Careening toward Monday’s start of Broadcast Upfront Week 2013, the TV industry was atwitter about news that Fox would try to bring back “24” as a “limited series” (that’s Hollywood for “13 episodes”) and that NBC was mowing down virtually its entire comedy lineup (while also putting newsmag “Rock Center” and musical “Smash” out of our misery).
But ad execs, to whom the week of network dog-and-pony shows is geared, may be most eager to see the sizzle reel for CBS’s new David E. Kelley comedy series “Crazy Ones,” in which Robin Williams plays a brilliant ad exec.
CBS also ordered big-ticket drama “Hostages” from its go-to drama guy Jerry Bruckheimer. Toni Collette plays a brilliant D.C. surgeon selected to operate on POTUS, which gets complicated when her husband and kids are kidnapped. This is not to be confused with NBC’s new drama, “Crisis,” in which POTUS’s son is kidnapped during a school field trip. Adding to that confusion: Dylan McDermott stars with Collette in “Hostages,” while Dermot Mulroney stars in “Crisis.” Late Friday afternoon, CBS said goodbye to “Vegas,” “CSI: NY,” “Golden Boy” and the network’s inexplicably long-lived utility player “Rules of Engagement.”
Marg Helgenberger’s back on CBS, as part of the cast of the new drama “Intelligence,” about an agent at U.S. Cyber Command who has a microchip implanted in his brain that allows him to access the entire electromagnetic spectrum.
Attempting to fill the big shoes left by “Rules of Engagement” is Rob Greenberg’s new “We are Men,” in which Chris Smith plays a young guy learning the ropes from the older guys he meets in a short-term rental complex — including Kal Penn, Tony Shalhoub and Jerry O’Connell.
And if “WaM” can’t fill the shoes, maybe Greg Garcia’s new “The Millers” can; it stars Will Arnett as a recently divorced guy whose life gets more complicated when his parents have marital problems.
Meanwhile, by Friday night, NBC comedies “Go On,” “Whitney,” “Up All Night,” “Guys With Kids,” “The New Normal” and “1600 Penn” had been tossed in the tumbril to join “30 Rock,” “The Office” and “Animal Practice” in the NBC comedy graveyard. The only NBC comedies to escape the executioner were “Parks and Recreation” and “Community.”
NBC was said to have canceled almost all of its comedies because network suits were so happy with their new-comedy development. On Friday, NBC added to its new-comedy list a Bill Lawrence series about a slacker who takes in his new roomie’s “Undateable” pals and multiethnic rom-com “Welcome to the Family.” On the drama side, NBC picked up an “Ironside” reboot starring Blair Underwood, a Dick Wolf cop drama called “Chicago PD” and “Blacklist,” in which the world’s most-wanted criminal turns himself in, starring James Spader.
At their presentation, ABC execs will celebrate the renewals of “Modern Family,” “Once Upon a Time,” “Revenge,” “Suburgatory,” “Scandal,” “Nashville,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Castle,” “The Neighbors,” “Last Man Standing” and “The Middle.” They won’t mention canceled “Malibu Country,” “Body of Proof,” “Happy Endings,” “How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life),” “Family Tools” and “Red Widow.”
They will instead direct advertisers’ attention to their new comedies: Adam Goldberg’s semi-autobiographical “The Goldbergs,” Rebel Wilson and her BFFs in “Super Fun Night,” James Caan as a loudmouthed lout with a recently divorced daughter in “Back in the Game,” Bradley Whitford as a guy on his third wife in “Trophy Wife” and a Manhattan bar comedy called “Mixology.”
ABC execs also will tout new dramas, including “Resurrection” about the town of Arcadia, Missouri in which deceased loved ones suddenly start to return. This project formerly was called “The Returned” and was set in a town called Aurora, until someone cut off the creators’ Stupid Pills.
Also on ABC’s new-drama roster: A “Once Upon a Time” spinoff set it Alice’s Wonderland; Joss Whedon’s horribly named “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” based on the Marvel comic books and “The Avengers” flick; “Mind Games,” about a con man (Christian Slater) and a bipolar genius (Steve Zahn) who are brothers; “Lucky 7,” about gas station employees sharing a winning lottery tickets; “Betrayal,” about a woman who cheats on her prosecutor husband with another lawyer; and “Killer Women,” about the only female member of the Texas Rangers.
Fox on Friday was trying to seal deals to resuscitate “24” after killing star Kiefer Sutherland’s recent action series, “Touch.” Fox’s lips have been sealed about the talks since word leaked out late in the week, but former exec producer David Fury tweeted late Thursday he would be “pulling double duty” on the “24” reboot and new FX drama “Tyrant,” adding, “Woo & Hoo!”
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