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Come Fall, It's Tyra and Ashton's World, and We're Just Watching It
Among ABC's known midseason plans, "Scrubs" will be paired with a new animated series, "The Goode Family," from "King of the Hill" creator Mike Judge. It's about a family that tries to do the right thing, which frequently goes awry and hilarity ensues.
And Kutcher has landed a midseason order for an untitled, unexplained reality series in which he's partnered with Tyra Banks. The two prettiest producers in TV want the concept kept under wraps, McPherson said -- actually, he said the under-wraps part, not the prettiest-producers part. And, of course, "Lost" will return, probably Thursdays, in the first quarter, just in time for all those "Lost" college courses to start their new semesters.
Finally, despite all this "Scrubs" picking-up-edness, ABC has reordered "According to Jim" -- the last vestige of the Male Pattern Optimism comedies that once littered the prime-time landscape. Even CBS, on its Monday night of comedies, has moved on from the formula involving dumpy, dumb men who've somehow landed incredibly hot smart wives/girlfriends though the men are completely devoid of a Donald Trump-esque bank account.
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While ABC opted for stability in the fall, CW went with "cataclysmic change," after all but falling off the edge of the Earth during and after the writers' strike. Which is a shame, given that last year at this time the netlet appeared to have some of the best new-series development for the '07-08 TV season.
Most notably it has dumped WWE, which provided a whole Friday night's worth of programming -- albeit programming that was completely incompatible with CW's chick brand the rest of the week -- and contracted with production/ad firm Media Rights Capital to take over the netlet's Sunday and provide a three-hour lineup of chick-targeting scripted shows, which seems like a step forward. As in the earlier days of the "SmackDown!" deal, there will be revenue sharing, but CW programming chief Dawn Ostroff would not discuss details, saying they had yet to be worked out.
Which seems kind of odd, given that CW announced the deal at its cocktail party/new-schedule announcement Tuesday evening.
"SmackDown!," Ostroff told The TV Column before the party, "was like an island unto itself." The new deal with Media Rights Capital, she said, "affords us the opportunity to have more original programming, but much more on-brand."
The Sunday shows will target viewers up to age 49, as do the big broadcast networks. This is not a problem, Ostroff said, because the median age of the CW viewer is already 34. And the shows will target chicks.
Unfortunately, Media Rights Capital scrubbed plans to reveal details of the new series at the CW cocktail party cum new-schedule clambake at Lincoln Center, so we will have to wait a while to find out about "Fat City," "Surviving Suburbia," "I.M. Valentine" and "Book Murphy."
Next season, on Friday nights, in lieu of people -- mostly guys -- tossing chairs at one another and thumping their chests for the camera, CW plans to air its African American-cast comedies "Everybody Hates Chris" and "The Game." They are sure to produce itty-bitty numbers on a Friday, but network ratings expectations probably will be low, which I'm sure is a great comfort to those shows' producers.
While Media Rights Capital -- really, could they have come up with a sexier name? -- is minding the store on Sunday, CW will focus all its effort on a last-ditch attempt to get some solid traction Monday through Wednesday. This year, its strategy is "Destination: Rich Chicks."
On Mondays, "Gossip Girl" and "One Tree Hill" will return.
Tuesday has been gutted and is going super-chick with the "Beverly Hills, 90210" spinoff, "90210," about which the media have written so breathlessly these past few weeks. Old "90210" alum Jennie Garth will have a guest-acting arc on the show, which CW promises will be as soapy as the original. It'll be followed by a new drama, "Surviving the Filthy Rich," based on the bestseller "How to Teach Filthy Rich Girls," about the live-in tutor to super-rich chicks in "fabulous" Palm Beach, CW explains.
Wednesday belongs to Tyra Banks, starting with "America's Next Top Model" -- a.k.a. "See Tyra Keep CW Afloat." That will now be followed by her new reality series "Stylista" -- a.k.a. " 'The Devil Wears Prada': The Reality Series." Eleven "fashion enthusiasts" will try to survive Elle magazine's Fashion News Director Anne Slowey and Creative Director Joe Zee, in hopes of winning an Anne Hathaway-esque job at that mag.
On Thursday, "Smallville" and "Supernatural" will return, though based on CW's announcement, it appears the netlet will focus on the "gorgeous men" aspect of these series, in keeping with its determination to hunt down as many chick viewers as possible next season.