May 18, 2009

Best Development Season...EVER!

Modern Family

ABC and NBC: The Final Countdown

Tomorrow is two-fer Tuesday in TV land, with both ABC and NBC announcing their fall schedules.

Both networks have already announced most of their pickups. The only question marks hanging over NBC: The fates of "Medium" and "My Name is Earl." Both seem longshots to return, at least on the Peacock network.

Look for official word on ABC's lineup to emerge around 5 a.m. LA time Tuesday. NBC should follow around 8 a.m.

Industry insiders expect ABC to be stable on some nights, sticking with tentpoles that work. That should mean Sunday remains pretty much unchanged, "Dancing with the Stars" returning on Monday and Tuesdays, and "Grey's Anatomy" and "Private Practice" holding down the fort on Thursdays.

Comedy should get a major push on ABC: The network has six potential contenders (we're assuming "According to Jim" is finally dead). Look for ABC to focus its comedies on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

It seems logical that ABC will position its Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton multicamera half-hours as an hour-long block, while single-camera shows "Cougar Town" and "Modern Family" would work well together, or in conjunction with "Scrubs" and/or "Better Off Ted."

What's not clear is whether ABC will have the cajones to launch a four-comedy block, or maybe opt for a slow roll-out over the course of the season. Remember: ABC is the network that made "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost" hits with no real lead-in support.

And indeed, "Flash Forward" seems like it could lead off a night (Wednesday? Thursday?), much like "Lost" did when it premiered Wednesdays at 8 back in 2004.

It'll also be interesting to see if ABC decides to add a scripted show to Friday nights. Its reality/news lineup has done OK. But it might be tempting to add a scripted show at 10 p.m., just to take on Jay Leno.

By the way, one TV blogger believes he may have solved the mystery of ABC's lineup. The mysterious TVMadman posted several tweets suggesting "Flash Forward" will air Thursdays at 8, comedies will air Wednesdays from 8-10, and "Eastwick" is slated for Wednesdays at 10. He also slots "The Forgotten," from Jerry Bruckheimer, Tuesdays at 10 (makes sense to me).

Check out his Twitter feed here.

As for NBC...well, it's late, I'm tired and we'll all know soon enough.

UPDATE (10:05): Hearing buzz that ABC might like new comedy "Modern Family" so much, it could be planning to air the whole pilot during Tuesday's upfront. The last time that happened was 2004, when NBC aired the pilot for "Joey."

  • Posted May 18 at 8:53 PM

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