2009 Fall TV Season Preview: Thoughts on New Shows and Season In General

The Fall TV Season officially kicks off tonight, Monday, September 21, and that means all your favorite shows should be returning. If not, they will in January, unless they were canceled of course. But the new Fall season also means plenty of new shows that probably won’t last a season. With that in mind, a few of the Inside Pulse TV writers gave me their thoughts about all the new shows this season and the Fall season’s lineup in general. Here is what they had to say, and also what I think as well:


Joe Corey

The Fall TV season is almost here and once more we get to see if the major broadcast networks can create shows that rival their cable siblings. Is anything as anticipated as this summer’s True Blood, Nurse Jackie, Mad Men or Ice Road Truckers? Not really. This is shaping up to be a season where the networks play it safe.

Sunday night has only two new programs for your approval. Fox gives us The Cleveland Show. The black pal of Family Guy‘s Peter Griffin gets spun off with a new wife and her old kids. This means Seth McFarlane now controls Fox’s Sunday night after The Simpsons. I’m not even giving odds of the show’s survival simply because American Dad lasted more than 6 episodes. Why couldn’t they have given Quagmire his own show? Or is that going to be saved for a pay-per-view special. CBS’ Three Rivers will attempt to harvest lost E.R. viewers with this tale of organ transplants. The medical drama features plenty of freshly scrubbed faces with stars Alex O’Loughlin (Moonlight), Alfre Woodard (St. Elsewhere) and Justina Machado (Six Feet Under). CBS better be patient since the show will get trounced against NFL football and Desperate Housewives.

Monday Night is a combination of playing it safe and the big gamble. CBS shifts The Big Bang Theory back to 9:30 p.m. after Two and a Half Men. The replacement is Accidentally on Purpose. That titles seems to describe the fate of this show. Jenna Elfman (Dharma and Greg) gets knocked up by a younger putz. She decides to keep the baby and establish a relationship with the guy. What movie does this sound like? To make sure it doesn’t sound like Knocked Up, Elfman is a movie critic for a newspaper instead of an E! employee. How long does she expect to keep her job? Newspaper film critics are getting fired at an alarming rate. That poor baby is going to starve to death. The show just doesn’t feel like it’s going to do well after How I Met Your Mother. At the same time, The Big Bang Theory looks to be a major hit in its new timeslot. Rules of Engagement will have this slot by mid-season. NBC gives us the first of their two new medical shows with Trauma. Forget the E.R., here’s the Trauma medics. The show is from the folks who brought you Friday Night Lights. Expect to see this listed on upcoming “Save These Shows” web columns. But this isn’t the big gamble of the night for the Peacock Network. The Jay Leno Show is going to be the major wildcard. A few seasons back, the network gave up on Saturdays by making it a dumping ground for reruns and canceled shows that have episodes to burn. Now NBC has given up on the 10 p.m. slot when it comes to original programming. The network that gives us four hours of The Today Show will now give us three and a half hours of talkshows by moving Jay Leno up 90 minutes. Financially this move makes complete sense. Leno has made hundreds of millions of dollars from behind the desk. Why abandon the guy or let him take his schtick and audience to another network? However this entire move might completely backfire for Conan O’Brien. He’s already losing to Letterman in total viewers. Dave’s reruns beat fresh Conan during a two week period. The return of Leno might mean that his old fans will watch the 10 p.m. show, catch the first half of the 11 o’clock news up to tomorrow’s weather and go to bed. From 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., NBC is nothing, but people staring at the camera and talking. It’s almost like they’re programming a news channel instead of an entertainment network. Ultimately this is revolutionary move will be great for Leno, a cancer to Conan and hopefully a swift death for Jimmy Fallon and Carson Daly.

Tuesdays have plenty of new sights. ABC’s Shark Tank is kinda new having been started this summer. Do we really need to see people begging for their new mousetraps to be loved? When they eliminate an inventor, you kinda fear they’ll commit suicide since they’ve staked everything on their gadget salvation. This is like Discovery’s Pitchmen without the joy of the late Billy Mays. The Forgotten might be a really bad name for a TV show. Remember to watch The Forgotten! The show is about amateur sleuths investigating John and Jane Does. It stars Christian Slater who had a major bust last season for NBC. Now that show was forgotten. CBS plays it safe by greenlighting NCIS: Los Angeles. The show has the biggest star power of the Fall with L.L. Cool J and Chris O’Donnell in the spin-off leads. The Good Wife gives us E.R. Juliana Margulies and Law and Order‘s Chris Noth in a tale of a corrupt politician and a wife getting back in the work force. The show’s summary is longer than a Jackie Collins novel. It might make it to thirteen episodes. CW’s Melrose Place will revive the apartment based series with Ashlee Simpson in the lead. Can’t wait for her to look like the star of a Godzilla flick with her words not matching the lips. Laura Leighton and Thomas Calabro from the original will pop in to make the new tenants feel the original’s heat. When will they revive Models Inc?

Wednesday Night has tons of new shows except on CBS which is keeping the old guard. ABC is all new starting with Hank starring Kelsey Grammer. Now that’s going to confuse people who think he’s supposed to be the real life version of Hank Hill from King of the Hill. Kelsey is a Wall Street executive who has to move out to the sticks when the market fails. I hate it when guys with mansions in Hawaii play poor people. This will die as fast as his Fox series. The Middle looks to be more quirky than a show on ABC needs to be. Modern Family has a few laughs as Al Bundy attempts to stay hip with the kids. This might make it through the season. Cougar Town has Courtney Cox on the prowl for fresh meat. Expect to see her Friends friends make guest appearances to pop the ratings. Eastwick will attempt to turn The Witches of Eastwick into the second coming of Charmed. This might be Jay Leno’s first victim. CW’s The Beautiful Life: TBL is Ashton Kutcher version of Models Inc! TBL does sound like the latest faux illness used to sell drugs on TV. It revives the career of The O.C.’s Mischa Barton so the negative coverage from Perez will make it a minor hit. Fox’s Glee had a great pilot debut last season after American Idol. It has the best chance to be the teen hit. NBC’s Mercy is a nurse show that appears to be a nicer version of Nurse Jackie. It’s going to need CPR in 4 weeks.

Thursdays Nights will feature a show that gives us a reason to love and hate at the same time in NBC’s Community. The series is a showcase for The Soup‘s Joel McHale. Finally he gets a network time to shine. The bad news is they force us to watch Chevy Chase. Remember the last time you found Chevy Chase funny? And was he funny when your legally prescribed painkillers wore off? ABC’s FlashForward plays like a mini-series about everyone on the Earth passing out for 2 minutes and 17 seconds. What happened to us? Do we really need five years to get a solution? CW’s Vampire Diaries will be True Blood for people who don’t like nudity in their undead encounters.

Friday has only one new show with Brothers. After sitting behind the Fox Football desk, Michael Strahan is now a thespian. Luckily the producers landed him a good supporting team in Carl Weathers, Darryl “Chill” Mitchell and CCH Pounder. The show might actually survive because CW has completely gotten out of programming for people who enjoy Tyler Perry projects.

Saturday Night is a pit. The networks are either running college football or reruns of the shows from the week. Break out your wii if you want to be entertained by your TV.

The only predictable hits from the freshmen class should be Glee, Brothers and NCSI: Los Angeles. The shows that won’t survive October include Accidentally on Purpose, the hospital shows and ABC’s Wednesday night line up.


Sharon Tharp

ABC has some heavy hitters with Grey’s Anatomy, Dancing with the Stars, Brothers and Sisters, Desperate Housewives and Lost. I am excited and a little bit scared to see how Scrubs does since we’ve technically already had a series finale. The network did rid itself of a few lingering shows, but I was somewhat surprised when Samantha Who? and Pushing Daisies got the boot. Ugly Betty‘s luster seems to be dwindling, and I’m not sure how much longer it will hold up on that weak Friday night timeslot. As for the seemingly boring Wednesday night (on all networks across the board), ABC’s new Cougartown may push through.

CBS seems to be holding up well with its CSI franchise, reality big wigs like Survivor (which boggles me as to why people still tune in) and the network’s ever-lovable comedies Two and a Half Men and How I Met you Mother—the staple of humor on Monday nights. As for the rest of the shows, I’ve never really bothered to watch, and I’ve honestly never watched a single episode of the ones that were canceled, so no biggie.

Sure, Fox has canceled King of the Hill, one of its three highly successful animated shows, but with American Idol losing Paula this upcoming season, I’m sure ratings will sky-rocket as the dynamic changes. Fringe is back on, which isn’t surprising as it brought in good numbers in its premiere season, but I’m a little worried about it’s new time at the ridiculously competitive 9 p.m. Thursday. Meanwhile, House still holds up the network’s medical drama quota nicely. The network did cancel two shows with a fairly decent following—Prison Break and Terminator: The Chronicles of Sarah Connor, but I’m not even sure how much they will be missed anyway.

I would argue NBC has the best comedic lineup on television right now with The Office and 30 Rock holding up strong. As far as the ever-competitive Thursdays go, NBC and ABC are the strongest by far. Heroes and Friday Night Lights are still hanging in there, while newbie Southland has seemed to catch on. The biggest shocker was the cancellation of My Name is Earl, despite its popularity and cast pleas to stay on-air.

The CW struck gold last season with the 90210 remake and I can bet the new Melrose Place will easily follow. Gossip Girl‘s numbers aren’t the best and the network is trying to hang on tight by switching time slots with the stronger One Tree Hill, which was renewed much to the surprise of fans as Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton called it quits. And of course, America’s Next Top Model, Smallville and Supernatural all hang in with decent viewership. Privileged seemed to catch a following, but didn’t make the cut.

NEW SHOW THOUGHTS:

*Shows I will probably check out
# Shows I wouldn’t waste time watching

Yay (most potential)

Melrose Place (The CW)
After seeing the popularity of the new 90210, this remake will also take off by capturing those same viewers. And I can guarantee it won’t have anything to do with Ashlee Simpson’s stellar acting abilities. *

The Vampire Diaries (The CW)
Let’s be honest, this show will make it based on genre alone. The Twilight Saga is a hit. True Blood is a hit. Even if the storylines are lacking, history has taught us hot vampires always win out in the end.

The Jay Leno Show (NBC)
People will tune in to see how Jay holds up without The Tonight Show. I’m rooting for him frankly because some of late night television is dwindling (cough cough Jimmy Fallon and Carson Daly cough cough). *

NCIS (CBS)
With the crime scene show popularity, it seems like a shoe-in—especially with the original NCIS as its lead-in on Tuesday nights. Besides Dancing with the Stars, the show doesn’t have too much competition either.

Cougartown (ABC)
Come on now, the fascination our society has with cougars and MILFs…I’m pretty sure Courtney Cox won’t have trouble bringing in viewers. *

Flash Forward (ABC)
Interesting concept and lined up on Thursday night right before Grey’s Anatomy. It could work as long as the translation from print to television isn’t lost.

Three Rivers (CBS)
A medical drama that looks more into the lives of organ donors. It’s a new angle and airs on Sundays, which of course is where Grey‘s started. It all depends on those Desperate Housewives fans.

Community (NBC)
With The Office as its lead-in and Arrested Development directors involved, the show has a lot of potential. The story seems quirky and fresh, but how will it hold up against that brutal Thursday night competition? *

Accidentally on Purpose (CBS)
I think it’s dependent on the longevity factor—does the story warrant more than a few episodes worth of humor? Sandwiched in between How I Met Your Mother and Two and a Half Men, it definitely has the potential to stick. *

Es posible (possible potential)

Shark Tank (ABC)
The only power I see behind this show is the mind behind it. While Mark Burnett has found hits in Survivor and The Apprentice, I give it one season, maybe less. This kind of stuff tends to get old fast. #

The Forgotten (ABC)
With Dancing with the Stars as its lead-in, this Jerry Bruckheimer-produced crime show will probably draw in a decent amount of viewers. Other than Jay Leno, I don’t see much competition, but I’m not sure it will last.

Mercy (NBC)
Another medical drama hits primetime and as with all shows of the genre, staying power is equal to not only the writing, but the casting. As evident by other medical hits, the ensemble cast can make or break the show.

The Cleveland Show (FOX)
A good animated series can go far and with King of the Hill gone, it may have a fighting chance.

Trauma (NBC)
NBC must really want us to stop watching other networks’ medical dramas. Airing after Heroes could be its saving grace, but what Heroes fans would even watch this?

Hank (ABC)
Frasier fans will probably tune in on an otherwise boring night of television, but the actual concept of the show is still lost on me.

Modern Family (ABC)
The Office-like mockumentary style could help this otherwise seemingly average family comedy.

Nay (slim potential)

The Beautiful Life (The CW)
Mischa Barton….really? She’s a mess and not the best actress. People will tune in because it’s another Ashton Kutcher production, but as for staying power, I predict none. #

Eastwick (ABC)
Supernatural shows are either a hit or a miss, I doubt this will make it to season 2. Eli Stone was cancelled and I think some people actually watched that.

Brothers (FOX)
Could draw in some sports fans who are bored on Friday nights, but I think I’d rather be at the bar. #

The Middle (ABC)
Another half-hour comedy for ABC. Sounds like it will be a watered-down version of Malcolm in the Middle with a boring mother as its center. Yawn.

The Good Wife (CBS)
A scandal surrounding a public official because we’ve never seen that before. Though, it could see a second season thanks to the over-promotion and lack of competition on Tuesday nights.

V (ABC)
Ugh, I’d much rather tune into Fox’s Fringe.


Kevin Wong

Jay Leno Show

What’s better than having an hour a day dedicated to reality TV? Apparently, an hour a day devoted to Jay Leno. We’ll never be rid of him, and now we’ll be subjected to his dated jokes at an earlier hour. Yay!

Shark Tank

I’m not entirely sure why British/Canadian show Dragon’s Den needed to be renamed, but it was, with a bit of the Burnett flair we’ve come to expect from his shows. The show is actually a great idea, but what works in England and Canada has thus far not given the excitment and sensationalism that American audiences have come to expect from their reality shows. I’d expect that this show will work well in the summer months, but will die quickly during the regular season.

Accidentally on Purpose

Jenna Elfman can bring the funny, and if you’ve seen Extras, you know that Ashley Jensen can play the sidekick perfectly. But everyone else is a wild card when it comes to comedy. But since CBS is confident enough in the show to place it in the Monday sitcom block, I expect that it will stick around at least for the year.

Mercy

Will Michelle Trachtenberg, Kate Mulgrew and Delroy freaking Lindo be enough to make not E.R. a hit? Probably not – I think that most people would consider this to be something of a reboot for E.R., and won’t bother to watch.

Trauma

Remember Third Watch? It got transplanted to San Francisco. This seems like a Perfectly Acceptable Show, but it’ll probably need to garner a following to survive.

N.C.I.S.: Los Angeles

When NBC cancelled JAG, they probably didn’t anticipate the show lasting 9 more seasons, AND creating two spinoffs in NCIS and the creatively named NCIS: Los Angeles. This show essentially replaces Without a Trace in CBS’ ginormous lineup of procedurals, and I expect that it will do well, simply because of it’s connection to NCIS.

The Forgotten

This show has the advantage of being a Bruckheimer production, but the disadvantage of NOT being on CBS. I don’t see this lasting long.

The Good Wife

The show has some good actors in place, but this seems like it’ll be doomed like The Ex-List. But to be honest, I don’t really go for this sort of show.

Melrose Place

Two things they’ve done right with this show so far – Michael Mancini and Sydney Andrews. But if 90210 is any indication, it’s downhill from there. I’d make a joke about Models, Inc being next on the remake list, but they already have America’s Next Top Model. Close enough.

Hank

Did they come up with this title after watching Kelsey Grammer’s portrayal of Beast in X-Men: The Last Stand? Or is someone simply an X-Men fan? The fact that the daughter is named “Maddie Pryor” would seem to indicate so. Looks like your usual “fish out of water” sitcom. We know Grammer has done that before, but I don’t think it’s enough to keep this show around.

The Middle

Curiously, Grammer’s Back to You co-star Patricia Heaton was also picked up for an ABC series. I have about as much hope for it as well.

The Modern Family

And again linking to Kelsey Grammer is his Frasier producer, Christopher Lloyd with this Office-like show featuring Al Bundy. Probably the best of the trio here.

Cougar Town

What’s with the obsession with cougars this fall season? We’ve got Jenna Elfman, Laura Leighton and Courtney Cox all portraying cougars. I suppose it’s better than having 40+ guys trying to hit on 20-something women though. This probably goes about as well as Swingtown, or Townies, or White Town.

Eastwick

The Witches of Eastwick gets a TV remake, hitching a ride on the latest supernatural wave headed by Twilight. Not sure how this will do, as you’re essentially looking at a more serious version of Charmed. I’d say it gets burned at the stake in short order.

Glee

It’s always hard to determine what shows Fox will stick with and what it will cancel. Glee has been heavily pushed, and if the ratings don’t immediately match up to the push (especially with the show getting preempted for baseball in October), I could see it getting killed quickly. On the other hand, it’s getting paired with the fall season debut of So You Think You Can Dance, a spiritual partner if there ever was one.

The Beautiful Life

I take back what I said about America’s Next Top Model. THIS is clearly the successor to Models Inc. And since it’s on the CW, it’ll survive.

Community

They dropped My Name is Earl for a sitcom about community college with the same “fish out of water” premise as Hank? Really? And you want it to anchor your Thurdsay comedy block? Really? Well, it’s safe to say that if it makes it that far (it’s set to debut in the 9:30pm slot) it’ll get obliterated by Survivor and probably Flash Forward. Really.

Flash Forward

The executive producer team of Goyer, Braga and Guggenheim should mean that the quality of this show will be good. But there is the danger that the show will be too “smart” for the average viewer – witness the demise of Threshold. I don’t know that calling it the next Lost is necessarily a good thing – this would mean that seasons 2 and 3 will be giant clusters – but if it can generate that kind of buzz and maintain it throughout the fall, it’ll at least get to create those clusters.

The Vampire Diaries

I’m guessing that this is the safe-for-network-television version of True Blood, or something. Or maybe Twilight. They’re all based on books, so who the heck knows. Who exactly decided to create teen romance books/movies/shows about vampires anyway? Give me Blade any day of the week.

Brothers

I guess we’ll see what kind of acting chops Michael Strahan has. But seeing as this is being placed on a Friday, my guess is “not enough to save this show”.

Three Rivers

Not particularly enthused about this show, but anything on CBS that isn’t a crime procedural is a welcome change in my book.

The Cleveland Show

Anything from the mind of Seth Macfarlane is crap in my personal opinion, but even if you’re a fan of his shows, you have to worry that running three shows simultaneously (especially one that seems to invoke Russo booking like Family Guy) is going to lead to lesser quality overall. It’ll last the season, because Fox really doesn’t have a choice.

V

Yet another remake of a cult show. I was a bit too young in 1983 to really get into the original, but I think that the concept can catch on in 2009. The showrunners previously helmed The 4400, so I fully expect some of those ideas to make their way into the ABC show. Should be interesting to see if it survives.


Josh Clinton

Jay Leno Show

NBC decided to save money by having Jay Leno move his show to 10 p.m. ET/PT. That means they have 5 hours less original programming they need to fill each week. Will that be a success for them? I predict the Jay Leno show will get decent ratings. Possibly even better than Conan’s show, but how will the show compete against the other networks?

Shark Tank

A somewhat fresh idea for a reality show and it’s created by Survivor creator, Mark Burnett. Sticks around for a full season, but next season? Eh, probably not.

Accidentally on Purpose

This show got a good time slot between How I Met Your Mother and Two and a Half Men. So it has a shot to stick around. I will lean towards a second season.

Mercy

NBC has two new medical dramas this season, which they hope will replace E.R. I see only one of them sticking around for another year. This one doesn’t look good since we have seen the hospital through the eyes of nurses before.

Trauma

This NBC drama looks better since it’s a fresh prospective from the paramedics view. Although, this will probably be similar to TNT’s short-lived Saved show.

N.C.I.S.: Los Angeles

It’s on CBS and it’s a spin-off of a successful franchise. And it follows the original show. This one will be around for a few years.

The Forgotten

This could go 50/50. It stars Christian Slater. But it’s on ABC on Tuesday nights. It does follow Dancing with the Stars and it has no real competition. Could be around next year.

The Good Wife

In competition with The Forgotten. It’s on CBS so that gives them an edge, but Slater is a more interesting star than Julianna Margulies. So it could be around, but between the two I lean towards The Forgotten.

Melrose Place

It worked with 90210 on The CW, so why not again? This remake will probably not be that good, but it airs after 90210, so it should stick around.

Hank

One of 5 new shows for ABC on Wednesday nights. It stars Kelsey Grammer, but it sounds boring. See you later.

The Middle

See above.

The Modern Family

See above. But if they need a new comedy to stick around, this one has the best chance over the two above. I mean Al Bundy is in it.

Cougar Town

This has the best chance of surviving out of all the new Wednesday shows. Timely premise and former Friends star, Courtney Cox.

Eastwick

Could stick around, if people stick around to see it. Not likely, but slight lean towards a second season.

Glee

Likely to develop a cult following. Good chance if FOX gives it one and it does have a good time slot.

The Beautiful Life

I loved The O.C., but Mischa Barton is a train wreck and she will bring down this show so fast off of The CW.

Community

Getting big push with a good Thursday night time slot. Likely to be around.

Flash Forward

Getting the BIG Thursday night push from ABC. Been said to be the new Lost. I say it will be around next year.

The Vampire Diaries

Twilight has made everyone vampire crazy, so this one will probably be around.

Brothers

It’s an interesting idea that stars former NFL star, Michael Strahan. But it’s Friday night. Doubtful, but it’s FOX Friday night. Who care?

Three Rivers

Another medical drama, but this one is on CBS. I can see it go either way, but slight lean towards a new season.

The Cleveland Show

Family Guy fans will probably save this one. Besides FOX needs to fill a hole in its “Animated Domination” Sunday night lineup with King of the Hill gone now.

V

Another sci-fi series from ABC. I say it won’t last.


Stay tuned to Inside Pulse TV this season for complete reviews on all your favorite shows and maybe even some of the new ones as well.

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