Tuesday, May 17, 2005

More 24

Jack Bauer lives!

After several weeks of negotiations, Fox has agreed to bring back 24 for two more seasons.

Not only does this allow Fox to keep one of its most popular shows, it keeps a rival network (NBC, specifically) from stealing it away.

Improving As Easy As ABC?

New Shows: Commander-in-Chief, Freddie, Hot Properties, Invasion, The Night Stalker, Crumbs (midseason), Emily’s Reasons Why Not (midseason), The Evidence (midseason), In Justice (midseason), The Miracle Workers (midseason), Sons & Daughters (midseason), What About Brian (midseason)

Key Renewals: George Lopez, Hope & Faith, Rodney, Supernanny, Wife Swap, The Bachelor (midseason), Jake in Progress (midseason), Less than Perfect (midseason)

Key Cancellations: My Wife and Kids, 8 Simple Rules, Blind Justice, Extreme Makeover, Eyes

Mysterious Doings: Every night except Sunday sees major changes. Three ratings sinkholes, The Bachelor, Jake in Progress, and Less than Perfect, will return midseason.

Analysis: Moving Alias to Thursdays at 8, one of TV's most competitive timeslots, seems like a deathknell for a show that's still never lived up to its hype. And a weak lead-in will certainly doom The Night Stalker, which will face CSI and The Apprentice.

Lost was such a hit leading off Wednesdays- why subject it to the Fox buzzsaw that is American Idol? Why not leave it at 8 and take advantage of its lead-in to launch a new show?

Boston Legal should fare better than the horrendous Blind Justice on Tuesdays.

Overall, still many weak spots for ABC, but they should continue to improve.

Full night by night lineups:

8:00 p.m. “Wife Swap” (through January. New night and time)
9:00 p.m. “Monday Night Football” (through January)

(the following will premiere after MNF)

8:00 p.m. “The Bachelor” (new time)
9:00 p.m. “Emily’s Reasons Why Not” (new comedy series)
9:30 p.m. “Jake in Progress” (new night and time)
10:00 p.m. “What About Brian” (new drama series)

8:00 p.m. “According to Jim” (new time)
8:30 p.m. “Rodney” (new time)
9:00 p.m. “Commander-in-Chief” (new drama series)
10:00 p.m. “Boston Legal” (new night)

8:00 p.m. “George Lopez” (new night and time)
8:30 p.m. “Freddie” (new comedy series)
9:00 p.m. “Lost” (new time)
10:00 p.m. “Invasion” (new drama series)

8:00 p.m. “Alias” (new night and time)
9:00 p.m. “The Night Stalker” (new drama series)
10:00 p.m. “Primetime Live”

8:00 p.m. “Supernanny” (new night and time)
9:00 p.m. “Hope & Faith”
9:30 p.m. “Hot Properties” (new comedy series)
10:00 p.m. “20/20”

8:00 p.m. “ABC Movie of the Week”

7:00 p.m. “America’s Funniest Home Videos”
8:00 p.m. “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”
9:00 p.m. “Desperate Housewives”
10:00 p.m. “Grey’s Anatomy”

Upfront Odds: The ABC New Offerings

Show: Commander-in-Chief, Tuesdays at 9:00
Description: Academy Award®-winner Geena Davis stars as the first female President of the United States.
Analysis: Movie Star. Big Concept (although Patty Duke already played a female president on ABC in 1986, but who’s counting). No juggernaut time-slot competition. Could be a hit, unless it sucks.
Odds of lasting a full season: Even money
Over/under for number of episodes: 22 (full order)

Show: Freddie Wednesday at 8:30
Description: Freddie, a young, successful chef with his own restaurant, a stylish bachelor pad and a trust fund baby for a best friend, learns to cope with life while trying to enjoy his swinging single days.
Analysis: Mr. Sarah Michelle Gellar, aka Freddie Prinze Jr., tries to make a go of it with production vets from Drew Carey and George Lopez backing him up. Currently a wide open time slot.
Odds of lasting a full season: 2-1
Over/under for number of episodes: 17.5

Show: Hot Properties, Fridays at 9:30
Description: In the tradition of Designing Women, Golden Girls and Sex and the City comes an uninhibited comedy with real career women from a Manhattan real estate office trying to have real relationships.
Analysis: The press release mentions both Designing Women and Sex and the City. Ecch. Buried on Fridays after Hope and Faith, there’s little… well… hope.
Odds of lasting a full season: 4-1
Over/under for number of episodes: 9

Show: Invasion, Wednesdays at 10
Description: What if aliens were already here and, like, totally living among us? What then?
Analysis: In a tough time slot, Invasion will be fighting for scraps against CSI:NY and Law & Order. Still, it could benefit from a very strong Lost lead in.
Odds of lasting a full season: 2-1
Over/under for number of episodes: 13

Show: The Night Stalker , Thursdays at 9
Description: One officer’s determination to solve his wife's mysterious murder leads him to investigate other supernatural crimes.
Analysis: Against CSI and The Apprentice, with a likely weak lead-in from Alias, this one will go bump in the night- right off the schedule.
Odds of lasting a full season: 7-1
Over/under for number of episodes: 7

This Fall, WB Takes On Thursday

Key Renewals: Smallville, Everwood, Gilmore Girls, Living With Fran, Reba, What I Like About You

Key Cancellations: Jack & Bobby, Grounded For Life, The Starlet, Steve Harvey's Big Time

Mysterious Doings: I just have to ask- why the heck is 7th Heaven so popular? And will Amanda Bynes please eat something before she evaporates?

Analysis: I'm over the age of 22, so I'm prohibited by law from watching anything on the WB. Looks like a smart strategy, though, to strategically place "hit shows" (their words) every night at 8, to theoretically bolster the unsampled stuff at 9.

Back to back... er... smashes Smallville and Everwood will pair up on the heavily competitive Thursday night. But will anyone watch?

Full schedule follows:

5:00-5:30 p.m. Easy View presentation of “What I Like About You”
5:30-6:00 p.m. Easy View presentation of “What I Like About You”
6:00-7:00 p.m. Easy View presentation of “One Tree Hill”
7:00-7:30 p.m. “Reba” (encore presentation)
7:30-8:00 p.m. “Reba” (encore presentation)
8:00-9:00 p.m. “Charmed”
9:00-10:00 p.m. “Blue Collar TV”

8:00-9:00 p.m. “7th Heaven”
9:00-10:00 p.m. “JUST LEGAL”

8:00-9:00 p.m. “Gilmore Girls”
9:00-10:00 p.m. “SUPERNATURAL”

8:00-9:00 p.m. “One Tree Hill”
9:00-10:00 p.m. “RELATED”

8:00-9:00 p.m. “Smallville”
9:00-10:00 p.m. “Everwood”

8:00-8:30 p.m. "What I Like About You”
8:30-9:00 p.m. "TWINS”
9:00-9:30 p.m. "Reba”
9:30-10:00 p.m. "Living With Fran”

Upfront Odds: The WB New Offerings

Show: Just Legal, Mondays at 9
Description: Fast-paced procedural drama ("with humor!") starring Jay Baruchel and Don Johnson as lawyers who save their clients, and in the process, save themselves.
Analysis, from imaginary 16 year old WB viewer Brittany: “Like, who’s the old dude starring with the guy from Undeclared? Ewwww, gross. Screw it, maybe Pimp My Ride is on.”
Odds of lasting a full season: 7-1
Over/under for number of episodes: 8

Show: Supernatural, Tuesdays at 9
Description: A journey into the dark world of the unexplained that will deliver the terror of films like The Ring and The Grudge.
Analysis, from imaginary 15 year old WB viewer Tori: “What’s a Chevy Impala? And why should I watch- The Grudge, like, totally sucked.”
Odds of lasting a full season: 5-1
Over/under for number of episodes: 13

Show: Related, Wednesdays at 8
Description: A comedic ensemble drama based around four sisters who take care of each other while busting each others’ nuts.
Analysis, from imaginary 15 year old WB viewer Amanda: (gives blank stare)
Odds of lasting a full season: 6-1
Over/under for number of episodes: 11

Show: Twins, Wednesdays at 8
Description: It’s brains vs. beauty in this “bitingly funny comedy” about twin sisters.
Analysis, from imaginary 17 year old WB viewer Samantha: “My friends and I love to smoke weed and watch reruns of Perfect Strangers, so when I saw that Balki’s cousin is in it, I just, like, totally died.”
Odds of lasting a full season: 3-1
Over/under for number of episodes: 17.5

Changes Fire Up Next Apprentice

With production about to begin on Martha Stewart's version of The Apprentice, and the fourth edition of Trump-led version nearly done, NBC says, cryptically, a few rules changes are on tap for the show.

No specifics about the changes were given, but we can't imagine they'll suddenly make this show watchable.

The Apprentice returns this fall on NBC.

With Un-Friends-ly Ratings, Why Renew Joey?

Its buzz has faded. Its ratings have dropped. NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly says it's been been "uninspired" at times.

So the question remains: Why did NBC bother bringing back Joey?

Reilly insists, "There's something working on Joey, and we're going to get it right."

But clearly NBC's comedy development slate still isn't up to snuff. The network renewed poor performer The Office and only picked up one new comedy for the fall.

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow?

Is Katie Couric beginning to plot her escape from the suddenly vulnerable Today show?

"I love my job. I love NBC," TV's morning diva tells TV Guide. "When the time comes when I feel it's right for me, I'll figure out what I want to do, whether it's continuing to do what I'm doing or try something new or do something crazy and totally different."

NBC may back up the money truck to keep Couric when her contract expires next year, especially with rival Good Morning America making a huge resurgence.

GMA Gains on Today- Again

That sound you hear is Jeff Zucker- sweating bullets.

The Today show's lead over Good Morning America dwindled to just 70,000 viewers last week, the closest in a given week since December 1995.

Maybe the Peacock can get Martha to co-anchor Today, too.

24 in 99: 4:00am-5:00am

Here's our 99 word recap of this week's episode of 24.

There’s a missile headed (someplace); Palmer and Logan decide to evacuate important DC-types. The House Speaker picks on Logan for being a wussy. Palmer helps shore up Logan’s presidential image. Marwan won’t tell Jack anything, then escapes (AGAIN!). Tony and Michelle kiss, make-up, & discuss leaving CTU. Richard Heller is tied to Marwan, & returns for more questioning. He admits having an interlude with a couple; the chick used his cellphone to call Marwan. The chick is MANDY from season 1! CTU tracks them down; she kills her boyfriend & escapes…. takes Tony hostage… 2 more hours to go…

Don't miss the season finale of 24 in 99 next Tuesday!