This morning, NBC held their annual upfront event where they announced their new fall line-up. With almost all of their freshman programming being canceled, returning shows under-performing and late year’s famous late-night debacle, all eyes were on NBC to see what, if anything, they could do to save their network.
In total, NBC has 13 new series coming airing this fall – 7 dramas, 5 comedies and an alternative (reality) series. Included in the line-up are a new spy drama from J.J. Abrams (Undercovers), a new police drama from Jerry Bruckheimer (Chase), a legal drama from David E. Kelly staring Kathy Bates (Harry’s Laws) and a new couples comedy from Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer (Friends With Benefits).
Surprisingly, there was no announcement of a new late-night comedy block – which everyone expected – and the highly-touted Rockford Files remake is nowhere to be seen.
At first glance, NBC appears to have chosen a solid line-up, with a good collection of new series to help rejuvenate the network’s fledgling primetime line-up.
Check out NBC’s 2010 fall line-up below.
“The Event” is an emotional, high-octane conspiracy thriller that follows Sean Walker (Jason Ritter, “The Class”), an Everyman who investigates the mysterious disappearance of his fiancée, Leila (Sarah Roemer, “Disturbia”), and unwittingly begins to expose the biggest cover-up in U.S. history. Sean’s quest will send ripples through the lives of an eclectic band of strangers, including: newly elected U.S. President Martinez (Golden Globe nominee Blair Underwood, “In Treatment”); Sophia (Emmy Award nominee Laura Innes, “ER”), who is the leader of a mysterious group of detainees; and Sean’s shadowy father-in-law (Scott Patterson, “Gilmore Girls”). Their futures are on a collision course in a global conspiracy that could ultimately change the fate of mankind. Ian Anthony Dale (“Daybreak”) and Emmy winner Željko Ivanek (“Damages”) also star in the ensemble drama.
Acclaimed writer/producer/director J.J. Abrams (“Star Trek,” “Fringe,” “Lost,” “Alias”) serves as co-writer, executive producer – and also directs – his first direction of a TV series pilot since “Lost” in “Undercovers” with executive producer/writer Josh Reims (“Brothers and Sisters”). “Undercovers” is a sexy, fun, action-packed spy drama that proves once and for all that marriage is still the world’s most dangerous partnership. Outwardly, Steven Bloom (Boris Kodjoe, “Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Reunion,” “Soul Food,” “Resident Evil: Afterlife”) and his wife, Samantha (Gugu Mbatha-Raw, “Doctor Who,” “Bonekickers”), are a typical married couple who own a small catering company in Los Angeles and are helped by Samantha’s easily frazzled younger sister, Lizzy (Jessica Parker Kennedy, “Smallville”). Secretly, the duo were two of the CIA’s best spies until they fell in love on the job five years ago and retired. When fellow spy and friend Nash (Carter MacIntyre, “American Heiress”) goes missing while on the trail of a Russian arms dealer, the Blooms are reinstated by boss Carlton Shaw (Gerald McRaney, “Deadwood”) to locate and rescue Nash. The pair is thrust back into the world of espionage as they follow leads that span the globe — and Steven and Samantha realize that this supercharged, undercover lifestyle provides the excitement and romance that their marriage has been missing.
“The Cape” is a one-hour drama series starring David Lyons (“ER”) as Vince Faraday, an honest cop on a corrupt police force, who finds himself framed for a series of murders and presumed dead. He is forced into hiding, leaving behind his wife, Dana (Jennifer Ferrin, “Life on Mars”) and son, Trip (Ryan Wynott, “Flash Forward”). Fueled by a desire to reunite with his family and to battle the criminal forces that have overtaken Palm City, Faraday becomes “The Cape” his son’s favorite comic book superhero — and takes the law into his own hands. Rounding out the cast are James Frain (“The Tudors”) as billionaire Peter Fleming — The Cape’s nemesis — who moonlights as the twisted killer: Chess; Keith David (“Death at a Funeral”) as Max Malini, the ringleader of a circus gang of bank robbers who mentors Vince Faraday and trains him to be The Cape, Summer Glau (“Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”) as Orwell, an investigative blogger who wages war on crime and corruption in Palm City; and Dorian Missick (“Six Degrees”) as Marty Voyt, a former police detective and friend to Faraday.
“Chase” is a fast-paced drama from Emmy Award-winning executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer (“CSI” franchise, “The Amazing Race,” “Pirates of the Caribbean” films) and executive producer Jennifer Johnson (“Cold Case”) that drops viewers smack into the middle of a game of cat-and-mouse as a team of U.S. marshals hunts down America’s most dangerous fugitives. Kelli Giddish (“Past Life”) stars as U.S. Marshal Annie Frost, a cowboy boot-wearing deputy whose sharp mind and unique Texas upbringing help her track down the violent criminals on the run. Cole Hauser (“K-Ville”), Amaury Nolasco (“Prison Break”), Rose Rollins (“The L Word”) and Jesse Metcalfe (“Desperate Housewives”) also star as members of Frost’s elite team.
Starring Emmy Award winner Jimmy Smits (“NYPD Blue,” “The West Wing”), “Outlaw” is a new drama from executive producer John Eisendrath (“Alias,” “Felicity,” “Playmakers”). Cyrus Garza (Smits) is a U.S. Supreme Court justice who abruptly quits the high-level position. A playboy and a gambler, Garza had always adhered to a strict interpretation of the law until he realized the system he believed in was flawed. Now that he’s quit the bench and returned to private practice, he’s determined to represent “the little guy” and use his inside knowledge of the justice system to take on today’s biggest legal cases — and he’s making plenty of powerful people unhappy along the way. Jesse Bradford (“The West Wing”), Carly Pope (“24″), Ellen Woglom (“Californication”) and David Ramsey (“Dexter”) also star.
Emmy Award-winning creator David E. Kelley (“The Practice,” “Boston Legal”) brings his unique storytelling to “Harry’s Law,” a series about fate and the people it brings together, starring Academy Award winner Kathy Bates (“Misery,” “About Schmidt”). Harriet (Bates), Matthew (Ben Chaplin, “Me and Orson Wells”) and Malcolm (Aml Ameen, “Kidulthood”) couldn’t be any more different. Harriet is a curmudgeonly ex-patent lawyer who, having just been fired from her cushy job, is completely disillusioned with her success and looking for a fresh start. Her world unexpectedly collides with Malcolm’s — a young man trying to figure out life. When he finds out Harriet is a lawyer, he begs her to represent him in an upcoming criminal case. Matthew, a dreamer at heart and also recently fired from his job as a high school teacher, is introduced to Harriet through Malcolm, a previous student of his. When these three cross paths, they realize they’re all looking for a fresh start. Now, the most unlikely of people are starting a law practice in the most unlikely of places–a rundown shoe store.
Law & Order: Los Angeles
(Casting and pre-production work are continuing)
The new “Law & Order: Los Angeles” is a procedural crime drama that will follow the theme and storylines similar to the “Law & Order”-brand series on the streets of Los Angeles.
“Perfect Couples” depicts the misadventures of three engaging couples as they struggle to find out what makes the ideal relationship — and how to maintain it through humorous trial-and-error. The series explores their heroic journey in search of the perfect relationship without destroying each other in the process. Dave (Kyle Howard, “My Boys”) and Julia (Christine Woods, “Flash Forward”) are the relatable, normal couple, but Julia’s hope of remaining the cool, low-maintenance chick is tested by Dave’s attempts to keep both his wife and his needy best friend Vance (David Walton, “Heist”) equally happy. Vance, along with the neurotic Amy (Mary Elizabeth Ellis, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”), are the high-passion, high-drama couple who bring out the best and worst in each other. The third duo features Rex (Hayes MacArthur, “She’s Out of My League”), a reformed party guy, and, and his wife, Leigh (Olivia Munn, “Attack of the Show”), who considers herself as the group’s mother hen. Believing that they are relationship experts, Rex and Leigh have attended every class and seminar on relationships — and regard themselves as the “perfect couple.’
“Outsourced” is a comedy where the Midwest meets the exotic East in a hilarious culture clash. The series centers on the all-American company Mid America Novelties that sells whoopee cushions, foam fingers and wallets made of bacon — and whose call center has suddenly been outsourced to India. Todd Dempsy (Ben Rappaport, off-Broadway’s “The Gingerbread House”) is the new company’s manager who learns that he’s being transferred to India to run the operation. Overwhelmed, Todd discovers that his new staff needs a crash course in all things American if they are to understand the U.S. product line and ramp up sales from halfway around the world. But as strange as America seems to his eclectic sales team, Todd soon realizes that figuring out India will be more than a full-time job.
“The Paul Reiser Show” is a new single camera comedy from Emmy and Golden Globe nominated comedian-author-producer-actor Paul Reiser (“Mad About You”) and writer-producer Jonathan Shapiro (“Life”). The show stars Paul Reiser as…Paul Reiser. It’s been a few years since Paul’s hit TV series went off the air. Since then, he’s been enjoying the quiet life at home with his lovely wife and kids and generally minding his own business. Lately, however, Paul has been thinking that it’s time he did something new, something meaningful. As to what that next thing might be, he has no idea. In his quest to figure it out, Paul is helped and hindered by his new “friends.” Like most men his age, Paul didn’t choose these friends. They’re the husbands of his wife’s friends, the dads of kids that his boys go to school with. Thrown together by circumstance, Paul and his friends form an unlikely comradeship — and a horrible basketball team.
Friends With Benefits
From Oscar and Emmy winner Brian Grazer (“A Beautiful Mind,” “Arrested Development”), “Friends With Benefits” is a half-hour comedy revolving around a group of twenty-something singles as they navigate the difficult, and often confusing, world of dating. Ben Weymouth (Ryan Hansen, “Party Down”) is on the hunt for the perfect woman who meets his unique set of standards, while his best friend, Sara Maxwell (Danneel Harris, “One Tree Hill”), is just looking for a man to settle down with and raise a family. Ben and Sara have fallen into the habit of turning to each other for moral and physical support as they wait for Mr. and Ms. Right to arrive. Their friend Aaron (Fran Kranz, “Dollhouse”), a romantic at heart, doesn’t approve of Ben and Sara’s complicated friendship, but he, along with womanizer Hoon (Ian Reed Kesler) and straight shooter Riley (Jessica Lucas, “Cloverfield”), are all distracted with their own dating trials and tribulations.
From Emmy Award-winning writer-producer Cindy Chupack (“Sex and the City”), “Love Bites” is an hour-long romantic comedy anthology series featuring three loosely connected, modern stories of love, sex, marriage and dating. Each episode contains multiple vignettes, all illuminating the theme of love with an edgy, irreverent spin. Becki Newton (“Ugly Betty”) stars as Annie and Jordana Spiro (“My Boys”) stars as Frannie, the last two single girls standing after all of their friends get married. Annie is an infectiously bubbly optimist and Frannie is an always-a-bridesmaid realist. Their story will anchor the series, while other romantically-challenged characters will come and go each week.
From executive producers Cheryl Hines (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) and Denise Cramsey (“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” and “True Beauty”), “School Pride” is a proactive, alternative series that tells the stories of communities coming together to renovate their aging and broken public schools. While transforming the school, the community also restores its sense of value and school pride. The cameras follow students, teachers and parents as they roll up their sleeves and rebuild their own schools, concluding with the unveiling of a brand new, completely transformed school. They are motivated by a quartet of community organizers and personalities — SWAT Commander Tom Stroup, interior designer Susie Castillo (“House of Payne”), comedian and former substitute teacher Kym Whitley (“Til Death”) and political correspondent Jacob Soboroff (“AMC News”). Together, the team of experts will lead the community through the makeover process. Months later, cameras will revisit the school to discover the lasting effects of the transformation — a renewed sense of school pride and an increase in student achievement scores.
There you have it! If your television viewing schedule wasn’t already full, you’ve now got thirteen new television series for your (possible) entertainment enjoyment.
While I have yet to see any of the new series, it looks like they may have a couple hits on their hands. Although, to be fair, there are a few duds as well.
What do you think of NBC’s new primetime line-up. Which shows will you be watching? Which will you NOT be watching?
Let the discussion begin in the comments below.
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