Lang, Christine Adams, Shelley Conn, Mido Hamada, Landon Liboiron, Alana Mansour, Allison Miller, Naomi Scott
Premise: It's Jurassic Park in the Jurassic Age as the Shannon family travel back in time from the year 2049 to the prehistoric world of 85 million years ago in an effort to rebuild civilization. Hot on their trail are the terrorist "Sixers" determined to start civilization over their way, and a potential traitor in their ranks in the form of Commander Taylor (played by Stephen Lang).
Chances for survival: Produced by Stephen Spielberg (who has never really had much success with television), Terra Nova is ambitious, but will the dinosaur-filled world translate effectively on a television budget? Has a shot at success only because it's so different from anything else the networks are offering this season. Could build up a Lost-like cult following if the intrigue factor is kept high.
(l-r) Eddie Cibrian, Amber Heard [Photo Credit: NBC]
THE PLAYBOY CLUB
10:00pm • NBC • premieres September 19
Stars: Eddie Cibrian, Amber Heard, Naturi Naughton, David Krumholtz, Jenna Dewan, Laura Benanti, Leah Renee
Premise: Set in the world of the turbulent and transitional 1960s, politicians, mobsters, and entertainers all converge on the Playboy Club to rub shoulders and make backroom deals. Cibrian stars as Nick Dalton, a lawyer with political aspirations as well as ties to the Chicago underworld figures who frequent the exclusive club.
Chances for survival: Period dramas always have a rough go of it on network television and the time period is murder. Last season's Chase died a quick death on NBC up against Castle and Hawaii Five-O, and it's likely that The Playboy Club will follow suit against that same competition this year.
(l-r) Scott Porter, Jaime King, Rachel Bilson, Wilson Bethel, Cress Williams [Photo Credit: The CW]
HART OF DIXIE
9:00pm • The CW • premieres September 26
Stars: Rachel Bilson, Wilson Bethel, Scott Porter, Jaime King, Cress Williams
Premise: Southern Exposure. New York doctor (Bilson) leaves the Big Apple for a life down south in a town full of colorful and quirky stock television characters. Romantic element supplied by fellow New Yorker played by Friday Night Light's Scott Porter. Bilson is caught in a romantic comedy love triangle between Porter and his southern belle fiancée played by Jaime King.
Chances for survial: It's up against tough competition from all the other networks, but The CW tends to hang on to shows a lot longer than the big guys. If it can muster up just 2 million viewers a week, it has a shot.
MONDAY'S RETURNING SERIES:
Dancing with the Stars[Season 13 premieres September 19]: The set we've seen for the past 6 years (and 12 seasons) has undergone a massive multimillion dollar overhaul. Among the new features are a movable orchestra area and staircases and tiered seating that will now accommodate a studio audience of up to 750 people. Overall, the set will now look more like a traditional opera house. This season, three-time winner Derek Hough returns to the series and Maxim Chmerkovskiy's brother Valentin joins the cast as a regular. As far as the celebrity contestants, they will be: David Arquette (paired with Kym Johnson), Chaz Bono (with Lacey Schwimmer), Elisabetta Canalis (with Valentin Chmerkovskiy), Kristin Cavallari (with Mark Ballas), Nancy Grace (with Tristan MacManus), Rob Kardashian (with Cheryl Burke), Carson Kressley (with Anna Trebunskaya), Ricki Lake (with Derek Hough), J.R. Martinez (with Karina Smirnoff), Chynna Phillips (with Tony Dovolani), Hope Solo (with Maksim Chmerkovskiy), and Metta World Peace (with Peta Murgatroyd).
Castle[Season 4 premieres September 19]: At the end of Season 3, Captain Montgomery sacrificed his life to save Detective Beckett after it was revealed that Montgomery was involved in the conspiracy regarding the killing of Beckett's mother. At Montgomery's funeral, Beckett (Stana Katic) was shot and Castle (played by Nathan Fillion) revealed his true feelings to her. Beckett survives, of course, and the relationship between her and Castle moves to a new level. Penny Johnson Jerald joins the cast as Captain Montgomery's replacement, a hard-nosed character nicknamed "Iron Gates."
How I Met Your Mother [Season 7 premieres September 19]: At the end of Season 6, the series flashed foward to the wedding day of Barney (played by Neil Patrick Harris). In the present, Robin realized she still had feelings for Barney and Lily (Alyson Hannigan) told Marshall that she was pregnant. Whom will Barney marry? Robin, his girlfriend Nora, or someone else? This season will follow Barney on that journey while Robin seeks therapy and begins a relationship with her therapist, played by Kal Penn. Meanwhile, Ted (Josh Radnor) is still looking for "the one" who will end up being the Mother of the series title and it has been promised that Ted will meet her at Barney's wedding, which will happen in the show's final season (likely Season 8 beginning September 2012).
Two and a Half Men[Season 9 premieres September 19]: At the end of Season 8, Charlie Harper (played by Charlie Sheen) flew to Paris to propose to his girlfriend, Rose. As Season 9 opens, Charlie has died under mysteriouis circumstances and Internet billionaire Walden Schmidt buys Charlie's Malibu beach house and convinces Alan and Jake (Jon Cryer and Angus T. Jones) to stay. Making return appearances this season will be Courtney Thorne-Smith as Lyndsey and Jenny McCarthy as Courtney. Judy Greer joins the cast as Bridget, Schmidt's soon-to-be-ex-wife. Everyone involved with the show promises that it will remain as raunchy and offensive as ever.
Mike & Molly [Season 2 premieres September 26]: In the first season finalé, Mike proposed to Molly. In the new season, we follow the couple as they make wedding plans, and we meet more of their extended families. However, will Mike and Molly actually make it down the aisle?
Hawaii Five-O[Season 2 premieres September 19]: At the end of the first season, McGarrett (played by Alex O'Laughlin) was framed for murder and Five-O was no more. In Season 2, the members of the team will find their way back to each other after going through some tough times. Kono (played by Grace Park) will be featured in a five-episode arc where she tries to regain her badge after having been arrested for theft at the end of Season 1. We'll also be introduced to new members of Danny's (played by Scott Caan) family. This year's season-long arc will be a mystery that will involve McGarrett's deceased father and Wo Fat.
House[Season 8 premieres October 3]: At the end of Season 7, House crashed his car into Dr. Cuddy's living room after seeing her with her new boyfriend through the window. Season 8 picks up a year later and begins with House in jail, but he gets released on parole with the condition that he continues to practice medicine. Lisa Edelstein, who played Dr. Cuddy has departed the series, and Odette Yustman will join the cast as Dr. Jessica Adams who works at the prison where House is incarcerated.
The Sing-Off[Season 3 premieres September 19]: The hit series featuring a capella singing groups that aired over the holidays for the last two years is back with an expanded season of 11 two-hour episodes that begin in September rather than its traditional Thanksgiving to Christmas run. Other changes include a new judge, Sara Bareilles, joining returnees Ben Folds, Shawn Stockman, and series host Nick Lachey. Nicole Scherzinger jumps ship to join Simon Cowell's X Factor.
Gossip Girl [Season 5 premieres September 26]: At the end of Season 4, one of the girls was revealed to be pregnant. Which one? You will know by the end of the Season 5 premiere. Producers promise that this season will be lighter in tone and that, now that the kids are almost 21, stories will be a bit more adult than in the past. Elizabeth Hurley joins the cast in a recurring role as Diana Payne, a media mogul that will become mixed up in the lives of our favorite dysfunctional socialites.
Premise:Tim Allen's back in a family comedy that's not too different in tone from his Home Improvement hit. His three kids are now female, but Tim's character, Mike Baxter, is still a guy's guy who likes being just that.
Chances for survival: Allen is a proven hit commodity, but Standing is up against TV's highest-rated drama, NCIS. Further, it's paired with the similar-themed, but weaker Man Up! so a strong competing one hour block isn't there for ABC to steal viewers away from NCIS or Fox's Glee. Hopefully, ABC will give it a full season to find an audience and pair it with a better companion once it inevitably dumps Man Up!
Cast of Man Up![Photo Credit: ABC]
8:30pm • ABC • premieres October 18
Stars:Christopher Moynihan, Dan Fogler, Mather Zickel, Amanda Detmer, Teri Polo, Henry Simmons
Premise: Three buddies try to reclaim their manhood in the post-Alpha male 21st century.
Chances for survival: Slim to none. Narrow premise, weak pilot, and lack of name actors in the cast will doom this unfunny series to a quick cancellation.
Poppy Montgomery (l) stars with Dylan Walsh (far right) in Unforgettable [Photo Credit: CBS]
10:00pm • CBS • premieres September 20
Stars: Poppy Montgomery, Dylan Walsh, Michael Gaston, Kevin Rankin, Daya Valdya
Premise:Without a Trace's Poppy Montgomery takes center stage in a new procedural playing a homicide detective who is gifted/cursed with Superior Autobiographical Memory – the total recall of everything she's ever seen or experienced. She works alongside her ex-boyfriend, played by Dylan Walsh, to solve the case of the week as well as piece together the one event she can't remember – the murder of her sister when they were children. Taxi's Marilu Henner, one of six Americans who actually have Superior Autobiographical Memory, is onboard the series as a consultant.
Chances for survival: If scripts get stronger and the character interplay between Montgomery and Walsh sparks, this could be one of the hit dramas of the season.
(l-r) Lamorne Morris, Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield, Zooey Deschanel [Photo Credit: Fox Broadcasting]
Premise: After getting dumped by her boyfriend, Deschanel's character Jess moves in with three roommates – all guys – who try to offer their insights into the dating scene, how guys think, and life in general. However, Jess, cute but socially awkward, finds herself attracted to one of her three new big brothers.
Chances for survival: Deschanel, an established movie actress and the younger sister of Bones' Emily Deschanel, makes her weekly series debut here in a comedy that tries way too hard to be hip and "now," but never actually succeeds at being funny. Deschanel has appeal to spare and the awkward-female-finding-her-way bit has worked on TV since the Mary Tyler Moore Show, but the dialogue and situations are just groan-inducing.
Above: Sarah Michelle Gellar [Photo Credit: The CW]
9:00pm • The CW • premieres September 13
Stars:Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ioan Gruffudd, Nestor Carbonell, Mike Colter, Kristoffer Polaha, Tara Summers
Premise: Fan favorite actress Sarah Michelle Gellar returns to series television as twins Bridget and Siobhan. Bridget, on the run rather than testify at a murder trial, assumes the identity of her missing twin sister Siobhan, a New York City socialite. However, Bridget discovers that her twin's seemingly perfect life is full of its own secrets, danger, and soap operatic intrigue. Along for the rollercoaster ride are Ioan Gruffudd as Siobhan's husband, Kristoffer Polaha as Siobhan's lover, and Nestor Carbonell as an FBI agent. Can Bridget dodge those out to kill her and convince everyone that she is her own sister? And what exactly happened to the sister anyway?
Chances for survival: Originally developed for CBS before it was decided that it was more compatible with the younger-skewing CW. Gellar, now in her 30s, is a little bit older than the typical CW character, but her Buffy fans will undoubtedly give this a shot and the intriguing premise may just keep them tuning in for the long haul.
TUESDAY'S RETURNING SERIES:
Dancing with the Stars Results Show[Season 13 premieres September 20] : With Last Man Standing and Man Up! both premiering in October, expect to see the DWTS Results Show or specials take up the 8-9pm timeslot until then. Then expect the actual results to be announced at 9:57pm.
Body of Proof[Season 2 premieres September 20]: Season 1 was supposed to begin in November 2010, but then was postponed until midseason. This time, Dana Delany's medical drama begins during premiere week. In this season, romance is in the air for Delany's character Megan Hunt as she has a fling with an FBI agent with a promise of another big romance further along. Nathalie Kelley from The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift joins the cast as Dani, the driver of Megan's medical examiner van who drives her male co-workers wild. The romance between Megan's ex-husband and her boss heats up, which causes strife in both Megan's personal and professional lives.
NCIS[Season 9 premieres September 20]: This season, Cote de Pablo's character, ex-Mossad agent Ziva David, becomes an official team member. Also, Tony DiNozzo is still on the case trying to uncover a mole – an assignment he got at the end of last season by the Secretary of the Navy, who will be a key player in the drama this season. Scott Wolf, fresh off ABC's canceled V reboot, joins the cast as an FBI agent, while Jamie Lee Curtis is on board as a potential love interest for Mark Harmon's character. Other returnees and new faces include Robert Wagner, Ralph Waite, Sarah Jane Morris, and Enrique Murciano. Expect to see Muse Watson's character Mike Franks pop up during the season in some capacity despite having been killed off last year.
NCIS: Los Angeles[Season 3 premieres September 20]: At the end of Season 2, the NCIS: LA team raced to Romania on a mission to rescue Linda Hunt's character Hettie Lange. Hettie gets shot, and while she's in recovery, Lauren Hunter will continue to fill in. During the season, we'll get to know more about Chris O'Donnell's character, G. Callen, than has been revealed thus far – but still not what the "G" stands for. LL Cool J gets a spotlight story arc during November sweeps. Also be on the lookout for a possible crossover with Hawaii Five-O as Kensi Blye, played by actress Daniela Ruah, visits the gang in LA.
Glee[Season 3 premieres September 20]: Much of the drama surrounding this series actually took place behind the scenes over the summer as series creator Ryan Murphy made some comments that lit up the Internet stating that some main cast members including Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, and Chris Colfer would all be departing by season's end as their characters graduated high school. Fans were shocked and disapointed, and some of the actors voiced surprise as well because they were not previously told that they would be let go. Since the debacle, Murphy and the other producers have kept quiet on this season's developments, but rumors have started to circulate that the departing cast members would actually be heading toward a spinoff series.
Raising Hope [Season 2 premieres September 20]: On this very competitive night, Fox's quirky family comedy returns with single dad Jimmy Chance (Lucas Neff) becoming a slightly more competent and confident father. Stories this season involve the Chance clan taking a Vegas road trip. Also, Cloris Leachman enjoys an expanded role this season as a series regular.
The Biggest Loser[Season 12 premieres September 20]: In this season, overweight people will compete to see who will lose the most weight. Not exactly tampering with the formula, here, but in this season, tennis pro Anna Kournikova joins the cast replacing trainer Jillian Michaels. She'll join returnee Bob Harper as well as celebrity trainer Dolvett Quince in putting this season's crop of contestants through their paces..
Parenthood [Season 3 premieres September 13]: Getting an early jump on the competition, Parenthood begins its new season a week ahead of this fall's official premiere week. In this season, Adam (Peter Krause) agrees to become business partners with his brother Crosby (Dax Shepard) in a recording studio, which will play host to musician Cee Lo Green guest starring as himself in an episode. Other goings-on in the Braverman family include Julia (Erika Christensen) makes plans to adopt a baby; Sarah (Lauren Graham) resumes her relationship with Jason Ritter's character now that The Event has been canceled. Ritter will be appearing in much of this season. Adding to Sarah's complicated love life will be the return of her ex-boyfriend Seth. Crosby and Jasmine struggle to co-exist and co-parent their son in spite of having broken up as a couple. It doesn't help matters when Jasmine starts dating her child's pediatrician.
90210 [Season 4 premieres September 13]: Just as in the original series, the kids of the reboot graduated high school at the end of Season 3. After being made a series regular last season, actor Trevor Donovan goes back to recurring status, which means that his character of Teddy Montgomery, who came out of the closet last year, will be seen a lot less. Three new characters will be added to the cast including Navid's 17 year-old sister. With the kids older, expect less focus on parents and teachers and more on musical beds, mirroring the original series' storyline trajectory.
Above: Jeremy Sisto, Jane Levy, and the cast of Suburgatory [Photo Credit: ABC]
8:30pm • ABC • premieres September 28
Stars: Jeremy Sisto, Jane Levy, Carly Chaikin, Allie Grant, Cheryl Hines, Alan Tudyk
Premise:New Yorkers George and his daughter Tessa (Sisto, Levy) pack up and head for the quiet of the suburbs but discover that life in the 'burbs is about competing to keep up with the latest trends and can be just as stress-inducing as life in the big city.
Chances for survival: Sisto and Levy are solid – Levy in particular may prove to be a breakout – and this series is a more suitable companion piece to ABC's Wednesday night comedy lineup than last season's Better With You was.
Above: Emily Van Camp with the cast of Revenge[Photo Credit: ABC]
10:00pm • ABC • premieres September 21
Stars: Emily Van Camp, Christa B. Allen, Josh Bowman, Henry Czerny, Ashley Madekwe, Gabriel Mann, Connor Paolo, Madeline Stowe, James Tupper, Nick Wechsler
Premise: In a somewhat-distaff version of The Count of Monte Cristo, Emily Thorne (played by Van Camp) enters the upper crust of The Hamptons, the uber-wealthy Long Island community, in order to get, as the title says, revenge on those who were responsible for destroying her father when she was a child.
Chances for survival: It's been awhile since a nighttime soap became a hit on the major networks, and we're not convinced that this entry will be any different. However, with Desperate Housewives on its way out, ABC might be willing to stick with it to see if it can build enough of an audience to be a potential replacement. If it shows any promise, ABC would be wise to move it to a different night.
(l-r) Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell [Photo Credit: Fox Broadcasting]
THE X FACTOR
8:00pm • FOX • premieres September 21
Stars: Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Antonio "L.A" Reid, Nicole Scherzinger, Steve Jones
Premise: Unless you've been living under a rock, you already know the drill: Simon Cowell brings his hit UK series to America and reunites with ex-Idol panelist Paula Abdul. X Factor distinguishes itself from Idol in a few important ways: there is no upper age limit to the contestants, and they can be as young as 12. Also, solo acts will be competing against groups. Finally, the four judges will take a more active role in mentoring the contestants before the finalists are chosen to compete for America's votes. At stake: the largest cash prize of any reality competition series – a cool five million dollars.
Chances for survival: Simon and Paula have a love/hate relationship that is irresistable to watch, so many will be tuning in just for that. However, we think that the personal stories of the hopefuls will also grab viewers and make them come back each week. Fox always takes the ratings crown during the January through May period when Idol airs, but X Factor may be enough to give them the title all year round.
(l-r) Katie Finneran, Jaime Pressly [Photo Credit: Fox Broadcasting]
I HATE MY TEENAGE DAUGHTER
9:30pm • FOX • premieres November 30
Stars: Jaime Pressly, Katie Finneran, Chad L. Coleman, Aisha Dee, Kristi Lauren, Kevin Rahm, Eric Sheffer Stevens
Premise: Two moms commiserate about raising their somewhat obnoxious teenage daughters. It doesn't help that their kids remind them of the girls who used to bully them in high school.
Chances for survival: Fox always seems to struggle to find a hit show to follow American Idol, and it looks like they'll have the same problem with X Factor. This sitcom lacks heart, which will likely seal its fate rather quickly.
(l-r) Will Arnett, Christina Appelgate [Photo Credit: NBC]
UP ALL NIGHT
8:00pm • NBC • premieres September 14
Stars: Christina Appelgate, Will Arnett, Nick Cannon, Maya Rudolph
Premise: Thirtysomething couple has baby, which upends their lives and wreaks havoc on their social, personal, and professional lives.
Chances for survival: Super-appealing cast and bright writing elevate this sitcom above its unoriginal premise. However, the competition is murder as it must find an audience among fans who are already watching Survivor, X Factor, and The Middle. Likely won't last the season without a timeslot change.
Stars: Hank Azaria, Kathryn Hahn, Anthony Head, Natasha Leggero, Joe LoTruglio, Al Madrigal, Mo Mandel
Premise: Middle-aged co-workers take a second shot at romance by entering into a relationship in this cyncial romantic sitcom adapted from the British hit.
Chances for survival: Not very good as sitcom characters generally have to be more likeable to succeed on American television, Seinfeld aside.
Above: Mario Lopez [Photo Credit: The CW]
8:00pm • The CW • premieres September 14
Stars: Mario Lopez
Premise: Host Mario Lopez brings together celebrities (really D-list reality stars for the most part) together with online bloggers who trash them to see what happens when they meet face-to-face.
Chances for survival: On a regular network, this wouldn't last past one episode, but The CW is so starved for programming that this cheap-to-produce series may just run ten years.
WEDNESDAY'S RETURNING SERIES:
The Middle [Season 3 premieres September 21]: The Middle kicks off ABC's Wednesday night with a one-hour premiere that reunites star Patricia Heaton with her Everybody Loves Raymond husband, Ray Romano. In a flashback sequence, to Frankie (Heaton) and Mike's (Neil Flynn) honeymoon, Romano's character, Nicky, intrudes on the newlyweds.
Modern Family[Season 3 premieres September 21]: Mitchell and Cameron (Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet) decide to have another child and will explore whether to adopt or use a surrogate. Elsewhere, Phil and Claire's oldest child becomes a high school senior. The season premiere will be a one-hour special that finds the entire family taking a trip to a dude ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Happy Endings [Season 2 premieres September 28]: A surprise renewal from ABC brought this quirky, single-camera comedy back from cancellation and forced star Damon Wayans Jr. to leave his new role in Zooey Deschanel's New Girl after the pilot to return to Endings. This season won't reinvent the sitcom so much as refine and refocus on what worked best for the series – following the lives of these six dysfunctional twenty-somethings. In the premiere, the gang marks the one-year anniversary of the non-wedding of Dave and Alex (Zachary Knighton, Elisha Cuthbert). Also look for guest star Megan Mullally (Will and Grace) as Penny's mother, which will allow us to gain insight into Penny's super-optimistic character.
Survivor [Season 23 premieres September 14]: In this competition round, the sixteen new castaways head to the South Pacific island of Upolu, Somoa to try to outwit, outplay, and outlast each other to become this season's survivor and the winner of the $1 million grand prize. Redemption Island, introduced in the last season, will return. Also returning are two former contestants, Benjamin "Coach" Wade (from Season 18's Tocantins and Season 20's Heroes vs. Villains) and Ozzy Lusth (from Season 13's Cook Island and Season 16's Micronesia: Fans vs. Favorites). Among the new players is Brandon Hantz, who is the nephew of Russell Hantz one of the more notorious "villains" of the series. Brandon is seeking to redeem the Hantz family name.
Criminal Minds [Season 7 premieres September 21]: The cast is being restored back to where it was after adverse fan reaction to changes that were made. Gone is Ashley Seaver (actress Rachel Nichols did not have her contract renewed for this season) and back are Emily Prentiss (who, apparantly, did not die last season after all), portrayed by Paget Brewster, and JJ Jareau (actress AJ Cook). Producers promise that the return of Emily Prentiss will be handled plausibly with the character having faked her death and gone on the run after having escaped from her kidnapper, Ian Doyle, an old Interpol nemesis. Well, that's plausible for this type of show.
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation [Season 12 premieres September 21]: Major changes are in store for this long-running series that kicked off the CSI franchise. For one thing, the show gets booted from its familiar timeslot of Thursdays at 9pm in favor of Jim Caviezel's new series, Person of Interest. Also, star Laurence Fishburne has departed, and Ted Danson joins the cast as DB Russell, a well-adjusted family man who will bring a new sense of balance and stability to the show. Marg Helgenberger and her character Catherine Willows will depart the series in January and the stories for the first half of the season will be leading up to that. However, producers aren't keen on killing the character off, which may lead to return appearances in the future if Helgenberger is willing.
Harry's Law [Season 2 premieres September 21]: With the cancellation of Fox's Human Target, star Mark Valley joins the cast of this David E. Kelley legal drama headlined by Oscar-winner Kathy Bates. Valley previously worked for Kelley on Private Practice and will now play Oliver Richard, an attorney who was in Harry's old law firm. Oliver seeks out Harry's assistance with a murder case featuring guest-star Alfred Molina for a three-episode arc. Following that, Oliver joins Harry's shoe store law firm for good.
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit [Season 13 premieres September 21]: Series star Christopher Meloni departed the cast at the end of Season 12 when he was unable to come to new contract terms with the show. Mariska Hargitay carries on alone, but reportedly with a reduced, more supervisory role, in the stories. Kelli Giddish (star of last season's Chase) and Danny Pino (of Cold Case) join the cast as new lead detectives, Amanda Rollins and Nick Amaro. L&O's trademark "ripped from the headlines" stories will continue, of course, with a story about a foreign dignitary accused of raping a hotel maid. Guest stars this season include Andre Braugher, TR Knight, Kyle MacLachlan, and Dan Lauria, among others. Also look for more screen time for series regulars Richard Belzer, Ice-T, and Dann Florek. Returning for occassional visits are Diane Neal (ADA Casey Novak) and Stephanie March (ADA Alexandra Cabot). Crossing over from the original L&O series is Linus Roache as Bureau Chief Executive ADA Michael Cutter.
America's Next Top Model [Season 17 premieres September 14]: This cycle will be an all-stars version with all fourteen contestants having appeared in prior seasons: Shannon Ratliff (Cycle 1), Camille McDonald (Cycle 2), Brittany Brower (Cycle 4), Lisa D'Amato (Cycle 5), Bre Scullark (Cycle 5), Bianca Golden (Cycle 9), Dominique Reighard (Cycle 10), Isis King (Cycle 11), Sheena Sakai (Cycle 11), Allison Harvard (Cycle 12), Laura Kirkpatrick (Cycle 13), Angelea Preston (Cycle 14), Kayla Ferrel (Cycle 15), Alexandria Everett (Cycle 16). In addition to the standard modeling competitions, there will be a focus on the fame aspect of the modeling industry as each of the fourteen have become known to the fans and public since their appearances on the series. Competitions will include making a music video with rapper Game, changing up their look with singer Ashlee Simpson, and a Michael Jackson inspired photo shoot mentored by Jackson's sister LaToya.
Premise: "Once upon a time, there were three beautiful girls..." You know the drill. Except that this time the three angels (Abby, Eve, Kate) and Bosley had all run afoul of the law and fell from grace. Charlie took them away from all that, and now they work for him in this reboot helmed by Smallville's Al Gough and Miles Millar. Drew Barrymore, who brought the franchise to the big screen is also on board the series as an Executive Producer.
Chances for survival: Pretty good if the series proves to be as fun as the original. It's up against both the X Factor results show and The Big Bang Theory, so the chemistry of the leads really has to be there. Not to mention tons of eye-candy moments.
(l-r) David Hornsby, Kevin Dillon [Photo Credit: CBS]
HOW TO BE A GENTLEMAN
8:30pm • CBS • premieres September 29
Stars: Kevin Dillon, David Hornsby, Rhys Darby, Dave Foley, Nancy Lenehan, Mary Lynn Rajskub
Premise: The ever-dependable odd couple template gets another workout when a prissy magazine columnist becomes roommates with the boorish guy who bullied him in high school as Dillon's character offers his help to help make the magazine more "manly."
Chances for survival:Gentleman has a dream timeslot in that it follows The Big Bang Theory. If the writing is there, this could be another top 10 hit. However, the ratings really must hold up and not fall too far from Theory's lead in. Last season's $#*! My Dad Says was given the heave-ho despite being a top 30 series, and buzz on Gentleman's pilot was not good.
Above: Jim Caviezel [Photo Credit: CBS]
PERSON OF INTEREST
9:00pm • CBS • premieres September 22
Stars: Jim Caviezel, Michael Emerson, Taraji P. Henson
Premise: In this new crime drama, the post-9/11 world of heightened security and heightened paranoia are explored as two men head up of team of vigilantes who try to stop violent crimes before they happen by spying on the persons of interest through the use of a suveillance project the head of the team once created for the government. Caviezel plays an ex-CIA agent who has fallen on hard times, become homeless, and is searching for a new purpose in life. Enter Michael Emerson's character, an eccentric billionaire with secrets of his own, who created the aforementioned surveillance system and can still tap into it. He recruits Caviezel to be his foot soldier in his private war on crime. This series will have both an ongoing mythology that will be revealed slowly over the course of the series – JJ Abrams of Lost is one of the creators of this series – as well as a case of the week that will be resolved by the end of each episode.
Chances for survival: Excellent. It occupies the golden timelost formerly held by CSI for the last decade and is one of the fall's most anticipated series along with NBC's Prime Suspect. The backstories and relationships between the characters are full of mystery and intrigue that will surely keep viewers hooked. Will likely be the highest-rated new series of the season.
Britt Robertson (c) and the cast of The Secret Circle[Photo Credit: THE CW]
THE SECRET CIRCLE
9:00pm • The CW • premieres September 15
Stars: Britt Robertson, Thomas Dekker, Ashley Crow, Gale Harold, Shelly Henning, Natasha Henstridge, Louis Hunter, Jessica Parker Kennedy, Phoebe Jane Tonkin
Premise: Robertson stars as Cassie Blake who, after being orphaned, moves to Washington to live with her grandmother. It isn't long before she discovers that she's descended from Salem withes and joins with other magical teens in their coven. In a departure from most series of this type, the teens are not living secret lives behind the backs of their clueless parents. The grown ups are also part of the magical action and the struggle between good and evil that surrounds Cassie.
Chances for survival: Very good. Off the success of author LJ Smith's The Vampire Diaries series of books, The CW optioned Circle, another LJ Smith series. Like Diaries, The Secret Circle will be helmed by Kevin Williamson.
(l-r) Chris D'Elia, Whitney Cummings [Photo Credit: NBC]
9:30pm • NBC • premieres September 22
Stars: Whitney Cummings, Chris D'Elia
Premise: Cummings brings her stand up routine to the sitcom format in this comedy that mirrors her real-life take on relationships.
Chance for survival: Iffy. Viewers who know Cummings are used to her being a whole lot more raunchy than she will be here on network prime time, and the viewers who don't know her may find themselves unimpressed by these watered-down anecdotes. Also, it's the only show on NBC's Thursday night comedy block to use a laugh track, which makes it seem markedly out of place.
(l-r) Maria Bello, Aidan Quinn [Photo Credit: NBC]
10:00pm • NBC • premieres September 22
Stars: Maria Bello, Kirk Acevedo, Peter Gerety, Tim Griffin, Damon Gupton, Joe Nieves, Brian F. O'Byrne, Aidan Quinn
Premise: One of the more anticipated new series of the new season, Prime Suspect is an American adaptation of the venerable British hit and stars Maria Bello in the Helen Mirren role. Bello's Jane Timoney has to navigate both the male-dominated New York City homicide squad as well as her own chaos-filled private life.
Chances for survival: Up against CBS's hit The Mentalist and ABC's Private Practice, Prime Suspect may fall squarely in the middle, ratings-wise, which should be enough to keep it on the schedule and get it renewed for a second season. The Mentalist still has plenty of juice left, while Private Practice – never as big a hit as its Grey's Anatomy lead-in – will likely prove little competition for Suspect.
THURSDAY'S RETURNING SERIES:
Grey's Anatomy[Season 8 premieres September 22]: This season will mark a turning point for the series as the contracts of all the original cast members will come up for renewal at season's end. Patrick Dempsey (Derek Shepherd) has already stated that this season would be his last, but then later partially backpedalled. This season's storylines concern Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) and Shepherd's trying to rebuild their relationship after last season's separation and their adoption efforts falling apart. Christina Yang (played by Sandra Oh) is still facing an unwanted pregancy and the possibility of getting an abortion. We'll find out at the end of the season premiere what her decision is. On the less tumultuous side of things, Callie and Arizona (Sara Ramirez, Jessica Capshaw) are enjoying being newlyweds and new mommies. Eric Dane's Mark Sloan, the baby's biological father, will be involved in storylines away from Callie.
Private Practice [Season 5 premieres September 29]: Storylines this season include Kate Walsh's Addison trying to conceive a child with the help of new cast member Benjamin Bratt, who plays fertility doctor Jake Reilly. Addison and Sam (Taye Diggs) continue their relationship discreetly, but will Addison want him to be the father of her baby? Pete (Tim Daly) recovers from his heart attack while Violet (Amy Brenneman) is away on a book tour leading to some anger issues for Pete. Naomi (Audra McDonald) departed for New York at the end of Season 4 to be with Dr. Gabriel Fife, but will make some guest appearances this season.
The Big Bang Theory [Season 5 premieres September 22]: TV's favorite nerds move forward with their romantic entaglements this season as Penny (Kaley Cuoco), who still loves Leonard (Johnny Galecki) ended up drunk and in bed with Raj (Kunal Nayyar), but did they actually go all the way? We'll find out in the season premiere. Meanwhile, Leonard continues his relationship with Priya, in spite of the fact that she returned to India, via Skype. Don't count on Sheldon losing his virginity this season as his and Amy's (Mayim Bialik) relationship doesn't appear to be headed in that direction. She is still his girl-friend, but not his girlfriend. Howard and Bernadette are engaged and planning their wedding, but will they actually make it down the aisle?
The Mentalist[Season 4 premieres September 22]: Season 4 picks up directly after the Season 3 cliffhanger in which Simon Baker's Patrick Jane killed his ongoing nemesis, Red John, a serial killer who murdered his wife and daughter years earlier. Jane is arrested and put in jail with bail set at $1 million. Jane is found not guilty by the jury as he tries to prove that the man he killed was indeed Red John, but was he? This season, the entire CBI team had been disbanded and reassigned in the wake of the Red John fiasco, but Jane will attempt to bring his team back together while working with a new team in the meantime.
Bones [Season 7 premieres November 3]: At the end of the previous season, the will-they-won't-they storyline had been resolved – they did. To accommodate star Emily Deschanel's real-life pregnancy, her character Bones will also be pregnant. However, the odd couple relationship between her and Booth (David Boreanaz) will not soften as living arrangements and different ideas on parenting will continue to cause the two to butt heads. A new villain arrives this season in the form of a tech-savvy killer confined to his home due to an ankle bracelet, but who still manages to keep the team on its toes. Look for Ralph Waite to make return appearances this season as Booth's grandfather as Booth suffers a great personal loss.
Community [Season 3 premieres September 22]: Despite extremely poor ratings (it's second season was ranked #115 overall and had fewer than 4.5 million viewers per episode on average), Community is back for another season. John Goodman joins the cast as the Vice Dean of Greendale's Community College. Elsewhere, Ken Jeong's character joins campus security putting the rageaholic ex-professor in a position of power, and Abed and Troy (Danny Pudi and Donald Glover) move in together, and we see the follow up of the kiss between Abed and Annie (Alison Brie).
Parks and Recreation[Season 4 premieres September 22]: Like Community, Parks and Recreation is another critical darling that keeps getting low ratings and keeps getting renewed. It's previous season was ranked right behind Community at #116. At the end of Season 3, star Amy Poehler's Leslie Knope had a big decision to make: running for office or exposing her secret romance with her boss, played by Adam Scott. Poehler promises that Leslie will make her decision in the season premiere. Tom (Aziz Ansari) quit his job with the city to form an entertainment company with his friend, but is having a difficult time getting it off the ground and signing clients. Actress Patricia Clarkson has been cast as Ron's (Nick Offerman) first ex-wife, Tammy I.
The Office[Season 8 premieres September 22]: James Spader's Robert California joins the cast as Dunder Mifflin Sabre's new CEO after being introduced in the Season 7 finale. It remains to be seen whether viewers will take to Spader in the wake of Steve Carell's departure – much more low key than the Charlie Sheen debacle over at Two and a Half Men, but no less important as far as NBC is concerned. The Office, despite middling ratings is one of its crown jewels and as long as ratings stay steady, expect this critical darling to be a slam dunk for renewal.
The Vampire Diaries [Season 3 premieres September 15]: The season picks up with Stefan (Paul Wesley) having been forced to drink human blood by Klaus (Joseph Morgan) and join with him in exchange for obtaining some of Klaus's blood to save Damon (Ian Somerhalder), Stefan's brother. When Damon and Stefan's girl, Elena (Nina Dobrev), go off to find Stefan, Elena is revealed to Klaus as still being alive. Circumstances force Damon to take on a more heroic role as he has to protect Elena and rescue Stefan, but Damon will struggle with this and his dark side will not be kept at bay for long. Simmering feelings between Damon and Elena threaten to surface while Stefan is out of the picture.
Stars: Patrick Wilson, Jennifer Ehle, Rachelle Lefevre, Margo Martindale, Pablo Schreber
Premise:Wilson portrays Dr. MIchael Holt, a gifted – and abrasive – neurosurgeon who begins to receive visits from the ghost of his recently deceased ex-wife, Anna, who had been working at a free health clinic. Anna seeks to help Michael become a better person and rediscover his humanity by having him care for the economically disadvantaged patients she left behind.
Chances for survival: If it can attract the same audience as The Ghost Whisperer or Medium did on Fridays in their heydays, then this series has a chance.
(l-r) David Giuntoli, Russell Hornsby [Photo Credit: NBC]
Premise: Giuntoli stars as Nick Burkhardt, a descendant of the Brothers Grimm and a homicide detective for the Portland police department. Turns out those Grimm Fairy Tales weren't just stories – they were written in that style to serve as cryptic warnings of the creatures and monsters that really do exist. Burkhardt has the power to detect these creatures as they interact with everyday society in human form. Each week's episode is a police procedural riff on a classic fairy tale – for example, the pilot is a takeoff on the story of "Little Red Riding Hood."
Chances for survial: Likely not very good considering it's on Friday nights – typically a low ratings night for television – and is up against CSI: NY. Also, Fox's Fringe and The CW's Supernatural are already splitting the scifi/fantasy audience in that timeslot.
FRIDAY'S RETURNING SERIES: (details coming soon)
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition [Season 9 premieres Sunday, September 25]:
20/20 [Season 35 premieres September 23]:
CSI: NY [Season 8 premieres September 23]:
Blue Bloods [Season 2 premieres September 23]:
Kitchen Nightmares [Season 5 premieres September 23]
Above: Jennifer Morrison (r) with the cast of Once Upon a Time [Photo Credit: ABC]
ONCE UPON A TIME
8:00pm • ABC • premieres October 23
Stars: Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla, Ginnifer Goodwin, Robert Carlyle, Josh Dallas, Jamie Dornan, Jared Gilmore, Raphael Sbarge
Premise: Like Grimm, this is another fairy-tales-are-real series. In the fictional locale of Storybrooke, Maine, Morrison's character is the grown-up daughter of Snow White (played by Ginnifer Goodwin). Snow's daughter is caught in the middle of the ongoing struggle between her mother and the Evil Queen. The series goes back and forth between the two worlds of the fairytale land and modern suburbia.
Chances for survival: Not bad considering that there's no killer competition in the timeslot. Whether viewers will buy into the premise is another story and it remains to be seen whether it will be a happy ending.
Stars: Christina Ricci, Kelli Garner, Karine Vanasse, Margot Robbie, Michael Mosely, Mike Vogel
Premise:Pan Am takes place in 1963 – the year of the Kennedy assassination. In this era of the Cold War and Camelot, we follow the lives and loves of four glamourous stewardesses on their global travels to all the international hotspots. Pan Am is pure glossy escapism and romance of the type that has rarely been seen on TV since the 1980s. The series is shot at Brooklyn's Steiner Studios, the largest film and television production complex outside of Hollywood. Steiner has played host to other television productions including Damages and Boardwalk Empire. Some exterior scenes for Pan Am were recently shot on the streets of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
Chances for survival: Assuming the scripts remain of high quality, the chances of this opulent sudser finding a big audience is a given in spite of the fact that period dramas don't ordinarily translate into ratings gold.
[Photo Credit: Fox Broadcasting]
8:30pm • FOX • premieres October 30
Voice cast: Jonah Hill, Nat Faxon, Will Forte, Joy Osmanski, Cristina Pucelli, French Stewart
Premise: After his gay dads will no longer homeschool him, obnoxiously precocious Allen Gregory DeLongpre must attend public school like an ordinary 7 year-old – much to his eternal chagrin. As Allen sips on his Pinot Grigio in the lunchroom, he fantasizes about having sex with his 68-year-old principal.
Chances for survival: Now that The Simpsons and Family Guy are no longer considered envelope-pushing, Allen Gregory will definitely fill that void. Animated cartoons have always gotten away with more than their live action counterparts have, so it remains to be seen just how much of a fuss will be raised over this. Could very well be the sleeper hit of the season.
SUNDAY'S RETURNING SERIES: (details coming soon)
America's Funniest Videos [Season 22 premieres October 2]:
Desperate Housewives [Season 8 premieres September 25]:
60 Minutes [Season 44 premieres September 25]:
The Amazing Race [Season 19 premieres September 25]:
The Good Wife [Season 3 premieres September 25]:
CSI: Miami [Season 10 premieres September 25]:
The OT [Season 7 premieres September 25]:
The Cleveland Show [Season 3 premieres September 25]:
The Simpsons [Season 23 premieres September 25]:
Family Guy [Season 10 premieres September 25]:
American Dad [Season 7 premieres September 25]:
Football Night in America [Season 6 premieres September 11]:
NBC Sunday Night Football [Season 6 premieres Thursday, September 8]:
In case you didn't get the memo, here's a listing of the series that ended or were canceled during the 2010-2011 television season:
• All My Children (final new broadcast episode airs Sep 23)
• Better With You
• Brothers & Sisters
• Detroit 1-8-7
• The Gates
• Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution
• Mr. Sunshine
• My Generation
• No Ordinary Family
• Off the Map
• One Life to Live (final new broadcast episode airs Jan 2012)
• Secret Millionaire
• Skating With the Stars
• The Whole Truth
• As the World Turns
• The Bridge
• Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior
• The Defenders
• Live to Dance
• Mad Love
• Same Name
• $#*! My Dad Says
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SPIDER-MAN: TURN OFF THE DARK officially opens on Broadway
Written by Scott Katz
Sunday, 19 June 2011 11:16
Well, it finally happened.
Officially opening to the public on Tuesday, June 14 – almost a year-and-a-half after its originally scheduled date of February, 2010 – Spider-Man: Turn off the Darkswings onto the Broadway stage at last.
Much has been written about this troubled and expensive production. The $65 million budget that was reported in November 2010 has now grown to $75 million (and slyly referenced in the musical itself). No less than five people have been injured due to the intricate stunt and wire work involved, and the initial reviews have been less than kind to say the least.
Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark
Opens: Tuesday, June 14, 2011
• Foxwoods Theater, West 42nd St., Times Square
• Tues-Thurs 7:30pm; Fri-Sat 8:00pm
• Matinee: Wed 1:30pm, Sat 2:00pm, Sun 3:00pm
• Length: 2 hours, 45 minutes; 1 intermission
• Ticket prices: Balcony: $69.50-$97.00;
Flying Circle, Orchestra: $142.00
Ticket processing fees an add'l $22.03-$60.40 extra
It is quite unusual for critics to review a production while it is still in preview performances. In fact, critics are not actually invited to the previews, so if they show up, they have to buy their own tickets. However, Spider-Man has been such a huge topic of conversation among theatregoers that many critics felt they had to review it given that it seemed as though the preview period would never end. Turn off the Dark had a record 183 preview performances from November 2010 through March 2011 and resuming May 2011 through early June.
During the hiatus, original director Julie Taymor left the production and co-director Philip William McKinley stepped in to redirect portions of the show. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, a playwright who has also written some Spider-Man comic books in the past, was called in to revise the book. Major changes include the elimination of the so-called "Geek Chorus" who narrated the story in the original version. Further, the confrontation between Spider-Man and Green Goblin that ended Act I has been moved to the end of the musical to serve as the climax to Act II. Spider-Man's conflict with the villainous Arachne that formerly took up much of Act II has been removed altogether and the character has been reimagined as a benevolent guiding spirit to young Peter Parker as he learns to cope with his spider powers.
So, after all the delays, changes, injuries, and cost overruns what's the verdict on the final product? The changes have, for the most part, been for the better, but Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark is still somewhat of a mixed bag.
(l-r) Reeve Carney and Jennifer Damiano in a scene
Make no mistake – there is a lot to like here, and we think most people will be won over. The roles are generally well-cast, and the actors do quite well bringing the material to life. The story centers around three characters all of whom wish they could be something other than what they are and through the course of the story get their wish – for better or worse. Reeve Carney stars as perpetual nerd Peter Parker who wishes he could get the girl – in this case, his next door neighbor, Mary Jane Watson. Upon being bitten by a radioactive, genetically-altered spider, he is bestowed with superhuman powers and a newfound sense of confidence and girl-getting abilities. Carney proves to be likeable and charismatic and serves as a strong anchor for the show.
Jennifer Damiano plays Mary Jane Watson, the object of Parker's desire, with a flighty and flirtatious exterior that masks a dysfunctional home life with an alcoholic father. MJ has the social life and popularity that Peter wants, while she longs for the stable and loving home life that Peter has.
Patrick Page rounds out the trio of intersecting lives as Norman Osborn, an overzealous scientist who also wants to be more than he is and so subjects himself to his own super-soldier process and transforms into the psychotic Green Goblin. Page delivers a gleefully unhinged performance and gets all the best scenes in the show (as the villains often do in these things). Page's slow burn as Green Goblin grapples with an automated phone menu is just one comedic highlight. Page and Michael Mulhern, as newspaperman J. Jonah Jameson, steal the show with their uproarious takes on these classic comic book characters and remain the best reasons to see Turn off the Dark. Comic book fans, however, may wince at the overall campy tone of the Goblin and his malevolent scheme to "flatten Manhattan." Others in the cast worth noting are TV Carpio as Arachne, Matt Caplan as Flash Thompson, Isabel Keating as Aunt May, Ken Marks as Uncle Ben, and Laura Beth Wells as Green Goblin's ill-fated wife, Emily.
Besides the cast, other bright notes are the impressive technical elements of the production. There are a lot of constantly moving and shifting pieces in Turn off the Dark as sets (and characters) descend from above or they spring forth from below like a giant pop up book. Audience members with a secret macabre wish to see some extravagant mishap that seemed to be commonplace during the preview sessions – perhaps an actor falling from a harness or a piece of scenery toppling over – will walk away with disappointment as all of the mechanical elements of the show have been precisely nailed down and everything went off without a hitch. In fact, Christopher Tierney, who was injured and hospitalized after the highly-publicized preview show on December 20 when his harness cord snapped and he fell into the orchestra pit below stage, has returned to the show seemingly none the worse for wear.
So, with a solid cast, impressive set and costume designs, and technical proficiency, are there any areas where Turn off the Dark falls short? Unfortunately, yes. Besides a muddled story, one of the main criticisms of the show during its preview run was the music by Bono and The Edge from the rock band U2. The story has now been whipped into somewhat decent shape, but the music still falls flat. It's not that the songs are bad; it's that they're thuddingly unmemorable and indistinct. That's a shame because TV Carpio and Jennifer Damiano have quite nice voices, and we would have loved to have seen what they could have done with stronger material. There is no question that U2 has written some of the best rock songs of the last thirty years, but the simple fact is that writing a striking Broadway score is seemingly beyond the scope of their talents. They have brand name recognition with the public, but their lackluster input will likely prove to be an insurmountable detraction to hardcore Broadway theatergoers.
(l-r) Patrick Page and Reeve Carney in a scene from Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark
Further, the overall tone of the show is something that will likely polarize the audience. As already alluded to, much of it plays like an episode of the campy 1960s Batman series writ large with the Green Goblin all but cackling maniacally like Cesar Romero's Joker, music stings punctuating the fisticuffs, and the inclusion of the dreaded visual sound effects like "Thwack!" and "Splatt!" Note to the producers: comic book fans have been trying to live the Batman series down for the last forty years and the sound effects are their Kryptonite. Their presence here will likely be seen as a reason to stay far away and hope for a quick death for this production. As for Spider-Man himself, there are some scenes where Reeve Carney dons the costume and plays the role, but for the most part Spider-Man is portrayed by a cadre of silent stuntmen led by Tierney. When the show doesn't remind one of Batman, faint memories of the "Spidey Super Stories" segments on The Electric Company might spring to mind.
Another thing that will bother true Spider-Man fans is the liberties taken with the origin story. In the original comic book, Peter Parker was indirectly responsible for his uncle's death when he failed to stop the killer when he had a chance. In the musical, that crucial element of underlying guilt has been oddly watered down and all but eliminated.
So, the show will likely not win any awards and may not fully please the most devout Spider-Man fans, but criticisms aside, is Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark a crowd-pleaser for the mass audience? Of that, we can answer an unequivocal "Yes!" The audience applauded wildly after each song, laughed heartily at the antics of the Green Goblin, and smiled from ear to ear as both Spider-Man and Goblin flew off the stage and over the audience to engage each other in aerial combat. The kids loved it, but the adults were right there with them. The audience was packed with people from 8 to 80.
Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark is a flawed gem – the classic case of the whole not quite adding up to the sum of its parts – but for those looking for a summer movie blockbuster to be played out live before their eyes, this pop whirlwind is the best bet on Broadway.
Click here to watch some scenes from Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark (coming soon!)