Networks’ new fall shows aren’t great, which isn’t good for local stations
I’ve been writing about new fall broadcast network shows since 1990, and I’ve never been more excited about the lineup than I am right now.
That’s, in large part, because the huge corporations that own the broadcast networks have decided their future is in streaming. Thus, they are less interested and less likely to pour money into broadcast shows.
And you have to wonder how this is going to affect local TV stations across the country, including here in Utah.
It’s a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. Disney (ABC), Paramount Global (CBS), Comcast (NBC) and Fox air less-than-glitter shows, which draw fewer and fewer viewers, leaving local affiliates — including KUTV-Ch. 2, KTVX-Ch. 4, KSL-Ch. 5 and KSTU-Ch. 13 in Salt Lake City – without the kind of support they have enjoyed in decades past.
How bad is it? Apparently, NBC is considering giving the last hour of prime time back to its affiliates – 9-10pm MT Monday through Saturday. In that case, don’t be surprised if KSL-Channel 5 adds another hour of local news. Because the zillions of hours of local TV hours that are currently airing on local stations just aren’t enough.
OK, that’s only about 33 hours of local TV news per weekday on local stations. And that’s not counting simulcasts, reruns and locally produced magazines.
But when it comes to entertainment shows on the networks, the fall season is pretty bleak. There is nothing fresh and innovative. It’s not all terrible – there are some seemingly good shows – but it’s more comfort food on TV than something that will challenge the palate.
“The danger of celebrities!” (7 p.m., ABC/Ch. 4) • Mayim Bialik hosts a prime-time version that—you guessed it! – presents famous candidates. (Premieres September 25)
“Family law” (8 p.m., The CW/Ch. 30) • This Canadian import is a mundane legal drama about a lawyer with a troubled personal life who joins her father’s firm and works with her half-siblings. Its good. (October 2)
“East New York” (8 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2): Perfectly fine but all-too-familiar crime drama that centers on the new boss of a Brooklyn neighborhood (Amanda Warren) who faces resistance because of her gender. (October 2)
“Quantum Leap” (8 p.m., NBC/Ch. 5): This sequel to the 1989-93 original features Raymond Song as a new scientist following in the footsteps of Scott Bakula’s character, jumping through time. I can’t tell you if it’s any good, because NBC scrapped the original pilot and shot a new one, which it hasn’t shown to critics as of yet. (September 19)
“Monarch” (Launched Sept. 11; airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on Fox/Ch. 13): I Like Me A Good Primetime Soap. Unfortunately it is not. He wants to be a cross between “Dallas” and “Empire,” with a family of country music stars, but that’s just dumb, predictable, and lame. (September 20)
“The Recruit: The Feds” (9 p.m., ABC/Ch. 4) • I’ll be the first to tell you that I like “The Rookie,” even though it’s not a great detective series. It’s kind of the same thing. It works largely because Niecy Nash-Betts is so likeable as a middle-aged woman/newly minted FBI agent. It’s funny. (September 27)
“The Winchesters” (8 p.m., The CW/Ch. 30): I watched all 327 episodes of “Supernatural” from 2005 to 2020, even though it was getting increasingly confusing and, at the same time, repetitive. This prequel is set in the early 1970s and features Sam and Dean’s parents from “Supernatural” hunting monsters and demons. It’s definitely repetitive and unnecessary. (October 11)
“Professionals” (9 p.m., The CW/Ch.30). This Irish/South African series is about a security specialist (Smallville alum Tom Welling) who is hired by a billionaire (Brendan Fraser) after a rocket explodes at launch. It’s really bad. (October 11)
“The True Love Boat” (8 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2): Husband and wife Jerry O’Connell and Rebecca Romijn host this dating/contest show that takes place on a cruise ship. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it has yet to be previewed for reviewers. (October 5)
“So Help Me Todd” (9:00 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2): A successful lawyer (Marcia Gay Harden) hires her scoundrel son (Skylar Astin) to be her investigator in this legal comedy/drama. I love the stars, but the writing of the pilot just isn’t good. (September 29)
“Walker: Independence” (9 p.m., The CW/Ch. 30) • This “Walker” prequel, set in the late 1800s, centers on Abby Walker (Katherine McNamara), who travels from Boston to Texas to start a new life. when her husband is murdered. It’s a ridiculous attempt to make a Western with modern sensibilities, and it fails in almost every way. (October 6)
“Alaska Daily” (9 p.m., ABC/Ch. 4): Hilary Swank stars as a high-powered New York investigative reporter who is fired from her job when she bases a report on documents that turn out to be fakes. . She lands in Alaska, works for a daily newspaper and does what she does best. There hasn’t been a successful show on a newspaper since “Lou Grant,” which ended 40 years ago – but this one might just work. That’s probably low praise, but it’s the best new show on the broadcast networks this fall. (October 6)
“Land of Fire” (8 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2) • Seeking an early release from prison, a convict (Max Theriot) joins a firefighting team — but he never expected to be sent to his hometown in Northern California, where a soap opera ensues. There are things to like about it, but the mix just isn’t right, one way or another. Maybe they will understand. (October 7)
“Lopez vs. Lopez” (8 p.m., NBC/Ch. 5): George Lopez and his real-life daughter, Mayan, star as a father and daughter who make TikTok videos and argue in this throwback sitcom (and not the common sense). At best, it’s mildly amusing. At worst, it’s just painful. (Nov 4)
“Criss Angel: Magic with the Stars” (8 p.m., The CW/Ch. 30): Celebrities learn how to perform magic tricks and present them to the judges. Including Angel. It was not available for preview. (October 22)
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