2007-08 upfront coverage


Watch video reports from all five network announcements

Fox gets real this fall, 'Chronicles' due midseason

NEW YORK -- Fox Broadcasting Co. will try to reverse its fall misfortunes with a fleet of new series introduced Thursday. The network is launching three new reality series in the fourth quarter along with three new scripted series. Four more scripted series will roll out in the midseason, when they should get a lift from the presence of "American Idol," which has nearly single-handedly given Fox the ratings crown in recent years. Peter Liguori, president of entertainment at Fox, believes that the stability of 17 returning series also will help give Fox the momentum that has eluded it in early fall. "I think we're better prepared to come out swinging," Liguori said during the upfront to explain how the network will find its stride in the fourth quarter, which he said has been challenged in the past. MORE

'Wild' time at CW upfront

NEW YORK -- Saying goodbye to veterans "Gilmore Girls" and "7th Heaven" and cult favorite "Veronica Mars," CW presented to Madison Avenue the fruits of its first full development season. "Last season it was about establishing the network," said Dawn Ostroff, entertainment president at the CW. "This season it's about creating new hits that will better define the CW." The network's hopefuls include four new scripted series -- dramas "Gossip Girl," "Reaper" and "Life Is Wild" and the comedy "Aliens In America." They join a fall schedule featuring more unscripted fare than CW and its predecessors UPN and the WB have ever lined up. MORE

Analysis: Laughs harder to find

During the past week, the broadcast networks made their series bets for next season, gambling on high-concept large-ensemble big-budget dramas, while retreating from comedy. The studios are taking their lumps on the comedy side after spending a fortune to satisfy the networks' insatiable appetite for single-camera pilots this development season. All networks except Fox ordered comedy slates dominated by single-camera projects, each on average said to cost more than $3 million. Only ABC stuck with the form in its series pickups -- ordering three comedies, all single-camera. Meanwhile, NBC and CBS ended up ordering one multicamera comedy series each, and Fox opted for two multicamera and one single-camera series. MORE

Analysis: Many directions, fewer scripts

Looking for trends in the new TV season? They've been surprisingly easy to spot. You can call it the season of non-American stars, considering the number of dramas with lead roles played by Brits and Australians with a facility for faking American accents (HR 5/15). You can call it the season of high-concept shows. Every network has one. ABC has a guy whose touch gives life and death ("Pushing Daisies"). CBS has a vampire detective ("Moonlight"). NBC has a time traveler ("Journeyman") and a woman with high-tech powers ("Bionic Woman"). Fox has an immortal cop ("New Amsterdam"). And the CW has a young man in the employ of the devil ("Reaper"). The season also continues the trend of the vanishing half-hour comedy. A decade ago, NBC started the fall season with 18 live-action comedies. That's two more than all five networks combined have on their schedules for fall 2007. MORE

May 17

'Law' firm on Green as Fox sets fall sked

"Law & Order" veteran Walon Green has been tapped as executive producer/showrunner of Fox's upcoming legal drama "Canterbury's Law," starring Julianna Margulies. "Law" is one of seven new scripted series Fox will unveil at its upfront presentation today in New York, along with the New Orleans-set cop drama "K-Ville," the "Terminator"-themed sci-fi drama "The Sarah Connor Chronicles," the high-concept detective drama "New Amsterdam" as well as the comedies "Back to You," starring Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton; Amy Sherman-Palladino's "The Return of Jezebel James"; and the Farrelly brothers-produced "The Rules of Starting Over." MORE

CW slates heavy dose of reality

The CW is loading its schedule with unscripted fare for next season. Hits "America's Next Top Model" and "Beauty and the Geek" will both be on in the fall, along with new entries "CW Now" and "Online Nation." Three more reality series are on deck for midseason: a second season of "The Pussycat Dolls Present" as well as the mother-daughter beauty contest "Crowned" and the dating show "Farmer Wants a Wife." Also waiting in the wings for midseason is the veteran teen drama "One Tree Hill." Along with "CW Now" and "Online Nation" (previously "User-Generated Show"), the CW will introduce four new scripted series next season: the dramas "Gossip Girl," "Reaper" and a South Africa-set project and the comedy "Aliens in America." MORE

CBS fall sked includes five series freshmen

CBS has returned "Without a Trace" to its original Thursday 10 p.m. time slot as part of the new primetime lineup unveiled Wednesday morning. The eye will also introduce five new series in the fall, including one new comedy for the network's Monday block. CBS is putting an emphasis on shaking up the tone of its schedule, citing edgy material like the "Scarface"-ish "Cane" and a midseason addition featuring swinging couples called "Swingtown." MORE

May 16

CBS says aye for 8 series

The picture of CBS' fall lineup, set to be unveiled today, became more clear Tuesday when the network sealed the fate of all the series whose future was up in the air. Freshman drama "Shark," sophomore dramas "The Unit," "Criminal Minds" and "Ghost Whisperer" as well as "Numbers" were all officially renewed, along with quirky sophomore comedy "How I Met Your Mother" and midseason half-hour "Rules of Engagement." Critical darling "The New Adventures of Old Christine" also is coming back with a 13-episode midseason order. MORE

ABC adds seven dramas, enters 'Private Practice'

NEW YORK -- ABC unveiled its 2007-08 primetime schedule Tuesday, with "Grey's Anatomy" spinoff "Private Practice" in place on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. "Practice," which features "Anatomy" star Kate Walsh, is one of eight new series ABC has on tap for the fall, with four more on the shelf for midseason, including an unscripted series featuring Oprah Winfrey. In addition to "Oprah's Big Give," ABC's order includes seven new dramas and four new comedies. "Practice" will find itself against established hits like CBS's "Criminal Minds" and NBC's touted new action drama "The Bionic Woman." Steve McPherson, president of ABC Entertainment, believes the two-hour "Anatomy" that introduced "Practice" will give the new series a leg up. MORE

CW sees 'Aliens,' CBS renews 'Christine'

CW has handed out series orders to comedy "Aliens In America" and dramas "Gossip Girl," "Reaper" and the untitled South Africa project. Additionally, the network has renewed sci-fi dramas 'Smallville' and 'Supernatural' and teen soap "One Tree Hill" for next season, while comedy "All of Us" and drama "veronica Mars" won't be coming back. Over at CBS, the network has renewed comedies "How I Met Your Mother" and "Old Christine" and dramas "The Unit," "Shark," "Criminal Minds" and "Ghost Whisperer." Not coming back are comedy "The Class" and dramas "Jericho" and "Close to Home." MORE

24' renewed for 2 more days

The clock on "24" will continue ticking for two more seasons. Fox has renewed the Emmy-winning real-time drama starring Kiefer Sutherland through the 2008-09 season. Sutherland is already locked to stay with the show through 2009 under his multi-year production deal with "24" producer 20th Century Fox TV. "24" has had a roller-coaster ride the past couple of seasons, earning rave reviews for season five, which was capped by a best drama series Emmy and drawing criticism by some fans for the plotline in the current sixth season. MORE

May 15

ABC goes to 11 with 'Miss'

ABC has the industry buzzing about the volume of its new series pickups. Late Sunday, the network added the comedy "Miss/Guided" to its roster of new scripted series for next season, bringing the total to 11 (HR 5/14). That is far more than any of the other Big Four networks, which have ordered six to seven new series. Given the high production and marketing costs as well as the high risks associated with launching new series, a large slate of freshman shows certainly means a major financial commitment for the network. MORE

No new comedies on the peacock's fall schedule

NEW YORK -- NBC's upfront presentation came in as billed -- short and sweet -- briefly touching on the network's new dramas and bringing back a blast from the past with an appearance by one-time NBC star Jerry Seinfeld. A filled-to-capacity Radio City Music Hall witnessed the stripped-down show, a kind of NBC Uni Upfront 2.0. "We'll have you out in a little over an hour," NBC Entertainment president Kevin Reilly promised, and he was pretty close to the mark: The running time was one hour and 25 minutes, compared with the three hours in 2004 that included screening the "Joey" pilot. MORE

Peacock ups Web presence

NEW YORK -- As part of NBC Universal's upfront announcements Monday, NBC Digital Entertainment said it was ramping up its online presence, expanding "Heroes 360" and launching a similar project for "The Office" among other initiatives. In addition to making extra content available on digital platforms, "The Office 360" will allow online users of NBC's Web site to create their own branches of the comedy's fictional Dunder-Mifflin paper company with different challenges to complete. The branches could be integrated into a network episode of the show. MORE

CBS making some noise

CBS is swinging for the fences on the drama side and staying close to tradition on the comedy side. On Monday, the network picked up four drama pilots to series: the musical mystery "Viva Laughlin," the partner-swapping period drama "Swingtown," the vampire crime drama "Moonlight" and the Latin family drama "Cane." On the comedy side, the network gave the green light to "The Big Bang Theory," a multicamera comedy from "Two and a Half Men" co-creator Chuck Lorre. Additionally, CBS ordered to series "Power of 10," a game show pilot from producer Michael Davies. MORE

May 14

ABC, Fox skeds call 911

ABC and Fox have firmed up their rosters of new series for next season, handing out pickup papers to 10 and seven new scripted shows, respectively. Late Sunday, ABC also picked up an 11th pilot, the 20th Century Fox TV-produced comedy "Miss/Guided," to series, which will now become a co-production with ABC Studios. Additionally, ABC is bringing back two midseason entries -- the drama "October Road" and the comedy "Notes From the Underbelly" -- with 13-episode orders, while Fox has renewed the freshman comedy " 'Til Death." MORE

Exit laughing: NBC retreats from comedy

It's the sign of the times. For the first time in almost 30 years, NBC won't have a new comedy series on its fall schedule. And, in a hint of the new direction the broadcast networks will be taking in the face of audience demand for as many originals of their favorite series as possible, NBC's top comedies "The Office" and "My Name Is Earl" will produce 30 and 28 episodes, respectively, next season. NBC is set to unveil its fall schedule today in New York following down-to-the-wire negotiations that secured the return of two veteran NBC series -- drama "Law & Order" and comedy "Scrubs" -- both of which had had potential suitors, TNT and ABC, respectively. "L&O" has been picked up for 22 episodes, "Scrubs" for 18. MORE

May 12

Fox retains 'Canterbury,' NBC has 'IT'

Fox has picked up seven new series for next season including "Canterbury's Law" and "The Sarah Connor Chronicles," while NBC has ordered "The IT Crowd" as a midseason replacement, sources said Saturday. Fox's pick-ups include the legal drama "Canterbury's Law" starring Julianna Margulies, "Terminator"-themed sci-fi drama "The Sarah Connor Chronicles," New Orleans-set cop drama "K-Ville" and high-concept detective drama "New Amsterdam." On the comedy side, the Kelsey Grammer-Patricia Heaton starrer "Back to You" (formerly known as "Action News") has been officially picked up to series, along with Amy Sherman-Palladino's "The Return of Jezebel James" and the Farrelly brothers-produced "The Rules of Starting Over." Fox declined comment late Friday. MORE

May 11

'Cavemen,' 'Cashmere Mafia' among ABC series orders

ABC went ape over "Cavemen," handing out a series order to the comedy pilot about cavemen in 2007 Atlanta. A total of 10 pilots -- seven dramas and three comedies -- received series orders from ABC on Friday. On the drama side getting the go-ahead are two projects from Greg Berlanti -- "Dirty Sexy Money" and "Eli Stone" -- as well as the "Grey's Anatomy" spinoff "Private Practice," "Cashmere Mafia," "Pushing Daisies," "Women's Murder Club," "Big Shots" (formerly untitled Jon Feldman project). On the comedy side, "Cavemen," which is based on the characters from the series of Geico commercials, is joined by "Sam I Am," starring Christina Applegate as a woman with amnesia, and male buddy comedy "Carpoolers." MORE

NBC picks up 4, renews 'FNL'

NBC's one-hour pilots "The Bionic Woman," "Chuck," "Journeyman" and "Life" have been picked up to series, sources said Thursday. Additionally, NBC is said to have renewed critically praised freshman drama "Friday Night Lights" for next season. "The Bionic Woman," from NBC Universal TV Studio, is a re-imagination of the 1970s series starring Michelle Ryan. David Eick and Glen Morgan are executive producing. "Chuck," written by Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak and directed by McG, is a comedic Jason Bourne starring Zachary Levi as a computer geek working as a spy. Warner Bros. TV is producing. "Journeyman," written by Kevin Falls and directed by Alex Graves, stars Kevin McKidd as a man who travels back in time to fix the lives of people in trouble. MORE

May 10

Few comedy pilots eyed for pickup

It looks like the comedy drought on broadcast television might continue for at least another year. Sources speculated that just a handful of new half-hour series -- as few as five -- might land on the fall schedules, with some nets potentially picking up only one or no new comedy series. Meanwhile, dramas are making another strong showing, with about a half-dozen projects vying for slots at most networks. One comedy hopeful, ABC's "Sam I Am," and the CW's one-hour "Reaper" have inched closer to a series pickup as they have received permission to begin making staffing offers. Meanwhile, NBC's hot sci-fi drama "The Bionic Woman," which received a thumbs up to begin staffing late last week, has tapped Glen Morgan for a two-year show deal to potentially serve as executive producer/co-showrunner with David Eick if the show is picked up to series as expected. MORE

May 9

CW's 'Gossip,' 'Veronica' closer to pickup

CW's hot drama pilot "Gossip Girl" is moving a step closer to a series pickup as it has been approved to begin staffing, while another female-centered CW Network drama, the three-year-old "Veronica Mars," is inching closer to a renewal after a trailer for the proposed revamped version of the series got a warm reception at the network, sources said. The nod to "Gossip Girl," about rich teens in New York, puts co-creator/executive producer Josh Schwartz in the enviable position of having two pilots -- along with "Chuck" at NBC -- given permission to begin staffing days before the networks make their series pickups. "The O.C." creator could conceivably oversee both shows if they're picked up to series as he has been working with co-creator Chris Fedak on the pilot for "Chuck" and co-creator Stephanie Savage on "Gossip." MORE

May 7

TV watchers buzzing as pilot season wraps

TV REPORTER -- Mother's Day is just around the corner, and with it comes the end of another development season. Just like the FDA extensively tests every new food before it hits the market, the broadcast networks for the past week have subjected their pilots to a series of rigorous screenings and testing by focus groups. At their upfront presentations in New York on May 14-18 the nets will announce which projects have been approved to go on the primetime market. But for now, pilot information is guarded more closely than the Coca-Cola recipe, forcing anxious industry folk to feed on rumors. Here is the latest round of pilot gossip. MORE

May 2

A&E spotlights drama at upfront presentation

A&E Networks is investing more than $600 million into new content across various platforms as well as new technology, AETN president and CEO Abbe Raven told advertisers Tuesday at her company's upfront presentation in New York. Raven said the $600 million -- which represents a 20% increase over last year's $500 million commitment -- will be put toward "new content, new media, new technology and new infrastructure" across such platforms as on-air, broadband, high definition, VOD and mobile. "Our expertise is storytelling, and the investments we are making in original content and new technology will further establish our success as a leading global content company," she said. MORE

March 29

Upfront numbers seem to add up

Broadcast networks are looking at a "much stronger" 2007 upfront than last year, Merrill Lynch analyst Jessica Reif Cohen said Wednesday in her annual upfront forecast report. Cohen predicts a 3% increase in total revenue for the broadcast networks this year to $8.7 billion, up from the loss of about $300 million the six nets reportedly absorbed last year, mostly due to the WB-UPN merger. For the Big Four, the expectations are for 4% total dollar amount and cost-per-thousand increases. The optimistic prognosis is based on a tighter-than-expected scatter market as well as the 2008 presidential elections and Summer Olympics. MORE

March 21

Ad ratings to gain at upfront

NEW YORK -- Commercial ratings likely will gain traction during this year's upfront negotiations, with several big players saying they likely will make deals that include the new average commercial minute rating metric. Top executives from buyers Group M and Starcom USA as well as ABC said Tuesday at an Association of National Advertisers forum that they will write at least some business based on average commercial minute ratings as opposed to the traditional program ratings that have been the basis of media negotiations for decades. "I can't wait for the rest of the industry," Starcom USA CEO John Muszynski said in response to concerns that the TV industry might not be ready for a switch in time for this year's upfront negotiations. "We're going to push very aggressively for commercial ratings." MORE

April 23

Pilot buzz heating up as time winds down

TV REPORTER -- Not all pilots are created equal. So as the fall 2007 hopefuls are getting final tweaks by studio executives and heading to the networks, some of them are entering the fray with stronger buzz than others. Of course, that doesn't mean much because the networks' selection process is a marathon of screenings and audience testings, and early leaders sometimes begin lagging as the May finish line nears. That said, let's look at some of the shows the town is talking about. Projects with strong pedigrees are early standouts at ABC. The drama "Dirty Sexy Money" -- with Craig Wright, Greg Berlanti and Bryan Singer as executive producers and a cast led by Peter Krause, William Baldwin and Donald Sutherland -- has emerged as a strong contender, while the execution of "Marlowe," starring Jason O'Mara as the famous PI, is said to have exceeded expectations. MORE

Feb. 20

Changes in TV advertising to be evident at upfront

MERMIGAS ON MEDIA -- The new value propositions and metrics marketers are embracing Google, Yahoo! and other points online are going to make this year's television upfront advertising market anything but routine as unrelenting reminder of the change that will one day grip TV advertising. The substantial revenue generated by the broadcast and cable upfront is more a result of long-standing process than logic. The billions of dollars generated for the broadcast and cable networks persist on this imprecise practice of guaranteeing a reach of demographic viewers. Nielsen Co. and others are struggling to improve their techniques for measuring audiences for this medium at a time when television programming is extended to more digital platforms than ever before, and a click of a computer mouse can render a frighteningly detailed snapshot of a user. MORE

2007-08 pilot analysis: High concepts, high costs, high risks
Pilot orders by network: ABC | CBS | Fox | NBC | CW
comments powered by Disqus