Alibi V.16 No.21 • May 24-30, 2007 

Idiot Box

Upfronts Unveiled

Nets show off 07/08 seasons

Last week, the networks announced their “upfronts”—their new schedules for the upcoming 07/08 season. Without further ado, here’s what’s cooking for fall.

FOX debuts two dramas: “K-Ville,” a post-Katrina New Orleans buddy cop drama, and “New Amsterdam,” the story of an immortal cop who’s been walking the beat in NYC for 300 years. FOX’s sole new comedy is “Back to You” with Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton as TV newscasters. Always happy to expand the reality show category, FOX adds three: “Nashville,” a soapy look at the Tennessee city from the creators of “Laguna Beach;” the self-explanatory “The Search for the Next Great American Band;” and “Kitchen Nightmares,” yet another series about angry chef Gordon Ramsay. Much-anticipated Terminator spin-off “The Sarah Connor Chronicles” gets pushed to midseason.

ABC adds the most new shows of any net. Leading the dramatic charge is “Grey’s Anatomy” spin-off “Private Practice.” “Cashmere Mafia” is one of two “Sex and the City”-esque dramas (this one produced by “Sex and the City” producer Darren Star). “Big Shots,” dramatizing the lives of high-powered male executives, stars Michael Vartan, Christopher Titus and Dylan McDermott. “Pushing Daisies” is a high-concept romance/crime drama about a mild-mannered baker with the ability to bring dead people back to life for a brief period. “Dirty Sexy Money” concerns a Kennedyesque New York clan and stars Peter Krause, Donald Sutherland and Jill Clayburgh. Comedywise, ABC gives up “Sam I Am” (Christina Applegate as an amnesiac trying to rediscover her life), “Cavemen” (a seemingly unnecessary spin-off of those Geico commercials) and “Carpoolers” (a laugher about guys who commute).

NBC trades sitcoms for dramas. The network revives the ’70s series “Bionic Woman” with Brit babe Michelle Ryan. “Journeyman” is a sci-fi series about a man traveling randomly through time. “Life” finds a wrongly accused ex-con joining the police force. “The O.C.” creator Josh Schwartz delivers the high-tech spy drama “Chuck.” “Lipstick Jungle” is the other “Sex and the City”-inspired show (this one written by “Sex and the City” author Candice Bushnell). NBC’s only new reality show is “The Singing Bee”—yet another musical talent show, this one mounted “karaoke-style.”

CBS doles out one sitcom (“The Big Bang Theory” about two super science nerds who have trouble navigating everyday life) and several dramas. “Cane” is a “Dallas”-like soaper starring Jimmy Smits as the patriarch of a tropical sugar cane plantation. “Moonlight” is your basic vampire/private investigator series. “Viva Laughlin” is a musical (yes, musical) drama about gambling based on the Brit series “Viva Blackpool.” The unscripted track offers up the somewhat intriguing “Kid Nation” in which 40 kids are dumped in the New Mexico desert without parental supervision and allowed to construct their own society.

The CW spreads a random smorgasbord, still hoping to find an identity. There’s “Aliens in America,” a sitcom about a dorky high-schooler with a Pakistani exchange student as a best pal. There’s “Reaper,” an action drama concerning the devil’s bounty hunter. “Gossip Girl” is more teen-based angst from “O.C.” creator Josh Schwartz. “Life is Wild” is a family drama about a vet who relocates to an African game preserve. “CW Now” is a cheap-to-produce newsmagazine. “Online Nation” is an even-cheaper-to-produce compilation of popular viral videos off the Internet.