This week is the television upfronts, when all of the major networks (and also some cable channels that WISH they were major networks) (“I’m going to shove you into your locker, cable networks” – major networks) announce their fall schedules and promote their new shows. Neat! There are lots of parties, I think? I don’t know. I’m not actually invited. When I imagine television upfront presentations, I imagine a line of chorus girls dancing in synchronicity to a song about Law & Order: SVU. And when I imagine television upfront parties I see one of those lounge singers dangling out of a giant martini glass full of bubble bath. And Jon Hamm in the corner just housing a tray of cold cuts. The whole thing has a very burlesque/cabaret vibe. In my head. Most things in my head have that vibe, actually. ANYWAY, some of the new shows already have preview videos available on-line, and some of them have made very little information available whatsoever. After the jump, a brief look at what’s up:

FOX

So, FOX has that new Steven Spielberg dinosaur show, Terra Nova. That could be cool? Or terrible? I do hope someone on that show makes “Not the mama!” jokes. Ooh, and a show called Alcatraz, developed by JJ Abrams and starring Jorge Garcia. Those guys sure love ISLANDS! There are also a couple of sitcoms, with working titles including New Girl and I Hate My Teenage Daughter. Cool titles for cool shows, I’m sure. (New Girl DOES star Zooey Deschanel, it should be noted.) At least they renewed Bob’s Burgers. The rest of Fox’s schedule will be Simon Cowell trying on shiny v-neck shirts while sad people perform monkey dances for him.

NBC

I’m not sure what it is about NBC, but despite languishing as the fourth place network for years, I’m still so much more compelled and drawn to them than the others (with the possible exception of FOX which still seems to have that same sort of punky brewster attitude it developed in the mid-1990s, despite mostly being a channel about Simon Cowell). I think it might literally be NBC’s colors. Colors are nice! Anyway, they have a new show coming out called The Playboy Club. That sounds VERY INTERESTING, right fellas?

Oh, OK. So it is a Mad Men rip-off. (Although to be fair, if you had told me a few years ago about two shows set in the glamorous life of the swinging 1960s and that one of them was about an advertising agency and the other one was about a Playboy-themed nightclub, I have a feeling I might have bet on the wrong horse.) There is also a new sitcom starring Whitney Cummings called Whitney. Here is a preview clip:

Eek! I take back all the things I said about rooting for NBC. Just kidding kind of not really. Did you know they are bumping 30 Rock to a mid-season replacement to make way for this show? Cool. Oh, but look, another new comedy called Up All Night starring Will Arnett and Maya Rudolph!

So, you win some you lose some. (Whitney is the losing some, in case I wasn’t being clear enough.) Hey, speaking of losing, there is also going to be a new sitcom based on a book by Chelsea Handler. Purrrrfect.

The only thing funnier than how that show looks (jk) is this description of new NBC drama, The Firm: “The Firm continues the story of attorney Mitchell McDeere and his family 10 years after the events of the film and novel.” Hahahah, WHAT?! No. “I always wondered what happened to that guy 10 years later,” said no one ever.

This looks kind of interesting, though:

WAIT FOR THE KICK AFTER THESE MESSAGES. Other new NBC shows include Grimm, about detectives but also fairy tales? And some other crap that will probably get canceled immediately and/or be hugely successful.

ABC

Much like NBC’s Mad Men rip-off, The Playboy Club, ABC will also rip-off Mad Men with Pan Am, about the airline during the 1960s. You know, the sad thing is that no one actually watches Mad Men. I mean, its ratings are abysmal. But obviously it is great and beloved and influential. So these new shows will come along and probably do really well and most people will never even know the difference. Oh well! (I’m sure we all feel really bad for Matthew Weiner and Jon Hamm and January Jones right now, right? Like, we are all crying, yes?)

Wait, ABC also has a new show called Once Upon a Time? Which is detectives and fairy tales? You have got to be kidding me here! Dear major television networks: one show per season about detectives and fairy tales is MORE than enough, thank you.  

CBS

Haha, who cares about what CBS is up to? Seriously, that network should change its name to WERTHER’S ORIGINALS DUSTED WITH KLEENEX DUST AND LINT BROADCASTING NETWORK. They only JUST cancelled Shit My Dad Says. Like, what is even going on over there? (Oh right, like I just said, who cares.)

So that gives you a basic sense of what’s going on. For more information on next fall’s TV shows please go here, here, here, here, and here. Or google “TV upfronts”? I don’t know.

Comments (65)
  1. Apparently the news I am most excited about is that ABC gave a season 2 to “Happy Endings”. I did not know that about myself, but am okay with where I am at!

  2. “I think it might literally be NBC’s colors.”

    I have no joke here. I just want to say that I literally had this same exact realization last Thursday and I’m kinda weirded out right now.

    • My formative tv-noticing years were back when NBC was good. I still associate them with good shows like West Wing, Friends, ER. They’ve always seemed to be the Network For Grown-Ups (even if that isn’t really true).
      Also, anyone who hires both Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are cool in my books.

  3. There is a show by JJ Abrams and Johnathan Nolan starring Ben from LOST that got picked up, should be good. Plus they have a sit-com starring Kat Dennings, that’s a thing. Also, there is a grown-up Glee and Grimm could be either insane-terrible or insane-great.

  4. Ed Burns (the poor man’s David Simon) is creating a new show about teachers! Seeing as how Season 4 of The Wire is one of the greatest things ever filmed, I am super excited. It will star Dr. Lawrence Jacoby’s daughter.

  5. Teacherfriday House Upfronts: We will still be watching Bones and Psych marathons and Arrested Development on Hulu. Thank you for your kind attention.

  6. So ABC is just doing Fables without paying DC for the rights?

  7. I had written a pilot about a woman who Potatoes herself in 1960s New York while working as a cop in a gritty subdivision of the department dealing solely with dissapeared planes, but it is also a lucid dream from which we are not sure she will awaken. There were zombies, and a group of surgeons who continually had sex with one another while at their place of work. Lisa Kudrow was set to star. It seemed to have all the interesting cultural touchstones America rewards with their viewership, but I suppose something was just off, as it was clearly not picked up. I was thinking of including a few dance competitions set to songs no one has enjoyed in approximately 25 years, but we’ll just have to see. 2012, you guys. Fingers crossed.

  8. Whitney looks excruciatingly awful. A laugh track in 2011, just why. It’ll be cancelled after 4 episodes.

  9. Wait, did anyone else read that 30 Rock is being moved to mid-season?? Shame one you NBC!

  10. So, If WIll Arnett is going to be on this new show, I guess he’s not taking over on the Office.

  11. Three words about “Awake”: B. D. Wong.

  12. BD Wong, every time he awakes he’s a TV shrink. Next season he’s playing the third Crane brother.

  13. It’s no wonder I always thought Kleenex smelled so delicious. Thanks Werther’s/grandma/CBS!

  14. But what about Mr. Sunshine? Why won’t anybody tell me what’s going on with Mr. Sunshine?

  15. I think of myself as someone who watches a fair amount of television, probably more than is necessary. In fairness, much of it is sports related. My point here is that I like to think I’m somewhat clued in to who’s who on television sitcoms, even if I don’t watch them religiously, or even at all. And it would seem to me that if you’re going to start a new sitcom the title of which is simply a person’s name, I would venture to guess it would be named after someone (or some character) who is relatively famous, or at least famous enough for someone like me to have heard of this person (e.g. “Valerie” or “Frasier” or “Mary Tyler Moore”).

    My point is, who the hell is Whitney Cummings?

    • I think the only way you could be familiar with Whitney Cummings is if you’re still watching the Comedy Central Roasts. Although you could also know her from terrible standup. It’s basically giving Lisa Lampanelli a show(except skinnier, so, you know, better).

  16. Am I the only one who remembers/misses the quasi music videos they would play to introduce Fall TV Lineups? WHY ISN’T THIS FORCED AWKWARD INTERACTION STILL AROUND?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfodacHBp_k

  17. Mad Men is the Velvet Underground of period dramas. Fun story: I saw Danny Strong at a bar this weekend and barely overcame my temptation to tell him he is the cure for the common actor.

  18. Rob Thomas (of Veronica Mars, not Matchbox 20) is creating a new show, Little in Common… http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1822247/

    I heard it was going to be on FOX, but I guess they might not have picked it up yet. I have such little faith in FOX but so much faith in the creator of Party Down and Veronica Mars.

    Also, Kristen Bell is going to be in a new show on Showtime!

  19. Do any of you guys watch Breaking Bad? Are you excited for the new season in July??

  20. Oh, so Grimm is The Dresden Files. Again.

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