Upfront Aftermath: CBS & the CW

More peeks at what what's coming to prime time

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TV Eye Logo

After a little poking around, I managed to view clips of CBS’s new fall series. But before I get to that, let’s get to the biggest news at CBS:

Ashton Kutcher will join the cast of Two and a Half Men: Old news, yes, but the impact of that choice should not be underestimated. History shows that replacing departing stars, no matter the circumstances, is usually the death knell for a series. Prior to Kutcher’s casting, Hugh Grant was in talks to fill the void created when Charlie Sheen was fired. Smartly, Grant declined. Kutcher accepted. Call me crazy, but I actually think this can work. Here’s why.

First, Kutcher has a huge social media following which skews young when compared to CBS’s typical demographic. Kutcher fans may not be inclined to follow CBS’s other series just because he appears on Two and a Half Men, but with 9,516,893 “Likes” on Facebook, and 6,777,383 Twitter followers, he’s not exactly an underdog.

Second, Kutcher launched his career on the small screen (That 70s Show). Performing on the small screen and delivering that sophomoric humor found on Two and a Half Men are his forte (I’m not judging, I’m just sayin’…). If Grant had taken the role, I would have gone with my original prediction that Grant would play a version of the real life Charlie Sheen. Now that they’ve gone for a younger actor, I’m actually intrigued. How they’re going to spin Kutcher, I don’t know, but Two and a Half Men creator and show runner Chuck Lorre promises that how they write Sheen out of the show and bring Kutcher in will be “fabulous.” I’ll settle for really, really funny.

CBS only had a handful of new shows to share at their Upfronts. Here’s the rundown:

Show with the most disturbing premise: Person of Interest:
Michael Emerson, who was so perfectly creepy in Lost, plays a software tycoon who wants to rid the world of crime and is willing to bankroll his pseudo Batman ways with his considerable wealth. He finds a former CIA agent who has fallen off the grid and signs him on to do his duty. Why is this disturbing? Emerson’s character “invented a program that uses pattern recognition to identify people about to be involved in violent crimes,” according to CBS press materials. Didn’t series creator J.J. Abrams (et al) see Minority Report?

The replacement for The Ghost Whisperer: A Gifted Man:

Patrick Wilson (Watchman) stars as a driven, highly successful physician living large in the fast lane. He hits a speed bump when his ex- (the one that got away) comes back into his life and implores him to take care of some unfinished business. Oh, the wife is dead and he’s the only one who can see her. I would have guffawed during the clip but Wilson is so good and so damn pretty. Yeah, I’d watch that.

The, “Oh please don’t let him mess this up as badly as he did Sex and the City 2” series: Two Broke Girls:

Michael Patrick King comes up with a great premise about two young women who befriend each other in spite of the odds. One works three jobs, the other is a pampered princess who loses her trust fund. I liked the clip, but got a little nervous when King said it would veer from touching to “LaVerne and Shirley on crack.” Uhm, I’ll settle for a few laughs with a few touches of insight just to make me feel less guilty for watching.

The rest of CBS’s offerings I put in my “Meh” file:

Unforgettable: Poppy Montgomery (Without a Trace) stars as a woman who remembers everything she’s seen or heard. It’s a gift and a curse. And of course, the one thing she can’t remember is the small detail related to her sister’s murder. Dylan Walsh (Nip/Tuck) co-stars as her love interest and the homicide detective she begins solving crimes with.

How To Be A Gentleman: Remember all those sad sitcoms Kevin Dillon’s Johnny Drama in Entourage starred in? This could be one of them. In this, Dillon plays Oscar to David Hornsby’s (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) Felix in another sitcom about opposites thrust together, learning to tolerate each other.

Over at the CW:

Ringer: It’s Buffy, squared! In reality, it’s the return of Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as a woman on the run when she witnesses a professional hit. She flees to New York to hide out with her twin sister and when things go awry, what’s a girl to do but take over her twin sister’s identity?

Hart of Dixie: Rachel Bilson (The O.C.) stars in this fish out-of-water series about a young doctor from the big city who inherits a practice in the deep south and discovers that southern hospitality doesn't exist.

The Secret Circle: Britt Robertson stars as a girl who discovers she’s got secret powers of the witchy variety, only she’s not too thrilled, and guess what? She has an ultra-special, yet dangerous destiny to fulfill.

The rest of the CW schedule is filled out with existing series and reality shows: Re-Modeled, The Frame, H8R, and an all-star version of America’s Top Model.

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Broadcast TV, Fall TV Season 2011, Upfronts

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