Last week, the major (and minor) broadcast television networks — CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox and the CW — each picked a day to announce their fall schedules, ushering in a new world of possibility and promise that when cooler weather returns, we can sit in front of glowing rectangles and, once and for all, be thoroughly entertained.
Alas, the Network Grim Reaper had been sharpening his scythe. His blade reminded us that 2012 also held hopes and dreams, but they were gone in a “Smash.”
We won’t retread all the cancellations and night-by-night scheduling here. By fall, a lot of rejiggering will have happened anyway. But let’s discuss a few high- and lowlights that came from last week’s announcements.
“The Big Bang Theory” is big; so big that in April a rerun actually drew better numbers than the first half-hour of an “American Idol” results show.
So big that this fall, for the first time in recent memory, CBS will be challenging NBC — the home of “Friends,” “Cheers,” “Frasier,” “The Cosby Show,” “Family Ties,” and “Night Court” — head-to-head with four comedies from 8 until 10 p.m. on Thursday.
Juggernaut “Big Bang” starts the night for CBS, followed by new comedies, “The Millers” and “Crazy Ones” and the return of “Two and a Half Men.”
NBC starts with its only veteran Thursday comedy, “Parks & Recreation” followed by a whole slate of newbies: “Welcome to the Family,” “Sean Saves the World,” and “The Michael J. Fox Show.”
Don’t get me wrong. I like Sean “Saves The World” Hayes. But NBC just canceled the witty, well done “New Normal.” If the gay dad thing didn’t work there, will it work this fall? And leading off the 9 p.m. hour? And up against the new Robin Williams-Sarah Michelle Gellar comedy “Crazy Ones”? Lots of question marks — too many if you ask me.
Also, Michael J. Fox’s new show was the brightest new comedy on NBC’s schedule and it isn’t leading off an hour? That’s tough. What’s even worse, given the lead-in, I doubt it can best “Two And A Half Men” in a head-to-head match up. Look for that scheduling to change before fall.
CBS finally made up their minds on “Vegas” and “CSI: New York.” Both shows got the ax, or scythe, last week.
In addition to the comedies, CBS made room for “Hostages” starring Dylan McDermott and Toni Collette, two actors I like. The show will air Mondays at 9 p.m., sending “Hawaii Five-O” to Fridays.
Also surprising to me: “The Following” was not on Fox’s fall schedule. But it’s not canceled. It’s waiting in the wings. Real estate is hard to come by on Fox with just two hours of prime time a night, and with all those singing shows such as “X-Factor” and “Idol.”
One local TV insider this week told me he suspects Kevin Bacon’s cult hit won’t be on the shelf for long. I agree. Fox has scheduled “Sleepy Hollow” for 9 p.m., Mondays. If the headless horseman doesn’t get Ichabod Crane, the Network Grim Reaper certainly will.
Here’s another head-scratcher for you. NBC has a new show called wait for it wait “Dracula.” Yeah. That guy.
Even though it’s from the producers of “Downton Abbey” and stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers, I just can’t believe it’s there. Apparently neither can NBC, because the powers that be scheduled it for 10 p.m. Fridays. At least Fox had the nerve to give “Sleepy Hollow” a plum spot.
“Dracula” may be the only thing that keeps “Sleepy Hollow” from being the first cancellation of the season.
ABC has a whole new night of shows on Tuesday, including one of my most-anticipated shows. It’s from Joss Whedon (creator of “Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” writer and director of “The Avengers”). It’s called “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
Clark Gregg reprises his role as Agent Phil Coulson from Marvel’s feature films (“Iron Man,” “Avengers,” et al) as he assembles a small, highly select group of agents to save the world every week.
The show is slated for 8 p.m. Tuesdays.
Your turn. Did one of your favorite shows get canceled last week? What are you looking forward to this fall?
Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment online. I may share your thoughts in a future column.
Until next time, Stay Tuned.
Bill Green is a Naples Daily News/naplesnews.com journalist and a professional couch potato. Contact him at email@example.com. Connect with him at facebook.com/billdgreen.