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Thursday, May 15, 2008

The 2008 Fall TV Upfronts - Fox

FOX has announced their new fall schedule and yawn... it's as uninteresting as ever. You know, they really do rely on American Idol to save themselves don't they?

Another year where FOX continues to rely on cultish (but not very good) shows, comedies that have mostly worn out their welcome, or cheap reality shows that even seem cheap by reality show standards.

Since I gave up on Prison Break and about to give up on Terminator unless it perks up fast, Mondays is a bore. Tuesday is the only day of interest with the new JJ Abrams show Fringe (with Joshua "Pacey" Jackson!) following a recharged House (which I think is better than ever again this past season). The terrific Bones goes to Wednesdays (sadly against another fave, Pushing Daisies on ABC), and then new show Do Not Disturb follows lame duck 'Til Death (this show hasn't died yet?). Fox just gave up on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, trying to get the lowest common denominator audience, and it keeps its animated Sundays in tact.

No huge surprises. Yawn. The new Dollhouse from Josh Whedon is being saved for midseason along with 24 and American Idol.

I'm excited about Fringe and Dollhouse but Fox is not exactly known to nurture their critically acclaimed shows and usually kill them off before they have a chance to gain an audience. So I'm not getting my hopes yet just yet. I've been burned far too many times before.

Fox primetime schedule: Fall 2008-2009 (New shows in bold)

Mon.
8:00 pm Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
9:00 pm Prison Break

Tue.
8:00 pm House
9:00 pm Fringe

Wed.
8:00 pm Bones
9:00 pm ‘Til Death
9:30 pm Do Not Disturb

Thur.
8:00 pm The Moment Of Truth
9:00 pm Kitchen Nightmares

Fri.
8:00 pm Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?
9:00 pm Don’t Forget the Lyrics!

Sat. Cops Cops America’s Most Wanted: America Fights Back

Sun.
8:00 pm The Simpsons
8:30 pm King of the Hill
9:00 pm Family Guy
9:30 pm American Dad

FOX has a Winter schedule where they tentatively place Dollhouse on Mondays at 8 p.m., in front of 24, while Secret Milionaire is right now slated for Thursdays at 9 p.m. On Sundays, Cleveland will bow at 9:30 behind Family Guy, while Sit Down, Shut Up will air behind The Simpsons at 8:30 p.m.

Back to You, Canterbury’s Law, K-Ville, Nashville, New Amsterdam, The Next Great American Band, The Return of Jezebel James and Unhitched will no longer continue on Fox.

The Winter Season schedule and new show descriptions below after the jump:

Fox primetime schedule: Winter 2008-2009

Mon.
8:00 pm Dollhouse
9:00 pm 24

Tue.
8:00 pm American Idol
9:00 pm Fringe

Wed.
8:00 pm House
9:00 pm American Idol Results
9:30 pm TBA comedy

Thur.
8:00 pm Hell's Kitchen
9:00 pm Secret Millionaire

Fri.
8:00 pm Bones
9:00 pm ‘Til Death
9:30 pm Do Not Disturb

Sat. Cops Cops America’s Most Wanted: America Fights Back

Sun.
8:00 pm The Simpsons
8:30 pm Sit Down and Shut Up
9:00 pm Family Guy
9:30 pm The Cleveland Show


The following new drama will premiere this fall on FOX:

FRINGE (Tuesdays, 9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT): From J.J. Abrams (Lost), Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, the team behind Star Trek, Mission: Impossible III and Alias, comes a new drama that will thrill, terrify and explore the blurring line between science fiction and reality. When an international flight lands at Boston's Logan Airport and the passengers and crew have all died grisly deaths, FBI Special Agent OLIVIA DUNHAM (newcomer Anna Torv) is called in to investigate. After her partner, Special Agent JOHN SCOTT (Mark Valley, Boston Legal), is nearly killed during the investigation, a desperate Olivia searches frantically for someone to help, leading her to DR. WALTER BISHOP (John Noble, Lord of the Rings), our generation's Einstein. There's only one catch: he's been institutionalized for the last 20 years, and the only way to question him requires pulling his estranged son PETER (Joshua Jackson, Dawson's Creek) in to help. When Olivia's investigation leads her to manipulative corporate executive NINA SHARP (Blair Brown, Altered States), our unlikely trio along with fellow FBI Agents PHILLIP BROYLES (Lance Reddick, The Wire), CHARLIE FRANCIS (Kirk Acevedo, Oz) and ASTRID FARNSWORTH (Jasika Nicole, Law & Order: Criminal Intent) will discover that what happened on Flight 627 is only a small piece of a larger, more shocking truth.

PRODUCTION COMPANIES: Warner Bros. Television, Bad Robot Productions

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: J.J. Abrams, Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Bryan Burk, Jeff Pinkner, Alex Graves (pilot)

WRITERS: J.J. Abrams, Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman

DIRECTOR: Alex Graves

CAST: Anna Torv as Olivia Dunham, Joshua Jackson as Peter Bishop, John Noble as Walter Bishop, Lance Reddick as Phillip Broyles, Kirk Acevedo as Charlie Francis, Mark Valley as John Scott, Blair Brown as Nina Sharp, Jasika Nicole as Astrid Farnsworth


DO NOT DISTURB (working title) (Wednesdays, 9:30-10:00 PM ET/PT): DO NOT DISTURB (working title) is a hilarious workplace comedy set at one of New York City's hottest and hippest hotels: The Inn. Named one of the Big Apple's "10 Best Places to Stay," The Inn is just that the "in" place to be, with its chic dcor, stylish staff and celebrity clientele. Behind the scenes, however, the upstairs/downstairs dynamic tells quite a different story. The hotel's top-notch reputation and sophisticated look is due in large part to NEAL (Jerry O'Connell, Crossing Jordan) at least in his opinion. Although The Inn's charismatic owner R.J. (guest star Robert Wagner) takes all the credit, Neal is the egotistical, hyper-stylish, detail-oriented general manager who will do whatever it takes to keep the hotel and its employees up to his standards. RHONDA (Niecy Nash, Reno 911!) is the head of Human Resources who also keeps Neal's demands in check. She's brash, fabulous and brutally honest and runs the HR department from her bullpen downstairs with a set of rules that are all her own. Rhonda does her best to keep the back of the house in line and the front of the house out of trouble. At the front desk handling check-in while wearing 6-inch Manolos is NICOLE (Molly Stanton, Twins), an aging model who is svelte, cynical and slightly starving. Fresh from Nebraska is JASON (Brando Eaton, Zoey 101), the nave bellman who would prefer to work behind-the-scenes, but was hired to show off his chiseled face and perfect pecs at the front of the hotel. The downstairs staff includes MOLLY (Jolene Purdy, Donnie Darko), a reservations clerk who dreams of pop-singer stardom as much as she craves to be part of the action upstairs; and LARRY (Jesse Tyler Ferguson, The Class), the head of housekeeping who spends more time on the phone cleaning up his messes at home than he does cleaning up after the guests upstairs.

PRODUCTION COMPANIES: 20th Century Fox Television; Reveille, LLC; Principato-Young Productions

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Abraham Higginbotham, Howard Owens, Carolyn Bernstein, Paul Young, Peter Principato, Brian Dobbins

WRITER: Abraham Higginbotham

DIRECTOR: Jason Bateman

CAST: Jerry O'Connell as Neal, Niecy Nash as Rhonda, Molly Stanton as Nicole, Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Larry, Brando Eaton as Jason, Jolene Purdy as Molly

GUEST STAR: Robert Wagner as R.J.


DOLLHOUSE (Mondays, 8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT): Joss Whedon, creator of groundbreaking cult favorites Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly, returns to television and reunites with fellow Buffy alumna Eliza Dushku for a thrilling new drama, DOLLHOUSE. ECHO (Dushku) is an "Active," a member of a highly illegal and underground group who have had their personalities wiped clean so they can be imprinted with any number of new personas. Confined to a secret facility known as the "Dollhouse," Echo and the other Actives including SIERRA (Dichen Lachman, Neighbours) and VICTOR (Enver Gjokaj, The Unit) carry out engagements assigned by ADELLE (Olivia Williams, X-Men: The Last Stand, Rushmore), one of the Dollhouse leaders. The engagements cater to the wealthy, powerful and connected, and require the Actives to immerse themselves in all manner of scenarios romantic, criminal, uplifting, dangerous, comical and the occasional "pro bono" good deed. After each scenario, Echo, always under the watchful eye of her handler BOYD (Harry Lennix, Commander in Chief, 24), returns to the mysterious Dollhouse where her thoughts, feelings and experiences are erased by TOPHER (Fran Kranz, Welcome to the Captain), the Dollhouse's genius programmer. Echo enters the next scenario with no memory of before. Or does she? As the series progresses, FBI Agent PAUL SMITH (Tahmoh Penikett, Battlestar Galactica) pieces together clues that lead him closer to the Dollhouse, while Echo stops forgetting, her memories begin to return and she slowly pieces together her mysterious past. DOLLHOUSE revolves around Echo's blossoming self-awareness and her desire to discover her true identity. But with each new engagement, comes a new memory and increased danger inside and outside the Dollhouse.

PRODUCTION COMPANIES: 20th Century Fox Television, Mutant Enemy Inc.

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER/WRITER/DIRECTOR: Joss Whedon

CAST: Eliza Dushku as Echo, Olivia Williams as Adelle, Tahmoh Penikett as Paul, Fran Kranz as Topher, Dichen Lachman as Sierra, Enver Gjokaj as Victor, Harry Lennix as Boyd


SECRET MILLIONAIRE (Thursdays, 9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT): SECRET MILLIONAIRE is a dramatic unscripted series that takes America's wealthiest individuals away from their lavish lifestyles, sprawling mansions and private planes and places them undercover into some of the most impoverished neighborhoods in America. Shot under the guise of a documentary, the series reveals the dramatic personal return that millionaires will get when they leave their fortunes to invest in those less fortunate. Challenged with living on minimum wage, the millionaires will immerse themselves in situations beyond their comprehension. They will work side-by-side with community members and befriend those in need to decide who should ultimately receive their gifts of a lifetime. The millionaires will be touched by the people they meet. Some will inspire with their dedication to helping others, while others will relay stories of overcoming tremendous odds. On the final day, the Secret Millionaires meet with the chosen recipients and reveal their true identity and intention: to give them at least $100,000 oftentimes more of their own money and to change their lives forever. SECRET MILLIONAIRE will engage viewers in important social issues, extol the virtues of volunteerism and change the lives of disadvantaged people and the philanthropists who helped them in unexpected ways.

PRODUCTION COMPANY: RDF USA

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Chris Coelen, Greg Goldman, Bruce Toms


THE CLEVELAND SHOW (working title) (Sundays, 9:30-10:00 PM ET/PT): Animated Show: Many years ago, CLEVELAND BROWN (voiced by Mike Henry) was a high school student madly in love with a beautiful girl named DONNA. Much to his dismay, his love went unrequited, and Donna wound up marrying another man. Cleveland once told Donna he would always love her, and if this man ever done her wrong, he'd be there when she called. Well, this man done her wrong. Donna's husband skipped town with another woman, leaving Donna with a daughter and a baby. Now she's come to Cleveland and offered him another chance at love. Unattached after the Loretta-Quagmire debacle and true to his word, Cleveland joyously accepts and he and CLEVELAND JR. move to Stoolbend, VA, to join their new family. Once in Stoolbend, Cleveland has a few surprises in store for him, including a flirtatious new stepdaughter, a 5-year-old stepson who loves the ladies, as well as a collection of neighbors that includes a loudmouth redneck couple, a British family seemingly stuck in the Victorian era and a family of bears living at the end of the block. FAMILY GUY was only the beginning. Get ready for THE CLEVELAND SHOW (working title)!

PRODUCTION COMPANY: 20th Century Fox Television

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Seth MacFarlane, Rich Appel, Mike Henry

VOICE CAST: Mike Henry as Cleveland Brown


SIT DOWN, SHUT UP (working title) (Sundays, 8:30-9:00 PM ET/PT): Animated Show: From Emmy Award-winning writer Mitchell Hurwitz (Arrested Development) and Eric and Kim Tannenbaum (Two and a Half Men) comes SIT DOWN, SHUT UP (working title), an animated comedy that focuses on the lives of eight staff members at a high school in a small northeastern fishing town (Go Baiters!) who never lose sight of the fact that the children must ALWAYS come second. We watch them grapple with their own egos, needs and personal agendas, their petty insecurities and prejudices, unrequited loves, and ruthless battles for power and that's just at the staff meeting. SUE SEZNO (Kenan Thompson, Saturday Night Live), a woman who frequently says "no," is the acting principal of the school (the actual principal is recovering from a series of unfortunate accidents that might be seen as escape attempts). Then there's Vice Principal STUART PROZACKIAN (Will Forte, Saturday Night Live) who has a terrifically positive and upbeat attitude... possibly from the performance-enhancing medication he's been secretly put on by the other teachers. There is one educator who feels the focus should be on academics, but despite the old adage, at this school, those who can teach, teach gym and that's where LARRY SLIMP (Jason Bateman, Juno, Arrested Development) has been exiled to. Immensely frustrated, Larry nurses a crush on science teacher MIRACLE GROHE (Maria Bamford, Stuart Little 2), a woman whose superficial grasp on science is balanced by her superficial grasp on spirituality. Rounding out the staff is the aging German teacher WILLARD DEUTSCHEBOG (Henry Winkler, Arrested Development, Happy Days), a deeply defeated man whose yearbook quotation reads "If I believed in reincarnation, I'd kill myself tonight." Uptight HELEN KLENCH (Cheri Oteri, Saturday Night Live) is a librarian whose life's work in research and archiving can now be surpassed by the average Google search from the average cell phone. Proud ANDREW SAPIEN (Nick Kroll, Best Week Ever, Cavemen) is the flamboyant drama teacher. ENNIS HOFFTARD (Will Arnett, Arrested Development) is a fellow teacher and a self-obsessed body builder who yearns to be thought of as a "cool dude" by his students. And finally there's HAPPY (Tom Kenny, SpongeBob SquarePants), the plotting secretive custodian who's assumed to be Hispanic despite the fact that his real name is Muhannad Sabeeh Fa'ach Nuaba. With a distinctive new look a combination of animation against a live-action backdrop SIT DOWN, SHUT UP is a series for the young and old at heart. It lampoons modern society while exposing the dreams, flaws and struggling humanity of our first and most formative authority figures: teachers.

PRODUCTION COMPANIES: Sony Pictures Television, 20th Century Fox Television, Granada America, Tantamount

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Mitchell Hurwitz, Eric Tannenbaum, Kim Tannenbaum, Bill Oakley, Josh Weinstein

CAST: Will Arnett as Ennis, Maria Bamford as Miracle, Jason Bateman as Larry, Will Forte as Stuart, Tom Kenny as Happy, Nick Kroll as Andrew, Cheri Oteri as Helen, Kenan Thompson as Sue, Henry Winkler as Willard


For more on the 2008 Fall TV Upfronts:

ABC 2008
CBS 2008
NBC 2008
The CW 2008

For the FOX 2008-2009 Video Previews
For the CBS 2008-2009 Video Previews

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