Fall TV preview, what not to watch

A fade to black. The shimmering stars come out. It appears they’re moving – dancing, if you will. And then, you realize they’re not really stars. This can only mean one thing: it’s premiere week.

A fade to black. The shimmering stars come out. It appears they’re moving – dancing, if you will. And then, you realize they’re not really stars.

This can only mean one thing: it’s premiere week.

Dancing with the Stars kicked off a much-publicized premiere week for ABC last Monday. The alphabet net has been doing some nice advertising for its 2007-2008 television season, perhaps the most of all networks. But history shows advertising doesn’t always help. In fact, over-advertising might hurt. How soon we forget ABC’s The Nine or NBC’s Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

I have the paranormal ability to determine the fate of nearly every show debuting during this special week. It’s a gift passed on through generations of pop culture-craving relatives. I’ll dispense some of this vast knowledge now.

The hits

If you’ve been on SEPTA recently, you know of at least two new ABC shows. Pushing Daisies and Dirty Sexy Money have been over-advertised throughout the Broad Street Line, and annoyingly so. However, my senses tell me these shows, though outlandish, will be safe.

America seems to have an obsession with death, and Daisies brings death back to life, according to ABC’s Web site. America also likes sex and money. Sexy Money is here to stay, even though the show has no strong plotline.

Do the premises really matter? People will watch based on the titles alone. But should these shows falter, let’s blame SEPTA. It’s just one more bone to pick with the agency after the fare hike.

Normally, I’d immediately dismiss anything on NBC, but thanks to Heroes, America now likes sci-fi. So, count Bionic Woman in for a season or two on NBC. Then watch the network push it to a Friday or Saturday night and let it quietly disappear into the television afterlife (and I’m not talking syndication).

The misses

Unless otherwise noted below, let us deduce everything on FOX will be a failure. Take that, Rupert Murdoch.

Despite the heavy controversy, CBS’s Kid Nation failed to capture an audience. It’ll stick around for a little bit, but don’t be looking for Kid Nation 2: Rise of the Toddlers.

Otherwise, CBS only has four other new shows, and most will probably fail. One of them, The Big Bang Theory, stars recent Temple grad Kunal Nayyar. Now, I’m a fan of Temple’s new advertising campaign geared toward alumni, but Theory severely lacks of innovaTion.

As I was watching the Dancing premiere, ABC aired promos for shows premiering later in the week I never heard of, which is surprising based on my subscriptions to Entertainment Weekly and TV Guide.

Carpoolers? Big Shots? Women’s Murder Club? Start giving those actors unemployment compensation.

And lastly, I hope Americans stick to their primal instincts and avoid Cavemen. The Geico Neanderthals are capitalizing on their 15 minutes of fame. They make Andy Warhol regret he ever uttered those words.


I won’t lie. I have a man-crush on Kelsey Grammer. As a die-hard Frasier fan, I was thrilled to see Grammer return to television in Back to You with Patricia Heaton. What’s acting in favor of the newsroom comedy is its excellent veteran cast.

However, only eight multi-camera comedies – shows with formats like I Love Lucy or Friends – air today. In 1997, there were more than 60. Industry experts say the traditional sitcom is slowly dying as we gravitate toward The Office-like programming. My fingers are crossed for Back to You.

I am also concerned for Private Practice. I love Kate Walsh. But even she is a little skeptical, as she should be. A clause in her contract says should the Grey’s Anatomy spin-off falter, the neonatal surgeon position will still be open at Seattle Grace Hospital.

The final word

Plan on most of the returning shows this season to remain where they are. Unfortunately, that means we’ll have to endure yet another season of Survivor, The Bachelor and The Biggest Loser.

Seattle Grace, despite a lackluster third season, will be kept in the hearts of McDreamers. The CSI: franchise will continue to rule the television universe, for better or worse. The Office will still make us smile, but 30 Rock will make us cry when it’s canceled.

And the cast of Dancing with the Stars will begin to believe they really are stars.

Who said comedy is dead?

Chris Stover can be reached at stover@temple.edu.


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