Category Archives: Upfronts

Network Upfronts Extravaganza 2007: Canadian Edition

So, I spent last week covering the American Network Upfronts, but in reality that was all a warmup for the epic event that is: the Canadian Upfronts. Man, what a week this is going to…oh, you mean they already selected all their shows? And they just announced them in a press conference? Really? That’s, uh…wow, I wasn’t really prepared, I expected to have all sorts of time to write previews and…wow. Okay, so I guess I should run down some of the new that came over the past few days? I’m all out of sorts here.

Who are the Players?

Global (CanWest) and CTV are really the only major players involved now that CTV bought out CityTV and the rest of CHUM. There’s Sun TV out of central Canada, but they’re not a huge player. It’s really down to the big two for the big shows.

What should we know about Canada’s simulcasting system?

Well, first off, do the math: the shows airing on five different American networks don’t easily fit onto two Canadian networks, not all of them anyways. This has left some fairly substantial hits south of the border (America’s Next Top Model, Ugly Betty) off of these main networks and onto networks like CityTV or Sun TV.

Canadian networks struggle most with the fact that many of their shows overlap. For instance, they own the rights to both CSI and Grey’s Anatomy: as a result, the network is forced to air Grey’s an hour earlier than it is in the U.S. It’s all a give and take like this, which makes for some interesting Canadian scheduling. Another example was just last night, when CTV had the rights to both the Lost and American Idol finales, and actually split Lost into two parts in Central Canada to make it work.

Which network is better at simulcasting?

Definitely CTV. Global is a complete and total mess: its HD is extremely limited, its commercials are far worse, and all in all the production values just aren’t the same. I really wish they’d revamp everything to be less ugly, too. They really need to work on that. CityTV and the others aren’t terrible, but they don’t have the same level of nationwide coverage, which is a problem for families without digital cable or the joys of timeshifting that some of us enjoy.

So what’s happened so far?

Well, CTV has not officially announced any of its pickups thus far, but there have been some leaks ahead of their early June Upfront Presentation in Toronto. Meanwhile, Global has spilled the beans on which shows they’ve picked up. For all the information, you can follow to The Hollywood Reporter. For a complete summary and analysis, keep reading.

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Filed under Back to You, Chuck, CTV, Global, Gossip Girl, Private Practice, Pushing Daisies, Reaper, Television, Upfronts, Without a Trace

The End of ‘The Apprentice’: Trump Goes Out His Own Way

Donald Trump, it seems, does not get cancelled. No, instead Donald Trump is the Canceller. And always will be. After NBC revealed its fall schedule a week ago, there was one show that wasn’t mentioned and yet was left open to discussion. That show was Donald Trump’s The Apprentice, and after series-low ratings and struggles, it was clear that NBC wasn’t going to bring back the series. When even a high-profile feud with Rosie O’Donnell can’t save you, I don’t know what could. As a result, things looked bleak for Trump…so he has emerged to get the final word.

Yahoo News – Donald Trump to NBC: “You can’t fire me, I quit!”

“Donald Trump, whose low-rated reality show “The Apprentice” was left off the new prime-time schedule unveiled this week by NBC, says the network can’t fire him — he quits.

The real estate mogul issued a statement on Friday saying he has informed the U.S. television network he is “moving on from ‘The Apprentice’ to a major new TV venture,” though he declined to elaborate.”

So, with this Trump gets to end things his way. Mind you, no one is actually going to think he wasn’t forced out (If he really wanted to pull this off he would have done this before last week’s upfront presentation and not a week after), but still Trump gets the last word. And, of course, hypes his upcoming television venture (I figure he’s going to try to launch a take-off of America’s Next Top Model looking for some new recruits for Trump Modeling).

It is funny, however, that Trump is the one to put the final nail in the coffin of The Apprentice, because I would argue that it is he who ended the show’s quality as well. The show began with a fairly reputable structure that was actually quite compelling. The show’s tasks weren’t laden with sponsorships, the board rooms were civil and intriguing, and the winner actually seemed like they could work for a major corporation.

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Filed under NBC, Reality TV, The Apprentice, Upfronts

The Three Timeslots to Watch on the 2007/2008 Fall Schedule

In a final word on the 2007/2008 Upfronts, I figure it’s time we returned to the schedule as a whole. Because, let’s face it, some of us watch a lot of TV. And, sometimes, that TV all falls within the exact same timeslot. As more and more shows emerge as fan favourites, more and more conflicts take place. This year’s Fall Schedule has created many of these conflicts, and some of them are sure to be key ratings battlegrounds in the year to come. Which five, however, will prove the most interesting? And, as a result, which ones will be a nightmare for non-TiVo owners across North America? Well, there’s only one way to find out.

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Filed under 30 Rock, ABC, Bones, Chuck, Dancing with the Stars, FOX, Gossip Girl, Grey's Anatomy, House, NBC, Private Practice, Ratings, Reality TV, Reaper, Scrubs, Television, The Bionic Woman, The CW, The Office, Upfronts

The Five Most Promising Pilots of the 2007/2008 Upfront Presentations

Yes, this is it: the top five pilots which I believe have the most potential in the coming year. This is not a potential for success in ratings, or ad dollars, or anything like this: no, this is very much more about how well I think these shows can advance themselves creatively. It’s a list full of wishful thinking, if you will. While these shows might not light up the Nielsen ratings come next season, I think that part of me will feel better that they exist…and will cross my fingers that they succeed. They’re the next Veronica Mars, if you will, and I can only hope that networks have as much patience for these shows as they did for that one. Which pilots make the cut? There’s only one way to find out.

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Filed under ABC, Back to You, Chuck, FOX, Gossip Girl, House, NBC, Pushing Daisies, Reaper, Television, The Bionic Woman, Upfronts

The Three Most Disturbing Trends of the 2007/2008 Upfronts

Each year, the Upfronts create a series of trends which show what the networks are really thinking for the following year. They take what was successful the year before, and they decide that they should just copy all of that into their own schedules. For example, Lost’s success led to three different sci-fi copycat shows the following season: Invasion (ABC), Surface (NBC), and Threshold (CBS). Similarly, after the success of Prison Break, networks switched to serial conspiracy/action dramas like Vanished (FOX), Kidnapped (NBC), and Smith (CBS). This season has seen a variety of different trends, and some of them actually seem quite good on the surface. However, I think that there is actually a number of bad precedents being set which we should all remain aware of as next season begins.

The Three Most Disturbing Trends of the 2007/2008 Upfronts

3. The Procedural Nature of Television Drama

I’ve expected it from CBS for many years, now: all of their dramas are unlikely to have any sort of serial aspect, choosing instead to stick to procedural structure. Law & Order really started it off, CSI picked up the ball and kept running, and there is surely to be a new franchise waiting in the wings with time. It’s a quality which the networks love, since it means people can just sit back and watch a single episode without getting too caught up in the previous week’s action. And, I like some of these dramas: they can be compelling and fun to watch, and they repeat well for the purpose of syndication. However, I don’t want to see all procedural and nothing but procedural dramas.

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Filed under ABC, American Idol, FOX, Grey's Anatomy, Heroes, House, My Name is Earl, NBC, New Amsterdam, Private Practice, Reality TV, Sarah Connor Chronicles, Survivor, Television, The Amazing Race, The Apprentice, The CW, The Office, Upfronts, Veronica Mars

The Top Five 2007/2008 Pilots Likely to be Yanked From the Air Prematurely

Let’s face it, being ordered to series isn’t even half the battle for a new pilot. The network is not always a good barometer of one’s success, and it is the viewing public who will make or break the future of a pilot. Now, they’re also a fickle sort, but based on this year’s pilots I think we can at least try to guess how the public might react. And thus, as part of the Network Upfronts Extravaganza, I present…

The Top Five 2007/2008 Pilots Likely to be Yanked From the Air Prematurely

5. Pushing Daisies [ABC]

This show will be finding its way onto another list sometime this weekend, but for now it’s also a show which is extremely likely to be yanked from the air prematurely. The show has a whole lot of potential, but if my brother’s initial reaction to it says anything it will have a tough time with the casual crowd. He read the synopsis of the show and was immediately appalled by it. That synopsis:

…an unprecedented blend of romance, crime procedural and high-concept fantasy in a forensic fairytale about a young man with a very special gift. Once upon a time, a mild-mannered boy named Ned realized he could touch dead things and bring them back to life.

Now, after watching the preview, he and I both agree that the show has a whole lot of potential and could be some quirky fun. However, not very many people take the time to really get into it, and I think that many will react as he did As a result, the show’s rather alarming first impression is likely to make it tough for the drama to find an audience. Which, ABC might take as a sign to exit the drama stage left and move a midseason drama in early.

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Filed under 'Til Death, 7th Heaven, ABC, FOX, Ratings, Television, The CW, Upfronts

The Five Biggest Mistakes of the 2007 Network Upfronts

There is no question that the Upfronts bring on a lot of good things, which I will get to in time. However, it’s tough directly after the release of all of the fall schedules to not dwell on the negatives. The show which we canceled, the shows that were mistreated, and the show that you cringe just thinking about. As a result, we start our weekend coverage of the Upfronts with a piece which covers the mistakes made, and which ones will have the most negative effect on the state of television.

The Five Biggest Mistakes of the 2007 Network Upfronts

5. CBS cancels ‘Jericho’

I’ve talked about why canceling Jericho was the right move in the end, but I think it still needs to be recognized that CBS might need to reconsider such moves in the future. Wonky scheduling killed the show’s audience, not necessarily its quality, and I think this is where CBS might have hit their final straw. I think that CBS is worried about the bottom line, and the ratings performance, and I kind of wonder whether they really watched the show to see. Jericho’s fanbase was rabid and of a different sort than most of their shows. The network was able to cancel shows in the past without fanfare (Where’s the outrage for Close to Home?) because they are casual viewers: Jericho didn’t have any of those, and canceling it is likely to end up being more than they bargained for.

It had to be done, but it’s certainly put them in a lesser eye with some of the people that they hope might turn up this season for Moonlight and Viva Laughlin, two shows which might need a touch of their fandom. If they ever want to branch into serial television for real, they will need to realize that quality does matter. We’ll see if their tone changes as time moves forward.

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Filed under 'Til Death, ABC, Cavemen, FOX, Friday Night Lights, House, Jericho, NBC, New Amsterdam, Ratings, Television, The CW, Upfronts, Veronica Mars

Network Upfronts Extravaganza: 2007/2008 Schedule Wrapup

The Network Upfronts have officially come to an end…well, for the big five anyways, as smaller networks are delivering upfront presentations throughout the day. Still, for all intensive purposes, the 2007/2008 Fall Schedule is officially in place.

Over the weekend, I want to run down some lists of what went down during the week, and what it means for our future TV viewing. These lists will be varied, and hopefully cover a wide range of information. Upfronts are a rather huge event, and the result has been a lot of news, views and previews overloading the senses. I’m hoping that in this post-upfront haze that we can sort it all out.

The lists will begin later today with “The Top 5 Mistakes Made During the 2007 Network Upfronts”, but for now I figure I’d put all the news in one place. So, without further adieu, here is your Network Upfronts Extravaganza 2007 Wrapup.

NBC

NBC 2007/2008 Fall Schedule

NBC Fall Preview [NBC.com]

New Shows

Life

The Bionic Woman

Journeyman

Chuck

The IT Crowd [Midseason]

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Filed under ABC, FOX, Gossip Girl, NBC, Private Practice, Reaper, Sarah Connor Chronicles, Television, The Bionic Woman, The CW, Upfronts

Network Upfronts Extravaganza – ‘House’ Goes to the Super Bowl

Well, FOX is currently giving its upfront presentation [Full Schedule can be found here], and it looks like the network will be using the plum post-Super Bowl spot in February to showcase…a Fourth-season drama which already nets tens of millions of viewers per week.

From TVGuide.com’s Michael Ausiello:

4:18: Liguori breaks news, announcing that House has landed the plum post-Super Bowl slot on Feb. 3!

Now, FOX, I’ve discussed post-Super Bowl programming way back when this blog began, and I believe that the slot is best used to take an up and coming show that needs an extra boost. I have news for you: House does not need a boost. Just this week it actually BUILT from its American Idol lead-in amongst younger viewers. This show does not NEED the rub you’re giving it, it already has all the success it needs. I know you want people to stick around after the Super Bowl, and I know that David Shore and company will be able to put together a great episode…but they don’t need it. They get millions of viewers as it is.

Now, you might be wondering what exactly I’d suggest go there instead; FOX is certainly not swimming in shows that fit my description. Well, they have one of them, and it’s one that is going to need its help to continue to thrive. That show?

Bones.

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Filed under Bones, FOX, House, Television, Upfronts

Network Upfronts Extravaganza – ‘Veronica Mars’ Canceled [For Real]

Well folks, we all knew this day would come. Final word out of New York, from The CW’s own Dawn Ostroff has basically confirmed it: Veronica Mars has (finally) been canceled.

From Michael Ausiello at TV Guide.com:

12;29 OK, here it is in a nutshell, per dawn ostroff. Veronica Mars is dead. But, and there is a but, she says she’s “talking to Rob and Kristen” about doing something else. She’s not calling it a spin-off, and wouldn’t say whether it would feature the character of Veronica. Translation; I’m as confused as ever!

12:33 I will try and get more clarification on this. Please stand by…

12:36 OK, a reporter just asked a VM follow-up — and Dawn continues to dodge. She says they’re discussing “an idea,” but adds, “I don’t think it’s going to happen.”

12;47 The press conference is over. I tackle dawn just as she tries to escape and I ask her to level with me. Is Veronica dead? “Veronica Mars is over, but we’re talking about something else. I don’t know if it’s going to be anything. I’m being honest with you. It could come back in some form, but I don’t know what form that would be.” She confirmed that the deadline to make a decision is “somewhere around” the June 15 date i referred to previously. Long story short: mystery still not solved!

And then, the heartbreaking conclusion, from creator Rob Thomas himself…

“No one has talked to me about a new, non-Veronica project. All my writer’s have been offered jobs elsewhere, and I believe they will now all accept these jobs. Very, very, very sad day around the VM offices.

I assume that anything Dawn would be talking about in the realm of a Rob-Kristen project would involve a new from-scratch pilot as they don’t have me in a deal, and they’ll lose Kristen in a couple of weeks.”

Bottom line: It’s over.

I think we all saw this coming, perhaps, but it will take a while for it to sink in. I’ll have my final thoughts on the series’ three-season run ahead of its Series Finale on Tuesday. Until then, let’s have a moment of silence.

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Filed under Television, The CW, Upfronts, Veronica Mars