An improving economic outlook, larger media budgets, and a preview of more than 80 new TV shows. Welcome to the Broadcast Upfront for 2010. As the major broadcast networks unveil their fall schedules, media analysts anticipate healthy pricing gains for the upcoming season.
As the 2010-11 TV season beckons, the Big Four--ABC, NBC, FOX and CBS have ordered a total of 84 pilots, more than half of which are comedies. Could this signal the end of the voracious appetite for unscripted reality fare? Only time will tell, but clearly momentum is back on the side of scripted programming, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
ABC - The number one broadcast network among teens and college students looks to make a splash starting with the police drama "Detroit 1-8-7." Michael Imperioli of Sopranos fame leads a cast of homicide detectives in rough and tumble Detroit. It definitely has a solid chance of resonating with a large segment of the viewing audience who are current fans of "CSI" and "Law & Order." Another new show of note is "My Generation," which clearly has the youth audience in mind as a key viewing target. The style is somewhat "Officesque" in nature as a documentary crew follows a group of graduating high school students as they receive their diplomas circa 2000. Ten years later, the documentary crew is back checking in to see what's up with the now group of twentysomethings and how life has been for them throughout a tumultuous decade of events, tragedies and milestones.
NBC - Sex and romance take the cake with the premiere of "Love Bites" which is slotted in the super strategic Thursday 10pm timeslot so you have to think the folks at NBC have high hopes for it. It wasn't too long ago that many of our female panelists posted about how disappointed they were with the cancellation of "Lipstick Jungle" so it looks as if "Love Bites" will help fill their void. And not to be undone, "Undercovers" features a married couple who join the CIA in order to keep the spark in their marriage going. Perhaps it is a bit reminiscent of Brad and Angelina in "Mr. & Mrs. Smith."
FOX - Get ready for "Running Wilde," a new romantic comedy starring Will Arnett from "Arrested Development" and former "Felicity" star Keri Russell. Arnett stars as an immature but extremely wealthy son of an oil tycoon who will do just about anything to win the affection from his childhood sweetheart played by Russell. Of course, we have to mention, "Terra Nova" which is being exec produced by none other than Stephen Spielberg. Fast forward to the year 2149 and things aren't going so well here on Earth. There is overdevelopment, too many people and lots of pollution. Now, here is where things really get interesting. A team of scientists develop a mechanism that allows a few chosen people to go back in time, all the way back to prehistoric Earth as a dramatic and last ditch effort to save the world by correcting the mistakes of the past.
CBS - Things get going immediately with "$#*! My Dad Says" which marks a return to TV for William Shatner. We assume the four letter words starts with an "s" and end with a "t." Pretty risque move for the most conservative of the Big Four. The half hour comedy stars Shatner as a dad with a somewhat checkered past in the marriage department going through three divorces. He hopes to correct mistakes of the past (seems like the theme of choice for the new season) by taking in his youngest son with the goal of being the father he never was. Expect one-liners galore with this new comedy. And how about one more blast from the past, with the vibrant return of "Hawaii Five-O." It's the same beautiful setting in the land of Aloha with an even more beautiful cast of characters fighting the bad guys.
We'll have much more data to share and heck of a lot more visibility when we engage panelists next month in support of the Fall 2010 TV Show Preview & Outlook report. The report will be available in early August. From the Emmy Award-winning