by pat howard

THE FRIDAY FIVE | 2009 Upfront Highlights

In The Friday Five on May 22, 2009 at 12:29 am

It’s been a busy week for the broadcast networks, who are gearing up for next year as the current season officially draws to a close. Here are some things I noticed during this week’s presentations.

An unusally generous year for bubble series.
Many show that were on the bubble (and leaning toward cancellation) managed to eke out renewals. NBC’s Chuck, Fox’s Dollhouse, and ABC’s Better Off Ted fall into this category.

Some surprise cancellations.
ABC’s Samantha Who? was working on budget cuts in hopes of earning a renewal, but it ultimately came up short. NBC’s My Name is Earl was let go after four seasons on the network’s Thursday night lineup. Fans of Fox’s Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles got bad news this week as well. And The CW bid farewell to its remaining scripted comedies.

What was quietly cut loose.
After tormenting Americans for years, ABC finally let the ax fall on According to Jim. CBS’s The Unit and Without a Trace were also summarily dismissed. At NBC, nonscripted shows Howie Do It and Deal or No Deal were excused with barely a mention.

Shenanigans that made headlines.
Jimmy Kimmel somehow shocked audiences by roasting his own network at ABC’s presentation Tuesday. But this is hardly an upfront first, as a second wave of stories would eventually try to remind everyone. Meanwhile, CBS snagged Medium from NBC, where it will be paired with Ghost Whisperer. Ironically, NBC was hoping CBS would cancel Ghost Whisperer so the Peacock could pair that with Medium.

Less tinkering with lineups.
Overall, fall 2009 won’t look much different from the season that came before it. CBS shuffled its Monday comedies, and moved The Mentalist to Thursdays after CSI; otherwise, its lineup is almost unchanged from this season. NBC’s biggest changes are a result of its new Jay Leno Show, airing weeknights at 10p/9c. ABC is gambling on an entirely new Wednesday night, but the bulk of its returning series are staying put; Ugly Betty‘s banishment to Fridays is a notable exception.


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