City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

A preview of the 2011-12 broadcast TV season

A shot from Fox's "Terra Nova."

A shot from Fox's "Terra Nova."

This past season was a virtual death trap for new shows on the five major English language broadcast networks. Of the 45 or so programs introduced, only 10 are coming back. And there wasn’t a “Modern Family” or “Good Wife” in sight.

But there’s always another year. The networks this past week presented upcoming schedules and teasers to 30-plus new shows to advertisers in an annual ritual called “upfronts.” Billions of dollars are at stake.

Fortunately, with ad spending up, the networks are being a bit bolder this year:

Going big: Fox has the most ambitious show in “Terra Nova.” Two words helped it get a green light: Steven Spielberg. Humans in 2149 are on the verge of extinction and travel back 85 million years  as a human colony. Problem: carnivorous dinosaurs.

Simon says: To keep Simon Cowell in the Fox family, the network exported his “X Factor” singing competition show this fall. And Paula Abdul will join him. But has NBC’s “The Voice” and “Idol’s” revival this spring already sucked the momentum out of the show before it airs a single episode?

Echoes from the past: James Van Der Beek (”Dawson’s Creek”) plays himself in a sitcom on ABC “Apartment 13.” Sarah Michelle Gellar (”Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) stars in “The Ringer” on the CW. Tim Allen is back with ABC’s “Last Man Standing,” his first TV series since “Home Improvement” ended in 1999. ABC is also trying to tap that AMC “Mad Men” 1960s nostalgia well with “Pan Am,” while NBC is hopping to “The Playboy Club.” But period dramas rarely work on broadcast TV.

Good morning (again), Angels: NBC’s “Wonder Woman” didn’t make the schedule but another 1970s pseudo-feminist statement “Charlie’s Angels” is back for a modern-day reboot on ABC. It was already successful as a film series a few years back.

Any life left here?: “CSI,” once the No. 1 show in America (long ago usurped by “NCIS”), is nearing the end of its life, a life that hasn’t been the same without William Petersen. So CBS bumps it to Wednesday, its first move in a decade. Another show on its last legs, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” has been bumped to Fridays from its long-time slot Sundays at 8 p.m.

Hah, hah: The networks are trying out more comedies, which repeat well in syndication. But creating a big hit has been difficult in recent years. (”Modern Family” and “The Big Bang Theory” are the only two that have made a deep impact in the past three years.).

Fairy tales coming alive: Two networks are tapping the past in a different way. “Grimm” is a very dark “Supernatural”-type fantasy drama on NBC. ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” is lighter fare on Sundays about a modern-day boy who thinks his mom is the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming.

Sunday night battle: CBS is moving “The Good Wife” from Tuesdays at 10 p.m. to Sundays at 9 p.m., most notably against ABC’s aging “Desperate Housewives.”

The graveyard shift: Fox surprisingly reduced “America’s Most Wanted,” a staple on Saturday nights since 1988, to quarterly specials, saying it was losing money. And for the first time in six years, a network is trying original scripted fare that night with CBS planting “Rules of Engagement” there.

Old chums from “Lost”: It’s nice to see Jorge Garcia (Fox’s “Alcatraz”) and Michael Emerson (CBS’s “Person of Interest”) found work.

What’s gone: Besides the cavalcade of freshman shows that died, the CW retired “Smallville” after ten years and ABC let go of “Brothers & Sisters” after six seasons.

Borderline shows that survived: NBC’s “Chuck” and “Parenthood” made the cut. So did ABC’s ‘Happy Endings.” Fox kept “Fringe” and “Raising Hope.” CBS cut all its on-the-bubble shows, keeping three freshman shows: “Hawaii Five-O,” “Blue Bloods” and “Mike & Molly.” The CW kept “Nikita,” dumped “Hellcats.”

Want to watch some of the trailers to the new shows?

Go here for ABC’s offerings.

Go here for CBS.

Go here for NBC.

Go here for Fox.

Go here for the CW.

Join my Facebook fan page and Twitter.

By Rodney Ho,, AJCRadioTV blog

11 comments Add your comment


May 20th, 2011
1:08 pm

who cares…..


May 20th, 2011
1:29 pm

I can’t wait to watch Alcatraz. JJ Abrams is very creative.

Joe 12-pack

May 20th, 2011
2:39 pm

“Terra Nova” looks interesting but why bother watching? You know they are just going to cancel it without giving us any closure.


Shane C.

May 20th, 2011
2:47 pm

Is it me or is network tv dying. NONE of these new shows seem like they are gonna stick. And why for the life of me is Terra Nova going back that far in time??? I mean that right there is a HUGE plot hole I mean wouldnt oh I dont know maybe 5,000 years ago wouldve been alot easier??


May 20th, 2011
3:33 pm

I’ve stopped watching TV series on television a long time ago. Now I’ll buy the DVDs if it sticks and seems interesting. They just cancel everything all the time, why bother?


May 20th, 2011
4:23 pm

The concept of Terra Nova is dumb. Travelling in time also means travelling in space, anywhere, and if you can do that, why the heck would you stay here? Go find a whole other nice planet sans lizards. Dr. Who figured this out 40 years ago and it makes for a more interesting show, although it does present some challenge to make a random rock quarry look like an alien planet every week. Still, it beats dinosaurs. The Playboy show sounds interesting visually. Not sure there’s enough story there to make a weekly show. We’ll see.


May 20th, 2011
5:19 pm

Chicago Code is cancelled as well as The Event. I wont be investing in any new shows. I will watch Fringe and Justified and that’s about it. I guess I am not in the demographic they are looking for in a network TV viewer because I hate all those singing/dancing/skating judging shows.


May 20th, 2011
7:17 pm

ABC… The cancellations of ‘Detroit 1-8-7′ and ‘Better with You’ was a terrible mistake made by ABC. ‘No Ordinary Family’ and ‘V’ didn’t seem to click for me. The biggest disappointment is the cancellation of long-running daytime soaps ‘All My Children’ and ‘One Life to Live’… and I’m hoping that NBC or another network is willing to step up and save them.

CBS… ‘The Defenders’ and ‘(bleep) My Dad Says’ didn’t seem to click for me. ‘Hawaii Five-O’ is a very good show. I believe CBS would have been better off by holding ‘Rules of Engagement’ until mid-season… I feel that CBS scheduling ‘Rules’ for Saturday at 8PM could very well mean cancellation. I liked ‘The Good Wife’ in the Tuesday 10PM hour.

The CW… ‘Ringer’ looks like it ought to be a promising show. A smart move for CW higher-ups (in my opinon) would be adding a 6th night of programming devoted to comedy programming… CW salvaging canceled ABC, Fox, and NBC comedies, like ‘Better with You’, ‘Breaking In’, ‘Outsourced’, and ‘Perfect Couples’ (before it’s too late)… as well as the development of newer comedies and sitcoms.

Fox… The cancellations of ‘The Chicago Code’, ‘Human Target’, and ‘Lie to Me’ was a terrible mistake made by Fox. I get the feeling that John Walsh may not be letting ‘America’s Most Wanted’ go down, without a fight.

NBC… I’m pleased to see that ‘Harry’s Law’, ‘Law & Order: SVU’, and ‘Parenthood’ are coming back. I feel that ‘Parenthood’ doesn’t belong in the Tuesday 10PM hour… and would be more suited for an 8PM or 9PM time-slot. I’m somewhat disappointed in the cancellations of ‘Law & Order: LA’ and ‘The Event’.

I’m finding a lot of the reality shows have become very boring. I feel that ‘The Amazing Race’, ‘The Bachelor’, ‘The Bachelorette’, and ‘The Biggest Loser’ have over-stayed their welcomes. ‘Survivor’ host Jeff Probst stated on a recent episode of ‘The Talk’ that producers are quickly running out of new ideas for future locations. We don’t know if we’re likely to see ‘Survivor’ filming a 2nd time around in previous locations, or if CBS higher-ups and Mark Burnett are considering ending the show. We don’t know if ‘American Idol’ will be ending after season 11 (January-May, 2012).


May 21st, 2011
10:23 pm

Uh, Shane, I think they wanted dinosaurs to be in Terra Nova. They weren’t around 5,000 years ago.


May 25th, 2011
9:40 pm

I remember NBC dumping ‘Southland’… and TNT saved it. Many saw Jay Leno’s short-lived move to prime-time as a major embarrasment for NBC. NBC shows, like ‘Life’, ‘Lipstick Jungle’, and ‘Kings’ seemed like very promising shows… I still wish that those shows, along with other good shows had been given a chance.

Furthermore… Even with the very recent departure of Dick Ebersol from NBC’s sports division… I’m also hoping that NBC successfully renews American TV broadcasts rights with the IOC to Winter and Summer Olympics telecasts through the year 2020.


May 25th, 2011
9:46 pm

I’m also hoping that cable networks, like USA and/or TNT could and might have interest in salvaging some of this year’s cancelled shows as well. Cancelled scripted dramas that I truly believe are worth saving… ‘Human Target’, ‘Lie to Me’, and ‘Detroit 1-8-7′.