Upfronts 2009: a Guide

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Fox has once again proven itself as the network to beat, thanks in large part to American Idol. It still has a stable of steady programs, including 24, The Simpsons, Family Guy, Bones, and House, and Fringe is looking like another winner from the hit machine.

Upfront date: Monday, May 18.
Outlook: Fox shouldn't change its strategy that much. It ain't broke, so why even think about fixing it? All the network needs is for a few new shows to do well to fill some gaps--especially that gaping one on Friday night, where its sci-fi double-dip (Dollhouse and Terminator) disappointed.
New show to keep an eye on: Musical comedy Glee is getting major push from the execs, and an interesting business model could make this the next tween sensation.

(updated 5/18)
2009-2010 Schedule
* = New show
Fall
Monday
8 p.m. - 9 p.m. House
9 p.m. - 10 p.m. Lie to Me
Tuesday
8 p.m. - 10 p.m. So You Think You Can Dance (performances)
Wednesday
8 p.m. - 9 p.m. So You Think You Can Dance (results)
9 p.m. - 10 p.m. *Glee
Thursday
8 p.m. - 9 p.m. Bones
9 p.m. - 10 p.m. Fringe
Friday
8 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. *Brothers
8:30 p.m. - 9 p.m. 'Til Death
9 p.m. - 10 p.m. Dollhouse
Saturday
8 p.m. - 9 p.m. COPS (back-to-back episodes)
9 p.m. - 10 p.m. America's Most Wanted
11 p.m. - midnight *The Wanda Sykes Show
Sunday
8 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. The Simpsons
8:30 p.m. - 9 p.m. *The Cleveland Show
9 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Family Guy
9:30 p.m. - 10 p.m. American Dad!

Midseason
Monday
8 p.m. - 9 p.m. House
9 p.m. - 10 p.m. 24
Tuesday
8 p.m. - 9 p.m. American Idol (performances)
9 p.m. - 10 p.m. *Past Life
Wednesday
8 p.m. - 9 p.m. American Idol (results)
9 p.m. - 10 p.m. (January) *Human Target
9 p.m. - 10 p.m. (spring) Glee
Thursday
8 p.m. - 9 p.m. Bones
9 p.m. - 10 p.m. Fringe
Friday
8 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Brothers
8:30 p.m. - 9 p.m. 'Til Death
9 p.m. - 10 p.m. Dollhouse
Saturday
8 p.m. - 9 p.m. COPS (back-to-back episodes)
9 p.m. - 10 p.m. America's Most Wanted
11 p.m. - midnight The Wanda Sykes Show
Sunday
8 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. The Simpsons
8:30 p.m. - 9 p.m. *Sons of Tucson
9 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Family Guy
9:30 p.m. - 10 p.m. The Cleveland Show

Returning, but not yet scheduled
Hell's Kitchen
Kitchen Nightmares

Not returning
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Sit Down, Shut Up
King of the Hill
Prison Break

New Shows
Glee
Past Life
Human Target
Sons of Tucson
The Cleveland Show (for two seasons)
Brothers
The Wanda Sykes Show

Related news
Bones renewed… twice
Fox digs up two-season renewal for its drama; license fees held up negotiations, but show will now stick around through 2011.
Fox sets fall schedule... and challenges
Turning a football player into a sitcom star is just one of many tasks Fox has ahead; Fox president Kevin Reilly discusses the new schedule.
Dollhouse not in the doghouse?
Joss Whedon's ambitious show is now on Fox's good side despite slumping ratings, poor critical reception.
Fox picks up Target, Tucson
Comic-book drama, half-hour sitcom slotted into schedule; Reaper not dead, will star Labine be forced out of Tucson?
Fox ain't fibbin': Lie to Me will be back
Lie to Me granted a second season by Fox; Shield creator boards as showrunner.
Fox staying on the Fringe
J.J. Abram's freakish drama gets early second season pickup from Fox; Fringe is top show in important demo.

ABC comes into the 2009-2010 season once again in third place, but is showing some strong signs of life with Dancing with the Stars, Grey's Anatomy, The Bachelor, and Lost. With loads of pilots waiting in the wings, ABC can pick and choose its schedule very carefully.

Upfront date: Tuesday, May 19.
Outlook: ABC has tried--and failed--to distinguish itself with programs other networks wouldn't take a risk on. Life on Mars, Pushing Daisies, Eli Stone: all quirky, all cancelled. Despite not getting a payout from previous experiments, expect more non-traditional shows this fall.
New show to keep an eye on: What the heck is Flash Forward? We don't really know, but those viral ads have our attention.

(updated 5/19)
2009-2010 Schedule
* = New show
Fall
Monday
8 p.m. - 10 p.m. Dancing with the Stars (performances)
8 p.m. - 10 p.m. The Bachelor (after DWTS concludes its run)
10 p.m. - 11 p.m. Castle
Tuesday
8 p.m. - 9 p.m. *Shark Tank
9 p.m. - 10 p.m. Dancing with the Stars (results)
9 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Scrubs (after DWTS concludes its run)
9:30 p.m. - 10 p.m. Better Off Ted (after DWTS concludes its run)
10 p.m. - 11 p.m. *The Forgotten
Wednesday
8 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. *Hank
8:30 p.m. - 9 p.m. *The Middle
9 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. *Modern Family
9:30 p.m. - 10 p.m. *Cougar Town
10 p.m. - 11 p.m. *Eastwick
Thursday
8 p.m. - 9 p.m. *Flash Forward
9 p.m. - 10 p.m. Grey's Anatomy
10 p.m. - 11 p.m. Private Practice
Friday
8 p.m. - 9 p.m. Supernanny
9 p.m. - 10 p.m. Ugly Betty
10 p.m. - 11 p.m. 20/20
Saturday
8 p.m. (ET) Saturday Night College Football
Sunday
7 p.m. - 8 p.m. America's Funniest Home Videos
8 p.m. - 9 p.m. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
9 p.m. - 10 p.m. Desperate Housewives
10 p.m. - 11 p.m. Brothers & Sisters

Yet to be scheduled
Lost
Wife Swap
The Deep End
V

Not Returning
Cupid
In the Motherhood
Samantha Who?
Surviving Suburbia (ABC will air its remaining episodes)
Dirty Sexy Money
Eli Stone
Life on Mars
Pushing Daisies
The Unusuals

Pilots not picked up for fall
Empire State
Inside the Box
The Law
Romantically Challenged

Related news
Madison Avenue applauds ABC's new comedies
Advertisers can make or break a show, and those attending ABC's upfronts were very receptive of the network's night of new laughers.
ABC's schedule is high on serialized sci-fi Network president Stephen McPherson discusses his decision to add three serialized shows to its lineup while everyone else is going standalone.
Cold Case chillin', Unusuals estranged
CBS picks up another season of Cold Case, ABC cancels The Unusuals; future of Without a Trace in the air.
ABC forgets about Samantha Who?
Comedy starring Christina Applegate ousted from schedule; show could not slash budget enough to stay in the mix.
J.D. revived in Scrubs renewal
ABC renews Scrubs, bringing long-running actor Zach Braff back for more; Castle and Better off Ted also returning.
Flash Forward moves forward
ABC picks up show it hopes is successor to Lost because of similar creepy science-fiction.
Which shows are coming back for ABC?
Or better yet: which aren't? Still no word on any of the network's first-year shows, but expect more Grey's Anatomy, Lost, reality.

CBS once again had a great year on the tube, with its many procedurals and steady reality hits delivering as expected. However, a makeover is needed in the near future, as its rigid ways are beginning to look a little bit dusty.

Upfront date: Wednesday, May 20.
Outlook: Right now, it's business as usual for CBS, which means laying on the safe dramas (i.e., an NCIS spinoff) and continuing its reign as the most-watched network. The Eye's attempts to draw in a younger audience have been disastrous (Harper's Island), but execs know that's exactly what they need to do to survive--in 10 years, half its current audience will be six-feet under. CBS is nipping at Fox's heels in the ratings department, but don't expect a change in the hierarchy... at least not yet. 2009-2010 will still be a two-horse race with Fox by a nose.
New show to keep an eye on: Three Rivers has a shot at being something big… not just for CBS, but for star Alex O'Loughlin (Moonlight). His charm and good lucks should help CBS get what it's sorely needed--a successful medical drama.

(updated 5/20)
2009-2010 Schedule
Fall * = New show
Monday
8 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. How I Met Your Mother
8:30 p.m. - 9 p.m. *Accidentally on Purpose
9 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Two and a Half Men
9:30 p.m. - 10 p.m. The Big Bang Theory
10 p.m. - 11 p.m. CSI: Miami
Tuesday
8 p.m. - 9 p.m. NCIS
9 p.m. - 10 p.m. *NCIS: Los Angeles
10 p.m. - 11 p.m. *The Good Wife
Wednesday
8 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. New Adventures of Old Christine
8:30 p.m. - 9 p.m. Gary Unmarried
9 p.m. - 10 p.m. Criminal Minds
10 p.m. - 11 p.m. CSI: NY
Thursday
8 p.m. - 9 p.m. Survivor
9 p.m. - 10 p.m. CSI
10 p.m. - 11 p.m. The Mentalist
Friday
8 p.m. - 9 p.m. Ghost Whisperer
9 p.m. - 10 p.m. Medium
10 p.m. - 11 p.m. Numb3rs
Saturday
8 p.m. - 9 p.m. Crimetime Saturday
9 p.m. - 10 p.m. Crimetime Saturday
10 p.m. - 11 p.m. 48 Hours Mystery
Sunday
7 p.m. - 8 p.m. 60 Minutes
8 p.m. - 9 p.m. The Amazing Race
9 p.m. - 10 p.m. *Three Rivers
10 p.m. - 11 p.m. Cold Case

Midseason shows
(Schedule to be determined)
*Miami Trauma
*Undercover Boss
*Arranged Marriage
Flashpoint
Rules of Engagement
*The Bridge

Not returning
Harper's Island
Worst Week
Eleventh Hour
The Unit
Without a Trace

New shows
Accidentally on Purpose
NCIS: Los Angeles
The Good Wife
Three Rivers
Miami Trauma
Undercover Boss
The Bridge
Arranged Marriage

Pilots not ordered
Waiting to Die
Happiness Isn't Everything
Back

Related news
Unit disbanded, Earl, Medium dead?
CBS puts end to military drama; My Name is Earl, Medium off NBC sched, but could land elsewhere.
Cold Case chillin', Unusuals estranged
CBS picks up another season of Cold Case, ABC cancels The Unusuals; future of Without a Trace in the air.

NBC wouldn't mind erasing the last few years from its memory. Under the leadership of Ben Silverman and Jeff Zucker, NBC talked one of the biggest games the last few seasons but threw up airball after airball. It's many remakes were simply novelties and rushed, yet its quality programming is Emmy worthy. NBC has been good in the online space though (finding success with The Office webisodes, for example), and should continue down that path.

Upfront date: First half already happened, more decisions expected Tuesday, May 19.
Outlook: Let's face it--NBC is in trouble, and right now is a horrible time to be in last place among the majors. Cost-cutting seems to be of the utmost importance here, so expect a few lame reality show gambles (Circus of the Celebrity Chefs Got Talent!). It's sink or swim for NBC, and its waterwings are losing air fast.
New show to keep an eye on: Jay Leno's primetime experiment. NBC is confident that the Chinned One can keep things going in a 10 p.m. time slot five nights a week, but executives from other networks are laughing, and even thanking NBC for adding money to their wallets. Many predict Leno will get slaughtered, and we're no different.

(updated 5/19)
2009-2010 Schedule
* = New show
Fall
Monday
8 p.m. - 9 p.m. Heroes
9 p.m. - 10 p.m. *Trauma
10 p.m. - 11 p.m. *The Jay Leno Show
Tuesday
8 p.m. - 10 p.m. The Biggest Loser
10 p.m. - 11 p.m. *The Jay Leno Show
Wednesday
8 p.m. - 9 p.m. *Parenthood
9 p.m. - 10 p.m. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
10 p.m. - 11 p.m. *The Jay Leno Show
Thursday
8 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. *SNL Weekend Update Thursday
8:30 p.m. - 9 p.m. Parks and Recreation
9 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. The Office
9:30 p.m. - 10 p.m. *Community (moves to 8 p.m. after SNL run)
9:30 p.m. - 10 p.m. 30 Rock (premieres after Community moves to 8 p.m.)
10 p.m. - 11 p.m. *The Jay Leno Show
Friday
8 p.m. - 9 p.m. Law & Order
9 p.m. - 10 p.m. Southland
10 p.m. - 11 p.m. *The Jay Leno Show
Saturday
8 p.m. - 9 p.m. Dateline NBC
9 p.m. - 10 p.m. *Trauma (repeat)
10 p.m. - 11 p.m. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (repeat)
Sunday
7 p.m. - 8:20 p.m. (ET) Football Night in America
8:20 p.m. - 11 p.m. (ET) NBC Sunday Night Football

Midseason
Monday
8 p.m. - 9 p.m. Chuck
9 p.m. - 10 p.m. Day One
10 p.m. - 11 p.m. *The Jay Leno Show
Tuesday
8 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. The Biggest Loser
9:30 p.m. - 10 p.m. 100 Questions
10 p.m. - 11 p.m. *The Jay Leno Show
Wednesday
8 p.m. - 9 p.m. *Mercy
9 p.m. - 10 p.m. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
10 p.m. - 11 p.m. *The Jay Leno Show
Thursday
8 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. *Community
8:30 p.m. - 9 p.m. Parks and Recreation
9 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. The Office
9:30 p.m. - 10 p.m. 30 Rock
10 p.m. - 11 p.m. *The Jay Leno Show
Friday
8 p.m. - 9 p.m. Law & Order
9 p.m. - 10 p.m. Southland
10 p.m. - 11 p.m. *The Jay Leno Show
Saturday
8 p.m. - 9 p.m. Dateline NBC
9 p.m. - 10 p.m. Southland (repeat)
10 p.m. - 11 p.m. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (repeat)
Sunday
7 p.m. - 8 p.m. Dateline NBC
8 p.m. - 9 p.m. *The Marriage Ref
9 p.m. - 11 p.m. The Celebrity Apprentice

Yet to be scheduled
Friday Night Lights (will air on NBC after first run on DirecTV)

To be determined
Law & Order: Criminal Intent

Not returning
Life
Medium (moved over to CBS)
My Name is Earl
Kath & Kim
Kings
Knight Rider

New shows
Community
Mercy
Parenthood
100 Questions
Day One
The Marriage Ref

Related news
Unit disbanded, Earl, Medium dead?
CBS puts end to military drama; My Name is Earl, Medium off NBC sched, but could land elsewhere.
Chuck renewed!
Miracles do happen: spy comedy given 13-episode order, says report; unfortunately, budget cuts will force staff reductions.
NBC picks up Parks, waiting on Chuck
Southland, Parks and Recreation returning for second seasons; Chuck, fates of Law & Order to be determined.

Hey, The CW is The CW. Numbers were down for everybody, but for The CW that can mean extinction. It's still hanging around, and thanks to some excellent marketing had one of the most talked-about shows of the season in Gossip Girl.

Upfront date: Thursday, May 21.
Outlook: The CW isn't just concerned about which show is making its schedule, it's concerned it will have a schedule AT ALL. But as long as it has a schedule to fill, it will be filled to the brim with shows geared towards young females. Expect even more specialization this season.
New show to keep an eye on: The Vampire Diaries could be a breakout hit (by CW's standards) if done right.

(updated 5/21)
2009-2010 Schedule
* = New show
Fall
Monday
8 p.m. - 9 p.m. Gossip Girl
9 p.m. - 10 p.m. One Tree Hill (minus its two stars)
Tuesday
8 p.m. - 9 p.m. 90210
9 p.m. - 10 p.m. *Melrose Place
Wednesday
8 p.m. - 9 p.m. America's Next Top Model
9 p.m. - 10 p.m. *The Beautiful Life
Thursday
8 p.m. - 9 p.m. *The Vampire Diaries
9 p.m. - 10 p.m. Supernatural
Friday
8 p.m. - 9 p.m. Smallville

Midseason show
Parental Discretion Advised
To be determined
Reaper (rumored to be in negotiations)
Not returning
Everybody Hates Chris
The Game
Privileged

New shows
Melrose Place
The Vampire Diaries
The Beautiful Life
Parental Discretion Advised

Pilots not ordered
Gossip Girl spinoff

Related news
CW goes with hotties, hottie vampires
Melrose Place, Vampire Diaries, The Beautiful Life get thumbs up; Gossip Girl spinoff, Privileged dead.
Gossip Girl spinoff dead? Alive? Who knows!
Reports online have conflicting stories of young Lily van der Woodsen's future; is the show really in jeopardy?

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