Network upfront season is all but over, with NBC, Fox, ABC, and CBS all having announced their fall schedules, but that doesn’t mean there’s not still news trickling out. The CW picked up a bunch of shows and canceled a few more yesterday (acting as though it’s still a network people care about, which is cute), while Turner networks TNT and TBS are proceeding with a technical difficulties-plagued upfront right now. (The CW announces tomorrow.)
The big news out of TNT is that The Closer “franchise” will continue on after the parent series ends after the next season, with Mary McDonnell taking her Closer character to a new series called Major Crimes, according to the network’s press release. We’d say this is just a way to wring a little more money out of the network’s most successful show, but we like Mary McDonnell when she’s being all commanding and stuff, so we won’t snark too much. (Just a little. Major Crimes was seriously the best name you could come up with, TNT?)
TNT also continues its attempt to become the new CBS by launching a franchise called The TNT Tuesday Night Mystery this fall, which will consist of two-hour TV movie adaptations of true crime stories and mystery novels. The broadcast networks, having largely abandoned TV movies years ago, thanks to both expense, low ratings, and poor demographics, offered a nod in TNT’s general direction and said, “Good luck with that.” The network also listed an impressively large number of series “in development” (which mostly means TNT is probably having somebody write a script sometime, maybe), the most ludicrous of which is about a woman who searches for missing people with her best friend, who is a dog. (We’d write a joke, but the press release literally lists the dog as her best friend, so that’s really more sad than anything else, even if she’s fictional.) Most of the other pilots in consideration at the network have ties to CBS in some way, shape, or form. The network also reminded us Rizzoli & Isles is the number one show on basic cable, which was one of those moments when we considered switching careers.
TBS, meanwhile, announced that Conan O’Brien will take his solidly successful (at least among the young whippersnapper set) talk show to New York (from Oct. 31 through Nov. 3) and Chicago (sometime in 2012). It also confirmed its pickup of new hourlong dramedy The Wedding Band, starring Brian Austin Green and Harold Perrineau as giant, anthropomorphic wedding rings… scratch that, starring Brian Austin Green and Harold Perrineau as members of the titular band, who probably look for love or the perfect cover of “Addicted To Love.” TBS also listed a number of pilots in development, but you’ll never actually watch any of them even if they make it to air, so what do you care?
Meanwhile, over at The CW, the mood is bright and the focus is on attracting the ever younger audience the network craves, needing precious blood to stay alive. This is exactly why it renewed a show nine seasons old (One Tree Hill) for no particular reason, since last night’s episode would have worked tremendously well as a series finale. So now Sophia Bush has something to do for the next year, at least. The network also picked up action-drama Nikita and canceled cheerleading show Hellcats, meaning Alyson Michalka will have to go be attractive in person somewhere.
The network also solidified its commitment to the youth of today by picking up shows starring people best known for their work on Buffy The Vampire Slayer and The O.C. Ringer, which stars Sarah Michelle Gellar, is a CBS cast-off about a woman who goes on the run from the mob and, naturally enough, assumes the identity of her twin sister because the youth of today appreciate sound decision making. Also on tap for next season is Hart Of Dixie from Gossip Girl producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, a cutesy small-town medical drama starring Rachel Bilson as someone very like Rachel Bilson who somehow became a doctor and didn’t have to sell out to Big Ice Cream. Finally, the network picked up The Secret Circle from Vampire Diaries producer Kevin Williamson, which is about witches. And everybody loves witches.
The network also picked up a variety of reality series, including H8er, that show where Mario Lopez forces celebrities to talk to people who claim to hate them, and Re-modeled, which is about small-time modeling agencies and may bridge the gap between seasons of Next Top Model. The real prize here, however, is The Frame, where the premise is literally just whether or not teams of people can live in a single room. This sounds like The Sims, the series, which means that The CW will eventually take away the door and the contestants will die. Sign us up.