Ivan's Blog

Featuring Ivan Trembow's Self-Important, Random Rants on Mixed Martial Arts, Video Games, Pro Wrestling, Television, Politics, Sports, and High-Quality Wool Socks

Thursday, May 19, 2005
Television--- The television industry's annual "Upfront Week" came to a close earlier today with Fox and UPN unveiling their fall schedules. Ivan's Blog has been covering the network's upfront presentations all week, with coverage of the presentations from CBS, ABC, NBC, and The WB on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

-With less than a week to go in the 2004-2005 television season, Fox is on the verge of picking up its first ever #1 finish in the advertiser-coveted 18-to-49 year-old demographic. As a result, Fox announced a more traditional line-up at its upfront presentation earlier today, with a lot of comedies and dramas on the line-up and not a single new reality series on the fall schedule.

-Fox will not be waiting until after the baseball season to launch its new fall line-up, as it has done in past years. Instead, many shows will have their premieres in late August or early September. The baseball playoffs will then dominate the Fox schedule as always in October, and then the schedule will pick up right where it left off in November.

-Fox has officially cancelled Quintuplets, The Sketch Show, Life on a Stick, North Shore, Point Pleasant, Tru Calling, The Swan, The World's Craziest Videos, and Totally Outrageous Behavior.

-What's more surprising than the list of cancelled shows is the list of shows that were not cancelled, most notably The Bernie Mac Show. Bernie Mac has been renewed despite horrible ratings and will continue to air Friday nights at 8:00 PM. Part of Fox's decision to renew Bernie Mac may be rooted in the fact that the show was a favorite of former network president Gail Berman, who left the company two months ago. New president Peter Liguori, who was just brought over from FX, may not have wanted to shake things up too much or alienate employees who were close to Berman.

-As recently as a week ago, the rumors about Arrested Development were that even if Fox did renew the show, it would only order 13 episodes or it would bring the show back with a reduced cast. As it turns out, Fox has renewed the show for a full season of 22 episodes and will be keeping the same big cast, but it will be moving the show to the Mondays at 8:00 PM timeslot, where it will serve as the lead-in for the new comedy Kitchen Confidential. Kitchen Confidential is not to be confused with another Fox series, Hell's Kitchen, which is a new reality series that will be airing on Fox over the summer.

-Family Guy and American Dad have both been renewed for an additional season beyond the ones that they just started airing on May 1. So, Family Guy will finish its current season of 22 episodes over the summer and then return in the fall as a regular series, while American Dad will finish its current season of 19 episodes over the summer and then return in the fall as a regular series.

-The critically acclaimed drama 24 has been renewed for two new seasons after a brief dispute over licensing fees between Fox and the show's producers was resolved (but not before NBC tried to take advantage of the situation and sign the show away from Fox). Fox will continue with the strategy that worked so well for 24 this year, as it will hold off the season premiere until January so that the show can air its entire season with no pre-emptions or repeats from January through May.

-The old stand-bys of Fox's schedule will not be changing, as Cops and America's Most Wanted will continue to air on Saturday nights, and American Idol will still air on Tuesday nights at 8:00 PM and Wednesday nights at 9:00 PM starting in January.

-The highly coveted post-American Idol timeslot, which made a star out of House this past season, will be going to the new drama Bones this season. Bones will actually start airing in the fall in the Tuesdays at 8:00 PM timeslot, but once American Idol takes over that timeslot again in January 2006, Bones will be moved back an hour to 9:00 PM on Tuesdays.

-House has been renewed for a full season and will air on Tuesdays at 9:00 PM this fall, but then in January 2006 it will move to Mondays at 8:00 PM.

-Malcolm in the Middle was renewed for another season despite bad ratings this past season, thanks largely to all of its critical acclaim. However, the show is getting moved to the not-so-friendly timeslot of Fridays at 8:30 PM. Given that it has been many, many years since Fox has had a hit show on Friday night, this could end up being Malcolm's final season.

-A rotation of various animated show repeats will air in the Sundays at 7:00 PM timeslot. King of the Hill drew horrible ratings in that timeslot this past season, but was renewed anyway and will now be moved to Sundays at 7:30 PM. Due to King of the Hill's struggling ratings, it is considered very likely that this will be the show's last season.

-The post-Simpsons timeslot of Sundays at 8:30 PM, which has not really produced a ratings hit in several years, will be going to the new live-action (as in not animated) comedy, The War at Home.

-The OC will continue to air on Thursday nights at 8:00 PM in what will soon be the most competitive timeslot on all of television. Fox has failed horribly with three different shows in the post-OC timeslot, mainly because CSI airs from 9:00 PM to 10:00 PM and crushes everything in the ratings. Fox will try again this fall in the post-OC timeslot with the ambitious new drama Reunion, which chronicles the lives of six friends over a 20-year period, with each episode covering one year of their lives.

-That 70's Show has been renewed despite the fact that it no longer draws good ratings. It will continue to air on Wednesday nights at 8:00 PM this fall in what is officially scheduled to be the show's final season.

-The Pamela Anderson comedy Stacked was renewed despite mediocre ratings and horrible reviews. It will air on Wednesday nights at 8:30 PM, without the benefit of American Idol as a lead-in.

-Reality shows Nanny 911 and Trading Spouses have both been renewed, but are not on the fall schedule. Instead, both shows will be used as midseason replacement shows when some of the new fall series inevitably fail.

-Fox announced that The Simple Life will be returning for a fourth season despite the fact that ratings were down significantly in its third season. However, the show is not on the fall schedule and it's not known exactly when it will return. What is known is that Nicole Richie will not be back for the fourth season due to a personal falling out between Richie and her co-star Paris Hilton (the most specific thing Hilton has said about the reason for the falling out is, "Nicole knows what she did"). Fox has not officially announced a replacement for Richie on the show, but it's rumored to be Rod Stewart's daughter, Kimberly, who meets the description of "physically attractive and mentally dense" that is required for the role.

-In addition to the previously announced cancellation of Star Trek Enterprise, UPN has also cancelled Kevin Hill, Second Time Around, and The Road to Stardom.

-Veronica Mars and Kevin Hill both had a decent amount of critical acclaim, and both also had very low ratings. As part of its new female-focused strategy, UPN chose to renew Veronica Mars while cancelling Kevin Hill.

-UPN is going after the female audience and is willing to risk alienating male viewers as a result, with the new slogan for this fall, "Where the Girls Are."

-In a move that caught everyone by surprising (including WWE), UPN is demoting WWE Smackdown from Thursdays to Fridays. For many years, Smackdown was the #1 show on UPN, and its high ratings actually kept UPN in business at a time when it was on the verge of being shut down by Viacom. Smackdown is currently the #2 highest-rated show on UPN, second only to America's Next Top Model, which is what makes it so shocking that UPN would move the show to the wasteland of Friday night, which has traditionally been a throwaway movie night for the network. Smackdown is expected to continue airing on Thursday nights until the new season starts this fall, at which point it will move to Fridays.

-UPN spent a large percentage of its upfront presentation hyping up Everybody Hates Chris, a new comedy produced and narrated by Chris Rock, which will air on Thursday nights at 8:00 PM. UPN made a lot of bold statements about the show, saying that it will be a break-out hit for UPN like The Simpsons was for Fox and Survivor was for CBS, and saying that it will be this generation's Cosby Show. The president of UPN even took a verbal shot at NBC's Joey by saying that hopefully Everybody Hates Chris will fill TV's comedy void in the Thursdays at 8:00 PM timeslot.

-Everybody Hates Chris will be the start of a four-show comedy block on UPN's Thursday night line-up. Following the 8:00 PM timeslot of Everybody Hates Chris will be Eve at 8:30 PM (which is moving over from Tuesday nights), Cuts at 9:00 PM (which is moving over from Monday nights), and Love, Inc. at 9:30 PM (which is a new comedy starring Shannen Doherty as a matchmaker, and we all know how well matchmaker comedies do).

-America's Next Top Model will actually be broadcast two nights per week, with new episodes premiering on Wednesday nights at 8:00 PM and then replaying the following Tuesday at 8:00 PM.

-UPN will try to use America's Next Top Model to create two new hits. The Top Model repeats on Tuesday nights will lead into the new drama Sex, Lies, and Secrets starring Denise Richards. The new episodes of Top Model on Wednesday nights will lead into Veronica Mars on its new night and time. The timeslot right after Top Model is considered the best timeslot on UPN, so the ratings expectations will be much higher for Veronica Mars next season. Unfortunately for UPN, putting Veronica Mars in the Wednesdays at 9:00 PM timeslot means that it will be going head-to-head with ABC's smash hit Lost.

-UPN's all-comedy Monday line-up will stay largely intact with One on One at 8:00 PM, Girlfriends an hour later at 9:00 PM, and Half & Half at 9:30 PM. To fill the Mondays at 8:30 PM timeslot, All of Us will be moving over from Tuesday nights. All of Us was expected to be cancelled as recently as yesterday, but it got a last-minute renewal from UPN.

-I'll be back tomorrow evening with a rundown of which shows are scheduled to return this summer, which cancelled shows are scheduled to be burned off this summer, and which cancelled shows have unaired episodes that will probably never see the light of day.