Amy Poehler and Adam Scott
Hey, network TV, turns out we kind of missed you over the long, reality-clogged summer. You showed back up, so we did, too. Some bleary-eyed musing to follow.
Starting with the Shocker of the Week, by which I mean the solid but hardly spectacular early numbers for Fox's mega-hyped The X Factor, opening to about half the business American Idol typically commands. I consider this a punishment for Simon Cowell's ghastly America's Got Talent, which this year rewarded yet another soon-to-be-forgotten singer. Blech. To be fair, by any other standards, X is an instant success, and puts Fox into a competitive position on two historically tough nights. But no matter Fox's spin...
Just three days before its September 22 premiere, ABC's new Charlie's Angels finally settled on an actor to replace Robert Wagner as the voice of detective agency owner Charles Townsend — former Alias star Victor Garber. "They were in a panic. I think my agent was negotiating with someone in the Emmys audience," says Garber, who has the same gentlemanly grace as the late John Forsythe, Charlie on the original series and in two feature films. "This is an out-of-the-blue, out-of-body experience. I'm just happy they settled on me."
This busy premiere week is far from over. Here's a night-by-night look at how the weekend is shaping up this fall, with some thoughts on the new-season pilots, several key season premieres, and other highlights.
The Night in a Nutshell: If you're not a CBS loyalist on this low-viewership night, then it's best to have a healthy appetite for cult TV. CBS is expected to rule as usual, with the new A Gifted Man grafting the popular voices-from-beyond genre of Ghost Whisperer and Medium with a medical procedural, leading in to CSI: NY (which barely got renewed this year) and Blue Bloods. Once again, Fox's mind-blowing Fringe and the CW's undying Supernatural duke it out for out-there enthusiasts, with the underrated spy thriller Nikita taking over Smallville's old time period. NBC enters the game in mid-October, launching the final 13 episodes of Chuck alongside the third supernatural offering in the 9/8c time period: the fairy-tale/mystery hybrid Grimm. Reality fans will soon be able to choose among ABC's transplanted Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and Shark Tank and Fox's Kitchen Nightmares.
Have you ever wanted to love someone, but everything they do turns you off?
Jenna Elfman and Thomas Gibson
The biggest surprise of Monday night's big Two and a Half Men season premiere may have been the unexpected appearance of Dharma & Greg stars Jenna Elfman and Thomas Gibson.
While much of the episode's secrets had already leaked — from the death of Charlie Harper to the funeral appearance of his old girlfriends — the show managed to keep the cameos by Elfman and Gibson a complete secret.
Kiefer Sutherland's back at Fox and once again looking to save the world, but this time with a twist. Fox has given a firm series order to Touch, a new drama starring Sutherland as the father of a 10-year-old boy with an unusual gift.
Fox had previously announced Touch as a contender for midseason, but executives wanted to first see the show's pilot before committing to a full pickup. Producers delivered the show to the network earlier this month, and Fox executives liked what they saw.
Touch has been given a 13-episode order and will air some time in spring 2012 on Fox, although the network has not yet given it a firm airdate....
And now, the main event. At least that's how Thursdays used to feel in past seasons. But according to the early returns in this new season's ratings race, Mondays and Tuesdays have their share of powerhouse shows as well, including the revamped Two and a Half Men and the delightful New Girl. Here's a quick overview of Thursday's programming strategies, with thoughts on tonight's pilots and some of the more notable returns.
Thursday in a Nutshell: Fox has officially planted its flag on this night ...