The networks have released their lose and keep list for next fall’s slate. Some promising shows are getting the ax while some perplexingly popular shows are getting renewed. Grey’s Anatomy gets a spin-off, and a popular ape-man from the Geiko commercials has his own sitcom. Only in America!
Actually, if there is one thing we can be proud of it’s our television programs. With the possible exception of some shows in the UK, America is tops when it comes to well-written, well-produced dramas, and the occasionally funny sitcom.
The depressing part is when our choices are reflected back at us by those pesky Neilson ratings. Haven’t they figured out a better way to find out what we really watch, how we watch, what we TIVO, what commercials we skip?
The other unavoidable problem of it all is that these shows are designed to hook us up to our entertainment nipple while we zone out on our lives, meditate on what we can buy next with our hard-earned cash, gain weight, etc. There really is no upside to the glorious waste of time that is television other than the fact that on some days, there is nothing better.
NBC is axing the Aaron Sorkin drama Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. As one of the apparently few people on the planet who loved the show, this is next year’s biggest disappointment. It’s never good for humanity to not have an Aaron Sorkin show on the air. He is one of the few intelligent writers allowed to write for television. Even shows like Law and Order and The Practice are decidedly dumbed down for general audiences. Sorkin writes his shows for people who like to think while they spend hours and hours staring at a glowing box.
What else is there for NBC? Lipstick Jungle, which has something to do with Sex and the City mastermind Candace Bushnell, will debut in 2008. Brooke Shields is the big star of that one. This is a bit of a gamble, as shows featuring Ms. Shields don’t seem to last very long. But that’s no reason not to try. The IT Crowd will test out the “Nerds are actually funny” premise (worked for The Office).
The Bionic Woman will also be introduced for a test run. Who knows whether it will be anything like the ’70s series. It looks to be more of an Alias rip-off than anything else. But it’s worth a look for fans of the original series.
NBC will be leaning heavily on its new big hit, Heroes, with a spin-off of sorts, Heroes: Origins, which will introduce a new character each week. One of these will be voted on to become a series regular. Law and Order will also be returning as one of NBC’s strongest draws, both the original and SVU.
ABC also announced its keep and lose list. The network has chosen to cancel Knights of Prosperity, Day Break, In Case of Emergency, Six Degrees, Show Me the Money, The Great American Vote, Help Me Help You, George Lopez, Big Day, The Nine, Six Degrees and What About Brian.
But it’s decided to keep: Brothers & Sisters, Men in Trees, Ugly Betty, Grey’s Anatomy, Lost, Desperate Housewives, Boston Legal, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Dancing with the Stars, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, The Bachelor, Supernanny, America’s Funniest Home Videos, Wife Swap, October Road and Notes From the Underbelly.
ABC is boasting that seven new dramas and four new comedies will be joining their lineup, including Cavemen, featuring the Geiko guy, which will be seen on Tuesdays, followed by Carpoolers, which revolves around four grown men grousing about their lives.
Oprah will be bringing her first reality program to ABC, called Oprah’s Big Give. It will involve giving away big, expensive things to deserving people. Get out your handkerchiefs.
As of press time, CBS had not yet announced what it was keeping and what it was dumping.