Broadcast network executives will huddle in New York this weekend to put the final touches on their fall schedules. The lineups won’t be solid until next week, but there are already some clues to the shows that may or may not make the cut.
One series we’ll definitely be seeing is “Action News,” a sitcom about a TV anchor team, starring Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton. That’s already got a series commitment from Fox—and with those stars paired together, no wonder.
Another, no doubt, is the “Grey’s Anatomy” spinoff, “Private Practice,” which “Grey’s” fans just got to see as a special episode, putting Kate Walsh’s Addison at center stage.
One we probably won’t see is “Cavemen,” a proposed ABC sitcom spinoff of those GEICO commercials. An Ain’t It Cool Web site contributor who saw the entire pilot called it “jaw-dropping horrendous.”
In other hard-to-imagine network moves, I’m baffled by how CBS could name a sitcom “Fugly” and expect to suffer no backlash. It stars Nikki Cox from “Las Vegas” and Marissa Jaret Winokur from the original Broadway show “Hairspray” as identical twins, one of whom undergoes a major, expensive makeover. The buzz on this one is not great, either - though so few sitcoms are standing out, some may make the cut just to balance out a schedule.
In drama, CBS reportedly is hot on shows that, like ABC’s “Brothers & Sisters,” feature huge, ensemble casts. Family drama “Los Duques” stars Jimmy Smits, Rita Moreno, Hector Elizondo, Lee Tergesen and Polly Walker, while supernatural drama “Babylon Fields” stars Amber Tamblyn, Kathy Baker, David Patrick Kelly and Jamey Sheridan.
NBC reportedly favors “The Bionic Woman,” starring British actress Michelle Ryan, and “Lipstick Jungle,” the new Candace Bushnell (“Sex and the City”) concept, starring Brooke Shields and Kim Raver. Fox is bullish on sci-fi: “The Sarah Connor Chronicles” is a “Terminator” spinoff starring Lena Headey, and “Them” (aliens as sleeper-cell terrorists) stars Tricia Helfer from “Battlestar Galactica.”
ABC is high on, among others, two upscale dramas, “Dirty Sexy Money” (Peter Krause, Jill Clayburgh) and “Perfect Gentlemen” (Dylan McDermott, Joshua Malina), and a modern remake of “Marlowe,” starring Jason O’Mara from “Men in Trees.” CW supposedly favors two new dramas, one upscale (“Gossip Girl”), the other supernatural (“Reaper”).