Category Archives: Brothers & Sisters

The 2007 Emmy Awards Nominations: Lost Snubbed, Sopranos Praised

After months of coverage and more than a little bit of analysis, it is has finally come down to this: this morning, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences have officially announced their nominations for what their voters believed to be the best in television over the past year. Are they right on the money, or are they off the mark once again?

The Big Stories

- Lost and Friday Night Lights snubbed, although Lost dominates in Supporting Actor with Terry O’Quinn and Michael Emerson! Woo!

- The Sopranos leads with 15 nominations.

- Battlestar Galactica and Lost each garnered writing and directing nods on the Drama side, while 30 Rock and The Office dominated the categories in terms of Comedy series.

- There’s a lot of snubs all over the place, I’ll go into more detail tomorrow, but Michael C. Hall is the worst one. Yes, worse than Lost.

- Rainn Wilson and Jenna Fischer break through as supporting contenders for The Office, which garnered a whole lot of nominations once you factor in writing and directing.

And the Nominees Are…

Oustanding Drama Series

The Sopranos

Heroes

Boston Legal

Grey’s Anatomy

House

Oustanding Comedy Series

The Office

Entourage

Two and a Half Men

30 Rock

Ugly Betty

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Filed under 24, ABC, Award Shows, Battlestar Galactica, Brothers & Sisters, Desperate Housewives, Dexter, Emmy Awards, Entourage, FOX, Friday Night Lights, Gilmore Girls, Grey's Anatomy, Heroes, House, How I Met Your Mother, Lost, Monk, My Name is Earl, NBC, Reality TV, Scrubs, Television, The Amazing Race, The Office, Ugly Betty, Weeds

Cultural Learnings’ 2007 Emmy Nominations: Final Predictions

Tomorrow morning at 5:35am PDT, the nominations for the 59th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will be announced. I will now put myself out there on a limb with my own predictions of whose names will be called. I’ll have all the final nomination information as soon as it breaks, as long as my plan to be online at that point in time works out. I will literally stop working to do this for you, remember that.

NOTE: Some of these predictions have changed thanks to the leaked Top 10 lists. Most have not.

Oustanding Drama Series

Lost

I think it’s the best show on television, and I think that its season was certainly worthy of an Emmy nomination. The show is unmatched on network television in terms of writing, production and performances.

Grey’s Anatomy

It’s season was uneven, but its popular support and wide-range of acting talents will be too hard for the ATAS to ignore.

The Sopranos

The show’s final season kept the buzz level high, and the finale basically clinched it: no one will be forgetting The Sopranos this year.

House

It’s the second biggest drama on television, and people just seem to love the show to death. I think that it is a show that has proven itself worthy in the past, unlike Heroes which still hasn’t won that level of respect.

Friday Night Lights

Admittedly, this is a sentimental choice. However, I can’t not believe that Emmy voters will find the heart of this series too endearing to pass up. With Kyle Chandler making the Drama Actor Top 10, I think the show has a shot.

Oustanding Comedy Series

The Office

Last year’s winner had another strong and buzz-worthy season. It was a bit of a dark horse last year, but this time around it’s absolutely a front-runner…but in a category full of them.

Ugly Betty

One-hour comedies have a distinct advantage over half-hour ones, but even ignoring that Ugly Betty was a charming series that features some great performances. With Becki Newton and Vanessa Williams making the Top 10, I also think this show is a shoe-in.

30 Rock

The other new show to make this list, 30 Rock is a show made for the Emmys: prestigious talent (Fey, Baldwin, Krakowski), relevant and relatable theme (Show about a show), and it’s incredibly liberal. Plus, it’s kind of also the best new comedy of the year. Just sayin’.

Two and a Half Men

The only traditional sitcom left in the Emmy race, I think that voters will trend towards it like the sheep they are. That being said, the show is not the worst sitcom ever: it’s just similar to them in every way.

Entourage

While Scrubs did have the musical episode, I think that Entourage is the closest the category has to a hip show that hasn’t quite gotten its due. 30 Rock is actually quite safe, The Office is now almost too popular, so it’s Entourage that best fits the bill. With Kevin Dillon breaking the Top 10 for Supporting Actor, the show has a shot.

Extra Prediction:

The Sopranos will garner the most nominations on the drama side, while 30 Rock and The Office will fight it out for the most comedy nominations with Ugly Betty not far behind.

The rest of the nominations can be found below, with full explanations found here (Drama) and here (Comedy).

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The Leak: Emmy Top 10s in Acting Categories Emerge

Tom O’Neill at The Envelope is teasing readers once again by revealing the Top 10 lists at a ludicrously slow pace that is only dragging this thing out further. With nominations coming on Thursday, who is going to make the cut? Here’s the lists so far.

Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Conchata Ferrell, “Two and a Half Men”
Jenna Fischer, “The Office”
Ashley Jensen, “Extras”
Kathryn Joosten, “Desperate Housewives”
Jane Krakowski, “30 Rock”
Becki Newton, “Ugly Betty”
Elizabeth Perkins, “Weeds”
Jaime Pressly, “My Name Is Earl”
Holland Taylor, “Two and a Half Men”
Vanessa Williams, “Ugly Betty”

My Thoughts: Yay for Becki Newton and Jenna Fischer, who will duel in the battle of the receptionists. The only real suprise is Kathryn Joosten, who is always an Emmy favourite but is only credited as a guest star on DH. Very interesting, Emmy voters.

Lead Actor in a Dramatic Role

Kyle Chandler, “Friday Night Lights”
Patrick Dempsey, “Grey’s Anatomy”
Matthew Fox, “Lost”
James Gandolfini, “The Sopranos”
Michael C. Hall, “Dexter”
Eddie Izzard, “The Riches”
Hugh Laurie, “House”
Denis Leary, “Rescue Me”
James Spader, “Boston Legal”
Kiefer Sutherland, “24″

My Thoughts: Good to see Matthew Fox make it in, and there really aren’t any huge snubs here other than Michael Chiklis for The Shield.

Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Lorraine Bracco, “The Sopranos”
S. Epatha Merkerson, “Law & Order”
Rachel Griffiths, “Brothers & Sisters”
Katherine Heigl, “Grey’s Anatomy”
Sandra Oh, “Grey’s Anatomy”
CCH Pounder, “The Shield”
Aida Turturro, “The Sopranos”
Kay Walsh, “Grey’s Anatomy”
Patricia Wettig, “Brothers & Sisters”
Chandra Wilson, “Grey’s Anatomy”

My Thoughts: Where the hell is Elizabeth Mitchell for Lost? Her performance as Juliet was the one that was supposed to actually have a chance at a nomination for the series, and she doesn’t make the Top 10 over S. Epatha Merkerson who barely does anything on Law & Order anymore? Le sigh. I’m glad to see Patricia Wettig get her due, and I like that Kate Walsh made it, but not over my beloved Mitchell. Boourns, Emmy voters.

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For Your Consideration: Drama Series – “Brothers & Sisters”

[As part of Cultural Learnings' For Your Consideration Emmy Nominations Preview, the next two weeks will feature 7 Drama Series and 7 Comedy Series worthy of Emmy consideration. Check back daily for a different series, with drama and comedy alternating positions. For all of Cultural Learnings' Emmy Coverage featuring Supporting and Lead Acting candidates, check out our For Your Consideration Index.]

Outstanding Drama Series

Brothers & Sisters (ABC)

If there was a success story in television this past year, I believe that it would have to be Greg Berlanti. After the unfortunate cancellation of Everwood last year, Berlanti was out of a job. However, there was a show in need of assistance: ABC’s Brothers & Sisters was spiraling out of control with showrunner Marti Noxon and they needed some help. Berlanti was asked to step in, and he took a show headed off the rails and turned it into one of the strongest dramas of the season. Jobless a year ago, Berlanti now has two pilots ordered by ABC and a returning drama series with a plum timeslot.

But let’s face it: he had a fairly good slate to work with here. If I had to pick up the pieces of a show in peril, I would like to have Sally Field sitting there waiting for a script to knock out of the park. And the supporting cast of this series has created a family of people that, although not perfect, have just enough charm to overcome their idiocy. Brothers & Sisters no longer has a shot at being nominated for an Emmy after failing to make the Top 10 shows in a popular vote, but that reality is unfortunate. The series came into its own to become a strong dramatic contender, and it is worthy of Emmy consideration.

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The Leak: Emmy Top 10s for Drama and Comedy Series Hit the Web

Well, thanks to Tom O’Neill over at TheEnvelope.com, the Top 10 Drama and Comedy Series according to the popular voters of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences have been revealed. These 10 shows will then screen an episode each in front of blue ribbon panels, and the Top 5 with the two processes combined will be nominated. If they didn’t make this list, they’re screwed.

Top 10 Drama Series

Boston Legal
Dexter
Friday Night Lights
Grey’s Anatomy
Heroes
House
Lost
Rome
The Sopranos
24

Biggest Surprise: I’m much happier about Friday Night Lights making it, but arguably Rome is the bigger surprise. The show had much less critical hype and aired such a short 2nd season that it was unexpected to get much attention. It appears that it got the period costume sex drama buzz as opposed to Showtime’s The Tudors.

Most Glaring Omission: Brothers & Sisters had good ratings, buzzworthy stars, but apparently voters didn’t feel the love. The aforementioned Tudors was also quite a shock considering how hard Showtime had pushed it, but Brothers & Sisters probably deserves one of those spots. And, even though it had no shot, Battlestar Galactica deserved better. Le sigh.

Network Breakdown: ABC leads with three series, while HBO, NBC and FOX all perform well with two a piece. Meanwhile, CBS is completely shut out while Showtime grabs the 10th spot.

Who Will Do Well: Lost and the Sopranos are riding the most buzz right now, and Grey’s and 24 both submitted strong episodes.

Who Won’t Do Well: Heroes, having submitted their pilot, will be EATEN ALIVE by these other shows. And Friday Night Lights, unfortunately, might have hit a roadblock against such tough competition. But it’s made it in, and that’s what matters.

Top 10 Comedy Series

Desperate Housewives
Entourage
Extras
My Name is Earl
The Office
Scrubs
Thirty Rock
Two and a Half Men
Ugly Betty
Weeds

Biggest Surprise: Eh, not much of one. We knew there were two spots up for grab, and it appears that voters liked British comedy (Extras) and American commercial success (Two and a Half Men) out of the remaining candidates.

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For Your Consideration: Lead Actresses – Tina Fey and Sally Field

[In Week Four of Cultural Learnings’ 59th Annual Emmy Awards Nominations Preview, we’re looking at possible contenders for the Lead Actress awards in both drama and comedy. Today, we present our second set of candidates. For complete listings for the Supporting and Lead Actor candidates from the past four weeks, check out our For Your Consideration index]

Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Tina Fey (Liz Lemon)

30 Rock

Saturday Night Live was a great stepping stone for Tina Fey, there’s no doubt about it; it provided her the opportunity to make a hit film (Mean Girls) and eventually to develop a successful television project in the form of 30 Rock. However, Saturday Night Live never really gave her much of a chance to stretch her acting abilities, although a small role in Mean Girls showed some potential. So, when it came time for her to take a starring role in her own series, there were of course questions to be had. And yet, there shouldn’t have been: Fey’s brilliant delivery on Weekend Update was no fluke, and she has proven more than able to transfer that comic timing into a half-hour comedy format. Liz is a funny, engaging, likable lead that is able to anchor both the fictional The Girlie Show and 30 Rock in the realm of sane human beings. Baldwin might provide the quips, Morgan might provide the insanity, but Fey is the one who either has to weather the insanity or response to the quips. That role is a difficult one, and while perhaps not a seasoned performer Fey is the perfect person for the job. Liz Lemon is the heart of 30 Rock, and Tina Fey’s portrayal of the at least semi-autobiographical character is worthy of Emmy consideration.

The hallmark of a strong female comedy lead is their ability to balance the show’s different elements. Fey seems right at home sparring with Alec Baldwin, replying to his verbal jabs in funny, honest ways. Similarly, she seems the voice of reason with Jenna and Tracy, each crazy in their own way. Even outside of that workplace environment, Fey is able to handle Liz’s romantic exploits. Whether it is with pager salesman Dennis (Who hilariously appeared on “To Catch a Predator”) or with late season beau Floyd, it never dragged down the show’s comedy. Even when the show’s material got a little bit nuts (The Source Awards, as an example), Fey’s reaction was always exactly how it should have been: Liz would have been freaked out, and so was Fey. By allowing her character to have realistic emotions that didn’t feel like “acting”, the show never felt like it was falling off the rails. As a writer and producer, Tina Fey obviously held a lot of responsibility on the show at a conceptual level; however, without her performance as Liz Lemon, that concept would have gone out the window. And that makes her deserving of an Emmy nomination.

Episode Selection: “The Head and the Hair” (Aired January 18th, 2007)

Now, Tina Fey did not submit this episode: she submitted “Up All Night” which has a charming scene or two featuring her character. What she should have submitted is this episode, which is about one of her unfortunate romantic exploits. After a guy working at MSNBC asks her out on a date, Liz finds herself awkwardly struggling to fit in while being served oxygen by talking about Heroes. The entire episode, like most Fey wrote, is full of Star Wars and other geek references. This is Liz at her most charming: as the guy eventually becomes interested, everything is going completely great for Liz…until she realizes that he is her third cousin or so.

It shows a lot of comic range, some great comic timing, and comes to a funny and satisfying conclusion. While she also wrote the episode she submitted, this one just felt like a stronger episode for her character (And I think it’s a stronger episode overall as well). Nevertheless, regardless, her performances over the course of the season are worthy of consideration. And you’ll have to see one of them here, since YouTube isn’t being helpful.

YouTube“[Not] The Head and the Hair”

Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Sally Field (Nora)

Brothers & Sisters

There’s a lot of talk right now about Sally Field and her co-star Calista Flockhart regarding their Emmy chances. Since both are likely to make the Top 10, voters will basically get to see two episodes worth of material from them. While I’m sure this will benefit Flockhart, I want to focus more on Field for the fact that, well, she is absolutely stunning in this series. This series could exist without Flockhart: while not terrible by any means, she doesn’t seem necessary in a way. Field, however, has crafted a matriarch so damaged, so haunted, so powerful that you can’t turn away. Nora is a character capable of being wildly comic (Smoking up in the back of a car) and powerfully dramatic (Just about every single episode). It is hard to imagine the show without her, but she was actually a post-pickup addition to the series. That decision was perhaps the smartest one made this television season, and the result was a tremendous performance from a veteran actress. And Sally Field’s work is more than deserving of Emmy consideration.

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For Your Consideration: Supporting Actresses – Patricia Wettig and Vanessa Williams

[In Week Two of Cultural Learnings’ 59th Annual Emmy Awards Nominations Preview, we’re looking at possible contenders for the Supporting Actress awards in both drama and comedy. Today, we present our fifth set of candidates. For last week's Supporting Actor candidates, and an index of all candidates, Click Here]

Supporting Actress in a Drama

Patricia Wettig (Holly Harper)

Brothers & Sisters

Fans of FOX’s Prison Break will know Patricia Wettig from her stint as (Vice-)President Reynolds on the show’s first season before she mysteriously disappeared in its second, returning only for a brief cameo. Well, for those fans who might not be so interested in primetime family dramas and who skipped ABC’s Brothers & Sisters, it was the reason why she was absent. With her husband Ken Olin (A prolific director/producer on Alias) producing the ABC series, Wettig was drawn away from her presidential role for one somewhat different. And, while I’m sure it mucked things up over at Prison Break, Wettig made the right decision in the end. In Holly Harper, Wettig has a character with emotional depth beyond her introduction. Beginning as a volatile plot device from the Walker family’s departed patriarch’s past, Holly has since developed into an honest-to-goodness part of this ensemble cast. While some of the other supporting performances were perhaps more showy (Mainly Rachel Griffith’s turn), Wettig brought to Holly a sense of loss and independence worthy of Emmy contention.

Holly Harper was the other woman, the one that Nora Walker knew existed and yet didn’t believe was ever a real problem. The key theme of the season was Nora dealing with her husband’s past haunting her even after his death, and Holly was a big part of this. As she became an inheritor, and as she bought herself into the family business, Holly was a thorn in Nora’s side in a real fashion. However, Holly was rarely out to get Nora in the beginning. Wettig brought to the role a sense that she was willing to be civil, willing to be honest, willing to let things slide. Then, of course, things hit the roof and Nora couldn’t take it anymore.

Their tension was palpable, and it drove the show forward. As Holly battled with Sarah and Nora, she was often somewhat vindictive and it would be easy for Wettig to fall into that pattern. However, once Holly’s daughter Rebecca entered the picture, Wettig was given a more emotional side. We began to see the life she led without having to relate to this family, the life as the other woman with a daughter and a life to live. It is easy to immediately condemn the other woman, but I found myself warming to Holly by season’s end. Wettig brought to the role a sense of honesty, a knowledge of her sins and yet an acknowledgement of needing to move on from it. From beginning to end in her series run, Patricia Wettig embodied Holly Harper in a way that she could never have achieved with Prison Break’s cold-hearted president. Not only did Wettig make perhaps the best career move of the year, but she also delivered a performance worthy of Emmy consideration.

Episode Selection: “Grapes of Wrath” (Aired May 6th, 2007)

Holly is at her most vicious here, reeling from the news that her daughter has moved in with the Walkers and the tension between her and Nora is most certainly at a fever pitch. Wettig has a lot of fun seducing Nora’s date for the weekend, her creepy writing teacher, but the real kicker comes from an end of episode food fight that is both funny and yet evolves into something much more substantial. Holly breaks down after the fight, realizing that she still misses William (Nora’s husband, her lover). That breakdown is the first time I really looked at Wettig for this award, and I think it convinced me she deserved it. It puts into context Holly’s actions, Holly’s inability to move on, just as it did Nora’s inability to move on before she put William behind her at some point earlier. Actually, Holly’s actually better at moving on than Nora is. And Wettig makes this very clear, matching Sally Field line for line and delivering an Emmy-worthy performance.

YouTube“Grapes of Wrath”

Supporting Actress in a Comedy

Vanessa Williams (Wilhemina Slater)

Ugly Betty

There is something to be said for an actress finally finding the right role for them. Vanessa Williams has jumped around, struggling to find her role in the television and film universe. Outside of appearances in films such as Soul Food or Shaft, or her short-lived runs on Boomtown or South Beach (Which existed, believe it or not), she has never found a niche in the acting world. As a result, most people know her best from performing ‘Colours of the Wind’ in Disney’s Pocahontas and her other singing accolades. However, Williams is not happy just being another Pebo Brison; she appears to have been waiting for the right role to finally come along. And, well, come along it has: as the scheming Wilhelmina Slater, Williams has elevated her game with a conniving and devious performance that skirts the line between villain and hero so well that I’m still not sure where I stand. However, either way, Vanessa Williams has finally found the right role, and it is one worthy of Emmy Awards attention.

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For Your Consideration: Supporting Actors – Harve Presnell and John Pyper-Ferguson

[In Week One of Cultural Learnings’ 59th Annual Emmy Awards Nominations Preview, we’re looking at possible contenders for the Supporting Actor awards in both comedy and drama. Today, we present our sixth set of candidates. For all candidates, Click Here]

Supporting Actor in a Comedy

Harve Presnell (Lew Steziak)

Andy Barker, P.I.

Not very many people watched Andy Barker P.I. It’s understandable: this midseason replacement came and went with only four airings in its timeslot on Thursday nights. Facing Grey’s Anatomy and CSI, the show failed to gain any ratings traction and never became a watercooler success. It is therefore somewhat unfortunate that the performance of Harve Presnell as Lew Steziak, a cranky old man who has long retired from the private eye business but finds himself being dragged back in. I don’t know what it is about Presnell’s performance, but he manages to capture jaded old man so very well without falling too far into senility. His performance is exactly what I’d like to become when I’m older: cantankerous, grumpy, angry, and yet aware that I could be less angry. And, while he’s certainly a long shot, I think that Presnell at least needs to be considered.

It’s not even that Presnell had a huge dramatic moment, or that he had the most hilarious line possible. He just had this way about him, this delivery, that continually brought something unique to this comedy. Although only airing for six episodes, the show created many unique characters who made up quite the team, but I think I’d most like to meet a real life Lew Steziak, in the flesh. I would put the performance up there with an acting master class by any means, but from a comic perspective I think Presnell brings just the right amount of everything to the role. And, well, I can’t really expect much better than that from a 74-year old, can I? Not likely.

Episode Selection: “The Lady Varnishes”

In this episode, perhaps the wittiest of the show’s takeoffs of old murder mystery films (The Lady Vanishes), this episode features Amy Sedaris as a one-legged (She has a wooden leg, which she varnishes) as a long lost love of Lew’s. It’s a cute episode, and Presnell is good in it with Ed Asner as his arch nemesis as well. However, Andy Barker isn’t big on the YouTube. So, head over to NBC.com to watch the complete episode, and enjoy this clip of Presnell from the hit musical “Paint Your Wagon”.

YouTube“Paint Your Wagon”

Supporting Actor in a Drama

John Pyper-Ferguson (Joe Whedon)

Brothers & Sisters

Brothers & Sisters is a show about an extended family dealing with the death of its patriarch and all of its other problems. This family is a bloody mess, and they all know it. As a result, I always feel the worst for those who chose to be a part of it. They married these people, and found that they had married into a crazy house. As a result, I also feel the most for these actors who have to react in a natural fashion to the problems that this situation creates. And, as a result, I have chosen to highlight John Pyper-Ferguson, who plays Sarah Walker’s husband Joe, for Emmy consideration.

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Reviewing the Finales: Brothers & Sisters – “Matriarchy”

Two ABC finales went by over the past few days without me reviewing them, and there’s a reason for it. Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives each lost my interest this year, the latter towards the beginning and the prior towards the end. I have gotten to the point where the dramas seem like a never-ending cycle of happy and unhappy, usually remarkably quick to turn the delightful into the depressing. And, it was therefore somewhat disheartening to see that the finales of both shows tended to reflect this: Grey’s ended on one of the most depressing sequence of events in television history, and Desperate Housewives ended with someone swinging from the rafters. As a result, I can’t help but feel disillusioned with these series for taking the easy way out. They ended with cliffhangers of a shocking nature, designed to beat our senses into submission. It is therefore that I highlight the only ABC finale of the past week which handled itself with subtlety and grace, and the only one that had the balls to end happily. That finale is “The Matriarchy”, the season-concluding episode of Freshman success Brothers & Sisters.

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Network Upfronts Extravaganza: ‘ABC’ Fall Schedule 2007/2008

Well, ABC’s schedule is official, and there’s not much in the way of changes for the network. In fact, to be honest, the schedule is downright boring.

Reminder: Cultural Learnings’ ABC Fall Preview Schedule 

- Private Practice, the Grey’s Anatomy Spinoff, will be slotting in at 9pm on Wednesdays, the spot currently occupied by underperforming comedies. It will be sandwiched by two new shows: Bryan Fuller’s Pushing Daisies and Greg Berlanti’s Dirty Sexy Money. This means three new shows in a single night, which is a departure from the stability found in Lost (Which is now officially held back until February).

- Thursday’s only change is that Big Shots, a male-themed CEO drama, is inheriting the post-Grey’s spot. Why, exactly, this show has the spot over the female-themed Cashmere Mafia (Held until midseason) I don’t really know. I guess because Dylan McDermott and Michael Vartan bring sex appeal? Seems to be the only logic I can think of.

- Dancing with the Stars goes to an hour and a half full time on Mondays as Sam I Am, the Christina Applegate amnesia comedy, fills in between the reality show and The Bachelor at 10. The network’s other two comedies, Cavemen and Carpoolers, fit in at 8pm on Tuesday (Where no other comedies are, good choice), but then lead into an hour-long Dancing with the Stars results show. ABC, the show doesn’t deserve that much of your schedule, cut it to a half hour and slot in another comedy.

- The other new show, Women’s Murder Club, leads out of Men in Trees on Fridays as the latter moves to the opening slot at 8pm. It’s a tough one, against Ghost Whisperer, and we’ll see what momentum the show has after a shortened first season.

- Meanwhile, Notes from the Underbelly and October Road will be headed for midseason.

For the full schedule (It’s really this boring, I swear!), continue on.

 

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