Spoiling the Upfronts

It’s December. It’s almost Christmas. You can’t wait to get your presents and give other people theirs.

Then on Dec. 10, your mom tells you, “We got you a new wallet.”

On Dec. 18, your sister says, “Just so you know, I got you some new shoes.”

Then on Dec. 22, five other people tell you what you’re getting for Christmas. They’re not giving you any of it, mind you. They’re just telling you what it is.

You’ll still have your Christmas dinners, your events with your family and friends, and you’ll still actually be getting your presents … but isn’t Christmas about 35 percent less fun that year?

That’s kinda how Upfront Week feels right now. It used to be that until the second the networks announced their schedules for the next fall TV season, we didn’t know if our favorite shows were coming back or not. For gheey fans of TV (me), it was like Christmas.

Now, thanks to the little leaks and the heightened journalistic attention paid to Upfront Week, things are different. Our presents are getting spoiled in the weeks leading up Upfronts. We already have a pretty good idea of what’s coming back and what isn’t. That can be good — it lessens the anxiety for fans to have these things parceled out in small doses. It’s good for the show, too. If you know your show is coming back, you’re going to allow yourself to get more invested in the story, and hence, the entire show.

But if it’s something you look forward to, forget it. It’s never gonna be like it was. Your Christmas will be ruined for the foreseeable future.

Some quick highlights of what happened over the weekend and at today’s Upfronts, which featured Fox and NBC unveiling their lineups:

if you're looking for lord tubbington, you'll have to find him on thursdays next season

Fox: We knew exactly what we were getting for returning shows — The Finder, Breaking In and Alcatraz gone, Fringe and Touch sticking around. Now we got to the schedule part of it to find that Glee is moving to Thursdays at 9, which makes sense. The show doesn’t have the same buzz it had at the start of the second season, and its fourth season is going to be pivotal. The kids are out of high school, they’re gonna be who knows where, so it’s a definite transition time. It can’t hurt for the show to be guarded by the post-X Factor and Idol spot in the lineup. Touch is now going to be on Friday with Fringe, like it’s some kind of invitation for people to stop watching. I’m already like five episodes behind, so I don’t know if that’s going to get back on my radar or not. Bones moves to Monday, and the network rolls out a sitcom Tuesday lineup. For the first time that I can remember for the last however many years, every network now has a strictly sitcom lineup Sunday-Thursday. And one is even trying its hand on Friday … 

is maya rudolph still annoying in this? yeah? ok well wake me when she isn't.

NBC: The wild card of the networks just because of the sheer volume of shows it said it would be debuting this year. Most of them will be premiering midseason, with a few spread out through the fall. The network is making a run at being The Sitcom Network — it has sitcoms Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, more nights than any other network — which could be a change people are looking for. But this is the same network that thought The Jay Leno Show was a good idea, so there you go. The Thursday lineup stays kinda intact, with the series finale for 30 Rock coming in November or December, it would seem, and then some other comedy launching in January. Up All Night, one of its shows on the bubble, moves in to the Thursday comedy mix at 8:30, and Office and Parks and Rec stick at 9 and 9:30, where they always should have been. NBC can say all it wants to about the positives of moving a show to Friday, but there is a stigma attached to it that is supported by the ratings. People don’t watch TV on Fridays. At least not a lot of them. So when you move a show to Fridays, you better be ready to live with terrible, awful, horrible ratings. Because that’s what you’ll get. If you’re looking for anything else, you’re kidding yourself and the show’s fans. So Community and Whitney? They’re probably gone. But at least we know that now and we can start to plan for it. I’ve only checked out a couple of the trailers so far, but my immediate reaction is The New Normal looks good, Go On looks OK, and Guys with Kids makes you wonder why shows like this get bought. It looks like a far less funny version of Up All Night, which isn’t that funny in the first place. But for whatever kind of criticism you’d like to level at NBC, they brought back Community, Parks and Rec and 30 Rock. I didn’t care what happened after that.

back. with penny. oh well, you can't get everything you want.

ABC: Nice try, GCB. And Ashley Judd. Actually, Judd’s wasn’t such a good try. It was a pretty boring try, actually. Body of Proof somehow got a renewal, don’t ask me how, as did Don’t Trust the B, which does deserve some more time on the air. Happy Endings got a full season, which makes sense if Body of Proof is getting a renewal. Otherwise, I’d think something is seriously up with the fabric of reality.

CBS: Did you know CSI: Miami had an amazing TV legacy? Me neither. It gave us the Caruso face, sure, but didn’t we already have that thanks to Kiss of Death? Yeah, we did. Anyway, it’s gone. And I can honestly say I never watched one second of the show in 10 years. Not even by accident. Not surprisingly, Unforgettable and a couple other CBS shows are gone. So that takes care of its bubble before its Upfront presentation.

CW: Gossip Girl will be back for a short season, Ringer and Secret Circle will not be back at all. Good riddance to bad rubbish on Ringer. I don’t watch Nikita with anything resembling regularity anymore, but I’ve always liked it and am glad it keeps getting renwed even though the ratings are just ridiculously bad.

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