Network Upfronts

by Kellie Abrahamson
Last month we got a peek at what will be airing next year thanks to the network upfronts, an industry meeting of television executives, major advertisers and press. Here’s a look at what established series are staying and which got the axe.

We literally cheered when Dollhouse, Fringe and Lie to Me were renewed. Thanks Fox! Animated heavyweights American Dad!, Family Guy and The Simpsons will live to see another day, as will reality shows So You Think You Can Dance, Kitchen Nightmares and, of course, American Idol. Rounding out the renewals are 24, Bones, House and ‘Til Death.
Fox didn’t cut anything we can’t live without. Do Not Disturb, Hole in the Wall, King of the Hill, Prison Break, Sit Down, Shut Up and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles are all over and we’re ok with that.

the cw
The C-Dub will keep their loyal viewers happy with the return of One Tree Hill, 90210 and Gossip Girl. The boys of Smallville and Supernatural will also be back, as will the ladies of America’s Next Top Model.
The CW cut quite a few shows this time around including newbies 13: Fear Is Real, Easy Money, In Harm’s Way, Privileged, Stylista and Valentine. The Game and Everybody Hates Chris got the axe as well. The one sad cancellation this time around is Reaper, the only comedy on the netlet that was actually funny.

NBC brought back most of their comedies including 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, The Office and SNL Weekend Update Thursdays. Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU and Southland got a reprieve, along with reality shows The Apprentice and The Biggest Loser. Some pleasant surprises were the returns of the rumored-dead series’ Chuck and Friday Night Lights. And, despite a drop in the ratings, NBC is keeping Heroes.
We bid farewell to Howie Mandel’s rule over NBC- both Deal or No Deal and Howie Do It met their end. ER had its series finale this year as well. Struggling series’ Kings, Knight Rider, Life, Lipstick Jungle and My Own Worst Enemy all got axed as did reality shows America’s Toughest Jobs, Momma’s Boys and The Chopping Block. Finally there are the dismissed comedies Kath & Kim and My Name is Earl. I don’t have the space to express the depth of my disappointment that these two terrific shows are canceled. Thursdays just won’t be the same, and not in a good way.

The Alphabet Net is bringing back several of their shows, some obvious (The Bachelor, Brothers & Sisters, Dancing with the Stars, Desperate Housewives, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Grey’s Anatomy, Lost, Private Practice, Supernanny, Ugly Betty and Wife Swap) and some not so obvious (Better Off Ted, Castle, Scrubs and True Beauty). For the most part, we’re thrilled about what they’re keeping, especially the newer gems like Better Off Ted and Castle.
The cancellations of Dirty Sexy Money, Pushing Daises, Life on Mars and Eli Stone were announced last year so no surprises there. Also not at all shocking were the endings of ratings-stunted alternate series’ Cupid, In the Motherhood, Surviving Suburbia and The Unusuals. Long-running shows According to Jim and Boston Legal both ended, as did reality shows Opportunity Knocks and Homeland Security USA. Perhaps the only truly disappointing departure from ABC is that of the plucky comedy Samantha Who?, which will air its final episodes starting June 5th.

For the most part CBS is bringing everything worth watching back for another season. Crime drama is what this network seems to do best and they plan to hold onto that title with the returns of Cold Case, Criminal Minds, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, Flashpoint, NCIS, Numb3rs and The Mentalist. Solving crimes from beyond the grave is still the job of the Ghost Whisperer but she’ll get some competition this year when Medium moves from NBC to CBS. Comedies Gary Unmarried, How I Met Your Mother, Rules of Engagement, The Big Bang Theory, The New Adventures of Old Christine and Two and a Half Men will all bring the funny once again. Finally, fan favorites Survivor and The Amazing Race will continue.
As with ABC’s cancellations, the Eye didn’t surprise with their cuts. Dramas The Eleventh Hour, The Unit and the long-running but definitely done Without a Trace are gone as are comedies The Ex List and Worst Week. Finally, EliteXC Saturday Night Fights, Game Show in My Head and The Price Is Right Primetime all went to TV heaven.