ABC is taking the most big shots this fall — including, coincidentally, a show called “Big Shots” — premiering more new shows than anyone, including an entirely new Wednesday lineup.
Alphabet is also making a lot of noise heading into the new season, thanks to the most buzzed-about entry among frosh contenders, “Pushing Daisies,” as well as the most talked-about comedy, the already controversial “Cavemen.”
Net is particularly bullish on Wednesdays, where the hot “Daisies” is paired with “Grey’s” spinoff “Private Practice,” which already boasts a built-in audience. Then in February, “Lost” returns and runs straight through with original episodes.
As aggressive as the network seems this fall, it’s actually returning to the airwaves this September with a few more building blocks — including soph sensations “Ugly Betty” and “Brothers & Sisters” — and with no gut-wrenching, insomnia-inducing scheduling risks like last year’s “Grey’s Anatomy” Thursday night shift.
ABC Entertainment prexy Steve McPherson says execs “feel really good about where we ended up at the end of the year.”
“We have a much more stable schedule this year,” he says, “returning a lot more shows and returning nights that are already dominant, without a lot of the big navigational changes like we had last year with ‘Grey’s.’ ”
SPOTLIGHT: PUSHING DAISIES
Already boasting high intent-to-view numbers among auds and raves among TV crix, “Pushing Daisies” stands out as the most-anticipated new series of the season.
“Daisies” looks like nothing else on the air, and has a concept like nothing else on TV: The story of a piemaker who discovers he can bring people back from the dead — but with a second touch put them permanently six feet under. That becomes a problem when the lead character resurrects his childhood crush.
But here’s the deep secret of “Pushing Daisies,” the formula that could help keep it on the air and avoid the fate of quirky critical faves like “Twin Peaks” — at its heart, skein is both soap opera and procedural murder mystery.
“There definitely was a strong suggestion that if the show were procedural, it would be more digestible to the network and to audiences,” says creator Bryan Fuller.
Hence the lead character’s other gig, in which he solves murders (and collects reward money) by asking the dead how they were offed.
But even the procedural elements, Fuller adds, are relevant to the show’s larger themes.
NEW FOR 2007-08
“Sex and the City” fans may find it familiar: Four wealthy pals dish about relationships and life while navigating their own troubled personal lives. One difference: “Big Shots” is all about men. As a matter of fact, creator Jon Harmon Feldman calls it a look at what it’s like to be a man in 2007. Now, do “Grey’s Anatomy” fans really want to know?
Another male-centric show, this one a laffer about four mismatched guys with problematic home lives that they rehash while speeding (or crawling) down the fast lane. Single-cam comedy could benefit from “Cavemen” lead-in (should it hit) and the fact that it’s the only laffer in the timeslot.
Quirky comedy about Neanderthals among us? Or offensive allegory about African-Americans among us? Crix seem to be leaning toward the latter, but if done right, the show could earn a cult following among viewers looking for a half-hour that’s rather different. (A revamped pilot has not yet been released.) The Geico commercial origins of “Cavemen” will at the very least attract curious viewers to week one.
Dirty Sexy Money
Possibly the closest show in years to recapture the campy fun of primetime sudsers like “Dynasty,” ABC’s “Dirty Sexy Money” could wind up one of the year’s sleeper hits. Show boasts a stellar cast, starting with Peter Krause and Donald Sutherland.
Spinoffs aren’t always sure things, but “Private Practice” has a lot going for it. The show that spawned it, “Grey’s Anatomy,” is still a ratings powerhouse. And the “Grey’s” episode that doubled as “Private Practice’s” pilot garnered huge viewership last spring. But now viewers must make the move along with Dr. Montgomery (Kate Walsh) to a new night — Wednesday.
Christina Applegate’s return to sitcomdom has gone through more title changes than any other new show this fall — from “Sam I Am” to “Samantha Be Good” to “Samantha Who?” Title confusion aside, the amnesia-centric laffer has its fans and an awkward timeslot, sandwiched between two reality shows on Monday night.
Women’s Murder Club
ABC built its revival on serialized drama, but those shows don’t necessarily repeat well. That’s why the Alphabet has been on the hunt for a procedural drama and believes “Women’s Murder Club,” based on the bestselling novels by James Patterson and starring “Law & Order” grad Angie Harmon, may be the perfect fit for the net’s femme-centric brand.