Well, kids, NBC has officially released word of its 2007 – 2008 fall season, and here’s what we have to look forward to…
The night begins the same way it has for the last several months, with “Deal or No Deal”…but, finally, someone at the network realized that it might be wise to follow “Heroes” with a drama that at least vaguely resembles the program that precedes it. Thus, we have “JOURNEYMAN.”
“JOURNEYMAN“– From Emmy Award-winning writer-producer Kevin Falls (“The West Wing”) and Emmy Award-winning director-producer Alex Graves (“The West Wing”), “Journeyman” is a romantic mystery-drama about Dan Vasser (Kevin McKidd, “Rome”), a San Francisco newspaper reporter and family man who inexplicably begins to travel through time and change people’s lives. Along the way, he also must deal with the difficulties and strife at work and home brought on by his sudden disappearances. However, his freewheeling travels through the decades reunite him with his long-lost fiancée Livia (Moon Bloodgood, “Day Break”) — which complicates his present-day life with wife Katie (Gretchen Egolf, “Martial Law”) and their son. Reed Diamond (“Homicide: Life on the Street”) and Charles Henry Wyson (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”) also star. “Journeyman” is a production of 20th Century Fox Television. Falls is executive producer and writer; Graves is executive producer and director of the pilot.
By the way, also very much of note is the fact that NBC is spawning a “Heroes” spin-off, entitled “ORIGINS.” The description is thus: “an innovative new spin-off that each week will introduce a new character — one of whom will be chosen by viewers through the ‘Heroes’ website on NBC.com to become a cast regular the following season.” No details yet on when it’ll air, though.
Yawn. Another season of “The Biggest Loser” at 8. Hooray! Another season of “Law & Order: SVU” at 10! Sandwiched between the two, we get “CHUCK.”
“CHUCK” – From executive producer, Josh Schwartz (“The O.C.”) and executive producer-director McG (“Charlie’s Angels,” “We Are Marshall”) comes a one-hour, comedic spy thriller about Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi, “Less Than Perfect”) – a computer geek who is catapulted into a new career as the government’s most vital secret agent. When Chuck opens an e-mail subliminally encoded with government secrets, he unwittingly downloads an entire server of sensitive data into his brain. Now, the fate of the world lies in the unlikely hands of a guy who works at Buy More. Instead of fighting computer viruses, he must fight assassins and international terrorists. With the government’s most precious secrets in Chuck’s head, Major John Casey (Adam Baldwin, “My Bodyguard”) of the NSA assumes the responsibility of protecting him. His partner is the CIA’s top agent (and Chuck’s first date in years) Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strzechowski, “Gone”). They’ll keep him safe by trading in his pocket protector for a bulletproof vest. Also starring are Joshua Gomez (“Without a Trace”) as Chuck’s best buddy Morgan and Sarah Lancaster (“What About Brian?”) as Chuck’s ever-supportive sister Ellie. Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak wrote “Chuck,” which is produced by College Hill Pictures and Wonderland Sound and Vision in association with Warner Bros. Television.
Ho-hum. A second night of “Deal or No Deal.” But after that’s out of the way, we get two new shows, one a revisitation of an old series from the ’70s (oh, “Battlestar: Galactica,” what hast thou wrought?), the other not…and if I tell you that the first one is “BIONIC WOMAN” and you don’t know if that’s the revisitation of the old ’70s series or not, you’re too young to be reading this blog.
“BIONIC WOMAN” – Struggling as a bartender and surrogate mom to her teenage sister, Jaime Sommers (Michelle Ryan, “EastEnders”) didn’t think life could get much harder. But when a devastating car accident leaves her at death’s door, Jaime’s only hope for survival is a cutting-edge, top-secret technology that comes at a hefty price. With a whole new existence and a debt to re-pay, Jaime must figure out how to use her extraordinary abilities for good, while weighing the personal sacrifices she will have to make. Ultimately, it’s Jaime’s journey of self-discovery and inner strength that will help her embrace her new life as the Bionic Woman. Also starring are: Mae Whitman (“State of Grace”) as Becca, Jaime’s younger sister; Miguel Ferrer (“Crossing Jordan”) as Jonas, the man who employs Jaime’s boyfriend; Chris Bowers (“Rescue Me) as Will, Jaime’s boyfriend, who performs the operation; Will Yun Lee (“Witchblade”) as Jae, the specialized operations leader; and Molly Price (“Third Watch”), as Ruth, Jonas’ second-in-command. “Bionic Woman” is produced by NBC Universal Television Studio and executive-produced by David Eick (“Battlestar Galactica”), Glen Morgan (“The X-Files”), Michael Dinner (“Kidnapped”) — who also directed the pilot — and Jason Smilovic (“Lucky Number Slevin”). Laeta Kalogridis (“Birds of Prey”) is also an executive producer on the pilot.
Then, at 10 PM, it’s “LIFE.”
“LIFE” — From Rand Ravich and Far Shariat, the executive producers of the feature film “The Astronaut’s Wife,” and David Semel, who directed the pilot of NBC’s “Heroes,” “Life” is a new drama about a detective who is given a second chance. Damian Lewis (“Band of Brothers”) stars as complex, offbeat Detective Charlie Crews, who returns to the force after years in prison, thanks to close friend and attorney Constance Griffiths (Melissa Sagemiller, “Sleeper Cell”), after serving time for a crime he didn’t commit. The cast also includes Sarah Shahi (“Rush Hour 3”) as Charlie’s skeptical, demanding partner, Robin Weigart (HBO’s “Deadwood”) as their hard-hitting lieutenant, and Adam Arkin (“Chicago Hope”) as former cellmate Ted Early. “Life” is an NBC Universal Television Studio production. Rand Ravich is executive producer and writer; Far Shariat is executive producer; David Semel is executive producer and director on the pilot.
No change in content, thankfully. The only difference is a rearrangement; the order of the sitcoms is now “My Name Is Earl,” “30 Rock,” “The Office,” and “Scrubs.”
Bob Saget keeps his day job as “1 vs. 100” returns, but it’ll be alternating its timeslot with “THE SINGING BEE,” which sounds to be the most excruciating game show in recent memory.
“THE SINGING BEE” – “The Singing Bee” is a variety-competition show that challenges contestants to accurately sing the lyrics to popular songs — even when the band stops playing. In this karaoke showdown, there’s no middle ground for partially correct answers — contestants must be perfect or they’re out. Family-friendly, broad in appeal and conducive to playing (and singing) along at home, “The Singing Bee” features popular, recognizable music that inspires hilarious wrong answers and amazing performances by those rare contestants who somehow manage to get every word right. “The Singing Bee” is produced by the Gurin Company and Juma Entertainment, LLC. The executive producers are Phil Gurin (NBC’s “Miss Universe” franchise) and Robert C. Horowitz (“Super Bowl’s Greatest Commercials Top 40 Countdown”).
Beyond that, we’ve got “Las Vegas” at 9 PM, and “Friday Night Lights” at 10 PM. Hmmm…so the big question is, will the people who go to high school football games on Friday nights be home in time to watch the show?
Are you kidding? Do you really think they’d waste new series on a Saturday night? How naive are you?
SUNDAY (Fall 2007)
After football season’s over, we’ll be getting a very different looking Sunday night on NBC, albeit one filled with mostly familiar faces. 7 PM stays the same, with “Dateline NBC,” but now the network is going to try and rescue the declining rating of the original “Law & Order” series by putting it on at 8 PM on Sundays. Count on the content being toned down for the new timeslot, not only for “L&O” but also for “Medium,” now being moved to Sundays at 9 PM. Finally, at 10 PM, we get the night’s lone new face: “LIPSTICK JUNGLE.”
“LIPSTICK JUNGLE” – Based on the best-selling novel by Candace Bushnell (“Sex and the City”), this fun dramedy follows three high-powered friends as they weather the ups and downs of lives lived at the top of their game. Nico (Kim Raver, “24”), editor-in-chief of a hot fashion magazine, wants to replace her boss as CEO. Movie exec Wendy (Brooke Shields, “Suddenly Susan”) finds even her most earnest efforts may not be enough to balance career and family. And free-spirited designer Victory (Lindsay Price, “Beverly Hills, 90210”) longs to make her dreams come true, and maybe find Mr. Right along the way. Armed with humor and strength, these three modern New York women support one another through the triumphs and tears that are all part of making it big in the Big Apple. Written by executive producers DeAnn Heline and Eileen Heisler (both for “How I Met Your Mother,” “Three Sisters”) and based on the book by Bushnell, “Lipstick Jungle” is from NBC Universal Television Studio. The pilot is directed by Gary Winick (“13 Going on 30”).
Lastly, we’ve got a couple of new series which will, at least theoretically, make their debut at some time during the season…probably when one of the other new shows bombs.
“THE IT CROWD” – Ever wonder what’s up with those quirky techies who come to fix the office computer when no one’s around? “The IT Crowd” is an offbeat series, based on the critically acclaimed British comedy, that offers a humorous behind-the-scenes peek at the people who truly keep the office humming. Roy (Joel McHale, “The Soup”) and Moss (Richard Ayoade, “The IT Crowd” — U.K.) are the misunderstood masters of their high-tech domain, but they lack the people skills to befriend anyone but each other. Their company’s head is Denholm (Rocky Carrol, “Chicago Hope”), who wants the IT department to stay segregated and forever banished to the basement. Executive producers are Moses Port (“Just Shoot Me”), David Guarascio (“Just Shoot Me”), Joe Port (NBC’s “The Office”), Joe Wiseman (“The Office”), Graham Linehan (“The IT Crowd” — UK) and Steve Tao (“Red Doors”). Gail Mancuso (“Scrubs,” “30 Rock”) directed the pilot. “The IT Crowd” is produced by NBC Universal Television Studio.
“WORLD MOVES” — From executive producer Randy Jackson (“American Idol”) and the creators of the World Hip Hop Championship comes one of the most visual and captivating performance competition shows ever to hit TV. Thousands of dance teams from around the world will audition for their shot to come to Los Angeles and compete for a global championship and an international touring contract. The live television event features young teams of five to seven members demonstrating their athleticism, creativity and innovative choreography in a presentation that highlights both the competition and the personal drama unfolding within each team. Viewers from across the globe will vote via the Internet, by text message, or by phone to eliminate one team each week. Ultimately, it’s not just about winning a competition; “World Moves” involves stories that change lives and bring the world together. From Warner Horizon Television, the series is executive-produced by Jackson (“American Idol,” Dream Merchant 21 Entertainment), Rob Lee (President, Bayonne Entertainment, “Blow Out,” “House of Carters”), Howard Schwartz (“Hip Hop International, World Hip Hop Championship), Karen Schwartz (Hip Hop International, World Hip Hop Championship) and Harriet Sternberg (Dream Merchant 21 Entertainment).
Personally, I’m pretty psyched to see “The IT Crowd,” but my concern is…where would it go? You’d have to kill one of the other Thursday-night sitcoms to fit it in, and I don’t want to lose any of those shows!