Sunday, May 15, 2011

ABC's, NBC's Friday frenzy

For two of the broadcast networks, it was Friday Frenzy.

With the upfronts set to begin Monday, the networks started cancelling bubble shows ahead of time, as evidenced by Fox's decision to cancel five shows Tuesday night. On Friday, both NBC and ABC were running like hyenas on hamburger meat.

Friday Frenzy began early in the afternoon, with NBC cancelling three series and picking up several others. The casualty list featured freshman series The Event, Outsourced, and the insipid Law & Order: Los Angeles. The cancellation of this particular show now leaves the franchise with just one show on the air next fall, Special Victims Unit.

Even though the list is short, keep in mind NBC pulled the plug on several series earlier in the season, including Chase, The Cape, Perfect Couples, School Pride, and the season's biggest bomb, The Paul Reiser Show.

Two shows that should be on the canceled list but not are Chuck and Minute to Win It, with both likely return midseason. Chuck's upcoming fifth season is its last, according to NBC execs.

NBC did pick up several pilots going to series, including Playboy Club, Free Agents, and one featuring Chelsea Handler.

Among the pilots NBC rejected was a revival of the 1970's action series Wonder Woman, with a script penned by David E. Kelley (this never should have been considered.)

Meanwhile, ABC pulled the plug on seven series Friday, dumping Better With You, five-year veteran Brothers & Sisters, Detroit 1-8-7 (fellow gritty crime drama Chicago Code was canceled by Fox earlier in the week), Mr. Sunshine, No Ordinary Family, Off The Map, and the lame revival of V

This is the second time the "Mr. Sunshine" title was pink-slipped at ABC: the first came in May 1986 when the network canceled the Jeffrey Tambor sitcom of the same name. Rule of thumb: never use a title of a past failed series as a title of your new show (every producer should have Tim Brooks' book The Complete Prime Time Directory of Network and Cable Shows.)

Here's what ABC did pick up - seven comedies and five drams for next season, including a new Tim Allen comedy (Last Man Standing), a new Shonda Rhimes series (Scandal), and a revival of 1970's series Charlie's Angels.

In addition, ABC picked up on-the-fence series Secret Millionaire and Happy Endings, both for second seasons.

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