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Coming fall TV schedules offer good and bad

May 21, 2010 - Keith Frederick

Dang, I was really pulling for the show with the single mother running an international drug cartel.

This was Upfronts week, where the major television networks announce their fall schedules, filled with dreams of higher ratings and lower production costs.

And though the aforementioned pilot (“Cutthroat,” which would’ve starred Roselyn Sanchez, formerly of “Without a Trace”) didn’t make ABC’s slate, there are plenty of upcoming projects to look forward to loving — and mocking.

Following are my thoughts on the announced schedules of the Big Four. I didn’t include The CW, because they hadn’t released their schedule as of this writing. Besides, no one believes that’s a real network anyway.


The reigning ratings champ announced a major shake-up this week, canceling seven shows and adding five to its roster. Gone are dead weight like “The Ghost Whisperer,” “Cold Case” and “Numb3rs.” I’ll miss the stars of “The New Adventures of Old Christine” and “Accidentally on Purpose,” but neither show really did them justice.

Of the network’s three new dramas, one is based on a family of cops (“Blue Bloods,” starring Tom Selleck and Donnie Wahl­berg) and another is about a group of lawyers (“The Defenders,” with Jim Belushi and Jerry O’Connell) — fulfilling two-thirds of network TV’s Doctor-Lawyer-Cop Trium­virate.

The third drama is interesting, though. An update of “Hawaii Five-O,” it stars “Lost” alum Daniel Dae Kim, as well as Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Cann. Kim is a great actor with a serious heartthrob image thanks to “Lost.” I’m looking forward to how he’ll do in a more featured role.

CBS’s two new comedies are a mixed bag. “Mike & Molly” seems sure to be a bomb, but it comes from producer Chuck Lorre (“The Big Bang Theory” and “Two and a Half Men”), so it might be better than I think. The other comedy is “S*** My Dad Says,” starring William Shatner.

Based on a popular Twitter account whose owner posts his father’s outrageous rants to millions, the title will almost surely change, but look for Shatner to be at his bombastic best.


The once-risky network is No. 2 in the ratings and decided to keep things steady this year. Most of Fox’s lineup returns intact, with “American Idol” (which will be searching for Simon Cowell’s replacement) and “Glee” leading the way.

Fox has two new comedies on its schedule: “Raising Hope,” featuring Cloris Leachman in a supporting role, and “Running Wilde,” with Will Arnett as a playboy trying to win the love of his high school sweetheart (Keri Russell). I don’t see either catching on, but its nice to see Leachman back on TV.

The only other new Fox show is “Terra Nova,” a Steven Spielberg-backed show about a family from 2149 that goes back in time to live in prehistoric times in an effort to save the world.

That should be as terrible as it sounds.


The third-place network seems like its in panic mode now that “Lost” is gone and its ratings have begun to decline across the board.

To stop the bleeding, ABC has gone out and invested in some serious star power. This fall’s schedule will include a cavalcade of TV favorites: Matthew Perry, Michael Chiklis, Michael Imper­i­oli, Rob Morrow, Allison Janney, Dana Delaney and Joely Richard­son will all appear on ABC shows.

Of the network’s new shows, the best bets seem to be “Detroit 1-8-7,” starring Imperioli as a “damaged” detective in a Motown homicide unit, and “No Ordinary Family,” with Chiklis as the head of a family whose plane crashes into the Amazon River. The catch? They emerge from the water with superpowers.

Unfortunately, most of the other ABC offerings sound like clunkers. Cheers to them for bringing back “V,” though.


In addition to being the last-place network, NBC also had the most holes to fill, thanks to the failed “Jay Leno at 10 p.m.” experiment. To that end, their lineup is packed with new shows.

Most promising are: “Undercovers,” a J.J. Abrams-created drama about a pair of married ex-CIA agents who are called out of retirement; “Outlaw,” which stars Jimmy Smits and is surprisingly from Conan O’Brien’s production company; and “The Cape,” about a framed cop who runs away and begins to fight crime as a superhero.

But some of the schedule just screams “bad idea.” The network has no less than three “Friends” clones on their schedule. And what in the name of 1995 is the logic behind giving Paul Reiser a new sitcom?!

Mirror Staff Writer Keith Frederick’s column appears monthly in Go. He can be reached at 946-7466 or by e-mail at kfrederick@

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ABC's "No Ordinary Family" has a cool premise - a family gets superpowers after a plane crash into the Amazon River.