Saturday, September 1, 2012

Will ABC’s new shows catch on with audiences?

ABC has had a creative resurgence in recent years.

That’s not to say everything on the network is perfect – because it’s not. It is markedly better than five years ago, though, when ABC was still struggling to bounce back from the 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire' debacle.

CBS is still the ratings powerhouse – but ABC has made strides in cutting the deficit in recent years -- and they've done it without relying on boring procedurals.

The network is unveiling five new shows this fall – and I think three of them have a decent shot of developing solid fanbases.

I will say, though, that I think ABC’s insistence on reviving a Friday night comedy block is probably a mistake – especially given the quality of the sitcoms they picked up this season.

So, what are the shows?

666 Park Avenue – Jane and Henry (Rachael Taylor and David Annable) are offered the opportunity to manage The Drake. There’s something weird going on, though, and the young couple from the Midwest aren’t sure what to make of their new surroundings. Owners Gavin and Olivia (Terry O’Quinn and Vanessa Williams) are mysterious – and their motivations are shrouded in secrecy.

Why it will work: O’Quinn is phenomenal and the supernatural is all the rage right now. Plus, Annable showed himself to be endearing and lovable during his tenure on ‘Brothers and Sisters’.

Why it will fail: Taylor is fairly vacant as a performer. Unless ABC lets the show embrace the creepy, I don’t think audiences will shower the program with a lot of love.

‘666 Park Avene’ debuts at 10 p.m. on Sept. 30.

The  Neighbors – This is an “aliens next door” sitcom starring Jamie Gertz, Lenny Venito and Simon Templeman.

Why it will work: I can’t see any reason – especially if the trailer is an indication of the quality of the show. Still, I do enjoy the names the aliens pick and Jamie Gertz is always fun as a performer.

Why it will fail: It’s an “aliens next door” sitcom. We’ve seen it before – and with better performers. Just watch 'Third Rock from the Sun' reruns.

‘The Neighbors’ debuts at 9:30 p.m. Sept 26, before moving to its regular time slot of 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays the following week.

Nashville – The legendary queen of country (Connie Britton) is struggling as the new up-and-comer (Hayden Panettiere) is gunning for her throne. Reportedly, both stars will do their own singing and the ensemble cast includes Jonathan Jackson, Eric Close and Powers Boothe.

Why it will work: Of all the new shows ABC is offering, this is the one I’m most interested in. You can’t argue with the cast – all of them are strong. The premise may not be new, but with a cast like this I think they might be able to make music magic.

Why it will fail: There are a glut of music shows right now, including the past its prime ‘Glee’ and the vapid ‘Smash’ – viewers might not have the energy to embrace another.

‘Nashville’debuts at 10 p.m. on Oct. 10.

Last Resort – The crew of an underwater nuclear submarine are ordered to fire nuclear weapons at Pakistan. When they refuse, the American government sends assault teams after them. In an effort to save themselves, they go to an exotic island and declare themselves a sovereign nuclear nation. The show stars Andre Braugher, Scott Speedman and Autumn Reeser.

Why it will work: The cast here is strong as well – plus it’s an interesting premise. Please let Speedman grow his hair out when their on the island -- I prefer him with long locks.

Why it will fail: I don’t think the standard ABC audience goes in for something this high concept anymore.

‘Last Resort’ debuts at 8 p.m. Sept. 27

Malibu Country – Reba plays Reba – a woman that finds out her husband spent all their money and had an affair. Sound familiar? Yeah, it’s just like Reba’s last sitcom. To cope. Reba moves her family to Malibu – where I’m sure hijinks ensure.

Why it will work: Lily Tomlin as Reba’s mother promises all sorts of inappropriate humor. Plus, it’s nice to see Jai Rodriguez (Queer Eye for the Straight Guy) and Sara Rue in the cast.

Why it will fail: There’s absolutely nothing new about this sitcom. Reba can't even play a character with a new name.

‘Malibu Country’ debuts at 8:30 p.m. Nov. 2.

What do you think? Will you check out any of ABC’s new shows?


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