I have to say I’m rather impressed by Paul Lee’s first freshman class. I think he picked up shows that fit the ABC brand by showrunners who know it as well.
The first example is Scandal, the first pilot Shonda Rhimes has written since Private Practice. It stars Kerry Washington and sounds like perfect mix of Washington politics and a star vehicle for Kerry. Hopefully this show will elevate her to super stardom. She’s as fine an actress as she is beautiful. Plus she’s so smart, funny and warm (watch her on Bill Maher) .
Good Christian Bitches (though it’s been renamed “Belles”, but I’m in denial) sounds like a fun soap with a great cast led by the fantastic Kristin Chenoweth and written by Steel Magnolia’s Robert Harling. I am sure Alan Poul’s direction makes this one pop.
Pan Am sound like a fresh take on a soap – flight attendants in the 70’s – we certainly haven’t seen that before and with writer Jack Orman and Thomas Schlamme directing, sounds like it will be first class.
Revenge – Intriguing sounding female take on The Count of Monte Cristo by terrific writer Mike Kelly (Swingtown) and directed by feature helmer Phillip Noyce. It stars Emily Van Camp, whom I have loved since Everwood and on Brothers & Sisters.
Then there are the shows that sound like nothing currently on TV – The River and Once Upon A Time – the latter from LOSTs Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. I am very intrigued by both of these. Once Upon A Time imagines a world where fairy tales are real and The River sounds like a straight up thriller created by Paranormal Activity’s Oren Pelli with an assist by writer Michael Green (loved his writing on Everwood, plus he created NBCs ambitious, but short lived, Kings).
Charlie Angels is a pre sold concept that with fresh scripts and a stunning cast could be an easily promotable hit for the net.
I applaud Mr. Lee and his team for resisting to greenlight the procedurals Identity, Partners and Poe. The latter sounded more intriguing since it was based on Edgar Allen Poe and took place in the 1840’s but to me it sounded like a procedural that just happened to be set in the 1800s. ABC has their period piece in the more ABC compatible Pan Am. I think ABCs next big hits aren’t going to be a procedural, they will be something more high concept like the shows they greenlit. They just added a fine procedural to their schedule with Body of Proof but they need some big hits and for ABC I think that usually comes with high concept. I do think ABC should try to build another series around Identity’s Angela Basset and Orlando Brown. The truth is, since Charlie’s Angels will reportedly be a case of the week show (and not be serialized) that’s the best kind of a procedural ABC can do – one that fits their brand and in that respect, not only is it easier to promote since it’s a pre-sold concept, but it probably has a good shot of success and good rerun value if it hits.
The comedies they picked up, especially “Don’t Trust The Bitch in Apt 23” and “Surburgatory” also sound really fresh and sound promising. I have to admit the concept of Work It sounds like fun to me as I was a huge Bosom Buddies fan. The combination of Tim Allen, Nancy Travis and Jack Burditt’s writing on Last Man Standing should get it sampled. On paper, Man Up doesn’t excite me, but who knows, maybe it’s better in execution that it sounds.
I think they renewed the right shows: Body Of Proof and the thoroughly enjoyable Happy Endings.
As I’ve said here before, it was time for Brothers & Sisters to end. Kudos to Ken Olin and David Marshall Grant for treating this past Sunday’s season finale asa series finale and ending on a very sweet and happy note.
I wonder how they will be scheduled: Some guesses:
- My thinking is that one of the more high concept shows The River and Once Upon A Time will be in fall while the other will be midseason OR one will be Jan and the other will be March after the Oscars. If Pan Am airs in fall, that might be the only high concept they can market along with everything else. The more I think about it, out of the three (Pan Am, The River, Once Upon A Time) I am guessing one goes fall, one Jan and one March.
- I assume Charlie’s Angels is a fall show as it sells itself and when the network has all that marketing to do, having one that’s less of a challenge is a help. I assume it’s going either Sun at 8 or Thu at 8. Currently I’m thinking of the latter.
- I think Castle will move to Wed at 10 to shore up that troubled timeslot and ABC will use their biggest lead in DWTS (20 plus million) to launch one of their new dramas. Currently I’m thinking either Pan Am or Good Christian Bitches. Yes everyone thinks that’s going after Desperate Housewives but that might be too perfect a fit.
- I assume on Tues, DWTS leads into Body Of Proof again and starting the night will be Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing. Smothered is still in contention but hasn’t yet been picked up, so I assume Work It will follow it.
- I think Suburgatory will go to Wed at 8:30 and Don’t Trust The Bitch in Apt 23 will air at 9:30 after Modern Family, with Castle rounding out the night. Apt 23 doesn’t really fit with Modern Family, but it’s their best slot for a new sitcom and considering it’s their most buzzed about new show (and Jason Winer directed the pilots of both) makes me think it will go there. I hope ABC doesn’t put Tim Allen after Mod Fam. I just think Multi cams and Single cams don’t fit well together. Better With You stuck out like a sore thumb this season on this night and ultimately failed. That leaves Cougar Town and Happy Endings to return at midseason. Maybe they air together or Happy Endings will be paired with Man Up.
- After Greys on Thursday I am assuming ABC will air Shonda’s new Scandal and hold Private Practice to midseason or to replace the first drama failure.
- I thought ABC might air two multi cameras on Fri, but the 2 they currently picked up, I imagine, will go on Tuesday. Once they weren’t picking up shows for Friday makes me think that’s what sealed the cancellation of Better With You. I assume they will stick with unscripted on Friday.
- I haven’t seen Secret Millionaire reported as picked up but I assume it was (UPDATE: it has) and if Charlie’s Angels doesn’t air Sun at 8p. I assume it will air there with EM:HE going to 7 or being held to midseason. If EM:HE moves to 7, I think AFV moves to Friday, but the more I think about it, I think EM:HE just goes to midseason with AFV staying on Sunday.