The Fall TV Schedule – Who Gets The Hook First?


Fall TV: The TV schedule is not just baseball and “reality” on the networks anymore.

Fall TV schedule for the networks

Network schedule. Or where the vanilla go to play.

My TV schedule is about to get a lot more cluttered. It’s nearing the beginning of the traditional fall TV season. You know, the time of year that Americans huddle around their TV’s and begin to pack on the winter insulation. As my summer favorites – “Suits,” “Burn Notice,” “Breaking Bad,” “Wilfred” and “Falling Skies,” (all of which are NOT on network TV, by the way) for example – finish up their summer seasons, and Labor Day comes and goes, it’s time to reset the DVR. Some of my favorite shows were renewed (“Community” and “30 Rock” among them) for short seasons this year. A few of my old favorites are unfortunately clinging to life (“The Office”). And, there are some new shows that I am looking forward to checking out.

Then, there are the shows that I scratch my head and ask, “Why is THAT show on TV, yet Al Burgos and I have written a pretty solid pilot that’s much better and it can’t get traction with anyone and onto the TV schedule???”

Ladies and gentlemen: The betting board is up and odds are being taken as to what show(s) on the TV schedule will get the hook first.

First, let me say to anyone who works with, on or near any of these shows that I understand the need to work. My hope isn’t that you suffer for having no work when these shows get cancelled. Any digs that I take at any of the shows listed are merely jealousy that I am not working in production anymore and the result of a serious case of mystification that glorified accountants are running the creative industry and making the decisions these days.

AND, if you are someone who works PR for these shows at the networks, and you disagree with anything I write here, maybe you should start including me on your screener or upfront invitation lists…!

So, here’s my take on the new fall TV schedule. It’s not a full list and it does not take into account abominations like “talent” reality shows or some of the great shows on cable networks such as “Walking Dead.” New shows are in red:

The 2012 Fall TV schedule. Or, what my DVR will be working on for me.

Sunday You’re still suffering from that hangover from last night. All you can eat is popcorn and 7-up (mixed with Seagram’s). Move to the other couch and enjoy!

666 park Avenue tv fall schedule

Or is it 999 Park Avenue and they live underground? Ooooooooo!

“666 Park Avenue” (ABC, 10 PM) – With the unbelievably popular “Revenge” as its lead-in, and starring Terry O’Quinn (“Lost”) as the building’s owner, this show about a supernatural menace to a building of rich-types in Manhattan may do well. The poor 1%-ers! First, they must deal with all those 99%-ers on the street. Then they get upstairs, plop down on the one of a kind sofa, and then the Devil messes with them! How is one supposed to create jobs with all these distractions! This series looks like someone was watching “American Horror Story” and then saw “The Devil’s Advocate” and said, “A good idea for a series would be a horror story in an exclusive Manhattan residential high rise.” Still, I am a sucker for the supernatural and may check it out for a while. And yet, overwrought dramas are played out and this might not capture the Peoria mom-and-pop zeitgeist which may not feel pity for the uber-rich big city folk. 

Chances to see 2013? Good. A second season? Mmmmmm….

Fox’s Sunday Night Lineup (FOX, 8 – 10pm) – Before you switch over to “The Devil’s Pestering Me” on ABC, enjoy some great animated TV with “The Simpsons,” “Bob’s Burgers” (a very funny show), “Family Guy,” and “American Dad.” Sunday snark! And remember to share the funniest lines with your friends the next day! No TV schedule should be without these shows, no matter how mature you think you are.

RATINGS: These shows aren’t going anywhere and yes, your head will hurt after laughing so hard.

The Mentalist, (CBS, 10pm) (moved from Thursday) – Now behind “The Good Wife,” this show should do well on Sunday nights. The problem? If anything else should pop up at 10pm on Sunday to record, it may be goodbye to Patrick Jane if “666 Park Avenue” turns out to be a quality show. The Patrick Jane/Red John storyline needs to pick up a bit and has about two seasons left.

Monday – it was a tough day at work. The boss hates you and your hangover still made you slow. Tonight’s TV isn’t going to make you feel any better. Watch MNF and go to bed early, you look like shit.

“The Mob Doctor” (FOX, 9pm) – Going up against another inexplicably popular reality show, “The Voice,” AND “Dancing with the Stars,” this show is going to be sleeping with the fishes early. The old “woman gets into debt, then has to make a deal with the mob to get out of debt and thereby puts her family into jeopardy” idea is so passé anyway. 

RATINGS: This one gets the “kiss of death” early and will be fitted with concrete shoes almost out of the gate. (DEAR NETWORK EXECUTIVES: I have had a similar idea to this in the form of a feature for years now. It’s much more down to earth and smarter and can be a TV show just as easily. Just give me a call!!!)

“Revolution” (NBC, 10pm) – No show on the upcoming TV schedule has gotten more buzz than this show from producer JJ Abrams (and created by “Supernatural” creator Eric Kripke) about a post apocalyptic world where no electronics work anymore. A family has something that might restore order to the world… There are warlords… There are swords and bows and arrows… It’s “Book of Eli” meets “Hunger Games” for NBC and I think that I’ll wish that MY TV didn’t work either… Look, this show could have more promise if it wasn’t on NBC. I think that the best part of the whole idea would be the initial year as society sorts itself out. Put it on AMC or F/X and this show would be a home run. But, I have a feeling that this show has about 3-5 episodes in it before the lights come back on and we see what’s really there: nothing. Still, people in the “real America” will probably like it and since they won’t have the energy to change the channel after watching “Sing for me” every night, they’ll stick around to watch it.

And, is everyone else as tired of the bow and arrow fad as I am? Listen, we live in a country that has over 400 million guns and possibly billions of rounds of ammunition. You can’t tell me that the ones with the guns wouldn’t rule the world in a heartbeat when the world goes to hell. If the world ever goes to shit, I’ll take my guns over arrows any day. Ask the Apache or Cherokee their advice on that one…

RATINGS: Chances that the lights suddenly come on and everyone is forced to scatter? Very good.

Tuesday – Okay, you feel better. You don’t have a date until Thursday. You could sign up for that watercolor class… Or stay in and watch TV. You’re an American and you’re not getting any thinner! The choice has been made for you…

Go On - Fall TV ScheduleGo On (NBC, 9pm) – I had a chance to see this show after the Olympics one night and thoroughly enjoyed it. That being said, it has Matthew Perry who, although he has been on shows like “Studio 60” and “Mr. Sunshine,” he’s been a bit of TV poison (kind of like John Crier and Mark Fuerstein) post-“Friends.” Still, hopefully that changes because this show is funny and heartwarming at the same time. And it has a great lead in with “The Voice.” 

RATINGS: Chances that this show goes a full season? 50/50. It’s funny, but there’s a lot of funny things that don’t make it on TV schedule.

The New Normal (NBC, 930pm) – Trying to capitalize on ABC’s juggernaut “Modern Family” (led by University of Wisconsin alumnus Steve Levitan), NBC, which always seems to be behind the curve, comes up with this show. It should be called “It’s like Modern Family, but not.” I have no desire to watch this show and if “Go On” doesn’t hold “The Voice” audience, no one else will either. NBC will probably screw this up by trying to one-up ABC.

RATINGS: If the new normal is failing and being pulled from the air after three episodes, then this show should be the tops! 🙂

Emily Owens, M.D. (CW, 9pm) – Awkward med school grad grows up to be awkward doctor in a hospital where her med school crush and her high school nemesis also work! Awwwwkwwwwarrrddddd! Oh, that old story! Crazy! How will our hero make her way in this world which seems just like the earlier parts of her life she has wanted to forget, but secretly can’t? (ANSWER BELOW)

RATINGS: Hopefully, we will never know.

Wednesday – It’s Wednesday. A better night for TV. Enjoy these shows. Tomorrow’s the big date! Hopefully, your date watches TV, too, and you’ll have lots to talk about…

Guys With Kids (NBC, 830pm) – Created by Jimmy Fallon, this show should be called “Three Guys and Three Kids.” Another attempt by NBC to capture the the played-out wave of guys who are out of their element fad. This time it’s raising kids. Guys just can’t seem to do anything, including creating a good TV show about guys and kids.

RATINGS: Scale of 1-10? Meh (courtesy of Eric Withee).

Animal Hospital (NBC 8pm) – The lead-in to the show above, the pilot was also shown after the Olympics. It was okay. Not great. Not bad. Which is a compliment for NBC. Note to NBC: Marcel the Monkey did not work for “Friends…”

Chicago Fire (NBC, 10pm) – Another head scratcher from NBC. How does a show get named after one of the biggest big-city disasters ever? Is NBC jumping on the cow persecution bandwagon here? How does the estate of Mrs. O’Leary feel about this? Oh, wait. It’s about firefighters in Chicago? How about “Chicago Heat,” then? Or “Windy Flame?” Produced by Dick Wolf, something tells me there will be lots of drama as the men (and of course, a woman) of Engine 51 fight fires… and themselves. Dun, dun, dun!!!

RATINGS: It’ll probably do very well, but I just can’t see watching it.

Modern Family (ABC, 9pm) – You know your network (and viewers) love you when your show premieres at 9pm on a Wednesday and has 1. never considered moving it to another night and 2. they anchor other shows around you. This show is solidly funny, wins Emmys, and is just a great, well written and paced show. It should be the centerpiece of your TV schedule. Having re-signed their contracts for much more money, the cast will be happy for the remaining 5-7 seasons it has left.

Arrow (CW, 8pm) – Now that “Smallville” is over, the CW turns to another superhero in the DC universe. I would have gone with Aquaman and added a comedy to the lineup, but evidently, Green Arrow was testing better. Not sure it has the legs of “Smallville,” but at least it looks dark, which should be a great lead-in for “Supernatural.”

RATINGS: Still, not sure it has a whole season in it.

Supernatural (CW, 9pm) – One more season for the boys as they seemed to have stopped the world from being destroyed, again. After battling demons, then angels, then the Apocalypse itself, then Satan, THEN rogue angels and finally Leviathans, it may be time to just relax and take it easy in the last season. (If you understood all that, then you’re a nerd like me.) The first half of the season sucked last year, but it looks like they got their footing back mid season. Making fun of their show within the storyline again and more often would add levity and wrap it all up in a nice tight bow. And now, I don’t have to stay home on a Friday night!

Thursday – Set your DVR. You’ve got that big date tonight.

Last Resort - Fall TV scheduleLast Resort (ABC, 8pm) – A nuclear submarine crew with a conscience goes against orders and fails to launch its missiles. Then it is torpedoed, and left for dead. Realizing they have been declared enemies of the U.S., the crew land on a fictional island and declare themselves a nuclear state. The only thing that could save this show: if the island they landed on was… Jurassic Park!!!!

Or if Sarah Palin runs for the presidency on her “Rogue” campaign. Yep, dinosaurs and Sarah Palin would make this a great TV show!


RATINGS: The problem here? With so many political and military issues going on, how realistic is this going to be or would I get a better viewing from a SyFy movie?

Elementary (CBS, 10pm) – A contemporary update of Sherlock Holmes starring Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu? Holmes as a former Scotland Yard consultant who travels to New York to check into rehab, but stays in Brooklyn as a crime solver? Ooookaaayyy. 

RATINGS: We’ll see if this catches on or if the geriatric crowd turns the channels, shouting, “Where’s ‘The Mentalist?'”

30 Rock and Parks & Rec – Somehow NBC has inexplicably hung onto “The Office” and placed it in between these two shows, which are fantastic, funny and smart. Don’t get me wrong, I loved “The Office,” but these two shows are great and make me laugh out loud. They should be back to back, in the 9 – 10pm hour, with “The Office” at 8pm and “Up All Night” at 930pm.

This is the last season, and a half one at that, for “30 Rock.” I will miss the Jack Donaghy witticisms, Jenna’s craziness and Tracy’s certifiable antics. Once these two show are gone, NBC will have a HUGE hole in it’s TV schedule. Again.

Friday – The graveyard for TV and TV viewing. If you’ve ever been home alone watching “Supernatural” and “Fringe,” you’re really pathetic…

Made in Jersey (CBS, 9pm)CBS has done what I would have done and dumped it on Friday night. I’m not sure the world is ready for “Snookie follows in the footsteps of Elle Woods in ‘Legally Blonde’ and works at a NY law firm acting like ‘Franklin & Bash.'” As it is going to be on Friday already, it should go deep into the season. Just awful.

RATINGS: Can’t wait for the New Jersey phase to die out soon.

community TV show - fall TV schedule

Community college never seemed so cool.

Community (NBC, 830pm) – With the inexplicably renewed “Whitney” as its lead-in, NBC has basically done what Fox did with “Arrested Development” and say, “Hey, we know it’s a critically acclaimed show, but we have no idea how to market it or where to place it on our TV schedule,” and has thrown in it onto the trash heap that is the Friday night TV schedule. If you are not watching this show, then you’re an idiot. And if you haven’t seen the episode “Digital Estate Planning,” run out to the Hulu website and find it. Funniest half hour of TV last year.

RATINGS: Hopefully, better than previous seasons. I don’t know how such a fun, quirky, smart show can do so badly in the ratings, but NBC has always treated this show poorly.

Suck it, NBC. You’re as good at setting up a TV lineup as CNN is at reporting the news.

So, there it is: the 2012 amended Fall TV schedule. Thank me if you want to. But, set up your DVR’s and watch some TV. Or watch it live (gasp).


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