TROUBLE CITY

THUD: UPFRONT SPECIAL (CBS)

THUDBrendan M. LeonardComment

THUDRead our coverage of NBC’s schedule here!

Read our coverage of ABC’s schedule here!

And now, CBS! Of all the networks, CBS is the one I watch the least – I have no patience for yet another CSI spin-off or self-contained police procedural about serial killers and hot district attorneys. I probably would have liked Jericho, had I watched it, and The Unit is one of those shows I desperately need to catch up on. (‘Cause it’s Mamet.) I also enjoy How I Met Your Mother and Numbers, but they’re not appointment television. Like most of the networks, CBS had a pretty lousy season – aside from Shark, they had real difficulty holding on or finding an audience for their new shows (including the hyped and probably very expensive Smith, which died in about five seconds), leaving a lot of room on the schedule. Did they come up with a show that I’ll watch?

New programs are in bold.

MONDAY

8:00-8:30 PM HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER
8:30-9:00 PM THE BIG BANG THEORY
9:00-9:30 PM TWO AND A HALF MEN
9:30-10:00 PM RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
10:00-11:00 PM CSI: MIAMI
 

TUESDAY

8:00-9:00 PM NCIS
9:00-10:00 PM THE UNIT
10:00-11:00 PM CANE
 

WEDNESDAY

8:00-9:00 PM KID NATION
9:00-10:00 PM CRIMINAL MINDS
10:00-11:00 PM CSI: NY

THURSDAY

8:00-9:00 PM SURVIVOR
9:00-10:00 PM CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION
10:00-11:00 PM WITHOUT A TRACE

FRIDAY

8:00-9:00 PM GHOST WHISPERER
9:00-10:00 PM MOONLIGHT
10:00-11:00 PM NUMB3RS

SATURDAY

8:00-9:00 PM CRIMETIME SATURDAY
9:00-10:00 PM CRIMETIME SATURDAY
10:00-11:00 PM 48 HOURS: MYSTERY

SUNDAY

7:00-8:00 PM 60 MINUTES
8:00-9:00 PM VIVA LAUGHLIN
9:00-10:00 PM COLD CASE
10:00-11:00 PM SHARK
 

Hey, look! They did it – they picked up Viva Laughlin, the musical drama set in a struggling Nevada casino that’s executive produced by Hugh Jackman. Along with NBC’s M.O.N.Y, this was my most anticipated pilot, so I’m pretty fucking happy it got picked up. Laughlin has been a tough sell from the start, as the last weekly musical series on American tv was Cop Rock, and we all know how that turned out. However, this is based on a British series in the vein of Dennis Potter. It also stars D.B. Woodside, of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and 24 fame, and I've heard he said that this was the most fun he had working on a pilot. I’ll be watching, and rooting for, this one.

I’ll also be tuning in for Cane, the drama series formerly known as Los Duques and starring Jimmy Smits as the head of a Cuban-American family in South Florida. The series focuses on the sugar and rum business and has one heck of a cast – in addition to Smits, Hector Elizondo, Rita Moreno, classic “Hey, It’s That Guy!” Nestor Carbonell, Rome’s Polly Walker, and Veronica Mars super-hottie Alona Tal. But I still say they should have gone with my title – Why Is The Rum Gone?

In the “don’t care” department are Kid Nation, where 40 kids rebuild society in 40 days, thus making me totally jealous that this show wasn’t around when I was a kid, and Moonlight, which is the series from the creator of Beauty and the Beast (circle one of each) inspired by/ripped off of Angel/Forever Knight. Even the dual attraction of Shannon Lucio and Rade Serbedzija couldn’t get me into this one. I might watch to see how obvious the parallels to those aforementioned shows are, but hey, producer Joel Silver, you couldn’t take time out from doing this to put a foot in Rob Thomas’s ass to make Veronica Mars stop sucking/keep from getting cancelled?

The Big Bang Theory is the latest comedy from angry guy/Two and a Half Men creator Chuck Lorre, focusing on friends who are both geniuses and unlucky/clueless in love. It’s from Chuck Lorre, so I’m guessing that the only things notable about it will be the fact it’s dirtier than you’d expect and that the vanity cards will be pissed off about something. (Oh, and tv super-director James Burrows directed the pilot.) Midseason series and current David Spade meal ticket Rules of Engagement will return for a second season as well, joining How I Met Your Mother and Two and a Half Men on Monday Nights.

In addition to its fall series, CBS also announced that Swingtown, one of two series that stars the great Robin Weigert (what, did you guys just now start watching Deadwood) as well as Pirates of the Caribbean b-teamer James Davenport. Leave it up to CBS to put the premise in the title – the series is about suburban swingers in the key-swappin’, shag-carpeted seventies. If there’s room for it on the schedule come January, I’ll watch.

As for what didn’t get picked up, I’m very surprised CBS left The Man in the dust – it was created by CSI golden boy Anthony Zucker and starred LL Cool J. I guess Les Moonves doesn’t love Cool James after all. And could Joan of Arcadia be cursed? Both that show’s creator, Barbara Hall, and its star, Amber Tamblyn, didn’t have their pilots ordered to series. I’m not too disappointed with Demons, Hall’s Joan in reverse, but I would have loved to seen the Tamblyn-on-Zombie action that Babylon Fields promised. Finally, I’m very disappointed that CBS passed on I’m In Hell, as I would have loved to have seen David Cross do Satan. (Not like that, though.)

Both Jericho and The Class did the cancellation beat today. I’m hoping Jericho gets a DVD release, though, just so I can watch it and complain about how bad it sucks/how much it sucks it got cancelled. Also cancelled was Close to Home, a generic law show only notable for how the lead character was always wearing outfits completely inappropriate for court. And although NCIS was renewed, creator and executive producer Donald Bellisario won’t be coming back for next season – he stepped down after a dispute with star Mark Harmon over the chaotic nature of the set. John Goodman is set to guest star in this season’s finale as Acting Director of NCIS – Stars Hollow Division.

Fall Prognosis: I came into today without a slot for CBS on my weekly schedule of television that demonstrates why I don’t have a life. Between Viva Laughlin and Cane, I now have two shows that I’ll probably watch regularly. So while I’m disappointed they didn’t pick up Babylon Fields, I’m happy enough with their schedule to say this has the potential to be a good fall for CBS.

Tomorrow: Will Sarah Connor come to FOX? Is Veronica Mars leaving the CW for good? Will angry fangirls march on Lincoln Center because of the latter? Stay tuned, true believers!

Sports fans have Draft Day. I have the upfronts, the yearly event held in New York where the five major broadcast networks – ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and the CW – announce their fall schedules in hopes of attracting some of those killer advertising dollars. That event is this week, and while I’m not currently in New York, THUD will be bringing you news, analysis, as well as a few lame musical theatre references all this week. 

In case you missed our pre-season pilot coverage, you can read part one here and part two here.