VIC’S REVIEW: ‘Grimm’ – Season One (NBC – Friday, 9:00 p.m.)

“Grimm” is a drama series inspired by the classic Grimm Brothers’ Fairy Tales. After Portland Homicide Detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli, “Turn the Beat Around”) discovers he’s descended from an elite line of criminal profilers known as “Grimms,” he increasingly finds his responsibilities as a detective at odds with his new responsibilities as a “Grimm.”

His attempts to shield his fiancée, Juliette Silverton (Bitsie Tulloch, “The Artist”), and his partner, Hank Griffin (Russell Hornsby, “Lincoln Heights”), from the hazards of his new life have reached a crisis, leaving Juliette in a mysterious coma and Hank on the verge of a mental breakdown.

With help from his confidants, Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) and Rosalee (Bree Turner, “The Ugly Truth”) – both reformed Grimm creatures, Nick must help those closest to him while still facing off against all manner of ancient evils, including royal lines dating back to the original profilers themselves, the Grimm Brothers. As Nick develops his ability to harness his inner Grimm, he begins to question what he once knew, never more so than when he is reunited with his mother (guest star Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, “Scarface”), also a Grimm, whom he thought dead for the past 20 years. Reggie Lee (“The Dark Knight Rises”) and Sasha Roiz (“Caprica”) also star as Sgt. Wu and Captain Renard, respectively. – NBC

8o out of 100

I just finished Grimm season one and have just moved on to season two as I write this quick review. Grimm plain and simple has a lot of potential. It is, what I like to call, a “diamond in the rough” type of show. It is earnest, slick and full of wit and suspense. I have to give credit to writers David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf (Rush HourNational Treasure) for giving me enough at each show’s end to want to come back and immerse myself in the engaging mythology of  Grimm‘s universe. It revels in weirdness and it serves up no small feat each week in trying to keep us interested in the otherworldly adventures of Nick Burkhardt. Nick is a Grimm, one of those fortunate humans that descended from the  Brothers Grimm, and you know all those fairy tales his ancestors wrote… yeah, well it turns out they weren’t fairy tales after all, and our hero has inherited the family gift of being able to see what normal folks cannot; all sorts of funky, ugly and nasty creatures that to the rest of us look like normal people… and they’re all inhabiting his universe, specifically, Portland, Oregon.

I’m reminded of Smalllville and The X-Files where with its “monster-of-the-week” formula. Much like every mutant in Smallville was a kryptonite-enhanced super being, in Grimm‘s case, every beastie comes forward from being either very dangerous and committing murder or living on the edge of society. These monsters that Nick sees are not some Disney animated, little bunnies feeding on sunflowers. These monsters are killers. They are rogues and dealers in bad medicine, creatures hell-bent on slavery, ancient forms of battle and getting high on mythological herbs and drugs.

The show sports a great and likeable cast. In the pilot Kate Burton (Big Trouble in Little China) plays Nick’s Aunt who tracks him down and gives him a trailer full of Grimm monster hunting paraphernalia. She is really fun to watch and as she finds out her time has come her portrayal takes an abrupt turn and she capably emotes. The smooth and slick Russell Hornsby (Meet the ParentsStuck) plays Nick’s partner on the force, Hank. They have a very likable and solid chemistry. Hornsby is by the book but also likes to watch Nick closely just to see what makes him tick. They play well off each other. Hank, unfortunately is the friend that is left in the dark at the end of every episode, which is an aspect of the series I really do like, as it’s part of its charm. We like watching Hank be totally clueless as to what Nick really is. Now, my favorite is Morgan, played by Silas Wier Mitchell (My Name is Earl).  He is hands down the best thing about the make up of this show.

Monroe is a werewolf or rather a “blutbad.” He quickly becomes (not so easily, though) Nick’s go-to guy to help him with other creatures he sees and must bring to justice like hexenbeasts, fuchbaus’s, damonfeuers (dragons) and my favorite,  “The Reapers.” Mitchell is spot-on as Monroe. He is the reluctant assistant to Nick most of the time. He has to help Nick at odd times of the day and usually it leaves Monroe, in some way or another, rather put-out. Mitchell seems to be having a blast in the role. He’s tongue in cheek, funny, bufoonish and when needs to be he goes all out Blutbad and kicks some ass.

There is a mythology to the series that is spellbinding and very suspenseful involving royal houses, reapers and creatures lurking and posing as public officials like Sasha Roiz (Caprica) as Captain Renard who is stalwart in the role as a duplicitous creature of lore. I find that the show is easy to digest. It is harmless creature feature fun. The pace is good, the camerawork is flawless. Cort Fey shoots naturally and very gothically as well and it helps the show maintain its authenticity. Richard Marvin’s score is chilling and quite suspenseful. The opening strings in the intro are creepy as hell.

The show just continued to gain momentum and get better and better with each episode. I found the action to be well staged and exciting. Nick vs. the Reapers being a standout. Monroe is always fun to watch and I must give some love to Reggie Lee who steals EVERY scene he’s in as Sgt. Wu. He even gets caught up in a case or two eventually succumbing to a witch’s spell. Bitsie Tulloch as Juliette is a stunning beauty who towards the end of the season gets in over her head during a personal vendetta against Nick. She is very regal and caring. She acts with her eyes. She also, more importantly, is observant and very curious. The cliffhanger of season one has Juliette in a sleeping beauty type of slumber.

My only gripe, you ask? The CGI needs to step up a bit. It’s clunky more often than not. The transformation scenes are quick and brief but we still can see how hokey looking the beasts can be. Other times, like the Reaper battle, we get good solid CGI. I’m nit-picking thought. Check out Grimm Season One as soon as you can or pick up the DVD or Blu-ray. I think you’ll enjoy this foray into an entertaining and mythical universe. I know I do.

You can watch new episodes of Grimm, here.  New episodes begin on September 28th.

TVLine: NBC Renews Grimm For A Second Season

In news that is no surprise to anyone, NBC has renewed their Friday hit supernatural/police procedural, Grimm for a second season according to TVLine.  We love Grimm and it’s been one of the few bright spots this season for the struggling network so we’re definitely looking forward to season two.

REVIEW: The River (ABC – Tuesday, 9:00 p.m.)

Dr. Emmet Cole is missing. 

The beloved host of The Undiscovered Country, which brought the wonder and magic of the natural world into our homes for so many years, has disappeared in the wilds of the Amazon. Gone for six months now—and believed by many to be dead—his emergency beacon went off two weeks ago. Now Dr. Cole’s wife and frequent co-host of The Undiscovered Country, Tess, has begun the search for her husband. With the help of her son, Lincoln, and crew members Lena Landry, Emilio Valenzuela and his daughter Jahel, and Captain Kurt Bryndilson, Tess is looking to be reunited with her husband and save the rest of his missing crew. 

Documenting the journey will be Dr. Cole’s long-time friend and collaborator on The Undiscovered Country, award-winning Producer Clark Quietly, and a team of renowned camera operators including AJ Poulain. 

But the search for Dr. Cole may provide more questions than answers. Where have he and the missing crew been? What mysteries of the uncharted Amazon did they capture on film? Can this family that was torn asunder six months ago be miraculously reunited? The world holds its breath as we wait to find out just what became of Dr. Emmet Cole and his crew. – ABC

83 out of 100

For almost two years fans of Lost have been looking for a replacement for the Island and its castaways and as we predicted, The River, despite not being a J.J. Abrams production, fits that bill nicely.  Now, does it matter that  Abrams has nothing to do with this project? Nope, because Steven Spielberg is the executive producer and if you haven’t noticed, when not working with him, Abrams has been imitating Spielberg for years. That’s not a criticism, it’s just a fact and despite the show’s flaws (and it has several), overall it’s so good that you intentionally overlook them.  It’s kind of like when your kid gets straight A’s in school and then floods the bathroom making water balloons.  The River is basically a great kid that will get a pass here and there for screwing up occasionally.

By no means is The River a clone of Lost, but it does share a lot of the same characteristics  as Lost that make it work and we aren’t necessarily even talking about the obvious ones such as the mysterious and supernatural nature of the tropical geography (The River is also filmed in Hawaii, just as Lost was) and the cast of characters from different backgrounds with competing agendas. More importantly for fans of this genre is how The River is based on mysteries on top of mysteries and weekly development of characters that ties into the overall story.

There is certainly no shortage of action on the show but it’s not overused, either, often deferring to dialogue and slow-burn intense scenes that explode with shocking excitement. One major issue that we have with the show, however, is the handheld “shaky camera” perspective and this is a direct result of the “found footage” format that the creator of this series, Oren Peli, best known for creating and directing Paranormal Activity and Paranormal Activity 2, is so fond of.  If they had simply chosen to go with more a fixed camera perspective like what was used during the majority of the scenes in the Paranormal Activity franchise, we wouldn’t be complaining. The problem, though, is that Peli has decided to go for a style of filming far closer to his first love, The Blair Witch Project, than Paranormal Activity.  It’s very dizzying and off-putting and though lately it doesn’t seem to be as bad, there’s still too much of it.

For the most part the characters are diverse, well-developed (and they are further developed every week) and are portrayed very well by the cast with a few notable exceptions.  The biggest problem is with Tess Cole (Emmett Cole’s wife) played by Leslie Hope.  The character is so weakly written as to be a complete caricature and Pope’s wooden performance leaves a lot to be desired.  Fans of 24 will remember Hope as the late Teri Bauer, Jack’s wife, who was killed in the final episode of the first season.  Due to the obnoxious nature of the Kim Bauer character in that first season and subsequent seasons (Jack’s daughter played by Elisha Cuthbert), the battlecry post-season one from the fans was, “The wrong Bauer died.” When appraising Pope’s performance on The River and trying to figure out whether its Hope’s performance for the material she’s been given, we had to remind ourselves just how bad she was on 24  and that it was simply overshadowed by how much worse Elisha Cuthbert was.  So, in trying to give Ms. Hope some credit, we have to conclude that we can’t give her that much at all because she’s just not that great of an actor, really.  Are there script problems with her character? Absolutely.  As noted the character is very weakly written but the bigger problem is with the performance.

As far as the plot is concerned, overall it’s very well-done but by the fourth episode we noticed some falling back on the standard, predictable one-hour drama standbys for plot execution.

In the fourth episode there is an issue where a newly introduced character, cameraman Jonas Beckett (Scott Michael Foster), has to be sacrificed by the group or everyone on the boat will be killed by the supernatural forces because Jonas, against orders from Emmett Cole, filmed some native funeral rites and inadvertently stole the then dying, now dead man’s soul.  The crew argues amongst themselves over the ethical and moral implications of sacrificing one man for the greater good and when Tess (who has appointed herself to the captaincy and is considered pretty soft by everyone around her) gets information out of him, finally (information for which she implied would save him), she orders the others to get him off the boat.  The conflict still continues amongst the crew after the order is given (most specifically with her son who is against dooming the man but offers no other solutions to the predicament).  Finally, the young man (who oddly enough before this moment was more concerned about self preservation than anything else) bravely sacrifices himself to the supernatural beings and on the way to them, smashes the iPhone that he filmed the funeral on, thus releasing the stolen soul.

Now, the first reason we decided to be so detailed with this synopsis without a spoiler alert is because it was so predictable that you would have to be an idiot not to see it coming to begin with because that scenario is such a standard recycled plot.  That’s just pure laziness for what is supposed to be an original, unique and high-concept series.  The  second reason is because it didn’t end there.  Y’see, after the soul was released and the supernatural beings take Jonas away, do you know what they do next? They let him go and he joins the crew.

Basically, the resolution of this clichéd plot made the episode a complete waste of time. Furthermore, it was such an easy-out for the main moral dilemma of the episode.  There were literally no consequences for anyone in this (not even Jonas) even though there were a series of ethical and moral lines that had to be crossed.  Leave a guy for dead (even though it’s necessary) and don’t worry about it because in the end everything worked out. It was just ridiculous and it seemed like a far more appropriate ending to a 1970’s ABC After School Special than it did for ABC’s 2012 Tuesday night supernatural thriller.  We sincerely hope they never do anything that stupid again.

Our last complaint about the show is the absolute lack of any comic relief.  Yeah, we get that it’s an intense show but a little levity now and then to lighten things up and take the stress off the audience would not only be a little easier on the audience but it would also make those intense scenes that much more intense because it forces the audience to let their guard down.

Overall, even though the show does need some work, it’s a great little series that continues to keep our interest and at only eight episodes for the first season, it’s an easy commitment to make for a general viewing audience in the U.S. that isn’t particularly keen on serials.

Watch compete episodes of The River, here.

SyFy: Popular Supernatural Canadian Series ‘Lost Girl’ Premiere Date Announced

Back in June it was announced that SyFy had acquired the rights for the popular Canadian supernatural drama, Lost Girl, and would be premiering it in 2012.  Monday, SyFy announced the premiere date for the highly anticipated series.

Via Press Release:

SEXY SUPERNATURAL DRAMA SERIES LOST GIRL WILL PREMIERE ON SYFY MONDAY, JANUARY 16 AT 10PM

NEW YORK – December 12, 2011 – Syfy will premiere the sexy supernatural drama series Lost Girl on Monday, January 16, at 10PM (ET/PT), immediately following the second season return of Being Human at 9PM.

Anna Silk (The Ghost Whisperer) stars as seductress Bo, a Succubus (a powerful female entity in folklore) who feeds off sexual energy. Raised by human parents, Bo had no reason to believe she was anything other than the girl next door – until she “drained” her first boyfriend to death.

In the premiere episode, Bo discovers she is one of the Fae, creatures of legend who pass as humans while secretly feeding off them. Faced with choosing between an allegiance to the Dark or Light Fae clans, Bo takes the middle path between the human and Fae worlds while embarking on a mission to unlock the secrets of her origin.

Lost Girl co-stars Kris Holden-Ried as Dyson, a homicide detective and Bo’s love interest; Ksenia Solo as Kenzi, Bo’s confidante; Zoie Palmer as Lauren, a doctor who competes for Bo’s heart; Rick Howland as Trick, the mysterious bartender at The Dal Riata Tavern, and K.C. Collins as Hale, Dyson’s partner on the force.

Notable guest stars include Emmanuelle Vaugier as “The Morrigan,” the leader of the Dark Fae.

This series is developed and produced by Prodigy Pictures, in association with Shaw Media and Showcase.

Syfy is a media destination for imagination-based entertainment. With year round acclaimed original series, events, blockbuster movies, classic science fiction and fantasy programming, a dynamic Web site (www.Syfy.com), and a portfolio of adjacent business (Syfy Ventures), Syfy is a passport to limitless possibilities. Originally launched in 1992 as SCI FI Channel, and currently in more than 99 million homes, Syfy is a network of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies. (Syfy. Imagine greater.)

About Prodigy Pictures

Founded in 2006 by Jay Firestone, Prodigy Pictures leads the way in the production of quality film, television and cross-platform media. Its credits include the critically acclaimed feature Stuck and the television series XIII, currently airing on Showcase in Canada and Canal Plus in France. Prodigy’s hit series, Lost Girl, has recently started production on its second season. The company has several feature film and television projects in development, including William Gibson’s Neuromancer, and Weapon, in partnership with Studio 37.

REVIEW: A Gifted Man (CBS – Friday, 8:00 p.m.)

A Gifted Man is a drama about a brilliant, charismatic surgeon whose life changes forever when his deceased ex-wife begins teaching him the meaning of life from the “hereafter.”  Michael Holt (Patrick Wilson) is an exceptional doctor who lives a materialistic life of luxury thanks to his work-obsessed career and powerful and wealthy patients; however, Michael’s ordered world is rocked when his ex-wife, Anna (Jennifer Ehle), an idealistic free-clinic doctor and the love of his life, mysteriously appears to him.  Michael’s off-beat sister, Christina (Julie Benz), a single mom to her teenaged son, Milo (Liam Aiken), is thrilled that Anna’s back in her brother’s life, even as an “illusion,” because Michael was always a better person with her.  Curious about Michael’s sudden change in behavior is his efficient assistant, Rita (Margo Martindale).  When Anna asks Michael to go to her clinic to help keep it running, he meets Autumn (Afton Williamson), a volunteer carrying on Anna’s work with the underprivileged.  Touched by those in need and accepting of Anna’s compassionate “presence,” Michael’s attitude toward serving the rich and poor is turned upside down, and he begins to see that there’s room in his life for everyone. – CBS

88 out of 100

It’s rare that a show lives up to the hype generated by its trailer so completely that a critic could simply watch a trailer to do a review of the show and be spot-on.  What’s even rarer is when a show is actually better than the trailer and the network undersells it.  That’s what’s going on with A Gifted Man.

As noted in our Fall preview, we knew A Gifted Man looked like a winner, we just had no idea how charming it would be in so many ways.

Now, if you take away the ghost-of-the-dead-ex-wife scenario, the premise doesn’t come off as particularly original.  Successful and arrogant doctor who once was full of passion and had a heart of gold has dramatic event -“X” happen in his life and makes him re-evaluate his life and go back to his roots and work to do nothing but help people regardless of the bottom line, yadda, yadda.  Most recently, Everwood comes to mind (shoot, the wife dying was the dramatic event in that, as well) and in a non-medical scenario, the crappy Harry’s Law and Eli Stone come to mind.  Sharing a similar theme but going back two decades we have Northern Exposure and of course the 1991 film, Doc Hollywood (which The CW just couldn’t resist when they greenlit Hart of Dixie).

But Anna Paul (the ghost) is what sets A Gifted Man apart from its predecessors.  One thing to note is that despite the trailer, Holt isn’t as nearly as much of a prick as you would think he would be.  He actually comes off as a sympathetic lost soul more than anything else and Anna is there to give him the push he needs in the right direction.  He’s a man who’s lost his way and his sense of purpose and of course that brings us to the basic premise of this morality play that would be best suited to star James Stewart: success, money and power are fleeting and what truly matters is what we do for others while we are here during this very short time we have.

That’s pretty powerful stuff for the prime time television and more surprising, this is a very spiritual and – dare we say it – religiously themed show.  Think about it.  The premise of the show is that there is indeed an afterlife and what we do with the time we have determines where we end in that afterlife.  There hasn’t been this kind of in-your-face non-secular dramatic program on television since Touched By an Angel.  Sure, there have been shows like Medium and Ghost Whisperer but they really don’t deal with the fundamental issues of our existence like A Gifted Man does at its heart.

It is simply impossible not to enjoy this show.  It’s a wonderful break from the downtrodden premise of dramatic television in general.  It’s uplifting and although it has its fair share of dramatic scenarios, you get the sense that no matter what happens, it was kind of meant to be.  The spirituality of the show brings about a great sense of peace.

The show has been brilliantly cast (this has been a recurring theme for most of the shows this Fall) with everyone from 2010 Emmy Winner Margo Martindale (Justified) to Dexter’s Julie Benz to fantastic character actor Pablo Schreiber (The Wire, Lights Out).

Finally, and back to the spirituality theme, the show leaves the audience with more questions than it does answers which is probably the biggest litmus test for good story-telling.  When the audience is introspective after an episode, the writers have done their job.

You may see mixed reviews from other critics about A Gifted Man.  Ignore them.  Any disdain for this show is just the cynicism of the reviewer creeping in and the media’s general vitriol that they direct toward anything that has a spiritual context.  A Gifted Man is a wonderful show for the whole family.

You can watch full episodes of A Gifted Man, here.

The CW Announces Fall 2011 Schedule Premiere Dates

The CW became the first of the Big 5 Networks to announce their Fall 2011 premiere schedule yesterday.  The schedule is so incredibly awful that we don’t really care about this at all but on the bright side, at least we get to get it out of the way early.  If you wondering why it’s so awful, please refer to this and, of course, the rest of their absolute dog-crap programming as indicated below.  There are two good shows on their entire schedule and one potentially good show.  Your job: guess which ones we think they are, and please note, if Gossip Girl even entered your mind, you’ve already failed… and apparently so have we.

TUESDAY, SEPT. 13

8:00-9:00 PM 90210 (Season Premiere)

9:00-10:00 PM Ringer (NEW SHOW!)

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 14

8:00-9:00 PM H8R (NEW SHOW!)

9:00-10:00 PM America’s Next Top Model (Season Premiere)

THURSDAY, SEPT. 15

8:00-9:00 PM The Vampire Dairies (Season Premiere)

9:00-10:00 PM The Secret Circle (NEW SHOW!)

FRIDAY, SEPT. 23

8:00-9:00 PM Nikita (Season Premiere)

9:00-10:00 PM Supernatural (Season Premiere)

MONDAY, SEPT. 26

8:00-9:00 PM Gossip Girl (Season Premiere)

9:00-10:00 PM Hart of Dixie (NEW SHOW!)

SyFy Acquires Canadian Supernatural Hit Lost Girl

On May 18th, SyFy announced that they were picking up both seasons (26 episodes) of the Canadian supernatural hit, Lost Girl for broadcast in the U.S.  We’re not familiar with this show however it seems rather interesting and at least it’s another new scripted drama added to SyFy’s very light new schedule for 2011 – 2012.  No word on a premiere date as of yet.

Via Press Release:

SYFY ACQUIRES SUPERNATURAL DRAMA SERIES LOST GIRL FROM PRODIGY PICTURES

NEW YORK – May 18, 2011 – Syfy has acquired both seasons (26 episodes) of the hit Canadian supernatural drama Lost Girl from Prodigy Pictures, it was announced today by Thomas Vitale, Executive Vice President, Programming and Original Movies, Syfy.

Lost Girl stars supernatural seductress Bo (played by Anna Silk/The Ghost Whisperer), a Succubus (a powerful female entity in folklore) who feeds off sexual energy. Raised by human parents, Bo had no reason to believe she was anything other than the girl next door — until she “drained” her first boyfriend to death.

Bo has since hit the road alone and afraid. She discovers she is one of the Fae, creatures of legend and folklore, who pass as humans while feeding off them in secret, as they have for millennia. She is faced with choosing an allegiance between the Dark or Light Fae clans. Bo decides to take the middle path between humans and the Fae while embarking on a personal mission to unlock the secrets of her origin, protecting humans along the way.

Lost Girl co-stars Kris Holden-Ried as Dyson, a shape-shifting Fae, homicide detective and Bo’s love interest; Ksenia Solo as Kenzi, Bo’s human confidante and street-smart survivor, Zoie Palmer as Lauren, a human doctor who competes for Bo’s heart; Rick Howland as Trick, the mysterious owner and bartender at The Dal Riata tavern, with a secretive past that is yet to be unlocked, and K.C. Collins as Hale, a handsome male “Siren” who is the eternal bachelor, ultimate wingman and Dyson’s partner on the force.

Notable guest stars include Emmanuelle Vaugier as “The Morrigan”, the leader of the Dark Fae.

Said Vitale: “In one year, Lost Girl has electrified viewers in Canada and around the world. We’re delighted to bring this fascinating, high-octane series, which depicts a unique world and memorable heroine, to the Syfyaudience.”

“We’re thrilled to have Syfy on board as our broadcast partner in the U.S. Lost Girl is a unique series that thrusts a strong, independent female lead into uncompromising circumstances. It’s a series that takes risks with unconventional storylines and provocative character development,” said Jay Firestone, Executive Producer.

This series is developed and produced by Prodigy Pictures, in association with Shaw Media and Showcase. This acquisition agreement was brokered by Tim Mudd of Mudd Media.

Syfy is a media destination for imagination-based entertainment. With year round acclaimed original series, events, blockbuster movies, classic science fiction and fantasy programming, a dynamic Web site (www.Syfy.com), and a portfolio of adjacent business (Syfy Ventures), Syfy is a passport to limitless possibilities. Originally launched in 1992 as SCI FI Channel, and currently in more than 99 million homes, Syfy is a network of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies. (Syfy. Imagine greater.)

About Prodigy Pictures
Founded in 2006 by Jay Firestone, Prodigy Pictures leads the way in the production of quality film, television and cross-platform media. Its credits include the critically acclaimed feature Stuck and the television series XIII, currently airing on Showcase in Canada and Canal Plus in France.  Prodigy’s hit series, Lost Girl, has recently started production on its second season. The company has several feature film and television projects in development, including William Gibson’s Neuromancer, and Weapon, in partnership with Studio 37.

Meet The CW’s New Shows For 2011 – 2012 (VIDEOS!)… And Watch How We Tear Them Apart (Preview – Review)

"The 'Tastic Says: You FAIL!"

As promised, The ‘Tastic is proud to present the first-look trailers for all of The CW’s new shows what little there are. Along with synopses and videos, in true TV-Tastic-style we’ll give you a preview assessment of each of the new series (in other words, we plan to pretty much rip most of them apart) letting you know what we think about them and if it’s worth your time to check them out this Fall and just to give everyone a heads up: Yuck.  This channel and everything about is awful (except for Nikita and Supernatural and the jury is obviously out on Ringer.).

Hart of Dixie: Fast-talking New Yorker and brand new doctor Zoe Hart has it all figured out – after graduating top of her class from medical school, she’ll follow in her father’s footsteps and become a cardio-thoracic surgeon.  But when her dreams fall apart, Zoe decides to accept an offer from a stranger, Dr. Harley Wilkes, to work with him at his small practice in Bluebell, Alabama.  Zoe arrives in this small Gulf Coast town only to find that Harley has passed away and left his half of the medical practice to her in his will.  She quickly finds that Southern hospitality isn’t always so hospitable – the other doctor in town, Brick Breeland, is less than pleased to be sharing the practice with this young outsider, and his daughter, Lemon, is a Southern belle whose sweet disposition turns sour when she meets Zoe.  Zoe’s only allies are the mayor, former football star Lavon Hayes, her bad-boy neighbor Wade Kinsella, and handsome lawyer George Tucker – who just happens to be Lemon’s fiancé.  Zoe is out of her element and ready to pack her bags, but a surprise visit by her snobby New York mother leads to Zoe’s decision to stay in Bluebell for a while, discovering small-town life and a side of herself she hadn’t known was there.

The ‘Tastic says: This is so awful we don’t know where to begin.  It is puke-in-your-mouth awful.  Let’s start with the obvious and that this is a less endearing recycling of the 1991 Michael J. Fox film, Doc Hollywood, however, we are so used to premises being recycled on television (and of course the typically clichéd “fish-out-of-water” premise), that this is the least of our problems.  Could this show be any more offensive with its stereotypes and mean spiritedness?  Seriously, this seems like a show that David E. Kelley would come up eith about the hip, young progressive doctor who goes down south to give them all a lesson in Northeast political sensibilities.  Seriously, what the holy f*ck is this?  And is there anyone that’s not heavily medicated that believes that Rachel Bilson is A.) a doctor and B.) a “fast talking New Yorker?”  Where’s the accent?  Oh, that’s right… she’s from L.A. and is a mediocre actor who can’t learn accents.  This is so bad that we decided to present both the preview clip and the trailer just so you can see how horrible it really is.


Ringer:  Sarah Michelle Gellar stars as a woman who, after witnessing a murder, goes on the run, hiding out by assuming the life of her wealthy identical twin sister – only to learn that her sister’s seemingly idyllic life is just as complicated and dangerous as the one she’s trying to leave behind.  Bridget is six months sober and starting to turn her life around when she is the sole witness to a professional hit.  Despite the assurances of her FBI protector, Agent Victor Machado, Bridget knows her life is on the line.  She flees to New York, telling no one, not even her Narcotics Anonymous sponsor, Malcolm.  In New York, Bridget reunites with her estranged twin, Siobhan.  Wealthy, pampered and married to the strikingly handsome Andrew Martin, Siobhan lives what appears to be a fairy tale life – a life where no one knows that Bridget exists.  The Sisters seem to be mending their frayed relationship, until Siobhan disappears mysteriously, and Bridget makes the split decision to take on her sister’s identity.  She discovers shocking secrets, not only about her sister and her marriage, but also about Siobhan’s best friend, Gemma, and Gemma’s husband, Henry.  And when someone tries to kill Bridget in her sister’s penthouse, she realizes she is no safer as Siobhan than she is as herself.

The ‘Tastic says:  It’s very difficult to tell if this series is going to be any good or not.  The trailers are very confusing but on paper, the show seems like it could be a very good thriller even it is convoluted.  There are several different sneak preview clips on YouTube for you to explore if you want to try to make heads or tails of what’s going on with this show.  Check them out, here. 

H8R:  Celebrities go head-to-head with civilians who hate them to win their “haters” over.  Hosted by Mario Lopez, H8R is from Horizon Alternative Television with executive producers Lisa Gregorisch-Dempsey (“Extra”), Jeremy Spiegel (“Extra”) and Mario Lopez.

The ‘Tastic says:  This series looks silly, but not awful.  We wouldn’t exactly call it appointment television, though.  Great show description, too, by the way.  There’s no YouTube video available for it but you can watch the trailers at The CW’s site, here.

The Secret Circle:  Cassie Blake was a happy, normal teenage girl – until her mother Amelia dies in what appears to be a tragic accidental fire.  Orphaned and deeply saddened, Cassie moves in with her warm and loving grandmother Jane in the beautiful small town of Chance Harbor, Washington – the town her mother left so many years before – where the residents seem to know more about Cassie than she does about herself.  As Cassie gets to know her high school classmates, including sweet-natured Diana and her handsome boyfriend Adam, brooding loner Nick, mean-girl Faye and her sidekick Melissa, strange and frightening things begin to happen.  When her new friends explain that they are all descended from powerful witches, and they’ve been waiting for Cassie to join them and complete a new generation of the Secret Circle, Cassie refuses to believe them – until Adam shows her how to unlock her incredible magical powers.  But it’s not until Cassie discovers a message from her mother in an old leather-bound book of spells hidden in her mother’s childhood bedroom, that she understands her true and dangerous destiny.  What Cassie and the others don’t yet know is that darker powers are at play, powers that might be linked to the adults in the town, including Diana’s father and Faye’s mother – and that Cassie’s mother’s death might not have been an accident.

The ‘Tastic says:  It’s very hard to be overly judgmental about crap like this, and make no mistake, it is crap, but it certainly appeals to a certain segment of the audience, the segment of the audience that the CW is targeting with all of their programming: young women in their teens and early twenties.  If you like The Vampire Diaries you’ll probably like this because it’s based on the books from the same author as that stupid series. We won’t as we prefer shows that are for adults. 

MIDSEASON

Re-Modeled:  Modeling industry veteran Paul Fisher is planning to bring together hundreds of small agencies around the world in a new venture called The Network.  The Network will give Paul the leverage to change the industry from the inside out.  He has two missions: to make sure agents in small towns no longer get screwed, and to empower models to take control of their careers and lead healthier lives.  

The ‘Tastic says:  Next…  and of course, The CW is hiding this from YouTube. Watch a clip, here.

The Frame:  What happens when your whole life is reduced to one Frame?  There’s only one rule: if you’re out of the Frame, you’re out of the game.  Ten teams of two, chosen for their dynamic personalities and their existing deep-rooted relationships, are selected to compete in this wild social experiment.  These teams will each live in one Frame – a stripped down version of their home living space – for up to 8 weeks, with the entire world watching their inter-personal soap operas play out atop a highly formatted game.  Couples cannot physically see one another, but each “frame” is rigged with plasma screens & communication devices that allow for visual and verbal interaction.  The teams will face outrageous challenges, punishments, head-to-head competitions, and eliminations, all while isolated from the outside world.  With 24/7 web cams streaming content live, and a bi-weekly television show, audiences will vote for – and have control over – many elements of the show, from rewards to punishments to eliminations.  The last couple standing will be America’s favorite pair, and walk away with a cash prize.

The ‘Tastic says:  Seriously, what the Hell is wrong with this network?  Is it humanly possible to air more crap than what they air?  The CW won’t even put a clip up on their own website for this so we’ve got nothing for you. Somehow, we don’t think we’re missing much.

ALERT! The CW Announces 2011 – 2012 Schedule

Here it is, folks, direct from The CW’s Upfront Advertising Event, The CW’s’s 2011 – 2012 Primetime Programming Schedule (scroll down for complete schedule).  We’ll be doing a preview assessment on all of the new shows as well as providing trailers later shorttly.

If you have any questions about other shows, post them below.

Some programming notes:

  • We’re not going to lie, most of The CW’s programming has very little appeal to us.  We really miss UPN a lot… at least old-school UPN.  Other than three shows on this network, they have gone after teenage girl demographic with both barrels and obviously this isn’t working for us.  On the other hand, The CW not only gives shows that the other Big-5 networks would never have a chance, they also don’t give up on fan favorites as they have much lower ratings standards.  The CW is like an over-the air cable channel.
  • The CW picked up six new series for 2011 – 2012… three of them reality.  Not a good sign especially for a network that only has 10 hours of programming per week.
  • As if it was a surprise, Nikita has been renewed for a second season, however it has been moved from Thursday at 9:00 p.m. to Friday at 8:00 p.m, replacing Smallville that just wrapped up after ten seasons..  This would be viewed as a disaster if the show was on another netwrok, but not with  The CW.  Friday nights have always been very good for genre on The CW and Nikita  is a perfect match for that slot.
  • One Tree Hill has been renewed for a ninth and final season, albeit with an abbreviated order of 13 episodes and will air midseason.
  • The awful Hellcats has been mercifully cancelled after one season.
  • The CW has picked up the new Sarah Michelle Gellar series, Ringer.

Via Press Release:

THE CW ANNOUNCES 2011-2012 SCHEDULE

NEW FALL SEASON FEATURES MORE ORIGINAL PROGRAMMING ALL SEASON LONG

Sarah Michelle Gellar Makes Her Return to Series Television In New Drama “Ringer”

East Coast Drama “Gossip Girl” Welcomes New Neighbor to the South, “Hart of Dixie,” Starring Rachel Bilson, on Monday Nights

“90210″ Moves To a New Tuesday Night Address, Leading Into One of the Season’s Most Buzzed-About New Shows, “Ringer,” Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar

Wednesday Pairs New Celebrity Reality Series “H8R,” Hosted by Mario Lopez, with First-Ever All-Star Edition of “America’s Next Top Model”

On Thursday, The CW’s Highest-Rated Hit “The Vampire Diaries” Teams with “The Secret Circle,” a New Drama From Kevin Williamson About a Coven of Powerful Witches

Action Thriller “Nikita” moves to Friday Nights as the Lead-In for Fan Favorite “Supernatural”

Midseason Brings the Return and Farewell Season of “One Tree Hill” And Outrageous New Reality Series “Re-Modeled” and “The Frame”

May 19, 2011 (New York, New York) – The CW Network unveiled the schedule for its 2011-2012 season today at its annual upfront presentation for advertisers, affiliates and national media from Jazz at Lincoln Center. Electro hip-hop group LMFAO staged a rousing flash mob dance and performed their hit song “Party Rock Anthem” to open the show. The announcement was made by Dawn Ostroff, President of Entertainment, and Mark Pedowitz, the new President of The CW.

“We’re thrilled to present the most exciting primetime schedule The CW has ever had, comprised of shows that feature bold concepts, proven TV stars and up-and-coming, breakout talent,” said Ostroff. “In just five years, we’ve built an instantly recognizable brand that resonates with both viewers and advertisers and is known for being smartly provocative, culturally current, emotionally authentic and a leader in digital and social media. This upcoming season will continue to establish The CW as a premier destination for our viewers, especially women.”

“Our priority this season was adding more original programming this upcoming year, and we’ve done that with shows that will appeal to our core audience of women, while also bringing in new viewers,” said Pedowitz. “We’re being aggressive with smart, bold scheduling moves designed to improve key time periods and grow our audience.”

“‘Hart of Dixie,’ from the ‘Gossip Girl’ team of Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, is a medical franchise with a proven star in Rachel Bilson,” added Pedowitz. “Sarah Michelle Gellar has incredible appeal to our core audience and beyond, and when word got out that she was starring in ‘Ringer’ on our network, it went viral online immediately. ‘The Secret Circle’ is from Kevin Williamson, the producer of ‘The Vampire Diaries,’ and is also based on a popular series of books by author L.J. Smith, and it fits perfectly on Thursday nights. Our new reality series ‘H8R,’ and ‘Re-Modeled’ and ‘The Frame’ at midseason, are brash and loud, and continue our commitment of giving our audience more original content all season long. And we’re thrilled to have ‘One Tree Hill’ return for its farewell season this spring. The 2011-2012 season is poised to be The CW’s best season yet.”

On Monday night, one of the most talked-about shows on television, Gossip Girl, returns to the 8:00-9:00 p.m. timeslot, leading into the new drama HART OF DIXIE from 9:00-10:00 p.m. From the creators of Gossip Girl and “The O.C.,” HART OF DIXIE stars Rachel Bilson as Doctor Zoe Hart, a sophisticated New York City woman who finds herself practicing medicine in a small Southern town.

90210 graduated from West Beverly High and moves over to Tuesday nights, 8:00-9:00 p.m. Following 90210, 9:00-10:00 p.m., is one of the most buzzed-about shows of the new season, RINGER, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, who stars as a woman on the run, who assumes her twin sister’s identity, only to discover that her sister’s life is just as complicated and dangerous as the one she’s trying to escape.

On Wednesday, new reality series H8R brings celebrities face-to-face with the people who love to hate them, with host Mario Lopez, 8:00-9:00 p.m. With its focus on celebrity culture, H8R gives a great lead-in to the first-ever All-Stars edition of AMERICA’S Next Top Model from 9:00-10:00 p.m.

Thursday night will feature two shows from star producer Kevin Williamson and based on a series of books by author L.J. Smith. The CW’s top-rated show THE Vampire Diaries returns in the 8:00-9:00 p.m. timeslot, leading into new drama THE SECRET CIRCLE from 9:00-10:00 p.m. Britt Robertson stars as Cassie, an orphaned teenage girl who discovers the truth about her lineage – she’s a witch who holds the key to an ancient battle between good and evil.

Friday nights are action-packed, with the sexy and exciting Nikita moving to 8:00-9:00 p.m. and the Winchester brothers of SUPERNATURAL returning in the 9:00-10:00 p.m. timeslot.

Following is The CW’s 2011-2012 primetime schedule, a night-by-night breakdown and accompanying details on all the programs.

MONDAY
8 pm           Gossip Girl
9 pm           Hart of Dixie (NEW!)

TUESDAY
8 pm           90210 
9 pm           Ringer (NEW!)

WEDNESDAY
8 pm           H8R (NEW!)
9 pm           America’s Next Top Model

THURSDAY
8 pm           The Vampire Diaries
9 pm           The Secret Circle (NEW!)

FRIDAY
8 pm           Nikita 
9 pm           Supernatural

NEW SERIES DESCRIPTIONS:

“HART OF DIXIE”

Fast-talking New Yorker and brand new doctor Zoe Hart has it all figured out – after graduating top of her class from medical school, she’ll follow in her father’s footsteps and become a cardio-thoracic surgeon.  But when her dreams fall apart, Zoe decides to accept an offer from a stranger, Dr. Harley Wilkes, to work with him at his small practice in Bluebell, Alabama.  Zoe arrives in this small Gulf Coast town only to find that Harley has passed away and left his half of the medical practice to her in his will.  She quickly finds that Southern hospitality isn’t always so hospitable – the other doctor in town, Brick Breeland, is less than pleased to be sharing the practice with this young outsider, and his daughter, Lemon, is a Southern belle whose sweet disposition turns sour when she meets Zoe.  Zoe’s only allies are the mayor, former football star Lavon Hayes, her bad-boy neighbor Wade Kinsella, and handsome lawyer George Tucker – who just happens to be Lemon’s fiancé.  Zoe is out of her element and ready to pack her bags, but a surprise visit by her snobby New York mother leads to Zoe’s decision to stay in Bluebell for a while, discovering small-town life and a side of herself she hadn’t known was there.  The series stars Rachel Bilson as Dr. Zoe Hart, Jaime King as Lemon Breeland, Wilson Bethel as Wade Kinsella, Cress Williams as Lavon Hayes, McKaley Miller as Rose and Scott Porter as George Tucker.  HART OF DIXIE is from Bonanza Productions Inc., in association with Fake Empire, Warner Bros. Television and CBS Television Studios, with executive producers Leila Gerstein (“Gossip Girl,” “Eli Stone”), Josh Schwartz (“Gossip Girl,” “Chuck,” “The O.C.”), Stephanie Savage (“Gossip Girl,” “The O.C.”), Len Goldstein and Jason Ensler (“Gossip Girl,” “Chuck”).  The pilot was directed by Jason Ensler.

“RINGER”

Sarah Michelle Gellar stars as a woman who, after witnessing a murder, goes on the run, hiding out by assuming the life of her wealthy identical twin sister – only to learn that her sister’s seemingly idyllic life is just as complicated and dangerous as the one she’s trying to leave behind.  Bridget is six months sober and starting to turn her life around when she is the sole witness to a professional hit.  Despite the assurances of her FBI protector, Agent Victor Machado, Bridget knows her life is on the line.  She flees to New York, telling no one, not even her Narcotics Anonymous sponsor, Malcolm.  In New York, Bridget reunites with her estranged twin, Siobhan.  Wealthy, pampered and married to the strikingly handsome Andrew Martin, Siobhan lives what appears to be a fairy tale life – a life where no one knows that Bridget exists.  The Sisters seem to be mending their frayed relationship, until Siobhan disappears mysteriously, and Bridget makes the split decision to take on her sister’s identity.  She discovers shocking secrets, not only about her sister and her marriage, but also about Siobhan’s best friend, Gemma, and Gemma’s husband, Henry.  And when someone tries to kill Bridget in her sister’s penthouse, she realizes she is no safer as Siobhan than she is as herself.  The series stars Sarah Michelle Gellar as Bridget and Siobhan, Kristoffer Polaha as Henry, Ioan Gruffudd as Andrew Martin, Nestor Carbonell as Agent Victor Machado and Tara Summers as Gemma.  RINGER is produced by CBS Television Studios and Warner Bros. Television in association with ABC Television Studios and Brillstein Entertainment with executive producers Pam Veasey (“CSI, NY,” “The District”), Peter Traugott (“Samantha Who?”) and Emmy Award-winner Richard Shepard (“Ugly Betty”).  The pilot was directed by Richard Shepard.

“H8R”

Celebrities go head-to-head with civilians who hate them to win their “haters” over.  Hosted by Mario Lopez, H8R is from Horizon Alternative Television with executive producers Lisa Gregorisch-Dempsey (“Extra”), Jeremy Spiegel (“Extra”) and Mario Lopez.

“THE SECRET CIRCLE”

Cassie Blake was a happy, normal teenage girl – until her mother Amelia dies in what appears to be a tragic accidental fire.  Orphaned and deeply saddened, Cassie moves in with her warm and loving grandmother Jane in the beautiful small town of Chance Harbor, Washington – the town her mother left so many years before – where the residents seem to know more about Cassie than she does about herself.  As Cassie gets to know her high school classmates, including sweet-natured Diana and her handsome boyfriend Adam, brooding loner Nick, mean-girl Faye and her sidekick Melissa, strange and frightening things begin to happen.  When her new friends explain that they are all descended from powerful witches, and they’ve been waiting for Cassie to join them and complete a new generation of the Secret Circle, Cassie refuses to believe them – until Adam shows her how to unlock her incredible magical powers.  But it’s not until Cassie discovers a message from her mother in an old leather-bound book of spells hidden in her mother’s childhood bedroom, that she understands her true and dangerous destiny.  What Cassie and the others don’t yet know is that darker powers are at play, powers that might be linked to the adults in the town, including Diana’s father and Faye’s mother – and that Cassie’s mother’s death might not have been an accident.  The series stars Britt Robertson as Cassie Blake, Thomas Dekker as Adam Conant, Gale Harold as Charles Meade, Phoebe Tonkin as Fay Chamberlain, Jessica Parker Kennedy as Melissa, Shelley Hennig as Diana Meade, Louis Hunter as Nick, Ashley Crow as Jane Blake and Natasha Henstridge as Dawn Chamberlain.  Based upon the book series by L.J. Smith (author of “The Vampire Diaries” book series), THE SECRET CIRCLE is from Outerbanks Entertainment and Alloy Entertainment in association with Warner Bros. Television and CBS Television Studios with executive producers Kevin Williamson (“The Vampire Diaries,” “Scream,” “Dawson’s Creek”), Andrew Miller (“Imaginary Bitches”), Leslie Morgenstein (“The Vampire Diaries,” “Gossip Girl”) and Gina Girolamo.  Elizabeth Craft (“The Vampire Diaries,” “Lie To Me”) & Sarah Fain (“The Vampire Diaries,” “Lie To Me”) were executive producers on the pilot which was directed by Liz Friedlander (“The Vampire Diaries,” “90210”).

FRIDAY

8:00-9:00 P.M. “Nikita”

In season one of this sexy and suspenseful series featuring international action star Maggie Q in the title role, the charming and deadly Nikita waged a war against Division, the agency that created her.  Michael — the man who trained her, a man she trusted — was hunting her.  But Nikita had an ace up her sleeve: Alex, a girl she trained to infiltrate this secret unit of the government. At the end of season one, Nikita and Alex’s relationship had been shattered, and Nikita and Michael’s relationship was restored.  Now, Nikita and Michael are on the run with a hard drive containing the government’s darkest secrets and conspiracies.  Together, they are going to right the wrongs that Division has committed over the years, one mission at a time.  But leading the hunt for them this time is Alex…and she knows all of Nikita’s tricks.  The series stars Maggie Q as Nikita, Lyndsy Fonseca as Alex, Shane West as Michael, Aaron Stanford as Birkhoff, with Melinda Clarke as Amanda and Xander Berkeley as Percy. Nikita is from Warner Bros. Television in association with Wonderland Sound and Vision, with executive producers Craig Silverstein (“Bones,” “K-Ville”), David Levinson (“The Commish”), Danny Cannon (“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “Chuck”), McG (“Supernatural,” “Chuck,” “The O.C.,” “Charlie’s Angels”) and Peter Johnson (“Supernatural,” “Chuck”).

9:00-10:00 P.M. “SUPERNATURAL”

Returning for its seventh season, this haunting series follows Sam and Dean Winchester, two brothers bound by tragedy and blood to the one thing that runs through both their veins ? hunting monsters.  This past season, Dean and Sam faced insurmountable obstacles: Sam returned from Hell without his soul, and Dean risked everything to get it back for him.  The power struggle between good and evil raged on, with the new King of Hell, Crowley, ultimately emerging as their adversary.  Shockingly, Crowley had made a secret deal with Sam and Dean’s closest friend, the angel Castiel, who is now a desperate freedom fighter on the losing side of a post-Apocalyptic civil war in Heaven; together, the uneasy allies sought to open a door to Purgatory, where a great untapped well of souls lie waiting to be used as the ultimate form of military power.  Sam and Dean reeled from the betrayal by their friend — and raced to stop the angel and demon before they opened that dangerous, otherworldly door.  Now, in season seven, the Winchesters will find themselves in an increasingly sinister, changing landscape, up against a new foe unlike anything they’ve ever fought.  They’ll find their old tricks, weapons and hiding places all rendered useless.  All they’ll have is each other.  And the certainty that, like the last of the cowboy outlaws, whatever they face, they’re not going down without a fight. The series stars Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester, Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester and Misha Collins as Castiel.  SUPERNATURAL is from Warner Bros. Television in association with Wonderland Sound and Vision, with executive producers McG (“Charlie’s Angels,” “The O.C.”), Robert Singer (“Midnight Caller”), Sera Gamble and Phil Sgriccia.

MIDSEASON

“RE-MODELED”

Modeling industry veteran Paul Fisher is planning to bring together hundreds of small agencies around the world in a new venture called The Network.  The Network will give Paul the leverage to change the industry from the inside out.  He has two missions: to make sure agents in small towns no longer get screwed, and to empower models to take control of their careers and lead healthier lives.  RE-MODELED is from Fly on the Wall Entertainment and Sony Pictures Television with executive producers Allison Grodner (“Big Brother,” “You’re Cut Off,” “She’s Got The Look,” “Plain Jane”), Rich Meehan (“Big Brother,” “You’re Cut Off,” “She’s Got The Look,” “Plain Jane”), Amy Palmer (“You’re Cut Off,” “Plain Jane”), Paul Fisher (“I Want To Be A Hilton”), Greg Seuss (“What’s Wrong with Virginia,” “Tug”) and Erik Stone (“Aisha Tyler Is Lit: Live at the Fillmore”).

“THE FRAME”

What happens when your whole life is reduced to one Frame?  There’s only one rule: if you’re out of the Frame, you’re out of the game.  Ten teams of two, chosen for their dynamic personalities and their existing deep-rooted relationships, are selected to compete in this wild social experiment.  These teams will each live in one Frame – a stripped down version of their home living space – for up to 8 weeks, with the entire world watching their inter-personal soap operas play out atop a highly formatted game.  Couples cannot physically see one another, but each “frame” is rigged with plasma screens & communication devices that allow for visual and verbal interaction.  The teams will face outrageous challenges, punishments, head-to-head competitions, and eliminations, all while isolated from the outside world.  With 24/7 web cams streaming content live, and a bi-weekly television show, audiences will vote for – and have control over – many elements of the show, from rewards to punishments to eliminations.  The last couple standing will be America’s favorite pair, and walk away with a cash prize.  THE FRAME is from Shed Media and Armoza International Media with executive producers Nick Emmerson (“Bethenny Ever After,” “Supernanny,” “Who Do You Think You Are,” “The Real Housewives of New York City”) and Jen O’Connell (“Bethenny Ever After,” “Supernanny,” “Who Do You Think You Are,” “The Real Housewives of New York City”).

FOX Picks Up Four New Pilots for 2011 – 2012: J.J. Abrams’, Alcatraz, Bones Spinoff, The Finder, Comedies The New Girl & I Hate My Teenage Daughter

There is ZERO coincidence at all that on May 10th, FOX announced that they had closed the deal to bring House back for an eighth season, that they also announces they were canceling all of their remaining shows that hadn’t already been picked up for renewal (Lie To MeHuman Target, The Chicago Code, Traffic Light, and Breaking In… although as we reported, the reports of BI‘s death may be premature).  It’s also not a coincidence that FOX announced that they were picking up four new pilots for Fall 2011 on the same day as well.

From The Hollywood Reporter:

Alcatraz, from J.J. Abrams‘ Bad Robot Prods. and Warner Bros. TV. The crime drama revolving around Alcatraz and the team investigating the mysterious reappearance of its 1960s inhabitants in the present stars Lost‘s Jorge Garcia. The drama gained early buzz and a fan in Fox’s Peter Rice, according to sources, though some questioned whether the net had room for another mystery drama with Abrams’ Fringe already on the schedule.

The Finder, a Bones spinoff from sister studio 20th TV. The drama, which centers on a military-trained “finder” (Geoff Stults) who helps locate lost items or persons in the Florida Keys, recently rolled out to solid ratings as a back-door pilot. The project won high marks internally, particularly by those who wanted to find a way to continue the recently renewed Bones franchise once the long-running — and thus pricey — original ends.

The New Girl, a Zooey Deschanel comedy from 20th, will appear on Fox’s fall schedule. The single-camera series, which is believed to be a Kevin Reilly favorite, centers on a quirky female teacher who becomes roommates with three guys: a man-child, a player and a cynic.

I Hate My Teenage Daughter, a Jaime Pressly/Katie Finneran comedy from Warner Bros., is a go. The multicamera laugher centers on two women who have daughters like the girls who once picked on them in high school.

Deadline is reporting that the Ethan Hawke spy-thriller vehicle Exit Strategy is still in play for mid-season and may being held off for retooling.

Described as a high octane procedural, Exit Strategy centers on a team of 5 experts associated with the CIA who are deployed when a CIA operation goes bad to extract the ones involved before it’s too late. Hawke will play the team leader, the architect of exit strategy who also empathizes with the people they extract and would rather die than let them get hurt. Each episode will tackle a different crisis in a different country. Exit Strategy is envisioned as a potential successor to Fox’s signature drama 24. Like 24, the action in Exit Strategy will also unfold in real-time. And like 24’s Kiefer Sutherland, Hawke would segue from the feature world to take on the lead in Exit Strategy, his first series. Kurtzman, Orci and KOPP’s Heather Kadin are executive producing the project, with Guggenheim co-executive producing.

Folks, don’t forget that the major network up-front advertising events begin TOMORROWMonday, 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.