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NBC Upfront: Will the Early Bird Get the Worm?

by Angel Cohn April 2, 2008 5:01 pm
NBC Upfront: Will the Early Bird Get the Worm? I recently got back from the swanky Rainbow Room, where reporters and advertisers were treated to an upfront, or as NBC liked to call it, an Infront. Same difference, six weeks earlier. Some good stuff, not a lot of new news per se, but some potentially promising stuff. Most of the talk was about how they were "resting" shows (aka giving viewers time to miss them), creating a 52 week schedule, hyping the Olympics and their other big events and debuting their summer 2009 schedule. Yup. Summer 2009. I can't even plan a vacation for Summer 2008 and they've already got that all mapped out. That's some planning ahead, they "believe in it," but whether they stick to it or not is another thing entirely.

 

  •  Friday Night Lights will return to NBC... but not until winter 2009. Then it will head back to its Friday at 9 timeslot. Good news? Sure. Love the show, and apparently so does Ben Silverman who literally said that he loved the show about 10 times during the presentation. Though he also said he had to renew it because he was tired of people telling him it was their favorite show. The bad news? DIRECTV people will be getting the show sometime in the fall. Yeah, so while there aren't that many DIRECTV households, there are sure to be spoilers all over the internet about the complete series, likely before the average person gets to even watch one episode. Not so good for us impatient Panthers fans who are stuck with cable. My advice? Find a friend with DIRECTV and visit them, often.
 
  • The Office is getting a spin-off. No details were revealed, aside from the fact that the entire creative team from The Office is on board with this one. The spin-off gets a nice cushy debut spot, right after that little thing called the Super Bowl, and then will air post-The Office at 9:30 on Thursdays. While I'm guessing it might be Ryan-centric (ugh) I'm hoping that it follows Creed or Toby instead. I'd love to see what those guys do outside the office.
 
  • There will be more hour-long Office episodes. In addition to the spin-off, the show will debut in Sept. with several full-hour episodes. Bad idea. Maybe the hour-long episodes should have been "rested." Love the show, but that's too much of a good thing. It is getting the equivalent of 28 half hour episodes. Plus, the spin-off. Plus, they had the cast doing little promo pieces for this advertising friendly upfront today. They had Steve Carell and Rainn Wilson pretending to be in Ben Silverman's "office" which looked like a nightclub, talking about how much NBC and the documentary that they had done on Dunder-Mifflin Scranton had done for the profile of Dunder-Mifflin paper. I guess these writers are workin' hard for the money in their new contracts.
 
  • -No Scrubs. The show will finish out its season on NBC in a few weeks and then NBC's done. As to whether ABC will pick it up? Still TBD and Silverman didn't really seem to care.
 
  • Celebrity Apprentice will return, but not until next winter. Phew. I'm so over The Donald right now. If you are missing Piers, he'll be back this summer on America's Got Talent.
 
  • Noah Wyle will return to ER for the show's final season. Yup, final season (though I feel like we've heard that one before). They promise this time. It will run without repeats from Sept. until its end.
 
  • They learned something from Bionic Woman. Make shows that don't suck! The are "taking their time" with new shows, like Knight Rider, and trying to make shows that don't have a ridiculously stupid second episode that will let potential fans down. Um, clearly they didn't watch the Knight Rider movie, but I guess if you watched, you know what you are getting into. No need to lower your expectations.
 
  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent fans will have to keep waiting to find out if its getting a pick up. That ball is completely in USA Networks court, though NBC may decide at some point to air repeat episodes, if something doesn't work out.
 
  • They've got a plan. Or so they say! 8 PM on week nights is family time. 9 PM is blockbusters. 10 PM is shows with adult themes, and high-end drama. Let it be noted that Lipstick Jungle falls into that "high-end drama" category.
 
  • Life is adding Donal Logue. I like that dude. Between him and Calamity Jane I might actually want to watch this show. Maybe.
 
  • This summer is "NBC's All-American Summer" (in pre-Olympic mania). With American Gladiators, "America's dad" Billy Ray Cyrus hosting Nashville Star, America's Got Talent, Last Comic Standing, Celebrity Family Feud, and Celebrity Circus. I've been waiting for Circus of the Stars to resurface for years! Finally, someone made it happen... Oh and a Masters of Horrors knockoff called Fear Itself, from the people who brought you Masters of Horror.
 
As for the new pilots, we only saw little snippets of shows, so it is a bit hard to judge fairly, but fairness is overrated.
 
  • Knight Rider (Fall Premiere) - If you liked the 2-hour episode (and really, did you?) you'll want to see more of the same.
  • My Own Worst Enemy (Fall Premiere) - Christian Slater as a conflicted dad. They described the show as Jekyll and Hyde meets Jason Bourne. Could be worth watching, though if I want to watch Jason Bourne, I'd rather be watching Matt Damon instead of Christian Slater.
  • Kath and Kim (Winter Premiere) - based on the Australian show. Molly Shannon's starring... with Selma Blair. We saw literally no footage of the import version, but I'm going to say I won't love it, love it, love it.
  • Crusoe (Winter Premiere) - Even the network execs had a hard time remembering not to put the Robinson before the title. New twist on an old story. NBC's attempt to take a bite out of Lost.
  • Merlin (Winter Premiere) - Take Camelot, shake it up, add some magic and a bit of Lord of the Rings wizardry and you've got yourself a new Sunday night drama.
  • Kings (Winter Premiere) - A "David vs. Goliath" tale. I don't care what this show is about. Ian McShane is in it, along with two pretty looking boys. Sold!
  • The Listener (Summer 2009) - A guy that looks kind of like Kyle XY, but with buggier eyes, can read people's minds and he uses his power to fight good... not evil... snore...
  • America's Toughest Jobs/Shark Taggers (Summer 2009) -- From the people that brought you Ice Road Truckers. Sounds good to me!
  • Chopping Block (Summer 2009) - A Hell's Kitchen clone with couples. Apparently the chef, Marco Pierre White, is renowned for making Gordon Ramsay cry. Expect lots of swearing.
Oh, and there's a bunch of mini-series and big events and stuff. But otherwise, that's about it... until the screeners come in and then the fun really begins. 

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