Friday, May 20, 2016

CBS Upfronts 2016-17

cbslogo200Well hopefully this will post properly without devestating the FOX upfronts post or destroying the multiverse.

CBS is the most viewed TV network in the United States, although there are those who say that that doesn’t matter since their appeal to the lower part of the 18-49 demographic isn’t great. Unlike last year, when CBS introduced Supergirl to appeal to that part of the demographic (since superheroes and comic book based shows are doing well on The CW), the network doesn’t really seem to be making a huge effort to latch on to the Millennials. In fact they’ve even exiled last year’s “great young hope” to The CW. Yes, Supergirl, which did decent but not spectacular ratings number has gone to play with The Flash, Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow at The CW (and in Vancouver). Also missing but not yet dead is Limitless which CBS is hoping to relocate to some other network. Coincidentally I liked both of these shows. Oh well.

Angel From Hell, CSI: Cyber, The Good Wife, Mike & Molly, Person Of Interest, Rush Hour

2 Broke Girls, 48 Hours, 60 Minutes, The Amazing Race, The Big Bang Theory, Blue Bloods, Code Black, Criminal Minds, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, Elementary, Hawaii Five-0, Life In Pieces, Madam Secretary, Mom, NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, NCIS: New Orleans, The Odd Couple, Scorpion, Survivor, Thursday Night Football, Undercover Boss

New Shows
Bull, Doubt, The Great Indoors, Kevin Can Wait, MacGyver, Man With A Plan, Pure Genius, Training Day

Fall Schedule By Day (New Series in Caps)

8-8:30 p.m. The Big Bang Theory (until mid-October) KEVIN CAN WAIT
8:30-9 p.m. KEVIN CAN WAIT (until mid-October) MAN WITH A PLAN
9-9:30 p.m. 2 Broke Girls (new day and time)
9:30-10 p.m. The Odd Couple (new day and time)
10-11 p.m. Scorpion (new time)

8-9 p.m. NCIS
9-10 p.m. BULL
10-11 p.m. NCIS: New Orleans

8-9 p.m. Survivor
9-10 p.m. Criminal Minds
10-11 p.m. Code Black

Thursday (Starting October 27)
8-8:30 p.m. The Big Bang Theory
9-9:30 p.m. Mom
9:30-10 p.m. Life In Pieces
10-11 p.m. PURE GENIUS

8-9 p.m. MACGYVER
9-10 p.m. Hawaii Five 0
10-11 p.m. Blue Bloods

7-8 p.m. 60 Minutes
8-9 p.m. NCIS: Los Angeles (new day and time)
9-10 p.m. Madam Secretary (new time)
10-11 p.m. Elementary

Kevin Can Wait stars Kevin James as a newly retired NYPD Sergeant (named Kevin)who has big plans for his retirement including chilling with his family and having epic adventures with his friends and fellow retirees (like combining go karts and paintball). The problem is that Kevin’s wife Donna (Erinn Hayes) has withheld certain key information from him, meaning that the challenges he’s going to have to face at home are going to be greater than those he faced on the job (like keeping himself from killing his eldest daughter’s fiance).

Man With A Plan marks Matt LeBlanc’s return to American broadcast network TV. He plays Adam, a contractor who decides to become a stay at home dad while his wife Andi (Jessica Chaffin) goes back to work. He doesn’t know what he’s in for. He – and his kids – expects that he can get away with being “daddy fun times” but he soon discovers that in their own ways his kids are maniacs. He needs to learn the tricks of getting control of his brood from other parents who’ve been there.

Bull is Dr. Jason Bull (Michael Weatherly) is one of the top jury consultants in the country. He and his team use psychological analysis, intuition and high tech data to learn what makes lawyers, witnesses, and especially jurors tick. Weatherly’s character is based on Dr. Phil McGraw who, before he became a TV psychologist, was the founder of one of the top trial consulting firms ever. McGraw is one of the show’s executive producers, along with Steven Spielberg.

In The Great Indoors, Kevin McHale plays Jack a renowned outdoor adventure writer who suddenly finds himself supervising a collection of millennial online journalists when Roland (Stephen Fry), the founder of the magazine he works for, decides to take the magazine “all-digital.”  Complicating matters even more is the fact that he report has to report to Roland’s daughter Brooke (Susannah Fielding). If Jack can manage to decipher his co-workers he might be able to get them to realize that the outside world something more that an image on the screen.

Pure Genius is a medical drama with a focus on the marriage of high technology and medicine. Young Silicon Valley tech billionaire James Bell (Augustus Pew) has built Bunker Hill Hospital to revolutionize health care and take on the rarest and most challenging medical mysteries, all free of charge. Bell persuade Dr. Walter Wallace (Dermot Mulroney), a maverick neurosurgeon who believes medicine is a human rather than a technological endeavour, to be the hospital’s chief of staff. Bell has assembled a group of trailblazing young doctors to pursue his goals.

MacGyver is a re-imagining of the 1980’s series starring Lucas Till as Angus “Mac” MacGyver who uses his vast scientific knowledge and talent for improvisational problem solving to save lives while on missions for a clandestine organization that he created within the US government. Among those working with him is Lincoln (George Eads) a maverick former CIA agent.

Debuting at mid-season, Training Day is a sequel to the movie of the same name. Bill Paxton plays morally ambiguous Detective Frank Rourke who heads up the LAPD’s Special Investigation Section. Frank has built a team that is devoted to him, but his tendency to operate in the grey areas has led Deputy Chief Joy Lockhart (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) to assign untarnished rookie Kyle Craig (Justin Cornwell) as Frank’s new trainee so that he can report on Frank and the SIS’s methods. However as Frank introduces Justin to the ways of the streets they form an uneasy alliance that could change both of them.

Doubt is another series debuting at mid-season. Sadie Ellis (Katherine Heigl) is a brilliant attorney with a boutique law firm who falls in love with her client Bill Brennan (Steven Pasquale), an altruistic pediatric surgeon accused of the murder of his girlfriend 24 years before. Sadie conceals her feelings towards Bill from everyone including her best friend and colleague Albert Cobb (Dule Hill) who thingks he knows everything about her. Among the other lawyers at the firm are its revered founder Isaiah Roth (Elliott Gould) and Cameron Wirth, a transgender Ivy League graduate who fights passionately for her clients (Lavern Cox, who plays Cameron, is the frst transgender performer to play a transgender character as a series regular in a broadcast network series).

I am not very enthusiastic about most of the new CBS lineup. And it’s not just because my favourite show, The Amazing Race, is being held for mid-season (although that’s part of it). The new comedy series really don’t inspire much confidence from me. Certainly Kevin Can Wait and Man With A Plan seem like rehashes of concepts we have seen so many times before just with “big names.” The don’t inspire me and I can’t help but feeling that by the end of the 2016-17 season (if not before) CBS will regret sending Supergirl off to The CW (and keeping Limitless in limbo). The Great Indoors might be okay; on the other hand it might turn into just another workplace comedy, a type that CBS frankly doesn’t do well. I’m betting (metaphorically speaking) on the latter.

MacGyver follows a trend that I mentioned in the FOX post, reviving a show that had a perfectly good send-off for no other reason than name recognition. I haven’t seen the trailer for the series (CBS has region-blocked their trailers this year, and while I was able to track down trailers for some of he network’s shows, I didn’try to get them all) so I can’t comment on what they’re putting on the screen, but somehow it just doesn’t feel like a good idea.

Bull has a potentially interesting concept, a popular lead actor in Michael Weatherly and gives it an excellent time slot between two big CBS powerhouses (with ties to Weatherly) in NCIS and NCIS: New Orleans I can see this show doing well in the ratings while being totally ignored by the critics because it isn’t exciting or controversial. As for Pure Genius, the concept sounds a bit out there; a gimmicky medical show that isn’t the background for romantic entanglements like Grey’s Anatomy, never know what happens next cases like Code Black, and whatever it was they’re doing on Chicago Medical (a show I confess I don’t watch). Of course, since it was one of the trailers that I wasn’t able to see, it could be the greatest medical show ever, but I’m getting more of a feel of Chicago Hope than ER. Mid-season series Doubt leaves me cold. There are elements like the presence of Lavern Cox, and the description of her character’s passion that could be interesting, but given that the description gives so much attention to the relationship between the characters played by Katherine Heigl and Stephen Pasquale sends up red flags for me. I’m pretty sure it’s not going to be the next Good Wife and I’m worried that the main plot line could be the least interesting thing in this show.

The show that sounds like it could be the next big thing for CBS could be the Training Day. If the network makes this show as harsh and gritty as the movie that it was based on I think there are intriguing directions that it could go in. It could very well be something of a critical darling if it’s done right, and if it can capture an audience. The midseason start doesn’t necessarily bode well for the latter.

Looking at the completed CBS lineup I can’t help feeling disappointed. CBS has tended to produce a workman-like if not necessarily spectacularly good or noteworthy list of shows that mesh together well and leave the network with hard choices when the end of the season comes around. This lineup doesn’t feel like that; it feels like there are more big problems lying in wait than lasting successes.

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