US TV networks bet on vampires and dollhouses
NEW YORK - US TV networks concluded their upfront presentations this week with some surprises as Joss Whedon's 'Dollhouse' was saved by Fox, the CW network banked on a teen vampire show, and Sarah Connor was terminated.
'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' creator Whedon's 'Dollhouse' show, which will air shortly in the UK, was not expected to get a second season after a rocky start, but this time Fox came through having cancelled his last TV project, 'Firefly', after 13-episodes.
Fox also gave 'Bones', the series starring Buffy alumni David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel and based on the books by Kathy Reichs, the all clear for a further two seasons.
The news was not so good for 'Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles', which was cancelled by Fox after two seasons.
People are apparently still asking why the show runners decided to put Garbarge singer Shirley Manson, who has no acting experience, into a leading role in the sci-fi drama that starred Brit actress Lena Headey.
The axe also fell on animated show 'Sit Down, Shut Up'.
Fox has commissioned some new shows including 'Glee', which enjoyed a premier earlier this week after 'American Idol' and is due to return in the autumn.
The comedy drama show from 'Nip/Tuck' creator Ryan Murphy promises to tell the story of a high school glee club, or choir, with some music thrown in.
Also new at Fox is an animated spin-off of 'Family Guy' called 'The Cleveland Show'.
'Fringe' is back, as is Tim Roth in 'Lie to Me', which has just begun its UK run on Sky One.
There are more dramas on the way from Fox with 'Past Life', which has two detectives investigating whether what you did in this life is the result of what happened in previous lives, and DC Comics' 'Human Target', about a man who takes over the lives of his clients when they are in peril, described as being like "like The A-Team" in an action-TV kind of way.
On the comedy front, Fox has 'Sons of Tucson', another show about a dysfunctional family, in which three boys pick a stranger to be their father as their real dad does time for white collar crime.
At ABC's upfronts presentation most of the talk was about comedian Jimmy Kimmel, host of ABC's late night talk show 'Jimmy Kimmel Live', who delivered a withering swipe at ABC (his employer), its potential advertisers and his NBC late-night rival, Jay Leno.
Kinnel said: "Everything you're going to hear this week is nonsense. Let's get real here. Let's get Dr Phil-real here.
"These new fall shows? We're going to cancel about 90 percent of them. Maybe more."
As for the ABC advertisers, Kimmel had this to say: "Every year we lie to you and every year you come back for more.
"You don't need an upfront. You need therapy. We completely lie to you, and then you pass those lies onto your clients."
And as Kimmel said there were new shows aplenty including 'Flash Forward', a drama where everyone on Earth has a brief blackout, and 'The Forgotten', which tells the story of amateur detectives bringing closure to those that have lost loved ones.
'The Witches of Eastwick' also makes it to TV, described on Twitter as "'Lipstick Jungle' with magic powers".
ABC also has 'Happytown', about a small town in Minnesota with dark secrets, while lawyers are back in 'The Deep End'.
On the sci-fi front, ABC has 'V', a remake of the classic 80s alien invasion miniseries, they came in freindship, offering hope and peace, but turned out to be lizards.
Kelsey Grammer is back in a show that reads like a remake of 'Frasier'. Called 'Hank' it's about an executive who loses everything and moves back to his hometown.
Another comedy returnee is Courtney Cox who stars in 'Cougar Town' -- forty-ish and hot, she chases young men.
There were surprises at NBC as it renewed comedy spy show 'Chuck' and 'Heroes', cancelling 'Medium' starring Patricia Arquette, which was then saved by CBS -- and why not, it already has 'Ghost Whisperer', which returns for another year.
No surprises that 'Law & Order' rolls on and wins the prize as the longest running show, alongside 'Gunsmoke', which ran for 20 years until 1975 on CBS.
CBS also adds 'Three Rivers', a drama about organ transplant donors and sitcom 'Accidentally On Purpose', a new sitcom starring Jenna Elfman.
Another comedy 'The Big Bang Theory' makes a return along with military crime procedural 'NCIS', which brought a guest in the shape of CSI like spin-off 'NCIS: Los Angeles', co-starring LL Cool. 'The Good Wife' also returns.
Over at teen-and-young-women focused CW, the big talk was about a push to make 'Gossip Girl' a bigger hit, supported by the best upfront stunt, after Jimmy Kimmel's rant, from Bass Industries CEO Chuck Bass, the teenage billionaire, pitching the CW's merits to ad buyers.
CW was pushing its new teen vampire show 'Vampire Diaries', which rides on the coat tales of hit movie 'Twilight'.
'The Vampire Diaries' tells the story of two vampire brothers -- one good and the other bad -- as they compete for the attentions of a high school girl. Called Bella? No, but like that.
Stefan Salvatore, who plays the good vampire, said: "As everyone knows, chicks dig the vampires."
The CW will also keep going with 'America's Next Top Model' while 'Privileged', 'Everybody Hates Chris' and 'The Game' all ended.
CW also brings back 'Beverly Hills 90210' and plans to add a new version of 'Melrose Place', featuring Ashlee Simpson-Wentz.
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