Upfronts And The New 2008 Fall TV Season

Published 7 years ago by , Updated February 10th, 2012 at 6:58 am,

television p Upfronts And The New 2008 Fall TV Season[UPDATE: Check out our up to date Complete 2008 Fall TV Preview!]

I was wondering about all the news out and about regarding what’s coming up on television next season with regards to fantasy, sci-fi and action type shows, so I tracked down the announcements from various networks that distribute them to whet our appetites via the “upfronts“. EH? I know. You’re asking, “What’s an upfront“?

Upfronts are when networks publicly announce their new shows to the press and the advertising world. It’s during the upfronts that networks give advertisers the chance to get advertising time at a discount, versus paying premium dollar during the season. It could also be looked at as the time when advertisers hedge their bets with shows that look promising to them. Basically, get in on the action up in front of the new season. Sadly, it’s the driving force behind everything we love and love to hate about TV programming.

The upfronts can also give you some insight into the minds of the network execs and the trends they either think will happen or help actually develop. By trends I mean setting the mark. IE: After ABC’s Lost or Fox’s Prison Break became hot commodities, we saw a rash of similar type programs pop up in the ensuing seasons.

With that being said let’s go through the developments that have come out of the upfronts, where I focus on shows on the tube that you the Screen Rant reader might be interested in knowing about, with no particular order to the networks:


New NBC shows:
My Own Worst Enemy, with Christian Slater as a spy who explores the duality of a man who is literally pitted against himself.
The Philanthropist (with David Eick as showrunner) about a rebel billionaire who uses his money, connections and power to help people in need.
Merlin – Yes, it’s based on the Arthurian legend.

Returning NBC shows
All the Law and Orders &
Friday Night Lights. (With a disclaimer!)

Gone from NBC: Bionic Woman (Proof the system sometimes works!), Las Vegas & Journeyman. (Proof the system doesn’t always work.)

I got hooked on Friday Night Lights, and it’s been renewed for 13 episodes BUT the episodes will first air on DirecTV in the fall, and then on NBC in the winter. This is a great example of ratings being iffy, but DirecTV put up the money to continue producing the show, and NBC will reap the rewards by ‘rerunning’ them later. Is it me, or does The Philanthropist sound like Bruce Wayne? I’m just saying.

I don’t think too many people were sad to see Bionic Woman go back to the garage, but as we all know, none of us were happy to see Journeyman become a show of the past. Right Vic? But Las Vegas really upset the core fans because they pulled the plug on a cliff hanger. Way to go N-B-C. Of course I leave you with conflicting statements about the Neilsen system, but it is what it is – a fickle, money based, old school system. Of course, Journeyman‘s curse was being put up against Heroes, where 3 other shows died trying to compete. Nice insight.

The Sci-Fi Channel:

New to the Sci Fi Channel:
, a prequel of Battlestar Galactica.
Reruns of series including Lost and Jericho.
stunt-reality series Scare Tactics.
The Stranded, the first joint venture by Sci Fi and Virgin Comics.
Deputized, a comedy drama about an intergalactic police force.
Alice. Which is to Alice in Wonderland as Tin Man was to Wizard of Oz.
True Believer about a comicbook nerd who hires a down-at-heels superhero to become crime fighters.
Ghost Hunters International, a spinoff of Ghost Hunters, and
Mind Control With Derren Brown


Returning CBS Shows:
The Unit, Cold Case, Numb3rs, Criminal Minds, The Ghost Whisperer, all the CSI‘s, NCIS, Without A Trace

CBS gave the boot to Shark, and eclipsed Moonlight.

New CBS shows:

Eleventh Hour: The latest from Jerry Bruckheimer about a scientific investigator working for the government to probe unsolved anomalies.
The Mentalist
is about a man with innate ESP-like powers of deduction.
Harper’s Island
is a murder mystery involving a group of friends who meet on an island near Seattle for a wedding.

I like The Unit – It spins special ops, the politics behind them and the stress on the members’ families and how they deal with the dynamics of it all. I was pretty upset when they dropped both Shark and Moonlight. I liked both these shows, and CBS was quoted as saying cutting Moonlight was a tough decision but they had to make room for new shows… I hate rhetoric. Eleventh Hour, being a Bruckheimer production, sounds like they’re playing the X-files fan base with the Bruckheimer afficionado. A cheap rip off of some other efforts? Who’s to say. The one surviving show that surprised me is Numb3rs. I thought sure all that mathematical math-a-ma-jig stuff would confound people, but they use it to accent the police investigations and mix it in nicely.



Returning ABC shows: Lost & Pushing Daisies

ABC shows Out: Cavemen was buried in the cave it came from. (There is a God!)

New ABC shows: Life on Mars – This is based on a BBC series that revolves around a modern-day detective who finds himself transported back to 1973 after a car crash and is still a detective. My only hope for this show is that it’s executive-produced by David E. Kelley and produced by David E. Kelley Productions in association with 20th Century Fox Television.



Returning Fox Shows: 24, Bones, Cops, Prison Break, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, ‘Til Death

Shows that have been booted by Fox: K-Ville & New Amsterdam is old news.

New Fox Shows: Dollhouse (Midseason); Fringe. (But because of us at Screen Rant, you already knew this!)

New Amsterdam was such a refuse-laden show that it should have been called old-cliche written every other line-damn and deserved to be booted, but K-Ville was a very unique cop show that took place in New Orleans and interlaced character development with the aftermath of Katrina. It had a lot of material potential because of this, but somehow did not get a chance to explore this beyond one season.


Returning TNT shows: Their wildly popular shows – The Closer with Kyra Sedgwick and Saving Grace, featuring Holly Hunter.

New TNT shows: Delta Blues, executive produced by George Clooney is about a Memphis cop/Elvis impersonator who lives with his mother.
Leverage is about a former insurance investigator who builds a team of thieves, hackers and grifters and they become a modern-day Robin Hood gang.
The Genie Chronicles follows a female newspaper reporter who discovers a magic lamp and we follow both her and the genie as different people discover and use the lamp’s power to make wishes come true.
Technophobia is about an American town where technology is advancing at a frightening pace.

Haven’t we seen Robin Hood type shows in the past? The Genie Chronicles sounds a wee bit hokey to me, but a cool title! And what’s with Technophobia? My first impression is that It sounds like another Eureka, which may be a nice way to pay homage to a show they think is doing well.


The only things of note for returning shows on USA are Burn Notice and Law & Order: Criminal Intent. I’m a conistent, across the board fan of L&O, but Burn Notice, about a CIA operative who’s been blacklisted by his own agency took me by surprise and I’ve enjoyed the show where Bruce Campbell is making a stab at a reasonably solid TV role, versus some of his classic roles of the past.

Sources: Memles, Memles, Writersdigest

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  1. I’ll admit, Bruce, to being not that excited about much of the new shows: some of them sound just awful, and right now NBC’s shows are a real mystery for me (Although I’ll watch Merlin just to point out how little of the potential of Malory’s story they actually use).

    FOX seems to have the two shows I’ll like the most (Just finished watching the Fringe pilot, and really enjoyed it), but with so few news shows from other networks I’m not feeling this Upfront season compared to last where there was three shows that really had me interested.

    Hoping that something surprises me like last summer’s big hits (Burn Notice, Mad Men, Damages) did – I am certainly open to whatever they dish up.

    Great rundown, Bruce!

  2. Hmm, Technophobia does sound like Eureka. I love Eureka so I hope it’s more of a Welcome to Paradox. An anthology series that uses a common setting to tell its stories.

    The Philanthropist could be interesting if it becomes a Vengeance Unlimited type series.

    Deputized. Yes please. It’s been ages since we’ve a Space Cops type show. Let’s hope the execs don’t expect stellar ratings and cancel it because the ratings didn’t justify the budget.

  3. Hi Bruce!

    After reading that you were “pretty upset” that Moonlight was cancelled, I thought you would be heartened to know that fans of Moonlight are fighting to have another network pickup the show.

    In the “Friday Night Lights” module, fans have been contacting the Sci-Fi channel while simultaneously DirecTV. We have also been contacting TNT.
    Info here-> http://moonlight-united.com/

    You and your readers can also read about our various efforts ranging from blood drives, rallies, ads in both The Hollywood Reporter and Variety and soon, billboard ads.
    Info here-> http://www.mllforums.com/

    Rafferty Rulz
    Fighting for Moonlight, the show of perpetual coolness

  4. enjoyed the leaked fringe, nice dynamics between the characters,
    but i also liked new amsterdam and i am sad it wont return,
    terminator was decent as well but could be better, but ill watch it anyway.

    bones himym two and half men and csi and scrubs, happy at that

  5. on usa is psych still on or has that moved to NBC?

  6. Myles reminded of one show I totally forgot about and that is Damages! That may be one of the best dramas out there.

    IF ANYONE wants additional details on any show noted, just ask here and I’ll go digging around for info.

    I’ll check ‘Blah’.

  7. House is returning right? Or did I miss that one?

  8. Brooster: House, my long lost twin, according to some, looks slated to start up season 5 in mid-September.

    To keep you calm, here’s a quote from the man himself:

    “I had a heart attack this morning. I can’t do any more drugs ’til at least lunch.”

    I love this show.

  9. LOL…thanks for the info…can’t wait!!!

  10. Hmm, Your ‘name’, brooster, is giving me an idea for another movie to look at and chat about in another post.

  11. One you skipped on TNT is (tentatively) titled “Angel City” and was created and it will be co-produced and co-written by my nephew, who created it. He is a homicide detective in the South Central area where the show is set. He spent 10 years on the gang and drug task force in that same area and will bring a very interesting perspective.

    His first novel, LA Rex, will give you some idea of his POV. That’s been optioned for a movie by Scott Rudin.

    On this new show think “Adam-12″ meets Training Day and The Shield. It’s not your fathers TV cop show.

  12. To answer Blah’s query quickly, Psych isn’t moving to NBC – that was a strike-contingency plan that had Monk and Psych airing reruns on NBC this Spring, although to more than mediocre results. As a result, chances are Psych will return for a few episodes this summer sometime, as per USA’s extremely strange season structure that seems to run mid-summer to Fall, and then January to March or so. I’ll never understand it, that’s for sure!

  13. Your recaps are awesome. Thanks for all the info. I am so sad about Moonlight. It was my one guilty pleasure. I really enjoyed that show.

    I’m interested in checking out the Mentalist and am wondering if the Philanthropist will end up being any good.

    Add me to the fighting for Moonlight list.

  14. Harper’s Island sounds very similar to the short-lived murder mystery on FOX – “Reunion”. This was a murder mystery played out during a high school reunion. The relationship between the suspects is played out via flash-backs. It was cancelled before the killer was revealed.

    Hopefully this fares better!

    Hopefully, this

  15. thumbs up for Terminator coming back, that was an awesome show

    and it sucks that NBC is not keeping journeyman

  16. Bruce, besides the content, I just wanted to say that I like your writing style. Fun, Factual, and you like lists rather than endless paragraphs. And I see that you, like Vic, have the power of Brown. :-)

  17. Thanks JC!

  18. Journeyman was an awesome show, but it didn’t go up against Heroes. It was on right AFTER Heroes, so it was in a great time slot. I am really surprised that the SciFi Channel didn’t pick it up.

    I’m looking forward to new episodes of Chuck. I think that was my favorite new show last year.

  19. Nice job Bruce as usual! :-)
    You stole my thunder with your after-thoughts on the shows….;-p

    One thing you didn’t clarify was that,The Unit will be returning. I’ve heard from inside sources that its coming back.

    One show that stands out as a possible hit could be “My own worst Enemy” with Christian Slater. He’s due for a comeback. He’s a real cool dude and I feel its his time. Last time I saw him was a guest spot on “My Name is Earl”.
    Very funny!!

    Sure looking forward to…. 24, Prison Break, Sarah Connor and Heroes.
    24, is going to be incredible next season and look for a 2 hour prequel in November!!!
    There filming major parts of it in South Africa (on location) to explain the back story of Jack Bauers connection with one of the main villians of next season. Its going to be just like a 24 movie. I can’t wait!!

    The last ep of Prison Break was amazing and I can’t wait to see where the awesome writing staff of Paul T. Scheuring is going to take us! That show is brillant.

    Sarah Connor show, we were left with a cool cliffhanger. Let’s hope it mantains!

    Heroes. Wow just wait till you see what’s gonna happen with that show. I have friends on that show and so far what I’ve heard is amazing ! Sylar meets his match. All I’m saying. :-/

    Rock on Bruce!