TV Guide Editors

Fox Plays the Waiting Game

If you could just ignore those pesky months between September and December, Fox would be sitting pretty. The challenge each year for this network is how to schedule a fall start that will live up to the blockbuster spring finish provided by late-arriving shows like American Idol and (even a diminished) 24.In the last of the week's upfront presentations, Fox Entertainment president Peter Ligouri made the curious choice of putting himself in the middle of a 24 parody, trading exchanges on the phone with clips of Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland, not in attendance in New York this year) from 24, in which Jack addressed "the president." The ticking-clock (ticking bomb?) metaphor isn't the most natural fit for a sales presentation, you'd think. And given that the first thing anyone in Los Angeles (where I've been for the last three weeks) wants to talk to me about is the steep decline in 24's quality this season, is this really putting your best foot forward? (24, incidentally, was renewed ... read more

Fox Upfront Coverage

3:50: Fox Upfront. The words still send shivers down my spine. As you recall, the network's presentation last year was widely considered to be the single-most grueling Upfront in the history of Upfrontmanship. The post-traumatic stress still hasn't worn off.3:51: Good news. The folks at Fox have clearly learned from their mistakes. In stark contrast to last year, the check-in process was easy-breezy. Even better, the air conditioning is working! Now if we can wrap this thing up in under two hours almost all will be forgiven.4:01: I'm in complete denial about the VM thing, BTW. Just thought I'd share. Ooooh, the show is starting... with a 24 parody!4:05: Jack Bauer urges Fox president Peter Liguori to keep this year's presentation under an hour! LOL!4:06: They're bringing all their stars out on stage. Fox always has a good talent turnout at these things. 4:08: Well, most years they have a good turnout. The only Prison Breaker in attendance is Sucre (Amaury Nolasco)!4:09: No Kiefer Su... read more

Fox Keeps Things Stable - and Welcomes Back Kelsey

Past experience has shown that it's wise to write down the new Fox schedule in pencil. There's always a change or two (or three) by the time the fall rolls around. But stability was the message for the 2007-08 season: Prison Break, 24, House, Bones, American Idol, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? and the Sunday animation block will all return in their same time periods next season. Sure, Fox always falters when the season begins, but the network is about to finish No. 1 in viewers aged 18-49 for the third season in a row.As far as new shows, Fox is trying to regain the edge it seemed to abandon in this past season's development (which was dismal). The most promising attempt is on Monday at 9 pm with K-Ville, starring Anthony Anderson and Cole Hauser as two cops in post-Katrina New Orleans. We were puzzled when a reporter asked entertainment president Peter Liguori if doing such a show was exploiting a disaster. What should a contemporary show filmed in New Orleans be about? Mardi ... read more

The CW Tries Out a Brand New Personality

A year ago, the former stars of the WB and UPN found themselves uncomfortably mingling on one stage for the first upfront of the new CW network. They looked like the kids at the wedding of two single parents.This year, the CW took a step toward developing its own personality, shedding the aging Gilmore Girls, Veronica Mars (the longest-running unsuccessful show in prime time) and All of Us (the weakest link in its lineup of urban sitcoms). The network is even taking the teen out of teen-angst drama One Tree Hill. When that show returns in mid-season, the characters will have been fast-forwarded to their lives after college.The network is replacing All of Us with Aliens In America, a comedy about a Muslim exchange student coming to live in Wisconsin. It looks funny and a little provocative. Who would have thought the CW would have the first sitcom to deal with post-9/11 attitudes?Tuesday at 9 pm brings Reaper, about a slacker whose parents sold his soul to the Devil, played with a br... read more

CW Announces Its Fall Lineup

On Wednesday night, CW's top-rated series, America's Next Top Model, showed double-digit growth last season and was the No. 1 show in its time slot with women 18-34. Next season, America's Next Top Model will stay in its 8-9 pm berth, followed by the new drama Gossip Girl from 9-10 pm. From The O.C. producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, Gossip Girl is based on the best-selling young-adult book series of the same name. The show features an ensemble cast of new and veteran actors, including Blake Lively (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) and Leighton Meester (Surface), and chronicles the struggle for social supremacy among teens in a posh Manhattan prep school. The fun, sexy and dramatic hour is a perfect companion piece for Top Model's strong female audience, making Wednesday "Girls Night In" on The CW. On Thursday — television's most competitive night — Smallville and Supernatural deliver a solid mix of male and female viewers. On Friday, the wildly popular ... read more

Fox Announces Its Fall Schedule

The new dramas premiering this fall are K-Ville, starring Anthony Anderson and Cole Hauser as police officers in post-Katrina New Orleans; and New Amsterdam, the first American television project from Oscar-nominated director/producer Lasse Hallström, featuring newcomer Nikolaj Coster Waldau as a unique New York City homicide detective.The new comedy slated for fall is Back to You, from executive producers Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd. Set at a TV news station in Pittsburgh, the sitcom stars Emmy Award-winners Patricia Heaton and Kelsey Grammer, and is directed by James Burrows.The new unscripted series that will premiere this fall include The Search for the Next Great American Band(working title), a reality competition from the producers of American Idol, which will do for undiscovered groups what Idol has done for singers. From the producers of Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County, Nashville (working title) is an unscripted docu-soap featuring a group of ambitious you... read more

CW Upfront Coverage

11:05 CW president (and honorary "Girl") Dawn Ostroff takes the stage and welcomes us to the second CW Upfront.11:07 Last year was about establishing the network. This year is about not going out of business finding new hits. 11:09: Dawn's diving right into the sked, starting with Wednesday night. ANTM is staying put at 8 pm. Tyra's in the house!11:10 Tyra introduces a highlight reel from Cycles 7 and 8.11:11 While the clips play, let me take a moment to remind Mars fans that a press conference with Ostroff will immediately follow the upfront. And she better have good news for us. — Michael AusielloFor more of Mike's minute-by-minute coverage of the CW presentation, click here. read more

CBS Upfront Coverage

3:53: CBS is young and hip — and the net's got a DJ spinning records in front of the stage to prove it!3:57: You haven't lived until you've heard CBS' NFL theme song remixed with "We Will Rock You."4:01: Showtime! Oooh, we're starting with a musical number! A reggae group is welcoming us with a song about the Upfronts.4:05: Ladies and gentleman, make way for King Les Moonves!!4:10: "For the fifth year in a row, CBS is America's most watched network," Les proclaims. So humble, that one. 4:15: Les introduces a YouTube clip that a fan compiled featuring David Caruso's endless one-liners from CSI: Miami. Funny stuff. — Michael AusielloFor more of Mike's minute-by-minute coverage of the upfront presentation, click here. read more

CBS: Some Things Old, Something New

It seems smart to put The Amazing Race on the back burner for mid-season. With the gimmicky Family and All-Stars cycles, this most-honored of all reality-competition shows was beginning to look a bit played out. Less is more. CBS should make this show feel like an event, and the best way to do that is not to schedule it season-round. Leave us wanting more, and maybe more will come.Moving Without a Trace back to its old Thursday slot: Good idea. This season, it helped establish CBS' new Sunday strategy of a crime block to counter ABC's popular soaps. Now it can go back where it truly belongs, restoring some luster and stability to the toughest, most competitive night of the week. (And selfishly, I've had nothing to enjoy watching Thursdays at 10 pm since ABC yanked Men in Trees from its lineup. It'll be good to have Trace once again behind CSI.)And a big whew for CBS' mid-season renewal of The New Adventures of Old Christine. I love that show, and was worried that the mystifying succ... read more

CBS: We've Got Ratings, Now We Want Buzz!

It isn't enough for CBS to be the most-watched network. At the presentation of its new fall schedule, network execs announced they want their shows to be talked about, too.It's a new version of an old tune. For years, CBS has had the largest number of viewers, but many of them were old and not as desirable to advertisers. Recently, the network has gotten much more competitive for the 18-to-49-year-old crowd that Madison Avenue pays most for. Yet shows such as ABC's Ugly Betty get a lot more ink and watercooler chatter than the higher-rated Two and a Half Men or Survivor (CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler drove the point home to the audience at Carnegie Hall by citing how Betty's ratings have dropped 40 percent since its premiere).With a solid foundation of dependable hits, Tassler says this is the year she can afford to take a few programming risks to improve her share of buzz. Even if CBS' new shows fail, its regular program lineup will deliver ratings close to what it did t... read more

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