Tuesday, December 22, 2009

CBS Announces Reality Plans for Midseason 2010; Fox Makes Changes to Two Nights in Midseason

CBS has announced their reality series plans for mid-season 2010. CBS will premiere its new reality series Undercover Boss following CBS Sports' coverage of Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday, Feb 7 from 10:00-11:00 PM ET/7:00-8:00 PM PT; time is approximate after Post Game coverage. Undercover Boss, which follows high level chief executives as they slip anonymously into the rank and file of their companies, moves to its regular time period the following Sunday on Sunday, Feb. 14 at 9:00 PM ET/PT, as part of a new two-hour reality block, where it will be paired with the 16th edition of The Amazing Race. The Amazing Race has its 16th edition premiere on that night (Sunday, Feb. 14 at 8:00 PM ET/PT). Because of these changes, crime drama Cold Case will move back to 10:00 PM ET/PT starting this night.
In other CBS reality series news, two specials will air on Jan. 28 and Feb. 4. Live for the Moment, a one-hour special from Emmy Award winners Jeff Probst and Mark Burnett, will be broadcast Thursday, Jan. 28 at 8:00 PM ET/PT. Live for the Moment reveals how one person's life-changing event inspired them to live life to the fullest. Host Jeff Probst takes that person on a series of adventures and experiences that create special life moments with family and friends. This person shares their inspiring insights on how they live their lives differently and by doing so, possibly will change the way others live too. Surviving Survivor (working title), a one-hour special will air on Thursday, Feb. 4 at 8:00 PM ET/PT, revisiting some of the greatest moments in Survivor history and following up on life after Survivor with some of the most memorable castaways. The special, executive produced by Susan Zirinsky for Eye2 Productions, contains fresh interviews with Survivor favorites, and offers a sneak peak at the new Survivor, which will launch on Feb. 11. Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, the 20th edition of the franchise, premieres with a two-hour episode, Thursday, Feb. 11 from 8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT. Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains will reunite some of the most memorable, heroic and controversial castaways from previous Survivor seasons. The series' best strategists will face off in their attempt to overcome - or embrace - the label placed upon them as they return for revenge or redemption. The series will air weekly in the 8:00 PM ET/PT hour, as always, starting Feb. 18.
CBS still has not announced premiere dates and information on any mid-season scripted series. Returning sitcom Rules of Engagement and new dramas Miami Medical and The Bridge have not yet been given premiere dates. I can see Rules and Miami Medical launching in March with The Bridge probably in the summer. Stay with us for details on these as soon as we get it.

Meanwhile at Fox, they have announced they will make some time changes for Wednesdays and Sundays. American Idol and new drama Human Target will have their times flipped starting Jan. 27. Idol will shift to 9pm, while Human Target moves to 8pm. Human Target will still have its Wednesday launch on Jan. 20 following Idol, but will then have to lead off the night starting Jan. 27. Human Target will still have its series premiere on Sunday, Jan. 17 following NFL Divisional Playoff coverage.
The other mid-season time change for Fox will be on Sundays, but not until March 14. New mid-season sitcom Sons of Tucson will now air Sundays at 9:30pm, rather than 8:30pm. This means The Cleveland Show will stay put at 8:30pm, as it was slated to move to 9:30pm. Fox has ordered 13 episodes oddly of Sons of Tuscon, but they will not be able to fit all 13 in this season, unless it gets additional airings elsewhere. No word on where American Dad! will go, but it is likely it will move to 7:30pm starting March 14 or at a later date (or maybe if Tucson bombs, it returns at 9:30pm a few weeks later?).

So we are just about set for all the networks for January and February. NBC and Fox has announced nearly all of their plans for the entire mid-season, but CBS and ABC still have some March dates to announce. ABC also has to announce what they plan to do on Tuesdays at 8:00pm starting Feb. 9 and Fridays at 9:00pm starting Feb. 12. Scrubs and Better off Ted are done with their seasons after Jan. 26, more on that tomorrow.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fox Midseason 2010 Schedule; Donna Reed Show Season 3 DVD Giveaway!

Fox has announced premiere dates of new and returning series as well as revisions to its midseason schedule. Fox also has ordered a full season of the sophomore drama Lie to Me. Lie to Me will return to the schedule in the late spring on a new night and time it seems. Possibly Wednesdays at 9 in the spring?
On Sunday, Jan. 10, Fox presents a special Simpsons event beginning with the animated series' milestone 450th episode, "Once Upon a Time in Springfield" in the 8:00PM ET/PT half-hour, in which Bart (Nancy Cartwright) and Milhouse (Pamela Hayden) try to help Krusty (Dan Castellaneta) regain his popularity after network executives force him to restructure the format of his television show by hiring a female sidekick, Princess Penelope (guest voice Anne Hathaway). Then, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Morgan Spurlock will present The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special: in 3-D! on Ice! in the 8:30PM ET/PT half-hour. The documentary special examines the global phenomenon that is The Simpsons and serves as the momentous conclusion to the "Best. 20 Years. Ever.," a year-long global celebration of The Simpsons that launched in January 2009.
Then the ninth season of American Idol begins with a two-night premiere Tuesday, Jan. 12 from 8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT and Wednesday, Jan. 13 from 8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT. Immediately following American Idol on Jan. 13 at 9:00 PM ET/PT, Fox unveils the debut of Our Little Genius, a new unscripted series that features America's most gifted kids as they are tested with some of the most challenging and difficult questions that only a remarkable little genius could answer.
A special extended primetime event on Sunday, Jan. 17 kicks off with the NFC Divisional Playoff (4:00 PM ET live/1:00 PM PT live), which leads into the series preview of Human Target at 8:00 ET/PT, the new full-throttle, action-packed drama about a unique private contractor (Mark Valley) who will stop at nothing even if it means becoming a human target to save his clients. The special primetime event concludes with the first installment of the two-night, four-hour premiere of 24 from 9:00-11:00 PM ET/PT. The season premiere of 24 clocks in for two more hours of action Monday, Jan. 18 from 8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT, and the season premiere of Human Target airs Wednesday, Jan. 20 at 9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT on its normal night and time following American Idol. So what happens to Glee? After its fall finale Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 9:00 PM ET/PT, Glee returns from its interlude with a score of all-new episodes on a new night beginning Tuesday, April 13 at 9:00 ET/PT following American Idol performance episodes. Glee will replace Our Little Genius on the schedule. And I bet Lie to Me returns to the schedule on Wednesdays in late March when Human Target finishes its 12-episode run.
Other midseason programming includes: Chef Gordon Ramsay steps out of his own kitchen to serve up a new season of Kitchen Nightmares on Friday, Jan. 29 at 9:00 PM ET/PT. The show will replace Joss Whedon's Dollhouse, as that series goes out with a bang with its series finale on Friday, Jan. 22 at 9:00 PM ET/PT.
Past Life, a new drama series inspired by the book "The Reincarnationist" about detectives who investigate the world of the unexplained, will bow with a two-hour series premiere Thursday, Feb. 11 from 8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT and will make its time period premiere Thursday, Feb. 18 at 9:00 ET/PT, following Bones. What happens to Fringe then? Fringe delves into its winter finale Thursday, Feb. 4 at 9:00 PM ET/PT and then resurfaces with new cases beginning Thursday, April 1 at 9:00 PM ET/PT, when it replaces Past Life on the schedule.
Sons of Tucson, the new family comedy from Emmy Award winner Todd Holland about three young brothers who hire a charming, wayward schemer to stand in as their father when their real one goes to prison, debuts Sunday, March 14 at 8:30 PM ET/PT following The Simpsons. The Cleveland Show will move to 9:30PM ET/PT, as it takes over the timeslot previously held by American Dad!, which will return to the schedule at a later date. Maybe as soon as Sons of Tucson finishes its run, Cleveland and Dad! go back to their original times? Stay tuned...
View the full Fox Mideason 2010 schedule, if you want to see it in a list format.

We have 3 copies of The Donna Reed Show - Season Three for giveaway thanks to the fine folks at Virgil Films & Entertainment. Just in time for the Holidays, Virgil Films & Entertainment is proud to present a piece of American television history to home viewing audiences with the DVD release of The Donna Reed Show: Season Three.
Available for the first time on DVD, the set also includes several heart-warming bonus features including a 2008 Q&A session with Paul Petersen and Donna Reed's daughter, Mary Owen, in New York City, where Paul performed his memorable song "My Dad" before a live audience. The 4-disc DVD set includes all 38 episodes, and features special guests including: Emmy nominated singer Tony Martin, Harvey Korman, Jack Albertson, and Jay North as Dennis The Menace. The DVD will be available to fans beginning December 1, 2009 for a suggested retail price of $39.95.
Along with the Q&A session filmed in NYC's Barnes & Nobles store, other bonus features includes: a special letter to Donna Reed from WWII soldier; "It's a Wonderful Life" special tribute; a rare and never-before-seen Christmas greeting from the cast after "Someone is Watching" episode. The priceless memorabilia included in the third season will have fans clamoring for this DVD set as the perfect Holiday gift!
The show first premiered on ABC in September of 1958, and has remained a classic family favorite for decades with its delightful cast, featuring Academy Award-winning actress, Donna Reed as "Donna Stone," Carl Betz as "Dr. Alex Stone," Shelley Fabares as "Mary Stone" and Paul Petersen as "Jeff Stone."
The DVD contest begins Wednesday, November 25 and ends at the end of Wednesday, December 9. Look for our DVD review later this week. But for now, please read the rules first and the enter our Donna Reed Show Season 3 contest if you are eligible! Good luck!

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Fox Fall Pilot Review - The Cleveland Show - Premieres September 27; ION Adds More Ghost Whisperer

The Cleveland Show Cast

The Cleveland Show - Sundays 8:30PM ET/PT on Fox
Premieres Sunday, September 27, 2009 at 8:30PM ET/PT

Rather than attempt to explain the premise of The Cleveland Show myself, I thought I would let the words of the show's main voice actor, Mike Henry (voice of Cleveland), explain it.

"Cleveland has kind of had enough in Quahog - he kind of realizes that he wants his own friends, his own sidekicks, his own stories. So he sets out to California to make it in a way that we'll have to keep a secret until the show starts, and then he ends up somewhere else, which we'll also keep a secret until the show starts. But he basically goes home – he goes to his hometown in Virginia and rekindles an old high school flame."

The above explains this show far better than I could. I'll go ahead and warn you, though, that if you're one of the people who detests both of Seth MacFarlane's comedies (Family Guy, American Dad), you can stop reading *now* as, though the show generally has a cohesive pilot (that, as a bonus, usually makes sense) it is still very clearly a Seth MacFarlane show.


Cast Details:

A word of caution here: Because of the animated nature of this show, none of the cast will be physically present in any episodes, and many characters may rotate in-and-out based upon the needs of the episode. Also, as is common in animation, one voice actor may provide the voice for multiple characters.

* Mike Henry as Cleveland, Rollo
* Sanaa Lathan as Donna
* Reagan Gomez-Preston as Roberta
* Kevin Michael Richardson as Cleveland Jr., Lester the Redneck
* Seth MacFarlane as Tim the Bear, English Father

Mike Henry (Cleveland, Rollo) performed stand-up and improv and acted in commercials for several years before meeting Seth MacFarlane in 1995. Henry was a writer and producer on Family Guy for the series' first six seasons. He voices many of the characters he created, including "Cleveland," "Cleveland Jr.," "Herbert," "The Performance Artist," "Consuela" and "The Greased-Up Deaf Guy." His additional acting credits include Scrubs, Gilmore Girls, Yes, Dear, American Dad! and Robot Chicken. Henry and his brother are the creators of the internet-based series Kicked in the Nuts.

Sanaa Lathan (Donna) was recently seen in Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys alongside Perry, Kathy Bates and Alfre Woodard. In 2004, Lathan earned a Tony Award nomination for her performance in the revival of the Broadway classic, A Raisin in the Sun. She later reprised her critically acclaimed role as "Beneatha Younger" in the television adaptation of the play alongside Sean Combs. Lathan's most recent credits include her NAACP Image Award-nominated roles in Something New and Nip/Tuck. She previously starred in Out of Time, Alien vs. Predator, Brown Sugar, Love and Basketball and The Best Man.

Reagan Gomez-Preston (Roberta) and her mother, at age 14, made a trip to Los Angeles with Dateline documenting their journey for an episode about young actors. Within a few of weeks of landing in Los Angeles, she had booked the remake of Freaky Friday with Shelley Long. Shortly after, Gomez-Preston landed a starring role on the Robert Townsend series The Parent Hood, and with his guidance and support, she co-wrote one of the series' most-watched episodes on teen rape. Her other TV acting credits include Love, Inc., Carmen: A Hip Hopera, ER, That '70s Show, JAG and One on One. Her feature film credits lead roles in Never Die Alone opposite DMX, Love Don't Cost a Thing and Beauty Shop with Queen Latifah. Gomez's additional film credits include the independent films Doing Hard Time and Trois 3: The Escort.

Kevin Michael Richardson (Cleveland Jr., Lester the Redneck) is no stranger to animation. He has voiced hundreds of characters for films, commercials and video games, including Family Guy and American Dad! Richardson was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for his work as The Joker on the animated series The Batman. He has also voiced characters on The Boondocks, The PJs and The Penguins of Madagascar. His feature film roles include Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Matrix III and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Richardson starred in the television series The Knights of Prosperity and recently appeared in the drama series The Cleaner.

Recurring Cast Members include Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy, American Dad!) as Tim the Bear, English Father, Jason Sudeikis (Saturday Night Live), and Arianna Huffington (author & columnist).


Pilot Plot:

Episode #1: "Pilot" (Airs September 27, 2009)

After Peter (Peter Griffin, from Family Guy) destroys his house one too many times, Cleveland has had enough and decides to move to California with his son Cleveland Jr. Along the way, Cleveland decides to stop in his old hometown of Stoolbend, VA where he meets an old high school love interest and hits it off.


Analysis:

Here's the thing about this: As a self-contained episode, this program was OK. The episode feels something that would be consistent in tone and quality from the early years of Family Guy, before the show got consumed with cutaway gags and time-filling jokes that run on for too long. It really does harken back to a time before Family Guy lost its way.

On paper, I should really like this show. But there's this nagging feeling I keep having when watching. Perhaps it's because they took the 2nd least interesting character from Family Guy (really, is there any character less interesting than Meg?) and gave HIM his own show. This, at least in the first cut of the pilot, is even referenced in a line by Stewie before Cleveland & son drive off into the sunset, with Stewie remarking in shock that it's *Cleveland* getting his own show?

Also, a note: The first quarter of the episode – the expositional cold open - at least in the version I viewed, *is* set-up as seemingly your usual Family Guy adventure. It has the same musical transition, your usual Family Guy characters (Quagmire, Joe, Peter, Stewie, Brian, et al.), and doesn't become The Cleveland Show until the main theme hits a few minutes in. You'll know when the transition occurs as the show suddenly shifts from full-frame to widescreen in a nice effect.

Pilots often aren't the strongest episodes of a series, and do tend to get better. This episode left me neutral, so there IS room to grow from here.


Conclusion:

I was a huge fan of the show that Cleveland Show is replacing. I absolutely adored King of the Hill, and it's the second show cancelled largely due to Fox's own ineptitude (the list would have been three had they not backpedaled on Family Guy itself). When Fox wants a show to die, it schedules it in the 7-8 PM hour on Sunday nights. They did this to Futurama and they did it to King of the Hill. King of the Hill was one of the best animated comedies I've ever seen, and I can say there WILL be a contingent of viewers who, missing King of the Hill and wary of Seth MacFarlane's growing stranglehold of Fox, will be unusually cool to The Cleveland Show due to its origin and timeslot alone.

But, there's a lot of potential here, and it'll be interesting to see in which direction things go. The Cleveland Show is a nice detour from the madness that is your average episode of Family Guy, but I've yet to see evidence of how they're going to sustain this show beyond a few episodes. Yes, there are new characters to play off of. But you can't really get away with simply making the show a clone of Family Guy (nor American Dad!), and I'm not sure if Cleveland is an interesting or dynamic enough character to be the focal point of a weekly television series. Of course, they've turned simple background characters into stars of popular spin-offs before - that's the genesis of half of 1970s television right there! Still, I'm neutral at best about the ability of this show to be interesting, good, or funny long term. Consider me "cautiously optimistic."


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Funniness: 4/5
Watchability: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by Seth on 09/25/09

Discuss the show after you watch it on Sunday, September 27 on our message board.

Related Links:

  • Fox.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • The Cleveland Show Photo Gallery


  • Preview:





    ION Television will be adding another hour of Ghost Whisperer starting Monday, Oct. 5. Ghost Whisperer currently airs Mon-Thurs at 8pm and also Wednesdays at 9pm. The series has done so-so in the ratings and is not doing as well as Criminal Minds or NCIS. But still they will add another airing on Mon-Thurs. The new airing will be Mon-Thurs at 7pm, so it will now air back-to-back on Mon-Thurs from 7-9pm, and yes Wednesdays it will be a triple shot from 7-10pm. Ghost Whisperer at 7pm will be replacing Reba, which will move to 4-5pm, as we mentioned. So Reba won't get to air for two hours after all.
    Anyway, as for Ghost Whisperer, if this doesn't help its ratings, I can see ION removing the 8pm hour and airing something else.
    View our full ION Television October 2009 schedule.

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