This featured article is one of a series in which pilots each of the networks have ordered to series for the coming fall schedule are listed in detail. Skip to the bottom to find links to others and more information.
I begin this series with NBC, which has Monday all to itself as far as upfront presentations go. ABC comes on Tuesday, CBS on Wednesday, while Fox and The CW share Thursday. NBC has picked up 1 new sitcom, 5 hour-long dramas, and 1 reality show.
Of all the networks, NBC has the least to lose, primarily because they are dead last in the ratings amongst the big four. On the other hand, they obviously have the most to gain, so this should hopefully be rather interesting. You can skip to a particular genre if you'd like (Sitcom, Drama, Reality) or take them one at a time.
From: David Guarascio, Joe Port, Moses Port, and Joe Wiseman. There are obviously a lot of hands in on this, but there are solid backgrounds to be had with experience writing for Mad About You, Just Shoot Me!, and Dilbert. The plot is traditional office fair, with a main cast setup as socially inept, but a hot boss to balance things out and setup the amusing contrasts.
The IT Crowd had 6 episodes ordered for the 2007-2008 fall season and is currently in production.
synopsis: A team of computer geeks work in the IT department of a major company.
From: David Eick and Laeta Kalogridis. David Eick of course is serving as EP on Battlestar Galactica, and will pull double duty as creator and EP of Bionic Woman. BSG Alumna Katee Sackhoff has been cast to play character "Sarah" in what appears to be another "reimagining", a phrase that gets people all excited but often falls flat on its face for being too constrained.
Bionic is one of five new dramas announced by NBC so far in what I'm sure is a desperate attempt to find a partner for onetime hit Heroes, which has seen a decline in ratings near the end of its first season. I'm sure NBC would love nothing more than to use Bionic to get another night going, because Monday along just isn't going to cut it.
This figures to be an expensive production and a big risk on something I don't see catching on.
synopsis: A reimagining of the popular 1970s TV series about a female athlete who is given bionic strength.
From: Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz. Fedak had no credits listed in imdb.com, but that doesn't mean much, the database isn't perfect. Schwartz on the other hand created The O.C. which means he probably knows what he's doing, and the plot actually sounds pretty nifty.
Chuck is about a compter-whiz type who gets an email from his friend, a CIA agent (ugh) which magically transfers all the CIA's secrets into his brain. I've only really got one thing to say about this series: Adam Baldwin is in it, which is good enough for me, but it'll probably not make it past its initial order of 13 episodes.
synopsis: An offbeat look at young spies in their twenties.
From: Kevin Falls and Alex Graves. Journeyman is about a (reporter?) who finds his perfect life disrupted by a new found ability (or inability not to) travel through time. Strongly-tied episodic (think Stargate SG-1, but not quite Lost), I can see most of the weekly stories will be about what this guy does as he bounces around through time affecting other peoples lives (e.g. Quantum Leap) while the main story revolves around him discovering what happened to his missing ex-fiance.
Both Falls and Graves are veterans of Aaron Sorkin's The West Wing and Sports Night, so at least they'll know how to make a well-produced show. Will it hold up though? Could compliment Heroes very well in my opinion, if they can keep it fresh each week.
synopsis: A man travels back in time to help people in trouble.
From: Rand Ravich and David Semel. About a cop that was wrongly accused of a crime, imprisoned, and now tries to reacclimate to his old job and a new, hard life. Ravich doesn't have any significant credits to his name that would lead me to believe that he's capable of pulling his weight as a creator and executive producer. Semel has served short stints as producer on Heroes and House.
I'm not sure they have the collective talent at the top to pull this off, nor do I think people really want yet another cop drama. I don't give it real high hopes or chances.
synopsis: A former police officer returns to the force after having been wrongly imprisoned for years.
From: Candace Bushnell, DeAnn Heline, and Eileen Heisler. Based on another book by Candace Bushnell (Sex and the City), this series sounds pretty much like a rehashing of old themes, this time on NBC instead of HBO, this time an hour-long drama instead of a half-hour dramedy.
DeAnn and Heisler appear to be a writing team that go everywhere together, some of them good, some of them bad. One real tangible benefit (if you consider it as such) is a staring role for Brooke Shields. Frankly, that's all they have going for it. Don't get me wrong, if they bring to the screen everything they did with Sex and the City, it'll probably be decent quality content, but networks have different audiences than pay cable channels do and it probably won't survive here.
synopsis: N/A -- think Sex and the City, 2.0.
The Baby Borrowers (unannounced but in production)
From: Richard McKerron. I think it's best if I just let the NBC press release do all of the dirty work for me.
NBC will begin production on "The Baby Borrowers," an intriguing new alternative series based on the hit British program that asks five teenage couples - ages 16 to 19 - to set up a home and begin fast-tracking on parenthood by becoming caring parents first to a baby, then a toddler, pre-teen and grandparents - all over the course of one month.
Six episodes have been ordered, and I have no other information.
synopsis: N/A -- a reality/game show where parenting is turned into a game, literally.
There's no way NBC will retake the ratings crown with this lineup, but they may be able to scare up another Heroes'esque hit with Journeyman if they play their cards right. I hope for their sake the other networks do worse. Up next will be ABC on Tuesday, and any updates for NBC as they come in.
Update: Monday, 5PM NBC has made their announcements and every series I have listed here (which I compiled last night, long before the press release) is now confirmed, along with one that I missed due to a mixup from other sources.
I reported a few days ago that NBC was going to create a series of web-only videos for Heroes called "Origin", which were supposed to be a set of behind-the-scene's videos on the production of the show itself. They were supposed to be short, and in a limited run, and it turns out either someone screwed up the leak, or it was misinformation.
I suppose that doesn't matter, the real news is that Origin will be an extremely limited run of original Heroes episodes not featuring the original series cast, one that will air in between the end of season 1 and the beginning of season 2 of the original show on NBC. Viewers will have a chance to vote which characters from this nugget will join the regular cast when the original returns.
I've also noticed that other sites covering this information have missed things that I have listed, though the reality show wasn't in NBC's announcement either. It is still listed as ordered-to-series so they may just be holding it back to fill in for any of the new series that fail. We'll have to wait and see.
I've updated this sheet with the time slot information, hope it looks alright.
This featured article is one of a series in which pilots each of the networks have ordered to series for the coming fall schedule are listed in detail. As each network takes their turn making official "upfront" announcements this coming week (May 14-17) these pages may be updated at any time. Much of this information has been gathered from outside sources. A huge thanks to The Futon Critic for making their development tracker available to the public. Without it, this series would not even be possible.
Part 1: NBC, Part 2: ABC, Part 3: CBS, Part 4: FOX. (links will go live as new parts become available.)