SAN DIEGO, January 9, 2014 – The calendar says we are just a few days into a brand new year, but if you watch the major broadcast and cable networks, you might think the new fall TV season is just about to start.
For many years, the most anticipated new TV comedies, dramas and other shows with the highest expectations and biggest name stars all made their debuts in September. So-called “mid-season replacements” would come off the bench late in the year or just after the holidays to plug the holes left in the schedule when a show’s ratings were so horrible that network executives couldn’t afford to keep it around stinking up the schedule until the episodes ran out.
Now midseason brings a fresh crop of shows with equally high expectations among critics and viewers for a few big hits. The networks who have special events such as the Super Bowl on Fox or the Winter Olympics on NBC use the massive audiences tuning in to promote new programs starting right after these events in February.
There are several promising shows to look forward to along with some returning favorites. On the broadcast networks, in order of appearance:
Wednesday, January 8, NBC: “Chicago PD” is a hybrid of “Chicago Fire” with more than a little “Law & Order” thrown in from prolific procedural producer Dick Wolf.
Friday, January 10, Fox: “Enlisted” is a comedy about three brothers who have enlisted in the Army together. Critics like the chemistry among actors Geogg Stults, Chris Lowell, and Parker Young as the brothers. Will it be “Stripes” for the small screen, or “Gomer Pyle USMC”?
Monday, January 13, CBS: “Intelligence” is a drama series from the CSI/NCIS factory about an intelligence agent implanted with the hardware and software to create a information technology version of “The Six Million Dollar Man.” It got a preview showing after “NCIS” on January 7 and its ratings were huge. Let’s see how many viewer stick with it when it moves to Monday night, replacing “Hostages” at 10 p.m.
Thursday, January 23, Fox: “Rake” stars comedian Greg Kinnear as a womanizing, gambling lawyer trying to put his life back together. It’s based on a popular Australian TV series called “Keegan Deane.”
Monday, February 17, The CW: The CW decided to bravely try a little counterprogramming during the Winter Olympic Games with the extra-terrestrial romantic series “Star-Crossed.”
Monday, February 17, NBC: “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” isn’t really a new show, but with a brand new host bringing the talk show back to New York for the first time in decades it will feel new. NBC has gambled and lost on changes in the show before. Fallon has been successful in the late night time slot. Will he be able to fill Jay Leno’s (and Johnny Carson’s) shoes?
Monday, February 17, NBC: “Late Night With Seth Meyers” will follow the newly revised “Tonight Show” with Saturday Night Live’s Seth Meyers stepping in for Jimmy Fallon.
Wednesday, February 26, ABC: “Mixology” is a new half-hour comedy that follows an ensemble cast of 10 people at a high end bar over the course of a single evening.
Sunday, March 9, ABC: “Resurrection” is currently a limited series about dead people who come back to life on earth.
Wednesday, March 19, The CW: “The 100” are juvenile delinquents living on a space station with what’s left of humanity 97 years after a nuclear apocalypse has destroyed all life on Earth. They are sent back to see what’s happened on Earth since then. Previews look like a mashup of “The Hunger Games” with “Lord of the Flies.”
Monday, March 31, CBS: “Friends With Better Lives” will take over when “How I Met Your Mother” finishes its run in the CBS Monday night comedy lineup. The plot isn’t anything new, a half dozen friends navigating their lives, but it stars James Van Der Beek (“Entourage”) and Brooklyn Decker.
NBC has three additional highly anticipated shows without a place on the schedule announced yet. But the network will want to take advantage of its big megaphone called the Sochi Winter Olympics to start promoting these shows, so count on finding out more before the Olympic Flame goes out.
“About A Boy” is a comedy adapted from the Hugh Grant movie of the same name about a billionaire who falls in love with a single mom and her son. David Walton will play the billonaire, Minnie Driver the mom.
“Believe” is a show from the producer of “Lost,” “Star Trek,” and “Gravity,” JJ Abrams and Alfonso Cuaron. It follows the story of a girl with supernatural powers and the group of people protecting her, including a former death row inmate. There have been several creative personnel changes, and only five of the 13 episodes have been filmed. Johnny Sequoyah plays the girl, Jack McLaughlin the inmate, Kyle McLachlan and Delray Lindo also star.
“Crossbones” scored big casting John Malkovich as Blackbeard the pirate. This is enough to get me and many other people to watch. Malkovich has the same creepy charm which has made James Spader a hit in NBC’s “The Blacklist.” The show is based on a book about Blackbeard’s adventures in the Bahamas. It comes from the same creator of the dark BBC detective series “Luther.” Malkovich has never done much television. This show could combine the best of several shows and be wicked and unconventional fun worthy of a premium cable network. Don’t let us down, NBC.
Returning for new seasons are the three powerhouse reality TV competition series “American Idol” on Wednesday, January 15 for Fox; “The Voice” for NBC on Monday, February 24; and “Dancing With The Stars” for ABC in March.
The big changes: Shakira and Usher are back as coaches replacing Cee Lo Green and Christina Aguilera on “The Voice” this season; and Fox is cutting back the Thursday night “Idol” results show to one half-hour. It will use the other half hour for a new comedy series, “Surviving Jack.” No word on whether “DWTS” will continue with its single night format or bring back a results show on Tuesday nights.
Back for Fox is “The Following,” the crime drama starring Kevin Bacon. It gets a special preview on Sunday, January 19 before it starts its season run on Thursday, Feburary 20.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. Read more Media Migraine in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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