Monday, May 16, 2005

NBC Hopes To Stop Fall With New Lineup

Key renewals: Joey, The Office, Medium, The Biggest Loser

Key cancellations: Law & Order: Trial By Jury, Medical Investigation, American Dreams, The Contender, Third Watch, Committed

New shows: My Name is Earl, NBC's sole new comedy, joins dramas E-Ring, Fathom and Inconceivable. On the reality front, a second version of The Apprentice, starring Martha Stewart, taking the Wednesday 8pm slot, joins Three Wishes, a reality show where Amy Grant travels across the country spreading cheer, goodwill, and cashola.

Mysterious doings: Two shows not on the September schedule, Scrubs and Fear Factor, will also return at some point. The West Wing will move to Sundays.

Analysis: I expected a bigger overhaul from fourth place NBC, especially in the comedy department. The lineup is heavy on reality, perhaps as a stopgap measure. The train wreck factor will definitely lure eyeballs to the Martha Stewart Apprentice.

In addition, NBC has a few new comedies on the bench ready to step in and plug holes, which could be numerous. Cancelling Law & Order: Trial By Jury may have been a mistake; its brand awareness was definitely an asset and the show's quality earned at least a midseason pickup.

NBC is apparently resigned to being #2 on Thursdays, leaving the night intact.

Kudos to the Peacock for giving low-rated but deserving comedy The Office a fall pickup.

Full night by night lineup (new shows in caps):

8-9 p.m. "FATHOM"
9-10 p.m. "Las Vegas"
10-11 p.m. "Medium"

8-9 p.m. "The Biggest Loser"
9-9:30 p.m. "MY NAME IS EARL"
9:30-10 p.m. "The Office"
10-11 p.m. "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"

9-10 p.m. "E-RING"
10-11 p.m. "Law & Order"

8-8:30 p.m. "Joey"
8:30-9 p.m. "Will & Grace"
9-10 p.m. "The Apprentice"
10-11 p.m. "ER"

8-9 p.m. "THREE WISHES"
9-10 p.m. "Dateline NBC" (new time period)
10-11 p.m. "INCONCEIVABLE"


7-8 p.m. "Dateline NBC"
8-9 p.m. "The West Wing" (new day and time)
9-10 p.m. "Law & Order: Criminal Intent"
10-11 p.m. "Crossing Jordan"

Upfront Odds: The NBC New Offerings

Show: My Name Is Earl, Tuesdays at 9
Description: A malcontent wins the lottery and tries to right all the wrongs from his past.
Analysis: NBC is upbeat on this high concept comedy, and will be paired with the excellent The Office. But NBC's Tuesday night comedies have been a tough sell lately. We expect NBC to be patient with this one.
Odds of lasting a full season (22 episodes): 2-1
Over/Under for number of episodes: 22

Show: E-Ring, Wednesdays at 9
Description: A pulsating drama set inside the nation's ultimate fortress: the Pentagon.
Analysis: It's got star power (Dennis Hopper and Benjamin Bratt). It's got pedigree (Jerry Bruckheimer, he of the 17 CSIs on CBS). It's also got a tough time slot on what's become TV's toughest night. But NBC has nothing to lose by slotting the fading The West Wing elswhere, and they won't be so quick to kill a show with this kind of high-test DNA.
Odds of lasting a full season (22 episodes): 5-4
Over/Under for number of episodes: 22

Show: Fathom, Mondays at 8
Description: What might be lurking in the sea?
Analysis: While it can't be dumber than Fear Factor which it (temporatily, we bet) replaces why would anyone want to watch this "Lost Goes Underwater" retread? The cast of nobodies doesn't help.
Odds of lasting a full season (22 episodes): 5-1
Over/Under for number of episodes: 6

Show: Inconceivable, Fridays at 10
Description: Inside the world of the doctors of the Family Options Fertility Clinic.
Analysis: Why does NBC have a fascination with these gimmicky medical shows? And why would they cancel the solid Law & Order: Trial By Jury for this?
Odds of lasting a full season (22 episodes): 3-1
Over/Under for number of episodes: 13

Show: The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, Wednesdays at 8
Description: A second version of the Donald's hit reality show centered around Stewart's areas of expertise
Analysis: Assuming Lost doesn't get moved, it's a tough timeslot. But there should be enough interest to make it through one 16 episode cycle.
Odds of lasting a full season ("cycle"): 3-2
Over/Under for number of episodes: 16

Show: Three Wishes, Fridays at 8
Description: Amy Grant hosts this Extreme Makeover style, "uplifting" reality show filled with "heartwarming" stories and "unbelievable" dreams.
Analysis: Sounds like crap. Reality show knockoffs almost never fare well. Still, it's buried on Friday nights, so how high can NBC's expectations really be?
Odds of lasting a full season (22 episodes): 3-1
Over/Under for number of episodes: 13

Arrested: Renewed? More Upfront Rumors

It's official: Fox has renewed Arrested Development for another year (subscription required to read link).

Woo-HOO! Hopefully they'll move it off Sunday nights and give it a real chance.

In other rumblings, Fox will also apparently renew The Bernie Mac Show and Stacked while axing Quintuplets and Life on a Stick

Rumors at ABC say they've renewed The Bachelor, Wife Swap, Rodney, Supernanny, George Lopez, Hope & Faith, Jake In Progress, and Less Than Perfect while shitcanning 8 Simple Rules and My Wife and Kids.

The WB's Jack & Bobby will drown after one low-rated season, while Living With Fran will survive.

Stay tuned for more upfront dish all week here at


ABC's Good Morning America will scoop NBC's Today show this fall, when it becomes the first regularly scheduled commercial network news programming to air in HDTV. The show will convert its Times Square studio to accomodate HD.

ABC News president David Westin said that other ABC News programs will eventually follow suit.

NBC and CBS have yet to announce plans for any high-def news programming.

Chappelle: "I'm fine"

In the new issue of Time, Comedy Central's $50 Million Man Dave Chappelle says he was just overwhelmed by the pressure of producing Chappelle's Show and went to South Africa to get away.

He insists: "I'm not crazy. I'm not smoking crack. I'm definitely stressed out."

Chappelle first shut down production of his hit sketch show late last year after being unsatisfied with the first batch of season-three skits. That led Comedy Central to first delay the new season, and it's now unclear when- or if- it will ever air.

Anchor Curries Favor At Dateline

NBC News has named Ann Curry as co-anchor of Dateline NBC.

She will serve alongside co-anchor Stone Phillips begiinning in June, She will also continue to anchor the news for the tumultuous Today show.

MSNBC Gets Cosby Show

Rita Cosby is spurning a Fox for a peacock.

She has joined MSNBC as an anchor and special correspondent, and will anchor a "daily evening program" that will debut in the fourth quarter.

Cosby had spent almost nine years at Fox News Channel, where she hosted The Big Story Weekend Edition and Fox News Live with Rita Cosby.

Survivor 10 in 198- Plus! The Two Episode Finale

Here's our 198 Word Recap (a double episode at 99 words per) of the Survivor 10 finale.

198 Word Recap: Tom, Ian, Jen and Katie were the final four. Tom won immunity and told Jen that she was going home. Ian said that if he had won immunity, he would have had a difficult decision. This was Tom's first hint that Ian wasn't completely loyal. Jen fanned the flames and Tom voted for Ian at tribal council. This caused a tiebreaker challenge between Ian and Jen. Jen lost and was sent home.

In the final immunity, Ian, Tom and Katie had to stand on a buoy in an endurance challenge. Katie dropped out first. After several hours, Tom offered Ian a deal; if Ian gave up, Tom would take him to the final two. Ian refused. After 12 hours, Ian shocked everyone by saying he would quit if Tom agreed to take Katie to the final two. This was his way of making up for the lying he had done and to prove his true friendship of Katie and Tom. Tom accepted and Ian quit.

In the final tribal council, the jury grilled both Tom and Katie. Katie was savaged about being mean and lazy and riding on coattails. The jury voted to give Tom the million dollars.

If I had a vote: I was so happy Tom won. I've seen every season of Survivor. Nobody has ever won who played a more honest, tough and honorable game as Tom. Katie totally road coattails and everyone knew it. Ian was a complete fool to give up when he did. He let Katie and Tom manipulate his emotions.

Overall, this season started out very weak and had long stretches of boredom. After the merge, it became one of the most surprising, exciting and tense Survivor's ever.

Vito will return in the fall for Survivor 11 in 99.

Desperate For 99 Words: 5/15/05

Here's our 99 Word recap of this week's Desperate Housewives.

George gets a wood while playing mini-golf with Bree. She then breaks it off (their friendship, that is). George kicks up the psycho mode a few notches. Meddling Lynette inadvertently gets Annabelle promoted over Tom. Tom then finds out his past promotion opportunities were also ruined by Lynette. Gabrielle learns Carlos is behind the pill tampering and hits the road. Carlos beats up another gay guy. Mike is losing Susan’s trust after finding Mrs. Huber’s journal in his car. Felicia tells Mike about Paul’s whereabouts. Mike just might fall off the wagon. The wagon... of murder (insert sinister laugh)!

Mixer writes Desperate for 99 Words every Monday, but proudly refuses to gay bash.