Another upfront is in the books as the five major TV networks released their 2014-15 campaign to win you, the viewer.
And they are going to have a hard time doing so.
This year’s upfronts have not been impressive, with a lot of programming missing original concepts, innovation, and creativity – all you have to do is point to the revival of The Odd Couple (3rd time – but at least it will be interesting to see if Matthew Perry can play Oscar Madison) and Heroes (2nd time.)
Coming up next, look for the networks to introduce us to that hot new programming concept, Three’s Company.
Using the format I used when I wrote T Dog’s six pack every week, here are the winners and losers of the 2014 upfronts:
Winner: Diversity. The networks – notably ABC, have increased their number of minority leads this fall, and more diversity within the shows themselves. It is indeed a welcome change. Only problem is, some of the shows suck.
Loser: Sitcoms. Remember back nearly a decade ago when they were predicating th sitcom’s death? Well, the grim reaper is back again as the networks ordered only eight half-hour sitcoms this fall, the fewest in recent memory, making for a slim class of 2018 for off-net syndication. Then again, given local stations’ lackluster interest in off-net sitcoms these days, this is a moot point.
Winner: Comic book series. Fanboys rejoice! Not since 1977-79, when The Adventures of Wonder Woman, The Amazing Spider-Man, and Incredible Hulk were on network schedules, have we seen an onslaught of series based on comic books and graphic novels, as Agents Of Shield and Arrow drew loyal fans. Now we have Gotham, The Flash, Agent Carter, and Constantine to add to the list.
Loser: The big celebrity name. Last season saw the return of Michael J. Fox, Robin Williams, and Sarah Michelle Gellar return to television. No one cared. This upcoming season, no network is making that same mistake twice – until a few years from now.
Winner: Shonda Rhimes. The south suburban University Park native is getting her own night of programming on ABC with three of her shows, the first African-American woman to do so. Yes, anything is possible!
Winner: The NFL. Now they three nights of programming over three networks (CBS, NBC, and ESPN.)
Loser: The CW. Tribune Broadcasting – the largest owner of CW affiliates – told CW to shove it regarding their “ratings increase for the first time in three years” news.
Loser: The upfront presentations themselves. Stupid song-and-dance numbers (Pitbull? Really?) and other “entertainment” make these upfront presentations the overbloated, overproduced productions they really are.