Deadline is reporting that The Office showrunner Paul Lieberstein has signed a three-year deal with Universal Media Studios. This is good news because although we still haven’t found a new branch manager of Dunder Mifflin, we should expect at least three more years of the series. It also means that we’ll have three more seasons of our favorite Human Resources manager, Toby Flenderson, who if you didn’t already know is played by Lieberstein. This is the first contract like this for Lieberstein and will have him developing new shows near the end of it.
Today, NBC announced their new Fall Schedule, a day ahead of the Monday upfront advertising event. In case you’re wondering why you’re not seeing some of your favorite shows, it’s because they’ve been canceled as we noted in this post, here. After the dust settles, we’ll be sure to comment on all of these new and returning shows.
Folks, don’t forget that the major network up-front advertising events begin TOMORROW, Monday, May 16th and go on through Thursday. This is the week that we will find out the fates of all this season’s shows that haven’t already been decided and we’ll also find out what new shows will be on the schedules for the 2011 – 2012 season. You can find out the schedules for all of the events, here.
Vis Press Release:
WITH A COMMITMENT TO INNOVATION, STRATEGIC POSITIONING AND SEASON-LONG STRENGTH, NBC REVEALS ITS 2011-12 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE
Fall and Mid-Season Lineups Feature New Dramas “Smash,” “Prime Suspect,” “The Playboy Club,” “Awake,” “Grimm” and “The Firm”
New Comedies Are “Up All Night,” “Whitney,” “Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea,” “Free Agents,” “Best Friends Forever” and “Bent.”
NEW YORK CITY — May 15, 2011 — NBC has introduced its 2011-12 primetime schedule, showcasing six new dramas and six new comedies from a roster of renowned hit-makers that includes Steven Spielberg, Lorne Michaels, Brian Grazer, Tom Werner, John Grisham and Peter Berg, among many others.
The season’s new dramas are “Smash,” “Prime Suspect,” “The Playboy Club,” “Awake,” “Grimm” and “The Firm”; and the new comedies are “Up All Night,” “Whitney,” “Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea,” “Free Agents,” “Best Friends Forever” and “Bent.”
Returning shows include “Parenthood,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Harry’s Law,” “Chuck” (for its fifth and final season of 13 episodes), “Community,” “Parks and Recreation,” “The Office,” “30 Rock” and “DatelineNBC.” Among next season’s returning alternative series are “The Voice,” “The Sing-Off,” “The Celebrity Apprentice” and “The Biggest Loser,” each in two-hour formats.
The new lineup combines schedule stability with strategic changes that position the network for future growth. Key facets of the schedule include a new hour of comedy with the Wednesday debuts of “Up All Night” (8-8:30 p.m. ET) and “Free Agents” (8:30-9 p.m. ET) and an update to NBC’s critically acclaimed Thursday lineup with the premieres this fall of the new comedy “Whitney” (9:30-10 p.m. ET) and the first-year drama “Prime Suspect” (10-11 p.m. ET). In addition, NBC has made a strong commitment to original scripted programming on Friday nights with the pairing of “Chuck” (8-9 p.m. ET) in its climactic season with the new drama “Grimm” (9-10 p.m. ET).
The #1 new series of the current season, “The Voice,” returns at mid-season on Monday nights (8-10 p.m. ET) and will serve as the lead-in to the new musical drama “Smash” (10-11 p.m. ET). In the fall on Mondays from 8-10 p.m. ET will be another growing NBC reality success, “The Sing-Off,” now in a weekly format following its strong December showings of the past two years.
Additional details unveiled in today’s announcement include a run of uninterrupted originals for “30 Rock” starting at mid-season and a post-football Sunday lineup of “Dateline NBC” (7-8 p.m. ET), “The Celebrity Apprentice” (8-10 p.m. ET) and the new drama “The Firm” (10-11 p.m. ET). Additional new series ready for mid-season include the drama “Awake” and the comedies “Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea,” “Best Friends Forever” and “Bent.”
The announcements were made by Bob Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment.
“Next season begins the rebuilding of the NBC primetime schedule, and our goal is to reinvigorate our audience with a line-up of appointment television that includes our best returning shows and a variety of innovative and attention-getting new series. We’ll be placing a great deal of emphasis on how we launch each one of our programs and on maximizing the network’s strengths throughout the fall and well into mid-season,” said Greenblatt. “Considering it’s only been three months since new management took over, I’m very pleased with what has resulted from a very strong pilot season. And with a powerful new asset like ‘The Voice’ already in hand, we go into the 2011-12 season with cautious but incredible optimism.”
NBC FALL 2011-12 SCHEDULE
*New programs in UPPER CASE; all times ET)
8-10 p.m. – “The Sing-Off”
10-11 p.m. – “THE PLAYBOY CLUB”
8-10 p.m. – “The Biggest Loser”
10-11 p.m. – “Parenthood”
8-8:30 p.m. – “UP ALL NIGHT”
8:30-9 p.m. – “FREE AGENTS”
9-10 p.m. — “Harry’s Law”
10-11 p.m. — “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”
8-8:30 p.m. – “Community”
8:30-9 p.m. — “Parks and Recreation”
9-9:30 p.m. – “The Office”
9:30-10 p.m. – “WHITNEY”
10-11 p.m. – “PRIME SUSPECT”
8-9 p.m. – “Chuck”
9-10 p.m. – “GRIMM”
10-11 p.m. – “Dateline NBC”
7- 8:15 p.m. — “Football Night in America”
8:15-11:30 p.m. — “NBC Sunday Night Football”
NBC 2012 MID-SEASON HIGHLIGHTS
*New programs in UPPER CASE; all times ET)
7-8 p.m. – “Dateline NBC”
8-10 p.m. – “The Celebrity Apprentice”
10-11 p.m. – “THE FIRM”
8-10 p.m. – “The Voice”
10-11 p.m. – “SMASH”
2011-12 NEW SERIES DESCRIPTIONS
‘PRIME SUSPECT’ — Based on the critically acclaimed British television series of the same name, “Prime Suspect” has been redeveloped for American audiences by writer Alexandra Cunningham (“Desperate Housewives,” “NYPD Blue”), director Peter Berg (NBC’s “Friday Night Lights”) — and stars Maria Bello (“A History of Violence”) as tough-as-nails Detective Jane Timoney. Timoney finds that being a homicide detective in New York City is tough enough and having to contend with a male-dominated police department to get respect makes it that much tougher. She’s an outsider who has just transferred to a new precinct dominated by an impenetrable clique of a boys’ club. Timoney has her own vices too — with a questionable past — and she tends to be forceful, rude and reckless. But she’s also a brilliant cop who keeps her eye on one thing: the prime suspect. Also starring are Aidan Quinn (“Unknown”), Brian O’Byrne (“Flash Forward”), Tim Griffin (“Star Trek”), Kirk Acevedo (“Fringe”), Joe Nieves (“How I Met Your Mother”), Damon Gupton (“The Last Airbender”) and Peter Gerety (“Blue Bloods”). “Prime Suspect” is produced by Universal Media Studios, ITV and Film 44. Cunningham is the executive producer/writer along with executive producer/director Berg and executive producers Sarah Aubrey, Julie Meldal-Johnson, Paul Buccieri and Lynda LaPlante.
‘THE PLAYBOY CLUB’ — From Academy Award-winning executive producer Brian Grazer, “The Playboy Club” is a provocative new drama about a time and place that challenged the social mores, where a visionary entrepreneur created an empire and an icon changed American culture. It’s the early ‘60s, and the legendary Playboy Club in Chicago is the door to all of your fantasies — and the key is the most sought-after status symbol of its kind. Inside the seductive world of the bunny, the epitome of beauty and service, the clientele rubs shoulders with the decade’s biggest mobsters, politicos and entertainers. Nick Dalton (Eddie Cibrian, “CSI: Miami”) is one of the city’s top attorneys and the ultimate playboy, rubbing elbows with everyone in the city’s power structure. With mysterious ties to the mob, Nick comes to the aid of Maureen (Amber Heard, “Zombieland”), the stunning and innocent new bunny who accidentally kills the leader of the Bianchi crime family. Dating Nick is Carol-Lynne (Laura Benanti, “Take the Lead”), a bombshell and established star at the club who knows her days as a bunny are numbered and finds herself continually at odds with Billy (David Krumholtz, ”Numb3rs”), the club’s general manager. Adding to the charm of the Playboy club is Janie (Jenna Dewan Tatum, “American Virgin”), the carefree life of the party who is dating Max (Wes Ramsey, “CSI: Miami”), an overly protective bartender. Also starring are Naturi Naughton (“Fame”) and Leah Renee (“True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet”). In addition to Grazer (“A Beautiful Mind,” “American Gangster”), the executive producers on “The Playboy Club” include Chad Hodge (“Tru Calling”), Francie Calfo (“Scoundrels”), Jason Burns (“The House Bunny”) and Dick Rosenzweig (“Kendra”). Hodge also wrote the pilot, which was directed by Alan Taylor (“Mad Men,” “The Sopranos”). The series is produced by 20th Century Fox Television and Imagine Television.
‘SMASH’ — “Smash” is a musical drama that celebrates the beauty and heartbreak of the Broadway theater as it follows a cross-section of dreamers and schemers who all have one common desire — to be a “Smash.” The series centers on a desire to create a Broadway musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe — written by the successful songwriting duo of Tom (Tony Award nominee Christian Borle, “Legally Blonde: The Musical”) and Julia (Emmy Award winner Debra Messing, “Will & Grace”). Julia recently began the process of adopting a child with her husband of many years, but her focus is torn when she has the opportunity to write another Broadway hit. A rivalry soon forms for the lead role between a youthful, inexperienced Midwestern beauty (Katharine McPhee, “American Idol”) — who is trying to find fame in the big city against all odds — and stage veteran (Megan Hilty, “9 to 5: The Musical”), who’s determined to leave the chorus line and finally get her big break. A tenacious producer Eileen (Oscar winner, Anjelica Huston, “Prizzi’s Honor”) discovers the “Marilyn” project and jumps on board with a brilliant director (Jack Davenport, “Pirates of the Caribbean” films) — whose talent is matched by his cunning and egocentric amorality. The series stemmed from an idea of executive producer and multiple Emmy and Oscar winner Steven Spielberg (“ER,” “Schindler’s List”). The pilot was written by acclaimed playwright/screenwriter Theresa Rebeck (“Mauritius,” “NYPD Blue”). Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (Oscar-winning “Chicago,” “Hairspray”) and Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey (“United States Of Tara,” “The Borgias”) will also serve as executive producers. Original songs are written by Tony and Grammy Award winners Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (“Hairspray,” “Catch Me If You Can”), who also serve as executive producers. “Smash” is a production of Universal Media Studios in association with DreamWorks. The pilot was directed by Tony Award winner Michael Mayer (“Spring Awakening,” “American Idiot”).
‘GRIMM’ — “Grimm” is a new drama series inspired by the classic Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Remember the fairy tales your parents used to tell you before bedtime? Those weren’t stories — they were warnings. Nick Burkhardt (David Guintoli “Turn The Beat Around”) thought he prepared himself for the realities of working as a homicide detective until he started seeing things he couldn’t quite explain. When his ailing Aunt Marie (guest star Kate Burton, “Grey’s Anatomy”) arrives, Nick’s life turns upside down when she reveals they are descendants of an elite group of hunters, also known as “Grimms,” who fight to keep the balance of humanity safe from the supernatural creatures of the world. As Nick digs deeper into her past, he realizes that he will have to shoulder the responsibility of his ancestors — and contend with a larger-than-life mythology of the Brothers Grimm that is now all too real. Russell Hornsby (“Lincoln Heights”), Bitsie Tulloch (“Quarterlife”), Silas Weir Mitchell (“Prison Break”), Reggie Lee (“Persons Unknown”) and Sasha Roiz (“Caprica”) also star. “Grimm” is a production of Universal Media Studios and Hazy Mills Productions. Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner (“Hot In Cleveland”) serve as executive producers, Jim Kouf (“National Treasure,” “Angel”) and David Greenwalt (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel”) are the creators/executive producers and Marc Buckland (“My Name Is Earl”) is the director.
‘AWAKE’ — “Awake” is an intriguing drama about a detective (Jason Issacs, “Harry Potter,” “Brotherhood”) who finds he is leading an arduous double life that defies reality. When Detective Michael Britten (Issacs) regains consciousness following his family’s car accident, he is told that his wife Hannah (Laura Allen, “Terriers”) perished but that his teen son, Rex (Dylan Minnette, “Saving Grace”), has survived. As he tries to put the pieces of his life back together, he awakens again in a parallel reality in which his wife is very much alive — but his son Rex died in the accident. In order to keep both of his loved ones alive at one time, he begins living two dueling realities in parallel worlds, which churns up confusion — in one moment, Michael and his wife debate about having another child to replace their son, while in the other reality, he is attracted to his son’s tennis coach, Tara (Michaela McManus, “The Vampire Diaries”), to fill the void from the loss of his wife. Trying to regain some normalcy, Michael returns to police work and solves crimes in both worlds with the help of two different partners — Detective Isaiah “Bird” Freeman (Steve Harris, “The Practice”) and Detective Efrem Vega (Wilmer Valderrama, “That ’70s Show”). Also starring are Emmy Award winner Cherry Jones (“24”) and BD Wong (NBC’s “Law & Order:Special Victims Unit”) as therapists in each respective world. The series is produced by 20th Century Fox Television. Kyle Killen (“Lone Star”) and Howard Gordon (“24”) are executive producers. David Slade (“Twilight: Eclipse,” “30 Days of Night”) also serves as executive producer and directed the pilot written by Killen.
‘THE FIRM’ — Based on the blockbuster feature film and best-selling novel by world-renowned author John Grisham (“The Pelican Brief,” “The Client”), “The Firm” continues the story of attorney Mitchell McDeere and his family 10 years after the events of the film and novel. As a young associate, McDeere brought down the prestigious Memphis law firm of Bendini, Lambert & Locke, which operated as a front for the Chicago mob — and his life was never the same. After a difficult decade, which included a stay in the Federal Witness Protection program, Mitch and his family now emerge from isolation to reclaim their lives and their future — only to find that past dangers are still lurking and new threats are everywhere. “The Firm” is produced by Entertainment One in association with Sony Pictures Television and Paramount Pictures. The executive producers are Grisham, Lukas Reiter (“Law & Order,” “Boston Legal”), John Morayniss (“Haven,” “Hung”), Michael Rosenberg (“Hung,” “Skins”) and Noreen Halpern (“Rookie Blue,” “Hung”).
‘WHITNEY’ — A hilarious look at modern love, “Whitney” is a new multi-camera comedy series about Whitney (Whitney Cummings, “Chelsea Lately”) and Alex (Chris D’Elia, “Glory Daze”), a happily unmarried couple. Together for five years, the duo is in no rush to get hitched. However, after attending yet another one of their friends’ weddings, Whitney realizes that she and Alex are dangerously close to relationship boredom. Determined not to let that happen, Whitney consults her close circle of opinionated girlfriends — including Lily (Zoe Lister-Jones, “The Other Guys”) and Roxanne (Rhea Seehorn, “The Starter Wife”) — and then snaps into action. A few awkward sexy costumes and one botched seductive evening later, the couple ends up in the emergency room. Even so, Whitney and Alex realize that while their relationship might not be perfect on paper, they really do love each other — and that works for them. Also starring are Maulik Pancholy (NBC’s “30 Rock”) as Lily’s perfect boyfriend, and Dan O’Brien (“How I Met Your Mother”) as an eternal bachelor. “Whitney” is produced by Universal Media Studios and Scott Stuber Productions. Stuber (“The Break Up”), Quan Phung, Betsy Thomas (“My Boys”) and Barry Katz (“Last Comic Standing”) are executive producers. Cummings also serves as executive producer/writer. Andy Ackerman (“Seinfeld,” “The New Adventures of Old Christine”) is an executive producer and directed the pilot.
‘UP ALL NIGHT’ — From Emily Spivey (NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” NBC’s “Saturday Night Live”) and legendary Emmy Award-winning producer Lorne Michaels, comes “Up All Night,” a modern take on Parenthood that shows the challenges of balancing a career, marriage and a new baby. Christina Applegate (“Samantha Who?”) stars as Reagan, a successful public relations executive, and Will Arnett (“Arrested Development”) plays Chris, Reagan’s supportive, stay-at-home husband. The two have just become parents – a surprise that has set their lives on a new path as responsible adults — for the most part. Maya Rudolph (“Saturday Night Live,” “Bridesmaids”) stars as Ava, Reagan’s outlandish boss and best friend, whose whirlwind social escapades serve as constant reminders of Reagan’s former carefree life. James Pumphrey (“High Road”) portrays Brian, Reagan’s socially awkward hipster assistant. “Up All Night” is a production of Universal Media Studios and Broadway Video. Spivey is the creator and serves as executive producer along with Michaels and Jon Pollack (NBC’s “30 Rock”).
‘FREE AGENTS’ – “Free Agents” is a crooked workplace/romantic new comedy from creator John Enbom (“Party Down”) and Emmy Award-winning director Todd Holland (“Malcolm in the Middle”) based on the cult U.K. series of the same name that explores the trials and tribulations of two public relations executives on the rebound. Alex (Hank Azaria, “The Simpsons,” “Huff”) is newly divorced and can barely keep himself together while his co-worker Helen (Kathryn Hahn, “Hung”) thinks she has it together but is obsessed with her deceased fiancé and actually is falling apart. Then a drunken Alex and Helen end up in bed together, and in the resulting sober confusion, Helen decides that they should only be friends. Meanwhile Alex’s co-workers, Dan (Mo Mandel, “Love Bites,” “Modern Family”) and Gregg (Al Madrigal, “Wizards of Waverly Place,” “Gary, Unmarried”), and Stephen (Anthony Head, “Merlin,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) fail in their attempts to help him get back out on the dating scene. When Alex finally agrees to a date, Helen gets a little jealous, and he gets cold feet, so they end up back where they started — in a casual, intimate and beautifully awkward relationship. Also starring is Joe Lo Truglio (“Backwash,” “Mad Love”) and Natasha Leggero (“Ugly Americans,” “’Til Death”). “Free Agents” is a production of Universal Media Studios in association with Dark Toy and Big Talk Productions. Enbom is executive producer/creator along with executive producer/director Holland. Karey Burke (“Miss/Guided”) executive-produces, along with Big Talk Productions’ Kenton Allen (“Free Agents,” BBC Network) and Nira Park, as well as Chris Niel.
‘ARE YOU THERE VODKA? IT’S ME, CHELSEA’ — Inspired by the best-selling book from comedienne/talk show host Chelsea Handler (“Chelsea Lately”), the new comedy “Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea,” follows the exploits of twentysomething bartender Chelsea (Laura Prepon, “That ’70s Show”) a strong-willed force of nature who is determined to live life to the fullest and make no apologies. Her friends are along for the ride but they all know it is Chelsea’s way or the highway. Mark (Jo Koy, “Chelsea Lately”) is a charming bartender whose wit makes him the perfect foil for Chelsea while Shoniqua (Angel Laketa Moore, “ER”) is a smart and sassy fellow waitress who looks out for Chelsea’s best interests. Close friend and fellow bartender Todd (Mark Povinelli, “Water for Elephants”) has a wry sense of humor that keeps her in check. Also starring are Natalie Morales (NBC’s “Parks and Recreation”) as Ivory, Chelsea’s feisty best friend; Lauren Lapkus (“The Middle”) as Dee Dee, Chelsea’s sheltered, shy roommate, and Lenny Clarke (“Rescue Me”) as Chelsea’s dad, Melvin. Handler has a recurring role as Chelsea’s sister Sloan, a happily married new mom who has little in common with her carefree sister. “Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea” is a production of Warner Bros. Television in association with Werner Entertainment and Borderline Amazing Productions. Dottie Dartland Zicklin (“Dharma & Greg”) and Julie Larson (“The Drew Carey Show”) are creators and executive producers. Handler serves as executive producer along with Tom Werner (“That ’70s Show”), Mike Clements (“The Life & Times of Tim”) and Tom Brunelle (“Chelsea Lately”).
‘BEST FRIENDS FOREVER’ — “Best Friends Forever” is a single-camera comedy that takes a look at what happens when best friends promise to support each other — no matter what the cost or circumstances. When Jessica’s (Jessica St. Clair, “In the Motherhood”) husband files for divorce, she immediately seeks comfort and flies across the country to move back in with her best friend, Lennon (Lennon Parham, “Accidentally on Purpose”). Unfortunately, Lennon’s boyfriend, Joe (Adam Pally, “Happy Endings”), has just moved into the apartment and has turned Jessica’s old room into his perfect home office. As Lennon and Jessica fall into their old routines — beloved traditions, Steel Magnolia marathons and epic girl-talk sessions — Joe begins to feel as if he’s the odd man out. While Lennon struggles to find balance between her previous life with Jessica and her new life with Joe, Jessica’s reentry to single life is complicated by the unresolved feelings that an old friend, Rav (Stephen Schneider, “The Funniest Movie Ever…Just Kidding”), has for her and the fact that pleated khakis aren’t the most flattering single girl look. “Best Friends Forever” is produced by Universal Media Studios and American Work. St. Clair, Parham, Scot Armstrong (“Old School,” “The Hangover Part II”) and Ravi Nandan (“Off Duty”) are the executive producers. Fred Savage (“Party Down”) directed the pilot.
‘BENT‘ — “Bent” is a new romantic comedy about two people who suddenly find themselves attracted to the qualities that typically repel them. On the surface, Alex (Amanda Peet, “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip”) and Pete (David Walton, “Perfect Couples”) could not be more different. The recently divorced Alex is a resilient and tough lawyer who now is raising her eight-year-old daughter, Charlie (Joey King, “Ramona and Beezus”), as a single mom. Unwilling to let anything get in her way, she downsizes into a smaller house, and she hires Pete, a recovering gambling addict and unapologetic womanizer, as the contractor to re-do her kitchen. The remodeling job is Pete’s last chance to prove that he is no longer a screw-up — but he doesn’t know what’s about to hit him when he encounters the force of nature that is Alex — nor does she realize that she’s met her match in Pete, a man unafraid to call out her flaws. Jeffrey Tambor (“Arrested Development”) also stars as Pete’s father, Walt, an out-of-work actor, while Margo Harshman (“Sorority Row”) stars as Alex’s wild younger sister Screwsie. This romantic comedy from writer and executive producer Tad Quill (“Scrubs,” “Spin City”) and director Craig Zisk (“Nurse Jackie,” “Weeds”) will prove that these resilient characters are “bent, not broken.” The series is produced by Universal Media Studios.
As you’ve probably already heard by now, Steve Carell is leaving Dunder Mifflin this season (in three episodes to be exact) to focus on his film career. While we’ll certainly miss the world’s best boss, we’ve felt for some time now that as much as we’ll always have a special place in our heart for The Office, it’s not the same show it was just a few seasons ago when it was appointment television and it really could use a breath of fresh air. That’s why it delights us to no end that Will Ferrell will be temping at the Scranton branch from the home office beginning tonight for four episodes.
Now, folks, please don’t be confused and don’t believe the rumors. Ferrell is not replacing Carell on The Office (he was just kidding when he claimed that he was two weeks ago, EW), he is merely guest starring for four episodes and will be the interim branch manager when Carell departs for good on the third episode of the stint. So basically, you get one episode of a solo Will Ferrell (whose character’s name is D’Angelo Vickers… and no, we’re not making that up, but that is so Will Ferrell) and three episodes with him and Carell (not a bad deal at all). This is nothing more than a concerted effort to bring some excitement to the show and eyeballs on it in the home stretch, but yes, we do recognize the magnitude of awesomeness that we would have if Ferrell was going to be a permanent cast member.
And Ferrell’s not the only big name who will be making the rounds at D.M. Over the rest of the season expect to see an appearance by perpetual atheist Ricky Gervais, who, of course co-created the British predecessor of The Office and stars as the Michael Scott character (David Brent) on the U.K. version. Also appearing will be the perpetually unemployed Will Arnett (Running Wilde, Arrested Development), the perpetually whining and nasally funny-man Ray Romano (Men of a Certain Age, Everybody Loves Raymond, which is still my grandmother’s favorite show), the perpetually chicken-necked James Spader (Boston Legal… crap… what else has he done in the last two decades? Oh, that’s right: Stargate. Yeah, that’ll work), and the perpetually unrecognized, Catherine Tate (Dr. Who). OK, we have to be honest on this one: other than her role as Donna for one season plus one episode on the incredibly awesome BBC hit, Doctor Who, we have no idea why she’s considered a guest “star.” Sheesh… for Pete’s sake her iMDB listing doesn’t even have a photo of her, we had to look this one up! Quite frankly, though, and let this serve as a public service announcement for anyone outside the U.S. who wants to be famous here, if you’re only mildly famous in the U.K. then we really won’t be considering you a star on this side of the pond, as it were, until you make a sex tape and it gets “stolen” and “released without your permission.” This is America, and that’s how we roll with our celebrities. Sorry about that, and yes, as a society, we are that stupid. But as an aside (and perhaps referring back to the previous comment about the tape?), we must say, this British gal certainly has a balcony you can perform Shakespeare off of, so that’s got to be worth tuning in for, right? Yes, we know we’re reaching… and we know that we’re being piggish.
Anywho, despite our parodying of the guest stars, we really think that Carell leaving and these guests coming in at the end of this season is probably the best thing that could have happened for the show, because frankly we could have cared less if it had been canceled or not at the end of the season. The show needed a shakeup and not having Michael Scott as the central character will change the entire atmosphere of it entirely. Fortunately, these stars will be there to soften the blow and ease us through the transition of what was The Office to what will be The Office. Now, we’re actually excited about the rest of this season and what’s to come for next season. It’s a whole new office.
Welcome to part four of the mid-season 2010 – 2011 review. In this post we’ll be discussing Thursday’s programming.
Well, it certainly is $#’!-ty. After watching one episode of $#’! My Dad Says we determined that not only is the worst show of the new season, the worst sitcom we’ve ever seen but perhaps even the worst show in television history. Just to show that we were fair and objective, we endured three more episodes of this awfulness… our opinion has not changed.
It’s currently a bubble show right now which makes us lose all faith in humanity that anyone is watching it but CBS did cut short the episodes it ordered for the Spring so hopefully this will go away by May.
If you haven’t read our review of $#’! My Dad Says we highly recommend it as we consider it more of a community service than a review… like an intervention for people addicted to bad TV. Read it here.
Community is still one of the better sitcoms on television (there are only a handful) and currently it’s a toss-up between whether or not NBC will renew it for a third season. In our estimation, it should be renewed if for only the reason that it’s been relatively consistent on Thursday nights and there’s nothing on the sitcom horizon for NBC in the near future. We hope so. It’s the type of show you can turn on and just laugh at because of its ridiculousness. It’s one of our two Thursday Night guilty-pleasure. The second one is, of course…
We love Nikita and we really shouldn’t because it’s a mediocre bordering on terrible show. But it’s over-the-top campy goodness is something that keeps us coming back for more every week. The premise is beyond ridiculous and the performances are almost silly but there’s so much “pew, pew, pew” that we can’t stay away from it.
There’s another reason why we have a soft spot for this puppy and it’s not because Maggie Q (Live Free or Die Hard) looks incredibly hot in a bikini. It’s because we heart The CW. A show like this could never survive on major prime-time network but The CW and it hearkens back to the late 90’s with UPN when they would take chances on shows like The Sentinel, Nowhere Man and our personal favorite 7 Days.
These shows, like the shows on The CW can thrive on very small audience numbers compared to the other major networks. There is no chance that camp like Nikita could ever survive anywhere but The CW and for that we are thankful for The CW. There is only ONE show that will not be renewed (that isn’t in its planned final season) on The CW next year (Life Unexpected). That’s just awesome.
Well, we’ve been concerned about this for a longtime but it’s official: The Office just isn’t as funny as it used to be and it has run out of steam. It’s still enjoyable but it’s not nearly as funny as it used to be. It’s really jumped the shark as evidenced by the fact they are resorting to revolving around another sitcom (the Glee viewing party episode). C’mon, now.
We’re still watching because it certainly has its moments, and actually, the aforementioned Glee episode was pretty funny although we cringe at the concept in principle. That being said, no one has anything to be concerned about because it’s certain to be renewed for next Fall.
Outsourced is one of the most disappointing shows this season but it’s not because it’s a bad show. It’s cute and it’s clever but it’s a sitcom trying to be funny and it’s really not. We pointed out in our review that the problem is that the novelty of the culture clashes and funny accents only works for about ten minutes, yet Outsourced is an entire series that revolves around those gimmicks.
A couple of months ago we saw the 2006 film of the same name and we realized that there’s a reason why the film doesn’t translate to a sitcom: the film wasn’t a comedy to begin with. Yes, there was humor to it but he film was really a character driven story about how despite different cultures may be, we’re really not all that different after all. Sitcoms don’t work with the touchy-feely any more like they did in the 1980’s where there were a bunch corny jokes and Alex P. Keaton and Vanessa Huxtable learned a valuable lesson at the end of every episode. Audiences today want their sitcoms to have the most laughs possible during the course of 21 minutes and that’s really what it’s about it. Whatever lessons are to be learned are secondary. Outsourced the series, like the film, is focusing more on the valuable lessons with the comedy as an afterthought.
If we’re going to watch a sitcom, we want it to be funny. Outsourced unfortunately is not. It’s currently leaning toward “the-more-likely-to-be-renewed-than-not” category but we doubt audiences are going to continue to tolerate it until May.
Next, we take a look at Friday’s programming.
Part Four of the Seven Six Part Series (This has been edited because I realized that there’s nothing on Saturdays but College Football, COPS and America’s Most Wanted. Do you really need a review of those?)
ABC: My Generation (September 23, 2010 – NEW SERIES!)
What a difference ten years can make. In 2000, a documentary crew follows a disparate group of high schoolers from Greenbelt High School in Austin, TX as they prepare for graduation, then revisits these former classmates ten years later as they return home to rediscover that just because they’re not where they planned doesn’t mean they’re not right where they need to be.
These students couldn’t wait to graduate and head out into the real world. But the world they were entering got very real very fast. As these classmates return home to revisit their old hopes for their future, they’ll discover that, even if you don’t get exactly what you thought you wanted out of life, it’s not too late to get what you need. – ABC
Shawn: OK, ABC, that’s enough already with the pseudo-documentaries. It’s becoming as overused as 3-D is for feature films and like 3-D it’s just a cheap gimmick to try to convince people that your crap show really isn’t a crap show. Do you think audiences aren’t going to notice that this show is no different from any other show about 20-somethings from different walks of life who all have something in common that brings them together? This entire premise alone is going to piss off your target demographic for that hour (namely me) because it points out how old I am at 35 compared to these knuckleheads. Don’t need that, sorry. Despite the fact that the show makes me feel old, let’s be honest, it just looks dopey.
CBS: $#’! My Dad Says – (September 23, 2010 – NEW SERIES!)
$#*! MY DAD SAYS (pronounced “Bleep My Dad Says”), based on the popular Twitter feed by Justin Halpern, stars Emmy Award winner William Shatner as Ed Goodson, a forthright and opinionated dad who relishes expressing his unsolicited and often wildly politically incorrect observations to anyone within earshot. Nobody is safe from Ed’s rants, including his sons, Henry, a struggling writer-turned-unpaid blogger; and Vince, the meek half of a husband/wife real estate duo with domineering Bonnie. When Henry finds he can no longer afford to pay rent, Ed reveals a soft spot and invites Henry to move in with him. Henry agrees, knowing that the verbal assault will not abate and now there will be no escape. Describing their father/son relationship is tricky, but Ed will easily come up with a few choice words. – CBS
This is by far the most unfortunate post I have to write. You see, I’ve been a big fan of Justin Halpern’s Twitter Page “Shit My Dad Says” for well over a year now and of course, I’m a huge fan of all things The Shat is involved with but I’m sorry to say that this is going to suck. Not only is it EVERYTHING that I absolutely hate about sitcoms with the recycled and clichéd jokes, characters and plots it’s 180 degrees backwards of the whole premise of “Shit My Dad Says!” Just watch the trailer below to see what I’m talking about but first read this from Amazon in which Halpern explains the premise of the book bearing the same title:
‘At 28 years old, I found myself living at home, with my 73-year-old father. As a child, my father never minced words, and when I screwed up, he had a way of cutting right through the bullshit and pointing out exactly why I was being an idiot. When I moved back in I was still, for the most part, an idiot. But this time, I was smart enough to write down all the things he said to me.’
Now please explain to me how a wise-cracking jerk of a father, who’s apparently pretty senile and his sensitive and always correct progeny bear any resemblance to the description you just read FROM THE GUY WHO INVENTED THE THING?!
The answer is simply that they don’t resemble each other whatsoever but Halpern isn’t stupid. He must know that this is garbage and that his new-found fame from this silly little twitter account will be over in about 15 minutes and he’s cashing in while he can and you know what? I don’t blame him whatsoever. If a bunch of no-talent hacks like the cast of Jersey Shore or The Hills or Keeping up With the Kardashians can get paid, why not a guy who has actually made millions of people laugh? But please, be honest and don’t kid yourself into thinking that this is going to be anything but the highest level of suckitude©. Believe me, I sincerely hope I’m wrong about this, but I know I’m not.
AND WHY THE HELL IS HALF THE CAST OF MADtv IN THIS???
NBC: Community – (September 23, 2010)
Shawn: I have to admit, I’m a convert to Community. When it debuted in 2009, I had high hopes for it because it looked clever and starred E’s Joel McHale (The Soup) and he’s always clever and funny. It took me three episodes to be very disappointed. Then, around Christmas-time (I think), I was in the garage working on a project and NBC was running a back-to-back marathon of the sitcom and I completely changed my mind. Community improved dramatically and is very funny. I definitely recommend Community.
Watch full episodes of Community, here.
… And check out this great sneak preview, here.
The CW: Nikita (September 9, 2010 – NEW SERIES)
When she was a deeply troubled teenager, Nikita (Maggie Q, “Live Free or Die Hard,” “Mission Impossible 3”) was rescued from death row by a secret U.S. agency known only as Division, who faked her execution and told her she was being given a second chance to start a new life and serve her country. What they didn’t tell her was that she was being trained as a spy and assassin. Throughout her grueling training at Division, Nikita never lost her humanity, even falling in love with a civilian. When her fiancé was murdered, Nikita realized she had been betrayed and her dreams shattered by the only people she thought she could trust, so she did what no one else before her had been able to do: she escaped. Now, after three years in hiding, Nikita is seeking retribution and making it clear to her former bosses that she will stop at nothing to expose and destroy their covert operation. – The CW
Shawn: I’ve already done a full review of Nikita, see it here. Good but not great.
Watch full episodes of Nikita, here.
FOX: Fringe (September 23, 2010)
Shawn: Fringe is one of my favorite shows on TV currently. If you haven’t watched it before it’s like The X-Files on steroids with a J.J. Abrams spin. The stories are great, the characters are well-developed and it’s grown into a wonderful and fascinating story arc. For those of you who are new to the series, don’t bother starting in, now. You’re going to have to go to Netflix and add the first two seasons to your queue, or you’ll be completely lost, but it’s certainly worth saving the new episodes on the divver recordification device for when you’re done watching the old episodes.
Watch full episodes of Fringe, here.
NBC: The Office (September 23, 2010)
Shawn: Every time that I think The Office has run out of steam, it does something that keeps me coming back for more. Looking forward to yet another year at Dunder Mifflin.
Watch full episodes of The Office, here.
NBC: Outsourced (September 23, 2010)
“Outsourced” is NBC’s new workplace comedy series centered around a catalog-based company, Mid America Novelties, that sells American novelty goods including whoopee cushions, foam fingers and wallets made of bacon, and whose call center has suddenly been outsourced to India.
After recently completing Mid America Novelties’ manager training program, Todd Dempsy (Ben Rappaport, off-Broadway’s “The Gingerbread House”) learns that the call center is being outsourced to India, and he is asked to move there to be the manager. Having never ventured out of the country, he is unprepared for the culture shock. Overwhelmed, Todd discovers that his new staff needs a crash course in all things American if they are to understand the U.S. product line and ramp up sales from halfway around the world.
The sales team Todd inherits includes Gupta (Parvesh Cheena, “Help Me Help You”), a socially awkward employee; Manmeet (Sacha Dhawan, BBC’s “Five Days II”), a young romantic who is enamored with America; Asha (Rebecca Hazlewood, BBC’s “Doctors”), a smart, striking woman who finds herself intrigued by Todd; Rajiv (Rizwan Manji, “Privileged”) the assistant manager who wants Todd’s job; and Madhuri (Anisha Nagarajan, Broadway’s “Bombay Dreams”), a wallflower who suffers from extreme shyness.
Todd also discovers other transplants working in his office building, including an American expatriate, Charlie Davies (Diedrich Bader, “The Drew Carey Show”), who runs the All-American Hunter call center, and Tonya (Pippa Black, “Neighbours”), a beautiful Australian who runs the call center for Koala Air. – NBC
Shawn: I don’t know what appeals to me more, the politically incorrect tone of this series or the fact that it looks absolutely hilarious. I also like the premise that they telemarket novelties like rubber vomit and whoopee cushions. Looking forward to this, I hope the show can live up to the hype in the trailer.
Welcome to the TV-Tastic First Annual Fall TV Preview. This is the first of what we hope to be many television season previews. In January we’ll be doing a Mid-Season Replacement Preview and in Summer 2011, we’ll be doing a preview of the cable offerings and random shows that FOX just throws out there June through August to fill up airtime that no one seems to care about (see: The Good Guys). This is a seven part series and today we are covering Monday night television.
We will not be including a preview of every single show that’s in the Fall lineup. We’re only previewing the stuff we care about and of course the new offerings on network and cable. Our rating scale for this will be based on whether we think you should waste your time with it or not and we’ll tell you why. No numbers on this just, simple recommendations like “you have to see this” or “pass on this” or “I think I just puked in my mouth a little bit.” Vic’s been very busy so I’m going solo on this for right now but he will be adding his two-cents later and I’ll update the blog and the subscribers accordingly.
So, without further ado, let the games begin, and by the way, this is one of the best Fall Lineups in years and it mostly is because of NBC (which is a phrase I never thought I would utter).
FOX: House – September 20, 2010
Shawn: I love House, it’s a “can’t-miss.” You know it and I know it. How many shows can they change the night and timeslot every two weeks and it’s still be successful? There is one reason and one reason only to watch House, and that’s House, himself. I hate medical dramas as they’re all the same tripe. House could be a show set on submarine or in a cannery (or a nunnery) and it would still be great.
NBC: Chuck – September 20, 2010
Shawn: I unfortunately missed all of season 2 and 3 because of scheduling issues but I love this show and I’m glad it got a fourth season. It’s just a fun show that’s got something for everyone. Humor, action, romance and of course, Adam Baldwin. I dare say, what more do you need? I’ll be catching up with Seasons 2 & 3 and saving season 4 for later.
FOX: Lone Star – September 20, 2010 (NEW SERIES!)
Shawn: I’ve already seen the pilot and it is definitely worth watching. See my full review with trailer here. Upon further review my biggest concern for it is it is in the same time-slot as this:
NBC: The Event – September 20, 2010 (NEW SERIES!)
The Event is an emotional, high-octane conspiracy thriller that follows Sean Walker (Jason Ritter, “The Class”), an everyman who investigates the mysterious disappearance of his would-be fiancée Leila (Sarah Roemer, “Disturbia”), and unwittingly begins to expose the biggest cover-up in U.S. history.
Sean’s quest will send ripples through the lives of an eclectic band of strangers, including newly elected U.S. President Elias Martinez (Golden Globe nominee Blair Underwood, “In Treatment”); Sophia Maguire (Emmy Award nominee Laura Innes, “ER”), who is the leader of a mysterious group of detainees; and Leila’s shadowy father (Scott Patterson, “Gilmore Girls”). Their futures are on a collision course in a global conspiracy that could ultimately change the fate of mankind. – NBC
Shawn: This is by far the most anticipated show of the new year and for good reason. It’s a spy/action/political thriller à la 24 shown from multiple perspectives with a Lost-type/FlashForward-type mystery to it. The cast is amazing and the effects look killer. This is one of those moral imperative shows. You must watch this. I’d comment more on it but the trailer confused the crap out of me and I still haven’t processed all of it.
CBS: Mike & Molly – September 20, 2010 (NEW SERIES!)
A couple finds love at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting in this multicamera comedy from Chuck Lorre, the force behind Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory.
Shawn: Did Kevin James get taller, fatter and less articulate? As a rule, I’m skeptical of sitcoms to begin with because for the most part they are unoriginal and they all recycle the same stupid jokes decade after decade. Even the more original and funny comedies like The Office eventually wind up being copied (see: Parks & Recreation) and eventually run out of steam… waitaminute… The Office was a copy as well. Anyway, the point being is that Mike & Molly is the reason that I hate sitcoms. This is just embarrassing. Seriously who does this simple-minded crap appeal to? What I find humorous is that they brag how this show is from the producers of Two and a Half Men. Hey… newsflash: despite how many people watch it, Two and a Half Men is complete crap as well. I would definitely pass on this.
CBS: Hawaii Five-O – September 20, 2010 (NEW SERIES!)
When Steve McGarrett’s father is murdered, he decided to return home to Oahu in order to catch the killer. The governor offers him the opportunity to run a new task force where he is able to call the shots. Detective Steve McGarrett brings together his own team, beginning with Chin Ho Kelly; an ex-Honolulu Police Detective and former protégé of McGarrett’s father. Kelly has been assigned to a federal security patrol after being suspected of corruption. Detective Danny “Danno” Williams is a New Jersey cop who recently moved to the island and is raising his 8-year-old daughter. Kono Kalakaua is Kelly’s cousin and a rookie officer, fresh from the academy. McGarrett’s team is giving full backing from the governor and plays only by their own rules. – CBS
Shawn: Way to go CBS for making this show sound like every other dry, formulaic cop show. Thank God for trailers, eh? I have to say, I was just going to recommend the pilot and only the pilot simply for the sake of novelty (and the great cast). Watch it, know it’s probably going to be crap-tastic and forget about it. Then I saw the trailer below. This isn’t Hawaii Five-O, this is friggin’ Alias in Hawaii with cops and it looks great! Back to that great cast, you’ve got Alex O’Loughlin (The Shield) as McGarrett, Scott Caan (Boiler Room and the Ocean’s Eleven films) as “Danno,” Daniel Dae Kim (Lost, 24) and the smoking hot Grace Park (Battlestar Galactica) as Kono Kalakaua. This one of the best casts of any show this season and I’m really glad to see Kim in a more prominent lead-role where he actually speaks his native language for a change… which of course is Eastern Pennsylvania English. Heck, he didn’t even have to move for this show considering his last gig was on Lost for six seasons which is was of course, also filmed in Hawaii. And, by the way, I am well aware that for a cop show the amount of action looks ridiculous. That’s part of the reason why it appeals to me so much. I mean, crap, if you’re going to go camp, go all the way… and we’d better see Wo Fat, too or I’m writing a letter. This is another definite must-watch show.
NBC: Chase – September 20, 2010 (NEW SERIES!)
From Emmy Award-winning executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer (“CSI” franchise, “The Amazing Race,” “Pirates of the Caribbean”) and executive producer Jennifer Johnson (“Cold Case,” “Reunion,” “Lost”), “Chase” is a lightning-fast drama that drops viewers smack into the middle of a game of cat-and-mouse as a team of U.S. Marshals hunts down America’s most dangerous fugitives.
Kelli Giddish (“Past Life”) stars as U.S. Marshal Annie Frost, a cowboy boot-wearing deputy whose sharp mind and unique Texas upbringing help her track down violent criminals on the run. Starring as the members of Frost’s elite team are Cole Hauser (“K-Ville”) as Jimmy Godfrey, an East Texas kid who never grew up and is a true American cowboy; Amaury Nolasco (“Prison Break”) who plays Marco Martinez, a good intelligence guy who loves to talk; and Rose Rollins (“The L Word”), who portrays Daisy Ogbaa, a weapons/tactical specialist and a woman of few words. Rounding out the cast is Jesse Metcalfe (“Desperate Housewives”), who stars as Luke Watson, the fresh-faced newcomer whose Washington, D.C. upbringing did little to prepare him for the Lone Star State. – NBC
Shawn: Although, seemingly formulaic and reeking suspiciously of U.S. Marshals (I was waiting for Tommy Lee Jones to pop out and start barking orders about finding Richard Kimball in the trailer), the high-energy and the strong cast of Chase makes it certainly worthy of consideration. I’m not jumping out of my pants about it yet but it is a Jerry Bruckheimer production and that definitely makes it worth watching for at least the first three or four episodes. “Cautiously optimistic” is the best way to describe my enthusiasm for Chase.