As has been the case for much of this week, upfronts mania is getting in the way of longer reviews, but I have a few thoughts on last night's "Modern Family" coming up just as soon as I mock you with a hurtful rhythmic taunt...
I'm ironically spending so much of my day reporting on the new CBS schedule - which will move "The Good Wife" to Sundays at 9 - that I have very little time to actually write about the season finale of the show itself, but I have a few thoughts coming up just as soon as I press all the buttons on the elevator...
A year ago, CBS shook up both upfront week and its own conservative reputation with by far the most aggressive scheduling overhaul of any of the networks - moving "Survivor," "The Big Bang Theory" and both "CSI" spin-offs to new nights - even as the network's scheduling boss tried to sell it as "aggressive stability." Because those big moves worked out, the new CBS schedule won't be quite as radical - Kahl used the phrase "dynamic stability" this time - but still moves a few notable pieces around the week.
Welcome to the first of what will hopefully be two different Upfront Week editions of the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, in which Dan and I talk about the many, many, many, many scheduling moves and new show clips we've seen over the last couple of days. The run-down:
"Cougar Town" co-creator Bill Lawrence blames himself, in a way, for the show being pushed to mid-season on ABC's new schedule, where it will air Tuesdays at 9 in between installments of "Dancing with the Stars," while "Happy Endings" takes up resident in the post-"Modern Family" timeslot Wednesdays at 9:30.
Lawrence has a development deal with Warner Bros., which means next season will likely be his last as a hands-on boss at "Cougar Town." And one of the things he wanted to accomplish before he handed the keys to Kevin Biegel was to try to establish the show as something that could stand on its own at the start of a half-hour. He'd been asking ABC president Paul Lee about it for a while; he just didn't necessarily expect it to happen this quickly, or with "Cougar Town" not airing at all in the season's early months.
I spoke with Lawrence this afternoon about the move, which he's known about for a few days, about what he learned from the seasons when "Scrubs" aired at mid-season, and about how he and the cast and crew intend to continue the guerilla marketing they did during this season's mini-hiatus. As often happens with Bill, he talks a lot and I get in a word on occasion.
I wish I had more time to write about last night's "The Chicago Code," which was the strongest episode the show has done in quite some time, and possibly the strongest of the season. This is the sort of thing Shawn Ryan shows do so well: have all the various balls that are being juggled come crashing down right on top of each other, as our heroes race to catch what they can and clean up what they can't.
If the show were coming back next year, we could look at this as a possible turning point. Instead, it's an improvement that's unfortunately too late to matter.
I'll have a longer write-up of next week's finale, but I need to get back to upfront-related madness. What did everybody else think?
A review of the "How I Met Your Mother" season finale coming up just as soon as I speak conductor...
ABC is going to debut at least 13 new series at some point in the 2011-12 TV season, easily the most of the three networks to announce schedules so far during upfront week. You can look at it one of two ways. ABC entertainment president Paul Lee, announcing his own schedule with his own developed shows for the first time in his tenure at the network, tried to sell it as a lesson he learned from his cable days at ABC Family, where it was important to have new product to debut year-round, rather than just in the fall the way the broadcast networks used to do business.
Or you could look at it as the result of ABC having one flagship reality show ("Dancing with the Stars"), one relatively young hit ("Modern Family") a few aging ones ("Grey's Anatomy," "Desperate Housewives") and a whole lot of holes, and/or shows that survive largely because they follow one of the few hits.
This is going to be another one of those weeks in the "United States of Tara" season 3 where I'm going to have to leave all the analysis to you guys, for two reasons: 1)The network upfront announcements are sucking away nearly every minute of the day, and, more importantly, 2)This is one of those episodes where I fear anything I say about the major developments will be too colored by what I know from the rest of the season.
Still, another really strong outing as the season begins to take a much darker turn from the show's first two years. So talk amongst yourselves, and I'll be more verbose about future episodes when I can. What did everybody else think?
The first, and longest, day of Upfront Week 2011 is in the books. NBC and FOX devoted close to 4 hours combined (the majority of them on NBC's end of things) trying to sell advertisers on their new shows. They tried to dazzle the crowds with singers (Christina Aguilera and Cee-Lo for NBC, The Warblers from "Glee" and a bunch of this season's "American Idol" finalists for FOX), with comedians (Seth Meyers and Jimmy Fallon at NBC, Jane Lynch again doing a Sue Sylvester intro at FOX), and - most importantly for my purposes - with clips from their many, many, many new shows. (You can see most of NBC's clips here.)