Sorry, What to Watch took a turkey day break as last week was really light on new product worth mentioning. This week? Pretty much the same but we don’t want you to miss us too badly. Here’s five recent Blu-ray, DVD, and streaming releases that may have caught your attention on new release shelves lately, ranked in the order we’d add them to our holiday wish list.
NBC Renews ‘Chuck,’ Cancels ‘Heroes,’ Launches Eight New Shows
CHICAGO – NBC announced their fall schedule and fans of “Heroes,” “Law & Order,” “Trauma,” and “Mercy” will shed a tear while on-the-bubble shows like “Chuck,” “Parenthood,” and “Community” will return with “Parks and Recreation” coming back later in the season. Most notably, the peacock network filled the now-vacant five hours of programming after “The Jay Leno Show” debacle with eight new fall shows and five more scheduled for midseason.
NBC has called in the starpower to help save the sinking network, bringing in new programs by J.J. Abrams, Jerry Bruckheimer, and David E. Kelley with recognizable TV veterans like Blair Underwood, Jimmy Smits, Laura Innes, and more.
The network has scheduled their fall 2010 season with thematic evenings. Mondays and Wednesdays will feature drama, Thursdays will be all comedy, and the rest of the week will include reality leading into similar dramas.
Jeff Gaspin, Chariman, NBC Universal Television Entertainment said, “This new schedule brings NBC back to basics with its commitment to quality scripted programming. Our new shows are distinctive and feature a combination of the biggest talent, the brightest new stars and the strongest auspices in television. With this new schedule, we’re poised to take the next step toward our long-term goals with a lineup that has stabilized and has been building solid momentum through the second half of the season.”
Mondays lead off with the fourth season of “Chuck” at 7pm CST, followed by two new dramas, “The Event” and “Chase”. Tuesdays are anchored by the two-hour “The Biggest Loser,” which leads into “Parenthood”.
The network turns to three hours of drama on Wednesday nights with “Undercovers” from J.J. Abrams, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” and the new “Law & Order: Los Angeles”.
There’s a bit of a shuffle on Thursday nights with “Community” still opening the night but now leading into “30 Rock”. “The Office” stays put and is followed by two new comedies, “Outsourced” and the hour-long “Love Bites”. “Parks and Recreation” will return “later in the season,” which one assumes could be as soon as one of the new programs fails.
The weekends feature a mix of reality programs and drama with “Who Do You Think You Are?” and “School Pride” on Friday nights leading into “Dateline NBC” and a new Jimmy Smits drama entitled “Outlaw”. Saturday nights feature encore programming and Sundays are for football.
Official new program synopsis information courtesy of NBC:
Photo credit: Justin Lubin/NBC
“The Event” is an emotional, high-octane conspiracy thriller that follows Sean Walker (Jason Ritter, “The Class”), an Everyman who investigates the mysterious disappearance of his fiancée, Leila (Sarah Roemer, “Disturbia”), and unwittingly begins to expose the biggest cover-up in U.S. history. Sean’s quest will send ripples through the lives of an eclectic band of strangers, including: newly elected U.S. President Martinez (Golden Globe nominee Blair Underwood, “In Treatment”); Sophia (Emmy Award nominee Laura Innes, “ER”), who is the leader of a mysterious group of detainees; and Sean’s shadowy father-in-law (Scott Patterson, “Gilmore Girls”). Their futures are on a collision course in a global conspiracy that could ultimately change the fate of mankind. Ian Anthony Dale (“Daybreak”) and Emmy winner zeljko Ivanek (“Damages”) also star in the ensemble drama. “The Event” is a production of Universal Media Studios and Steve Stark Productions. Stark (“Medium,” “Facing Kate”) serves as executive producer, Nick Wauters (“The 4400,” “Eureka”) is creator/co-executive producer and Jeffrey Reiner (“Friday Night Lights,” “Trauma”) is the director/executive producer; Evan Katz (“24”) also is an executive producer.
Photo credit: Chris Haston/NBC
Acclaimed writer/producer/director J.J. Abrams (“Star Trek,” “Fringe,” “Lost,” “Alias”) serves as co-writer, executive producer – and also directs – his first direction of a TV series pilot since “Lost” in “Undercovers” with executive producer/writer Josh Reims (“Brothers and Sisters”). “Undercovers” is a sexy, fun, action-packed spy drama that proves once and for all that marriage is still the world’s most dangerous partnership. Outwardly, Steven Bloom (Boris Kodjoe, “Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Reunion,” “Soul Food,” “Resident Evil: Afterlife”) and his wife, Samantha (Gugu Mbatha-Raw, “Doctor Who,” “Bonekickers”), are a typical married couple who own a small catering company in Los Angeles and are helped by Samantha’s easily frazzled younger sister, Lizzy (Jessica Parker Kennedy, “Smallville”). Secretly, the duo were two of the CIA’s best spies until they fell in love on the job five years ago and retired. When fellow spy and friend Nash (Carter MacIntyre, “American Heiress”) goes missing while on the trail of a Russian arms dealer, the Blooms are reinstated by boss Carlton Shaw (Gerald McRaney, “Deadwood”) to locate and rescue Nash. The pair is thrust back into the world of espionage as they follow leads that span the globe — and Steven and Samantha realize that this supercharged, undercover lifestyle provides the excitement and romance that their marriage has been missing. Also starring is Ben Schwartz (NBC’s “Parks and Recreation”). “Undercovers” is from Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Bad Robot Productions and Warner Bros. Television. The pilot was written by J.J. Abrams & Josh Reims and directed by Abrams. Abrams, Reims and Bryan Burk (“Fringe,” “Lost, “Alias”) are the executive producers.
Photo credit: Vivian Zink/NBC
“Chase” is a fast-paced drama from Emmy Award-winning executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer (“CSI” franchise, “The Amazing Race,” “Pirates of the Caribbean” films) and executive producer Jennifer Johnson (“Cold Case”) that drops viewers smack into the middle of a game of cat-and-mouse as a team of U.S. marshals hunts down America’s most dangerous fugitives. Kelli Giddish (“Past Life”) stars as U.S. Marshal Annie Frost, a cowboy boot-wearing deputy whose sharp mind and unique Texas upbringing help her track down the violent criminals on the run. Cole Hauser (“K-Ville”), Amaury Nolasco (“Prison Break”), Rose Rollins (“The L Word”) and Jesse Metcalfe (“Desperate Housewives”) also star as members of Frost’s elite team. “Chase” is produced by Bonanza Productions Inc., in association with Jerry Bruckheimer Television and Warner Bros. Television. Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman (“CSI” franchise, “The Amazing Race,” “Cold Case”) and Johnson serve as executive producers, while KristieAnne Reed is co-executive producer. David Nutter (“The Mentalist,” “Without a Trace” “The X-Files”) directed and is executive producer of the pilot that was written by Johnson.
Photo credit: Will Hart/NBC
Starring Emmy Award winner Jimmy Smits (“NYPD Blue,” “The West Wing”), “Outlaw” is a new drama from executive producer John Eisendrath (“Alias,” “Felicity,” “Playmakers”). Cyrus Garza (Smits) is a U.S. Supreme Court justice who abruptly quits the high-level position. A playboy and a gambler, Garza had always adhered to a strict interpretation of the law until he realized the system he believed in was flawed. Now that he’s quit the bench and returned to private practice, he’s determined to represent “the little guy” and use his inside knowledge of the justice system to take on today’s biggest legal cases — and he’s making plenty of powerful people unhappy along the way. Jesse Bradford (“The West Wing”), Carly Pope (“24”), Ellen Woglom (“Californication”) and David Ramsey (“Dexter”) also star. “Outlaw” is a Universal Media Studios production along with Conaco productions. Eisendrath is executive producer along with Terry George (“Hotel Rwanda,” “Reservation Road”), Conan O’Brien, Jeff Ross and David Kissinger (“Andy Barker, P.I.”). “Outlaw” is written by Eisendrath and directed by George.
“Law & Order: Los Angeles”
The new “Law & Order: Los Angeles” is a procedural crime drama that will follow the theme and storylines similar to the “Law & Order”-brand series on the streets of Los Angeles. The series, from executive producer Dick Wolf and Blake Masters “(“Brotherhood”), is a Wolf Films production in association with Universal Media Studios. Casting and pre-production work are continuing.
Photo credit: Harper Smith/NBC
“Outsourced” is a comedy where the Midwest meets the exotic East in a hilarious culture clash. The series centers on the all-American company Mid America Novelties that sells whoopee cushions, foam fingers and wallets made of bacon — and whose call center has suddenly been outsourced to India. Todd Dempsy (Ben Rappaport, off-Broadway’s “The Gingerbread House”) is the new company’s manager who learns that he’s being transferred to India to run the operation. Overwhelmed, Todd discovers that his new staff needs a crash course in all things American if they are to understand the U.S. product line and ramp up sales from halfway around the world. But as strange as America seems to his eclectic sales team, Todd soon realizes that figuring out India will be more than a full-time job. Rizwan Manji (“Privileged”), Sacha Dhawan (BBC’s “Five Days II”), Rebecca Hazlewood (BBC’s “Doctors”), Parvesh Cheena (“Help Me Help You”), and Anisha Nagarajan (Broadway’s “Bombay Dreams”) also star as members of Dempsy’s off-shore team; Diedrich Bader (“The Drew Carey Show”) and Jessica Gower (Network Ten’s “The Secret Life of Us”) additionally star. “Outsourced” is produced by Universal Media Studios. Robert Borden (“The Drew Carey Show” and “George Lopez”) is executive producer/writer. Ken Kwapis (“The Office”) developed the project through his company, In Cahoots, and serves as executive producer/director. Alex Beattie serves as co-executive producer.
Photo credit: NBC
From Emmy Award-winning writer-producer Cindy Chupack (“Sex and the City”), “Love Bites” is an hour-long romantic comedy anthology series featuring three loosely connected, modern stories of love, sex, marriage and dating. Each episode contains multiple vignettes, all illuminating the theme of love with an edgy, irreverent spin. Becki Newton (“Ugly Betty”) stars as Annie and Jordana Spiro (“My Boys”) stars as Frannie, the last two single girls standing after all of their friends get married. Annie is an infectiously bubbly optimist and Frannie is an always-a-bridesmaid realist. Their story will anchor the series, while other romantically-challenged characters will come and go each week. The pilot’s guest cast includes Jennifer Love Hewitt (“Ghost Whisperer”), Greg Grunberg (“Heroes”), Craig Robinson (“The Office”), Jason Lewis (“Sex and the City”), Lindsay Price (“Lipstick Jungle”), Larry Wilmore (“The Daily Show”), Charlyne Yi (“Knocked Up”), Pamela Adlon (“Californication”), Stacy Galina (“Hidden Hills”), Brian Hallisay (“Privileged”), Kyle Howard (“My Boys”) and Steve Howey (“Bride Wars”). “Love Bites” is a production of Universal Media Studios and Working Title Television, which is a new division of Working Title Films (the U.K. production company behind box office hits including “Love Actually,” “Bridget Jones’s Diary” and “Four Weddings and a Funeral”). Chupack is creator, executive producer and writer. Emmy Award-winning producer-director Marc Buckland (“My Name Is Earl”) also is executive producer and directs the pilot. Eric Fellner, Tim Bevan and Shelley McCrory from Working Title Television are executive producers. “Love Bites” is Working Title Television’s first U.S. commission.
Photo credit: Trae Patton/NBC
From executive producers Cheryl Hines (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) and Denise Cramsey (“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” and “True Beauty”), “School Pride” is a proactive, alternative series that tells the stories of communities coming together to renovate their aging and broken public schools. While transforming the school, the community also restores its sense of value and school pride. The cameras follow students, teachers and parents as they roll up their sleeves and rebuild their own schools, concluding with the unveiling of a brand new, completely transformed school. They are motivated by a quartet of community organizers and personalities — SWAT Commander Tom Stroup, interior designer Susie Castillo (“House of Payne”), comedian and former substitute teacher Kym Whitley (“Til Death”) and political correspondent Jacob Soboroff (“AMC News”). Together, the team of experts will lead the community through the makeover process. Months later, cameras will revisit the school to discover the lasting effects of the transformation — a renewed sense of school pride and an increase in student achievement scores. “School Pride” is produced by Horizon Alternative Television.