• Expecting good pilots on NBC and ABC for 2010
  • Expecting good pilots on NBC and ABC for 2010
    Written by battye
    Mon May 03, 2010 11:45 am

    Since last year I've enjoyed following the TV ratings at http://tvbythenumbers.com/. My favourite TV shows are the Thursday night NBC comedies - Community, Parks and Recreation, The Office and 30 Rock is must-see-tv for me. And of course Saturday Night Live which I have been watching since before any of those shows.

    But the funny thing about NBC is that their ratings right now don't reflect the quality of their shows. NBC have taken a risk by going in a different direction with their sitcoms, they are all single-camera setups and none of their shows have a laugh track. People say that compared to the CBS comedies, these attributes make them "intelligent comedies". Not having seen the CBS sitcoms with the exception of a minute here and there I'm not going to jump to that conclusion, but the NBC comedies certainly aren't as formulaic.

    Community has already been renewed for a second season, which I was very excited to hear. Since moving to 8pm it has been rating in the low 2's (for instance a 2.3 rating means that on average 2.3% of all adults 18-49 in the USA, the target demographic for advertisers, are watching that program), which for NBC is adequate but is dwarfed in comparison to a very popular show like American Idol on FOX which might get an 8.5 rating regularly. Parks and Recreation has been renewed for a 3rd season with slightly worse ratings that Community, while 30 Rock (averaging around a 3.0 rating) and The Office (averaging around a 4.0 rating) have orders for their 5th and 7th seasons respectively.

    So naturally I am happy that my four favourite network comedies are coming back, but I'm also excited for what appears to be quite a good pilot season. Nothing on CBS looks even remotely interesting, but such is the strength of their network that anything they debut will probably do well regardless of how good it is. Between FOX and The CW there are one or two shows on the development slate that could show promise, but none that really look interesting enough to investigate further.

    Again, it's NBC that has me interested and ABC as well. I'm going to look at a few of the shows that have caught my attention.


    I don't devote too much time to drama series. Like most people I'm happy to watch a self contained episode of a show like NCIS or Law and Order but serialised dramas that can capture my attention are few and far between.

    "Kindreds" has caught my eye only because Brittany Snow (of American Dreams) has a role, but ultimately the plot seems uninteresting. It's a show about lawyers, how exciting and original! So I'll be passing on this one unless there is an unbelievable amount of hype and buzz - which at NBC would require something very special.

    I am genuinely looking forward to the "Rockford Files" remake. Everyone has seen the original series of The Rockford Files, and while it's doubtful anything could live up to that I have faith in the executive producers (Steve Carell of The Office fame and David Shore who created House) to give us something worth watching.

    "Beach Lane" starring Matthew Broderick has real promise. I like Broderick, but just as importantly I like Lorne Michaels - who will serve as executive producer. Broderick's character is a celebrity author hired to run the local newspaper - in itself it doesn't blow me away, but I want to see what Michaels and Broderick do with this premise.

    There was another script that looked interesting about a group of friends who upon discovering that their favourite TV show was cancelled try to recreate it themselves. I like this sort of thing as I enjoy the meta humour of shows like 30 Rock or Studio 60 and to some extent Community shows it too - but alas, it looks like this wasn't ordered to pilot so it will probably never see the light of day.


    "Mr. Sunshine" - I really liked Friends, I enjoyed The Ron Clark Story and 17 Again and I thought Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip was incredible (one of those few serialised dramas). So with Matthew Perry starring in Mr. Sunshine I will be watching this show from the moment it's available. It's funny how Hollywood works - According to IMDB the first episode of Mr. Sunshine features Andrea Anders who played Joey's neighbour-cum-love interest in the Friends spin-off "Joey" not to mention Nate Torrence who had a significant role in Studio 60 alongside Perry and Allison Janney who also appeared on Studio 60. Oh, and it's directed by Thomas Schlamme - you guessed it, a director of Studio 60. Perry's inclusion would have been enough to get me watching considering how good his previous work is, but with Schlamme and the other connections I'm confident it will be a very good sitcom. Probably it will be paired with Courtney Cox's "Cougar Town" - which I watched for 2 or 3 episodes and quickly lost interest.

    The program is about Perry's character being a self absorbed sports arena manager. Sounds good to me.


    So even though the curtains being drawn on the 2009-2010 television season is still four weeks away, I am looking forward to "fall". It looks like it will be a strong slate of new shows.
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