As an introduction to those of you who are not familiar with me, let me start by saying that I am a former development executive and personal manager, who has well over 20 years in the Entertainment Industry. This should qualify me as having something interesting to say with regard to general trends in show business. Right now, my day gig is hustling my ass off to survive as a screenwriter and reality television genius (Hey! If I don’t think so, who the hell else will?!). To that end, I am actively seeking representation, hence the blog as a kind of pr vehicle. For more information about me and what I’m up to as a writer, please go to my corporate website: http://www.cinemaprofound.com. Now, back to the fall television line up.
What I found interesting about the network prime time schedule for this fall is that scripted television is back. Out of 46 shows due to make their network premiere only four are unscripted programming, better known as “reality” television, and 2 others are animated/cartoons. This development should bring a collective sigh of relief to the scores of unemployed writers who were facing a dismal future with the past onslaught of reality programming. For me personally, it’s also good news, because it tells me that the processed garbage that has been dominating the unscripted market is failing and that projects like mine, will be there to fill the void. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus! As an aside, I always crack up when unscripted TV is referred to as “reality” because in my opinion, if that’s reality, there should be a booming psychiatric and specifically, anger management industry.
An observation is that out of the four networks, only ABC has their online act together. Their website is not only well designed and attractive, it is easy to navigate and informative. The other three networks should fire their web designers and if they’re in the market for a replacement, I’d be happy to recommend someone.
Out of the four new reality shows, only one looks promising to me, and that is The CW‘s H8R (Hater), Wednesdays 8-9PM/EST airs 9/14. This is a really interesting concept. The show pairs up celebrities with people who are not enamored with them. In a casting coup, Kim Kardashian and Snooki will kick off the show’s premiere. Add to the mix Mario Lopez as the show’s host, and Mike Fleiss (Creator of The Bachelor) as Executive Producer and it looks like a hit to me. Another interesting note on the reality front is that three of this season’s new shows are out of The CW (H8R, The Frame and Re-Modeled) and the fourth — The XFactor — is premiering on Fox. The Big Three (ABC, NBC and CBS) apparently passed. A quick note about The XFactor, normally I would be running to see anything with Simon Cowell attached, but for some reason, I’m not feeling it this time. I could be wrong, but I don’t think so.
My returning favorites are:
News: Primetime and 20/20 — Reality: Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Shark Tank and Secret Millionaire — Drama: Castle and Desperate Housewives — Comedy: Cougar Town
My top choices in order of preference are:
Missing — Executive Producers are Gina Matthews and Grant Scharbo (The Gates), James Parriott (Ugly Betty, Grey’s Anatomy), and Director Steve Shill from Dexter. The Production Company is Stillking Films in conjunction with ABC Studios and Little Engine Productions. This is Ashley Judd‘s vehicle and for that reason alone, I’ll be watching. >>>> One of the features that I will be writing in the near future is a paranormal thriller that I have developed specifically for Ms. Judd, so my interest is obvious.<<<< STORY: The concept is that widow and ex-CIA agent, Becca Winstone (Judd) goes to Europe to find her son, Michael (Nick Eversman), who went Missing while a student overseas. Add to the drama the element that Paul Winstone (Sean Bean), her husband, also a former CIA agent, was murdered 10 years ago and it’s obvious that this is going to be a taut thriller from start to finish. Rounding out the cast are Cliff Curtis, Adriano Giannini and Tereza Voriskova.
Revenge — Wednesdays 10-11PM/EST airs 9/21 — Has a dream team that in my mind spells success, including Executive Producer/Writer: Mike Kelley of Jericho and The O.C., along with Executive Producers Marty Bowen Wyck Godfrey (both from the Twilight series) and Executive Producer/Director Phillip Noyce of Salt fame, alongside ABC Studios. STORY: I love the concept of this show. Emily Thorne (Emily Van Camp from Brothers & Sisters) moves back to the Hamptons with REVENGE on her mind. What works for me is the fun setting as well as the duplicity of Emily’s character: an outsider who’s really an insider, an innocent face masking a shadow self. I love it already! A killer cast also makes this exciting: Madeleine Stowe, Gabriel Mann, Henry Czerny, Ashley Madekwe, Nick Weschsler, Josh Bowman, Christa B. Allen and Connor Paolo.
The River — Executive Producer Steven Spielberg; Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey from Las Vegas; Jason Blum and Oren Peli from Paranormal Activity; Steve Schneider, Executive Producers/Writers are Michael R. Perry and Michael Green, Story by: Perry, Green and Oren Peli; the Director is Jaume Collet-Serra, with ABC Studios teaming with Dreamworks and Good PR Productions, L.L.C. STORY: The trailer looked to be a combination of Lost meets Jurassic Park, so it should be a lot of fun to watch. Wildlife expert and TV personality Emmet Cole (Bruce Greenwood) is filming what would become one of the most popular shows in television, while he disappears in the Amazon. Six months after he vanished, Dr. Cole’s emergency beacon suddenly goes off (of course!). To fund the rescue, his wife, Tess (Leslie Hope from The Mentalist) and his son Lincoln (Joe Anderson) agree to let Dr. Cole’s former producer, Clark (Paul Blackthorne from The Gates), film the mission as a documentary. The cast includes Paulina Gaitan, Eloise Mumford, Shaun Parkes, Thomas Kretschmann and Daniel Zacapa. The series is shot on location in Puerto Rico.
Freshman Dramas Worth Monitoring:
Charlie’s Angels — Thursdays 8-9PM/EST airs 9/22 — Drew Barrymore and Nancy Juvonen‘s Flower Films is Executive Producing along with Smallville‘s Team of Alfred Gough and Miles Millar and Television Icon Leonard Goldberg along with Marcos Siega (also Directing). This is what I call Power Television. Needless to say, this is Drew’s baby and for her sake I hope it doesn’t tank. I’ll be honest with you, I’m not sold on it. I think there is little left that hasn’t already been seen in the franchise, but I’ll give it a look. Casting wise, they have done well, with Annie Ilonzeh from Entourage, Parenthood‘s Minka Kelly and Rachel Taylor of Grey’s Anatomy as the Angels and Ramon Rodriguez from The Wire as Bosley.
Once A Upon A Time — Sundays 8-9PM/EST airs 10/23 — Lost Executive Producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis (Writer), along with Steve Pearlman of V; Entourage Director Mark Mylod paired with ABC Studios bring another altered reality mystery to the small screen. This time, a young bail bonds collector, Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison of House M.D.) reconnects with her young son, whom she previously abandoned as a baby. Her son, Henry (Jared Gilmore from Mad Men) believes that Emma actually comes from an alternate world and is Snow White and Prince Charming’s missing daughter. He believes that they sent her away to protect her from the Evil Queen’s curse (played by Lana Parrilla who I loved in Swingtown), which trapped the fairytale world forever, frozen in time, and brought them into our modern world, in a town called Storybrooke. Like a classic fairytale, a battle ensues between good and evil and the real world versus Storybrooke. The rest of the cast includes Ginnifer Goodwin, Robert Carlyle, Jamie Dorman, Josh Dallas and Raphael Sbarge.
PAN AM — Sundays 10-11PM/EST airs 9/25 — Another Dream Team with Executive Producer/Writer Jack Orman (ER); Executive Producer/Director: Tommy Schlamme (The West Wing) and Executive Producer: Nancy Hult Ganis in association with: Sony Television Pictures, Shoe Money Productions, Jack Orman Productions and Out of the Blue Entertainment. STORY: The big story here is that Christina Ricci plays Maggie. You don’t have to be a jet pilot to figure out what the theme is here. Set in the 1960’s it’s a period piece combining the women’s movement with the Mile High Club. The attraction for me is Ricci and the rest of the cast: Kelli Garner, Karine Vanasse, Margot Robbie, Mike Vogel and Michael Mosley.
Apartment 23 — Tuesdays 9:30-10PM/EST mid-season replacement — Executive Producers are Nahnatchka Khan from American Dad; Modern Family’s Jason Winer and Jeff Morton, and David Hemingson of How I Met Your Mother in association with 20th Century Fox Television. Apartment 23 was one of eight honorees in the Most Exciting New Series category at the Critics’ Choice Television Awards held this past June, voted by journalists who had seen the pilots. This is not a guarantee of success, but it’s a good sign. STORY: A naïve Midwestern girl’s Big Apple dreams turn to harsh reality her first week when she finds herself living with her worst nightmare. Think two young chicks as The Odd Couple meets a less lethal Single White Female. Being a sitcom, largely based in an apartment setting, there are the weirdo cast of characters. With life imitating art, James Van Der Beek of Dawson’s Creek will be playing a fictional version of himself. The two leads are Krysten Ritter from Gravity as Chloe and The Good Wife‘s Dreama Walker as June. I usually find sitcoms a snooze fest, but this one looks promising and in a brilliant move, it’s following Courtney Cox’s hugely successful Cougar Town.
Look for upcoming reviews for the new shows coming to CBS and The CW Thursday.
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