Monday, May 16, 2005

Another season, another tired NBC schedule

Ah, sweeps.

Not only do we traditionally some of the broadcast networks' biggest programming blockbusters in May, but we also get the new fall schedules from those selfsame webs.

NBC, which ran in fourth place most of this season, became the first of the networks to release its new lineup. From the perspective of this viewer, it looks as though the Peacock Channel is settling in for another year of bringing up the rear.

Here are some of the new offerings NBC plans for the fall:
  • Fathom: Oceanographers chase sea monsters. Jacques Cousteau on steroids — yeah, that'll be exciting. This certain loser stars Lake Bell, late of Boston Legal, perhaps the least appealing actress on television. NBC, you're gonna need a bigger boat.

  • Three Wishes: Amy Grant travels the country doing nice things for people. (Hopefully not including stealing their husbands, which is the nice thing Amy did for Vince Gill's previous wife.) Think of this as Extreme Makeover: Cloying Country Singer Edition.

  • E-Ring: Jerry Bruckheimer sends Benjamin Bratt and Dennis Hopper to work at the Pentagon. Could be interesting, but that title sounds eerily like the gizmo that made Space Shuttle Challenger blow up.

  • My Name is Earl: A slacker wins the lottery. I laughed when I heard about this one because the legendary a cappella group The Bobs once recorded a song called "She Made Me Name You Earl," about a guy whose girlfriend hangs a new affectionate nickname on his (according to the lyrics) "precious family jewel." I'm guessing the people behind this series have never heard that song. At least, I hope that isn't what they have in mind.

  • Inconceivable: Ming-Na headlines this medical drama as a doctor working in a fertility clinic. I don't think this show means what you think it means.

  • The Apprentice: Martha Stewart: Exactly what it sounds like. As if The Donald weren't obnoxious enough.
Two big surprises on the Peacock sked, at least to me.

First, NBC canned the newest Law & Order iteration, Trial By Jury. Too bad — TBJ (not to be confused with the similarly initialed sandwich) is an intriguing show crippled by the oversaturation of its corporate brand (had it not been tagged as an L&O spinoff, lowered expectation might have given it a better chance of survival) and the ghost of Jerry Orbach. Bebe Neuwirth deserved better.

Second, NBC reupped the new Stateside version of the British sitcom The Office, despite abysmal ratings. Good for them for taking a shot at keeping alive a quality show that, due to its quirky nature, needs extra time to find its own level and audience. Most TV critics had written this one off as a goner.

(This article is cross-posted to my film/television blog at DVD Verdict.)

3 insisted on sticking two cents in:

Blogger Sam offered these pearls of wisdom...

"The Office is still open. YEAH!

10:33 PM  
Blogger Joel offered these pearls of wisdom...

Yikes. Haven't watched any of the major networks in years since discovering cable.

And I see I'm not missing much.

8:22 AM  
Blogger Janet offered these pearls of wisdom...

See, I knew The Office would pull through. Ratings schmatings I say. I thought the show was doing well amongst real people, not some statistic.

Speaking of, let's all bow our heads in a moment of silence for the late, great American Dreams.:( Instead NBC opted for the "high road" greenlighting shows such as Martha Stewart's Apprentice and another dose of The Biggest Loser.

3:36 PM  

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