Upfront weekend roundup: CBS crosses its fingers that America is ready for more cop dramas
Here’s your roundup of TV upfront and scheduling news for the weekend:
• CBS was the final network to pick up any new series, and it picked up a surprising number for it. Usually, its status as TV’s version of the “Imperial March” from the Star Wars movies means that it can coast along by renewing just about everything and picking up one or two new shows to scare the shows on its schedule that underperform by making “only” the top 30 shows on TV, instead of the top 20. Yet the network picked up four new dramas—including two of the most buzzed about of the season—and two new comedies, though it passed on the highly touted Nick Stoller project, Entry Level. The network had flirted with picking that show, a single-camera comedy, up, before deciding that it was just too different from its usual multi-camera shows. CBS also picked up one new reality series.
In order to make room for all of that new stuff, the network also had to cancel some things. At least one of the shows canceled was a no-brainer. NYC 22, the Richard Price-created cop drama that withered on the vine on Sunday nights, was the rare CBS instant flop, so it was shown the door. Also not surprising was the cancellation of A Gifted Man, which had never managed to find any momentum on Friday nights. (No word on what this means for the continuing adventures of Frank Fisticuffs.) Slightly more surprising was the end of Unforgettable, which was TV’s number one new show for a time, before its spring episodes saw substantial ratings erosion. Poppy Montgomery, the series’ star, shouldn’t worry, as CBS will inevitably find some other series where she can pout while using some unusual ability to solve crimes. The network also canceled freshman comedy Rob, a show that did surprisingly well after Big Bang Theory, which will give you a good sense of just how bloodthirsty it was.
The biggest cancellation news, however, came for CSI: Miami, which will end its run without a proper series finale, after 10 seasons and 232 episodes. It’s doubtful that there was anybody hoping they’d get to see a moving finale in which David Caruso’s Horatio Caine donned his sunglasses one last time, but it’s still surprising to have a series this long-running simply be shown the door. This marks the first cancellation for the venerable CSI franchise, and fellow CSI spinoff, CSI: NY, was also on the bubble and has been for the last two seasons.
However, CSI: NY scored a last minute reprieve, perhaps because CBS can’t afford to piss off producer Jerry Bruckheimer too much after his series have brought so much success to the network, and CBS had already canceled CSI: Miami and passed on Bruckheimer’s pilot for the year. So Gary Sinise will have work, at least. Also renewed over the weekend (though less surprisingly) was Two And A Half Men, which will presumably continue to anchor the Monday night comedy bloc, now that Ashton Kutcher has signed for another season of laughs and penis jokes.
• The seven new series CBS has picked up for the 2012-13 season run the gamut from 100 percent exactly what you’d expect for a show on CBS to 90 percent exactly what you’d expect from a show on CBS. The “90 percent” show is Vegas, a new series starring Dennis Quaid and Michael Chiklis as law enforcement agents in Las Vegas. The thing that’s ever-so-slightly different here is that the series is set in the ‘60s and is based on the life of the real-life sheriff Ralph Lamb, who started out as a rodeo cowboy, then somehow ended up in law enforcement. Even though this is just the usual CBS story, just set in a different decade, it’s a fairly significant departure for the network, and it seems hard to go wrong with that cast.
The other series include:
- Elementary, a new drama starring Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu that purports to be a contemporary update of the Sherlock Holmes story. Despite the fact that we’ve already got a pretty great contemporary update of the Sherlock Holmes story, this one has had strong reviews for its script. Here’s hoping they don’t make Holmes and Watson kiss.
- Friend Me, a comedy starring Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Nicholas Braun and continuing the network’s confused embrace of technology and general inability to understand if you have to double click on the thing or if it’s just a single click this time. Can you maybe call Joey, hon? He would know how to operate this computer thing! Anyway, it’s a show about two friends who move to Los Angeles to work for Groupon, and that is literally the premise. They work for Groupon. Hon, what’s a Groupon?
- Golden Boy, a drama starring Theo James, Chi McBride, and Bonnie Somerville. It’s CBS’ one standard cop drama for the year, because it can’t quite give up its jones for the genre, no matter how hard it tries. James plays an officer who experiences a meteoric rise through the ranks, to detective, then to commissioner. Presumably, he just keeps on rising and ends up supreme potentate of the galaxy by the end of season two.
- The Job, the new reality series, from reality super-producer Mark Burnett. Though it maybe sounds like this one is about a bunch of unemployed people leaping for the scraps that Burnett offers as he cackles cruelly over the fact that he’ll only hire one of them to wash his car and only pay $25 to do so at that, it’s actually a series about competing for a job at an entertainment magazine, or, as we call it, Thursday. Hopefully there’s a challenge about dealing with asshole commenters.
- Made In Jersey, a legal drama that sounds like the network’s attempts to recapture that Good Wife magic, but make it more palatable to a younger, sexier audience. Janet Montgomery plays a working-class woman who put herself through law school and now uses her street smarts to win cases and work in a high-powered law firm. Kyle MacLachlan and Pablo Scheiber play her coworkers, who will presumably be stunned by her ability to know stuff, even though she didn’t go to boarding school.
- Partners, a sitcom from David Kohan and Max Mutchnick, the co-creators of Will & Grace. It stars Michael Urie and David Krumholtz as two architects, one straight and one gay, who find their partnership falling apart when the straight one proposes to his girlfriend, played by Sophia Bush (who just screams hilarity). Kohan and Mutchnick have been trying to get one variation or another of this made for years now, and here we are.
Entertainment Weekly has more about all of these.
• Finally, we know you wanted this story to have its own news update, and we were remiss in not telling you, but Last Man Standing has been renewed by ABC. Commence your celebrations.