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May 16, 2007 |

By Seth Freilich | TV | May 16, 2007 |

The president of CBS Entertainment said that the network approached its development of new shows for the fall season with a goal of being “daring and different.” Well, you gotta give them credit for at least somewhat accomplishing this goal, at least insofar as they’re the only network that can claim a battle of the undead between vampires and zombies. And the final score was Vampires 1, Zombies 0, as “Moonlight” (which used to be called “Twilight” and is about a vampire P.I.) was picked up, while the zombiefied “Babylon Fields” was not. Too bad, too, because I was more intrigued by “Babylon” than I was/am about NBC’s back-from-the-dead show (“Pushing Daiseys”). But there’s a rumor that “Babylon” could be a midseason replacement if CBS is having troubles, so I’m going to quietly root for that to happen, because we’re talking about a show about zombies. And who don’t love some zombies?

Meanwhile, fans of “How I Met Your Mother” are surely happy to see that the bubble show got itself a renewal. Fans of “Jericho,” however, didn’t get such good news - that show is as dead as the people in Denver and Philly and all the other places that got nuked. Personally, I’m quite okay with this. The things I had disliked about the show from the beginning (bad dialogue, bad acting, caricatured characters and Skeet Ulrich’s face) never improved. And the only thing I actually did care about, plot-wise, was the “why” behind the bombs - and that was turning out to be rather uninteresting. So buh-bye.

On the following schedule, you may notice the absence of “The Amazing Race.” Rest assured, it has been renewed and will come back some time midseason. Unlike the past several years, however, we won’t get two seasons over the course of the TV year, just the one, and the show may move days/time (again). And while “The New Adventures of Old Christine” is also missing, it, too, has been picked up and will be a midseason replacement.

One other midseason show is a new drama the Eye picked up, “Swingtown.” The show is set in the ’70s and is about some swinging neighbors (swinging of the sex-swapping variety, not the dance variety). It stars Molly Parker and Jack Davenport as the new couple that acts as our way into the shenanigans. And since I like both Parker and Davenport, and am intrigued by the concept, I’ll definitely give it a shot if/when it actually shows up (although it’s going to be tough to beat the 2001’s British “Take Me,” starring one of my favorites, Robson Green).


8 p.m.: “How I Met Your Mother.” As I say, fans and critics are relieved (though I’m not among them, as I was never concerned - I have nothing against this show, I’m just rather indifferent to it and usually forget to watch it).
8:30 p.m.: “THE BIG BANG THEORY.” Uh … oh. This new comedy comes from the co-creator and executive producer of “Two and a Half Men.” That scares me. And the premise doesn’t help much. I like that it focuses on some wicked smart, Cal Tech nerds who know about relativity and quantum physics. I’m a nerd like that. But I don’t like that they’re also the stereotypical nerds who are not so much with the common sense and street smarts and ability to deal with hot chicks. And, of course, there’s a new hot girl who is going to show them the ropes, and that’s what has me worried - this is the kind of thing that could go the “broad” comedy route very quickly, and therein lies pain and misery. If the pre-airing word on the pilot is good, I may try giving it a shot. But at this point, my expectations are low.
9 p.m.: “Two and a Half Men.” What …
9:30 p.m.: “Rules of Engagement.” …ever.
10 p.m.: “CSI: Miami.” David Caruso is so ridiculous, I kinda want to have his babies (putting aside the whole “I don’t have a uterus” business).


8 p.m.: “NCIS.” Not only do I not know a single person who watches this show, I don’t even know a person who ever watched an episode of this (myself included). Yet here it is, back again. I guess someone is watching.
9 p.m.: “The Unit.” This show was on the bubble, despite pulling decent numbers, because fans and critics don’t usually talk about (I’m as guilty as anyone of that). But I’m tickled pink that it’s coming back, as it’s dawned on me that this is one of the shows I most enjoy and look forward too (in fact … don’t tell anyone … but I eventually wound up watching this live, and then watching my TiVo’ed girl “Veronica Mars” afterwards). Last week’s season finale (and the build-up to it) was strong, and I’m already excited to see how it plays out next fall. Really happy that it’s back, is what I’m saying.
10 p.m.: “CANE.” And this could be a great one-two punch for CBS, as “Cane” is one of the pilots I’m most excited about (at least, from the on-paper description). It focuses on a Cuban-American family living in South Florida, which runs a lucrative rum and sugar business. There’s all sorts of business-side drama (focusing primarily, at least in the early run, on a rival businessman’s offer to purchase the family’s sugar business because, as Homer taught us: “in America, first you get the sugar, then you get the power, then you get the women”). And of course, there’s also all sorts of family drama, secrets and conflicts and all that. But the clincher for me is the great cast, led by Jimmy Smits and also including, among others, Hector Elizondo, Rita Moreno, Polly Walker (who, unfortunately, won’t be able to continually get naked like she could on “Rome”) and Nestor Carbonell (which makes one wonder if this means his “native” character Richard, on “Lost,” is destined to be put into an open grave of his own?). I really hopes this lives up to its potential.


8 p.m.: “KID NATION.” Well I don’t know what to make of this. It’s a new reality show, and the premise is fairly interesting and, credit to CBS, at least it’s different from most the other reality stuff thrown at us. The show will focus on 40 kids (8-15 years old) who are dumped into Bonanza City, New Mexico, a 19th century ghost town. There are no adults there (aside from the film crew, of course), and it’s up to the kids to build their own society - get things working, form a government, etc. Every week there will be a debate in town hall, where they can discuss what’s been going on. But there won’t be any “the tribe has spoken” business. Instead, kids will only leave if they choose, on their own (or through strong bullying?), to roll out. So I kinda’ dig the premise. The potential down-side here is that (a) CBS could make it very happy and touchy/feely, particularly as it’s sitting in the 8 p.m. time slot smack in the middle of the week, and (b) just a handful of really annoying kids could ruin the entertainment value. So we’ll see - but I’ll definitely give it a shot.
9 p.m.: “Criminal Minds.” No surprise here, this renewal.
10 p.m.: “CSI:NY.” What I said about “Criminal Minds?” Same thing here.


8 p.m.: “Survivor.” The tribe has not yet spoken - even though ratings were down last season, it was still a top-20 performer.
9 p.m.: “CSI.” It’s the network’s Big Papi, so again, no surprise.
10 p.m.: “Without a Trace.” Also not a real surprise that this is coming back, although the timeslot switcheroo with “Shark” is interesting. I suspect that this show will continue to do as well as it does (and maybe even get a “CSI” bump), but that “Shark” may suffer a little losing the strong “CSI” lead-in and being forced up against Sunday Night Football.


8 p.m.: “Ghost Whisperer.” Jennifer Love’s Hewitts - I salute you.
9 p.m.: “MOONLIGHT.” This is the vampire P.I. show I mentioned before, which comes to us from Joel Silver. The vampire in question has been around for over 60 years, and is a bit of a vampire rebel - he disagrees with the whole “eating people” philosophy, and spends his days trying to protect folks (along with some undead pals of his), while also doing the whole investigation thing. And there’s romance of course - while he has sworn off human lady loving, there’s a new hot gal that’s giving him second thoughts (but if he’s undead, his blood doesn’t flow, which means he can’t get any blood down there, which means things ain’t going to work, no?).
10 p.m.: “Numb3rs.” Another renewal that was a non-surprise. The only question here, in fact, is whether Diane Farr (who returns for this week’s season finale!) will be back next season (and as she’s probably my biggest TV crush of the last year - even more than Kirsten Bell - so I totally messed up in forgetting to include her on my “five” list).


8 p.m.: Crimetime Saturday. I guess this is a rerun of one of the procedurals.
9 p.m.: More crimetime Saturday.
10 p.m.: “48 Hours: Mystery.”


7 p.m.: “60 Minutes.” Isn’t Andy Rooney dead yet?
8 p.m.: “VIVA LAUGHLIN.” The last of CBS’ new shows, this is the Hugh Jackman-produced Americanization of the BBC’s “Viva Blackpool. It’s a “musical drama” about a gambler who opens a casino in Laughlin, Nevada, with the help of his enemy (a rich casino owner played by Jackman). There’s also some type of murder investigation, a hot wife, romance, and the music. I’ve never seen “Viva Blackpool,” so I have no opinion of the “remake” status. But I’m not terribly excited about this, despite the fact that I’m an inveterate gambler. But I may try an episode, although it’ll have to be TiVo-for-later-in-the-week, ‘cause there’s certainly no way I’m going to bail on Sunday Night Football for this. (One last note of interest - there were rumors earlier this week that this is where Rob Thomas would end up working if/when the CW kills “Veronica Mars,” but the most recent rumors are that he firmly passed on the offer, and Thomas, himself, is being mum about the whole thing.)
9 p.m.: “Cold Case.” Even though I don’t watch this show, it’s based in Philly, so it gets some love from me.
10 p.m.: “Shark.” Good for you, James Woods.

Seth “the Orangutan” Freilich is Pajiba’s television columnist. He is more bummed than he’d like to admit that CBS’ fall schedule doesn’t include zombies. Vampires are great and all, but
zombies mother-Fers!

CBS's New Fall Schedule

The Network Upfronts / The TV Whore
May 16, 2007

TV | May 16, 2007 |

Seth is a Senior Editor and sometime critic. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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