Upfront roundup: ABC realizes if it wants to take the weekend off, it had better renew and cancel some stuff
Just when you thought upfronts news was over for the week, ABC goes and orders a bunch of new series—nine!—then cancels almost as many. The network’s moves are expected to essentially finalize the product it will have for the 2012-13 season, though there’s an outside chance it will pick up another comedy or two. Among the series picked up is the Shawn Ryan-produced sci-fi military drama Last Resort about the crew of a nuclear submarine that declares itself an autonomous nuclear nation after refusing to fire its nuclear missiles. Andre Braugher stars, with Autumn Reeser and Scott Speedman in supporting roles. Basically, this just became the Internet’s favorite show, and we’re sure someone on Tumblr is already starting up a campaign to send ABC miniature nuclear missiles to make sure it lives past season one.
The other shows picked up include:
- 666 Park Avenue, which is listed as a comedy but sounds more like a supernatural soap. It’s about a couple that runs into all manner of spookiness after moving into a historic apartment building. Terry O’Quinn stars, and if the title is any indication, the secret probably involves Bigfoot.
- Comeback Jack (formerly, ugh, Red Van Man), a sitcom about a man who’s forced to take over the family handyman business from his father. J.K. Simmons stars, so we can at least look forward to that.
- How To Live With Your Parents For The Rest Of Your Life, a comedy that really doesn’t want you to be confused about its premise, so it put it right there in the title. Sarah Chalke, Elizabeth Perkins, and Brad Garrett star.
- Malibu County, a comedy starring Reba McEntire and Lily Tomlin, in which McEntire plays a country singer who moves to the titular location after discovering her husband was cheating on her. Descriptions of the show label her as a "Southern spitfire," so you just know she won't fit in!
- Nashville, a drama that brings Connie Britton back to regular series TV, though probably not how you’d most like to see her. Also starring Eric Close, Hayden Panettiere, and Powers Boothe, it’s a family soap set in the world of country music and not a series version of the Altman film. The network seems high on it.
- The Neighbors, a comedy starring Jamie Gertz and Max Charles about a couple that moves into a gated community and discovers that everybody living there is an alien, which, okay. Maybe it will follow the My Favorite Martian/Mork And Mindy/3rd Rock From The Sun pattern of having one really popular season before everybody gets tired of it.
- Red Widow, a drama based on a Dutch series about a woman (Radha Mitchell) who’s forced to take over her husband’s role in an organized crime family after he dies.
- Zero Hour, a drama starring Anthony Edwards as a skeptic who gets drawn into an elaborate global conspiracy, because shows about elaborate global conspiracies have been doing so well in the last 20 years or so.
There’s more information on the shows at Entertainment Weekly.
Those were the only eight series officially picked up. The network reportedly passed on all of its other pilots, though Deadline reports Americana, a soap set in the fashion world and starring Anthony LaPaglia, Emilie de Ravin, and Ken Olin, and American Judy, a comedy starring Judy Greer, aren’t quite dead yet, according to rumors. Indeed, the network reportedly likes Greer so much it may pick up Judy, then just toss out everything that isn’t her and start from scratch. Among the projects passed on was the Mandy Moore sitcom ABC had bid so heavily for, which is a slight surprise, if only because it just seems sort of cruel to pick on Mandy Moore like that.
All of those pickups, however, meant that something had to be canceled. As such, this is the last you’ll ever have to hear about GCB, Pan Am, The River, and Missing, all of which were sent packing. Well, it’s the last you’ll have to hear, except for that one guy who will inevitably invade comments sections for genre shows on ABC for years to come, saying, ”Hey, why didn’t ABC support THE RIVER?” with a link to his “SAVE THE RIVER” site. (Source: Hollywood Reporter)
Other ABC series received happier news, as they were renewed for additional seasons. As always, the network’s commitment to keeping Shonda Rhimes happy paid off, as both her promising newcomer Scandal and her long-running medical drama Private Practice received new season orders. Scandal, a Kerry Washington vehicle about a Washington, D.C., crisis manager, won the battle of the midseason dramas, mostly by hanging on to the meager audience it had while everything else was falling apart around it, but, hey, there are worse ways to stay on the air. This will probably be the final season for Private Practice, at least according to Deadline.
Also picked up was the Dana Delany series Body Of Proof, thought to be a goner because of its miniscule audience in the advertiser-coveted 18-49-year-old demographic. The show does well in international sales, so it received a 13-episode season three order, presumably so ABC can just continue to rake in the cash from Slovakia or wherever it is that people just can’t get enough of Dana Delany. (Source: Deadline)
The one renewal you might actually care about is Don’t Trust The B---- In Apartment 23, which will get a second season. The promising new comedy stars Krysten Ritter and Dreama Walker, and there’s no news yet on just how many episodes the network has ordered, nor which hideously incompatible show it will be forced to share a timeslot with. (Please say The Neighbors… please say The Neighbors…)
That leaves only Tim Allen comedy Last Man Standing still, er, outstanding, though a deal on that show is expected to close tonight. It also leaves CBS as the only network yet to make major pickups of new series, though that’s probably because it’s CBS, and it will do what it wants when it wants, and half of America will watch it and laugh uproariously at its antics. At some point, the network is going to have to officially change its slogan to “Fuck you. We’re CBS.”