Studio offers fall shows, cable midseason entry

“Breaking Bad”
Network: AMC
Exec producers: Vince Gilligan, Mark Johnson
Cast: Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Betsy Brandt
Synopsis: A mild-mannered chemistry teacher is diagnosed with cancer and, feeling desperate situations call for desperate times, decides to start selling crystal meth.
Upside: Concept is intriguing and Cranston, who was so underappreciated on “Malcolm in the Middle,” appears a strong casting choice.
Drawback: Crystal meth does not quite have the benign image associated with pot (think Showtime’s “Weeds”). Despite his good intentions, viewers might be turned off by the drug-laden plotline.

“Canterbury’s Law”
Network: Fox
Exec producers: Walon Green, Denis Leary, Jim Serpico
Cast: Julianna Margulies, Aidan Quinn, Ben Shenkman, Trieste Dunn, Keith Robinson
Synopsis: Margulies is a tough district attorney who uses the full extent of the law — and then some — to give her clients due process.
Upside: Margulies had a stellar run on “ER” and has proven herself as a primetime draw.
Drawbacks: Lawyer shows have been done to death and in order for it to break out of the box, it needs to be significantly different than the hundreds before it. Not sure if “Canterbury” fits that bill.

“Cashmere Mafia”
Network: ABC
Exec producers: Darren Star, Kevin Wade, Jeff Rake, Michael Pressman, Gail Katz
Cast: Lucy Liu, Frances O’Connor, Miranda Otto, Bonnie Somerville, Julian Ovenden
Synopsis: Four successful New York women are forced to balance their busy professional lives with their personal ones.
Upside: Certainly the formula worked in “Sex and the City,” and while it’s not as risque as the HBO series, the comparisons are built in.
Drawback: Though both are from Darren Star, this one, at least so far, is nowhere near as charming or addictive as “Sex.”

“Viva Laughlin”
Network: CBS
Exec producers: Bob Lowry, Hugh Jackman, John Palermo, Paul Telegdy, Peter Bowker
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Lloyd Owen, Madchen Amick, Eric Winter
Synopsis: Two rival casino owners compete for the same customers, while one has to deal with his family traumas as well.
Upside: Look no further than NBC’s “Las Vegas” to see that gambling-oriented shows can have a lasting shelf life.
Drawbacks: Some people might be turned off by the sudden bursts into song, and a dead body in the pilot makes this one feel like it might be more procedural than fun.

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