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It’s time for the network upfront presentations again, so let’s kick this off with NBC. (This list from Dark Horizons. My usual source for the releases should have me covered from here on out) New shows in bold.
10pm: “My Own Worst Enemy” (Fall)
10pm: “The Philanthropist” (Spring)
8pm: “The Biggest Loser”
9pm: “Kath and Kim”
10pm: “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit”
8pm: “Knight Rider”
9pm: “Deal or No Deal”
10pm: “Lipstick Jungle” (Fall)
10pm: “Law and Order” (Spring)
8pm: “My Name Is Earl”
8:30pm: “30 Rock”
9pm: “The Office”
9:30pm: “The Office”/SNL Thursday NIght Live (Fall)
9:30pm: “The Office” Spin-Off (Spring)
8pm: “Crusoe” (Fall)
8pm: “Deal or No Deal” (Spring)
9pm: “Deal or No Deal” (Fall)
9pm: “Friday Night Lights” (Spring)
8pm: “Dateline NBC ”
9pm: “Drama Series Encores”
7pm: “Football Night In America” (Fall)
7pm: Specials (Spring)
8pm: “Sunday Night Football” (Fall)
8pm: “Merlin” (Spring)
9pm: “Medium” (Spring)
10pm: “Kings” (Spring)
Here are the descriptions of each new show with my take.
(Castaway Drama, Fridays 9pm – Fall)
Based on the legendary novel by Daniel Defoe, this is the tale of Robinson Crusoe. A young man leaves his true love to embark on an adventure — only to end up shipwrecked on a remote tropical island for 28 years, completely detached from the life he once knew.
His desire to return to his wife and his strong and unlikely friendship with Friday are the only things that keep him sane. While stranded, Crusoe encounters enemies and braves the elements. Equal parts “MacGyver,” “Castaway” and “Pirates of the Caribbean,” this series is an inspirational tale of survival rife with action and comedy.
Sean’s Take: You have to be kidding me. Might be good for a mini-series, or a show with shortened seasons on cable, but a full 22 episode per season, network show? This is going to be a disaster. It might make it to mid-season, but I wouldn’t count on it.
Kath and Kim
(Comedy, Tuesdays 9:30pm – Fall)
They’re the most dysfunctional duo in suburbia. Kath Day (Molly Shannon) is the mom, a foxy, 40-something divorce who finally has time for herself and her valiant search for love. Kim Day (Selma Blair) is the daughter, a self-absorbed princess recently separated from her husband who finds consolation in stuffing her face.
When Kim decides to move back home, Kath reluctantly agrees — but to Kim’s chagrin, Kath is not about to cater to her every whim as she has in the past. Based on the most successful comedy in Australia of the same name, Kath and Kim are two brassy women who prefer the finer things in life like acrylic nails, big hair and faux diamond chips. Michelle Nader (“The King of Queens”) and Paul Feig (“Freaks and Geeks,” “The Office”) along with original show creators Gina Riley and Jane Turner are executive producers.
Sean’s Take: As the description says, this is based on a hugely successful comedy in Australia. When was the last time we successfully imported a comedy from any country? Yes, The Office is an English import, and I still hate the American version.
(Drama, Sundays 10pm – Spring)
“Kings” is an inspiring exploration of the timeless David vs. Goliath struggle. The show is set in a modern metropolis under siege where the fighting has gone on for too long and cost far too many lives.
When David Shepherd (Christopher Egan), a brave young soldier, rescues the king’s (Ian McShane) son from enemy territory, he sets events in motion that will finally bring peace. Suddenly, David is thrust into the limelight, earning the affections of women — including the king’s daughter.
When he’s promoted to captain, he becomes the reluctant poster boy for hope. But for David, the line between his allies and enemies will blur as the power players in the kingdom go to great lengths to see him fall. Sebastian Stan also stars. Michael Green (NBC’s “Heroes”) and Francis Lawrence are executive producers.
Sean’s Take: This just sounds odd, but I love IanMcShane, so I’ll probably give it a look, but I’m not hopeful.
(Drama, Wednesdays 9pm – Fall)
On the heels of NBC’s hit movie, the iconic 1980s television classic comes roaring back to life as an updated drama series showcasing the new customized KITT (Knight Industries Three Thousand) Ford Mustang.
As the sequel resumes, KITT is absolutely the coolest car ever created: its supercomputer capable of hacking almost any system; its weapons systems efficient; and its body — thanks to its creator’s work and nanotechnology — is capable of actually shifting shape and color. It is the ultimate car — and someone will be willing to do anything to obtain it.
Justin Bruening, Deanna Russo, Sydney Tamiia Poitier and Bruce Davison star. David Bartis (“Heist,” “The O.C.”), Doug Liman (“Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” “The Bourne Identity”) and Gary Scott Thompson (“Las Vegas,” “The Fast and The Furious”) are executive producers.
Sean’s Take: Why? WHY?!? It is clear the TV Gods have forsaken us!
(Drama, Thursdays 10pm – Summer)
In this one-hour drama, Toby Logan (Craig Olejnik) is a 24-year-old paramedic living with a secret: he can read people’s minds.
This telepathic procedural takes viewers into the heart of a tortured hero who struggles to solve crimes with his unique gift. Week-to-week, “The Listener” balances high-stakes drama with irreverent humor and sends Toby on an intellectual and emotional adventure.
Ennis Esmer also stars. Christina Jennings, Scott Garvie, Michael Amo, Russ Cochrane, Glen Davis and Bill Laurin serve as executive producers.
Sean’s Take: shhhhhhhh he’s listening! So, it’s Ghost Whisperer… but with living people… whatever. It may survive a while… much to my chagrin.
(Drama, Sundays 8pm – Spring)
“Merlin” is an exciting, hour-long fantasy series set in the mythic city of Camelot — but inspired by 21st Century storytelling. Before Merlin (Colin Morgan) and Arthur (Bradley James) became legends, they were ambitious young men looking for adventure, hoping to live up to their family’s expectations, discovering love and finding their own true destiny, making mistakes along the way.
The innovative, action-packed drama has cross-generational appeal and paints a picture of Merlin and Arthur’s early life that audiences have never witnessed before. Anthony Head, Richard Wilson, Angel Coulby and Katie McGrath also star.
Sean’s Take: A weekly series about Merlin and Arthur… my gut says “three episodes… TOPS”, but then I remember how much I’m enjoying the new Robin Hood series on the BBC. Then again… it’s being made in the USA… three episodes… tops.
My Own Worst Enemy
(Drama, Mondays 10pm – Fall)
Henry Spivey (Christian Slater) is a middle-class efficiency expert living a humdrum life in the suburbs with a wife, two kids, a dog, and a minivan. Edward Albright is an operative who speaks 13 languages, runs a four-minute mile, and is trained to kill with his teeth.
Henry and Edward are polar opposites who share only one thing in common — the same body. When the carefully constructed wall between them breaks down, Henry and Edward are thrust into unfamiliar territory where each man is dangerously out of his element. “My Own Worst Enemy” explores the duality of a man who is literally pitted against himself. Jason Smilovic (“Kidnapped”) is the executive producer.
Sean’s Take: How many times is this idea going to be played out? Boring, contrived, it won’t last.
The Office Spin-Off
(Comedy, Thursdays 9:30pm)
From Greg Daniels, the executive producer of the Emmy Award-winning American version of NBC’s “The Office,” comes the most highly anticipated comedy of the season in “The Office” spinoff.
Audiences will follow another comic journey, complete with new faces and new locations, but with the same unique sense of humor and brand of quality from Daniels and his creative team. It’s the next chapter of what viewers have come to know and love about “The Office.”
Sean’s Take: Blech. Don’t like the original, don’t see me jumping on a spin-off.
(Drama, Mondays 10pm)
This one-hour drama is about a rebel with a cause. Teddy Rist loves women, money and power. After the tragic death of his only child, Teddy has an awakening and becomes the world’s first vigilante philanthropist — a renegade billionaire who uses his wealth, connections and power to help people in need.
He’ll do anything to achieve his goals — bargain with the self-righteous, trade with the nefarious and even tell the truth. Instead of spending $25,000 a plate at a fundraiser, he’s dodging bullets in third-world countries to hand-deliver vaccine. It’s a global adventure that will take viewers to the ends of the Earth and will inspire them as well.
Tom Fontana (“Homicide: Life on the Street”), Barry Levinson (“Homicide: Life on the Street”) and Charlie Corwin (“L.A. Ink”) are the executive producers.
Sean’s Take: Batman meets Robin Hood meets My Name Is Earl? This one is such a jumbled mess that I have no clue what to make of it.
Overall, I think NBC is in massive need of some restructuring. This line-up is dismal and filled with the type of shows you would have expected to see airing in the late 1950’s right next to Daniel Boone. This line-up is worthy of low-end cable, not network television, and I think it’s time NBC looks internally and see how they’re blowing things. This is possible the single most pathetic slate announcement I’ve ever seen.