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The 2007 Network Upfronts: ABC

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In recent years ABC has done a wonderful job developing new scripted hour-long series. They’ve had cultural phenomena galore, from Lost to Desperate Housewives, to Grey’s Anatomy to Ugly Betty. To be sure, they have put out some clunkers, too (Day Break, which at the very least was interesting in concept though poor in execution), but on the whole, their hour-long programs have done well. They’ve been far, far less successful on the thirty minute comedy end however (as is true among all the networks).

ABC is not poised to change this around for next season, as they are completely forgoing any sort of two-hour comedy block. At the opening of the fall season, ABC will have three comedy series on TV, all of them brand new. According to Jim is gone, George Lopez is gone, Knights of Prosperity is gone. Oddly, the unfunny, poorly written Notes from the Underbelly will be back once Dancing with the Stars completes its run.

Come the start of the fall season, ABC’s lineup will look like this (new programs are in bold):

 

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
7:00 America's Funniest
Home Videos
           
7:30
8:00 Extreme Makeover:
Home Edition
Dancing with
the Stars
Cavemen Pushing
Daisies
Ugly Betty Men in
Trees
College
Football
8:30 Carpoolers
9:00 Desperate
Housewives
DWTS:
Results Show
Private
Practice
Grey's
Anatomy
Women's
Murder Club
9:30 Sam I Am
10:00 Brothers &
Sisters
The
Bachelor
Boston
Legal
Dirty Sexy
Money
Big
Shots
20/20
10:30

The three new comedies: Sam I Am, Cavemen, and Carpoolers all have “interesting” hooks.

Sam I Am focuses on Sam (Christina Applegate), a woman who has just emerged from an eight-day coma with amnesia. She discovers that she wasn’t actually a very good person and tries to change that now. Having trouble figuring that one out? It’s easy, just think My Name is Earl, substitute Sam for Earl, a coma for a car accident, and amnesia for karma. See? Simple.

Carpoolers has a bunch of men, all at different points in their lives. There’s the recently divorced playboy guy; the timid homemaker/breadwinner guy; the newlywed guy, the traditional, old-school guy. They commute to and from work together and discuss their lives.

Then, there’s Cavemen. Please note that while I sometimes write jokes that fall flat, the following is completely serious: Cavemen is a show inspired by the Geico insurance caveman commercials. They live in the South in the present day, but are cavemen. They just want to be treated like everyone else, but they keep getting singled out because…  they’re cavemen. One hopes that ABC has taken into account the history of racism in this country in general and the South in particular and that they will deal with these outsiders who are treated differently with some degree of tact.

As for the dramas, as we all know by now, Private Practice is the Addison Montgomery spin-off of Grey’s Anatomy (the backdoor pilot aired as a special Grey’s two hour event a couple of weeks ago).

Pushing Daisies focuses on a detective who can touch people and bring them back from the dead. He’s done this with his dead girlfriend, but if he touches her again she’ll die… forever. It’s a new kind of procedural.

In the more traditional procedural vein is Women’s Murder Club, which has four high-powered women at its center: a detective, a D.A., a medical examiner, and a reporter. They are friends and solve crimes together, each using their unique talents.

Because four seems like the right number of people to center a show on, Big Shots focuses on four male friends who are, corporately speaking, big shots, running companies, making deals, you know, that sort of thing. Women, as the audience will see, they’re not necessarily so good with.

Lastly on the schedule for the fall is Dirty Sexy Money. Starring Peter Krause, the show focuses on a lawyer who steps into his father’s role as personal attorney for a high-powered family. He’s able to do good with the money he makes, but is drawn into their web of lives, deceits, and semi-nefarious goings-on.

Appearing at some point down the line on ABC’s schedule will be Cashmere Mafia, which is the other Sex and the City a few years down the line show by Darren Star (who produced Sex and The City). This show should not be confused with NBC’s Lipstick Jungle, from Candace Bushnell who wrote Sex and the City.

Of course, there are other series set to go on down the line too (even an Oprah series called Oprah’s Big Give).

Dharma-philes will note that Lost is not listed above. It’ll appear though, there’ll be 16 episodes this coming season, but they’re going to hold them until they can do all 16 back-to-back (24 style).

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About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.
  • http://blogcritics.org/ Phillip Winn

    I love not taking a break from Lost, but of course I hate waiting until they’re all filmed. :-)

  • Dynamo of Eternia

    Dang it, I want Knights of Prosperity back! (I know, it’s wishful thinking, but I liked that show a lot!)

    I can already tell that I pretty much won’t be watching this network at all (which, other than Knights, has pretty much been the case for a while now).

  • sean Paul Mahoney

    Regarding Cavemen, I guess ABC now stands for “A Bad Choice”. They passed on an American version of Footballers wives but siad yes to a sitcom based on a commercial? Yikes.
    I think their winning streak has offically come to a schreeching hault. I’m glad Men in Trees is back though.

  • Hi there

    “According to Jim is gone, George Lopez is gone, Knights of Prosperity is gone.”

    While Lopez and Knights got the ax, the fate of Jim has not been decided yet. ABC might still bring it back as a mid-season replacement.

    It is interesting to see a network that once relied on half-hour sitcoms (mostly of the family variety) now practically abandoning it.

  • http://draven99.blogspot.com Chris Beaumont

    Their lineup looks very weak. Can’t say I find anything all that interesting….

    I read a report from someone who saw the Cavemen pilot and it was reported as being awful. I’ll be surprised if it lasts 5 episodes.

  • http://childoftv.blogspot.com Brent

    Apparently George Lopez is not happy that his show was cancelled – according to him because the network said it cost too much – before he had a chance to wrap up some loose ends. He actually said “TV just became really, really white again.”

  • SDS

    What happened to What About Brian?! I LOVE that show… as do all my friends. So they sign on Caveman and lose Brian. Wow. That’s a bummer.