NBC picks up more than a dozen new shows
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- NBC is the last in my look at next season's offerings. It's also last in the network standings. That's why it's got so much new stuff set for the fall -- 15 shows, to be exact.
That's more than any other network. (ABC, with 10, is the only other one in double digits.) The more it puts out there, the more chance it has of finding something that might take it back to the realm of its heyday, when it ruled the air with shows like "Friends," "Frasier" and "Seinfeld."
As with Fox, the emphasis is on comedy, with seven new sitcoms premiering. The rest of the programming is split between drama and reality. Here's a look:
"1600 Penn": Family sitcom. Midseason.
President Gilchrist (Bill Pullman, who also played a president in "Independence Day") and his family might live in the White House, but they still have the same problems as other American families. These include a grown son moving back home (Josh Gad, "Love and Other Drugs") and a stepmom (Jenna Elfman, "Dharma and Greg") trying to ingratiate herself to her stepkids (Amara Miller, "The Descendants;" Martha MacIsaac, "Superbad" and Benjamin Stockham, "Sons of Tucson"). The show comes from Gad, Jason Winer ("Modern Family") and former White House speechwriter Jon Lovett.
"Animal Practice": Workplace sitcom. 8 p.m. Wednesdays.
A top New York vet (Justin Kirk, "Weeds") has a way with animals but not so much with people, particularly his old flame (JoAnna Garcia, "Reba"), who now runs the hospital where he works. They're joined in the workplace by Tyler Labine ("Reaper"), Bobby Lee ("MADtv") and a poker-playing capuchin monkey.
"Chicago Fire": Firefighter drama. 10 p.m. Wednesdays.
Dick Wolf branches out of the law and order fields for this action drama about firefighters and paramedics at a Chicago firehouse. The cast includes Jesse Spencer ("House"), Taylor Kinney ("Trauma"), Lauren German ("Hawaii Five-0"), Eamonn Walker ("Oz"), David Eigenberg ("Sex and the City") and Monica Raymund ("Lie to Me").
"Do No Harm": Medical thriller. 10 p.m. Sundays midseason.
Jason Cole (Steven Pasquale, "Rescue Me") is a neurosurgeon with a secret in this Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde medical drama. For years, he's kept his deadly alter ego in check with an experimental drug, but now his body has developed a resistance to it, and his alter ego is unleashed and hell-bent on causing chaos. The show also stars Alana De La Garza ("Law & Order") and Phylicia Rashad ("The Cosby Show").
"Go On": Group therapy sitcom. 9 p.m. Tuesdays.
Taking another crack at sitcoms after the short-lived and enjoyable (I thought) "Mr. Sunshine," Matthew Perry stars as a recently widowed sportscaster forced to seek grief counseling before he's allowed to return to the air. He joins a support group, which includes Tyler James Williams ("Everybody Hates Chris"), Julie White ("Transformers" franchise), Bill Cobbs ("Night at the Museum") and Allison Miller ("Terra Nova"). Broadway star Laura Benanti runs the support group, and John Cho ("Harold & Kumar" franchise) plays Perry's boss.
"Guys with Kids": Family sitcom. 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays.
Jesse Bradford ("Bring It On"), Zach Cregger ("The Whitest Kids U Know") and Anthony Anderson ("Law & Order") star as new dads unwilling to relinquish their youth in this sitcom from Jimmy Fallon. The ladies in their lives include Jamie Lynn Sigler ("The Sopranos"), Tempestt Bledsoe ("The Cosby Show") and Erinn Hayes ("Worst Week").
"Hannibal": Serial killer drama. Midseason.
The iconic villain Hannibal Lecter comes to the small screen in this crime drama from Bryan Fuller ("Heroes," "Pushing Daisies") that's a prequel to Thomas Harris' first Lecter novel, "Red Dragon." Here, the brilliant psychiatrist (Mads Mikkelsen, "Casino Royale") is not yet in prison. He works with FBI profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy, "Confessions of a Shopaholic"), who doesn't yet know that Lecter is a serial killer.
"Infamous": Soapy mystery. Midseason.
When a young socialite is murdered, a detective (Meagan Good, "Think Like a Man") goes undercover amongst the wealthy family to find the killer. It's not difficult for her to insinuate herself into their lives - she was the victim's childhood friend and the daughter of their maid. The cast also includes Victor Garber ("Alias"), Tate Donovan ("Damages") and Laz Alonso ("Jumping the Broom").
"The New Normal": Family sitcom. 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays.
Ryan "Glee" Murphy's take on family includes a gay couple (Broadway actor Andrew Rannells and Justin Bartha, "National Treasure"), their baby's surrogate (Scottish actress Georgia King), her 8-year-old daughter (newcomer Bebe Wood) and her mother (Ellen Barkin, "The Big Easy"). NeNe Leakes ("The Real Housewives of Atlanta") and Jayson Blair ("The Hard Times of R.J. Berger") have recurring roles.
"Next Caller": Workplace sitcom. Midseason.
Cam (comedian Dane Cook) is the foul-mouthed star of a lowbrow, testosterone-heavy hit radio show. Stella (Collette Wolfe, "Young Adult") is the chipper feminist fresh out of public radio who's hired to co-host the show. Fireworks ensue, of course, as they're forced to work together. Jeffrey Tambor ("Arrested Development"), Joy Osmanski ("The Loop") and Wolé Parks ("As the World Turns") also star.
"Revolution": Mystery/adventure. 10 p.m. Mondays.
What would happen if electricity no longer existed? That's the premise behind J.J. Abrams' latest small screen thriller, which follows a band of survivors in this post-apocalyptic world. The series stars Billy Burke ("The Twilight Saga"), Giancarlo Esposito ("Breaking Bad"), Elizabeth Mitchell ("Lost"), Tracy Spiridakos ("Being Human"), Andrea Roth ("Rescue Me"), David Lyons ("The Cape") and Zak Orth ("Wet Hot American Summer").
"Save Me": Supernatural sitcom. Midseason.
A Midwestern woman (Anne Heche, "Cedar Rapids") has a direct line to God after a near-death experience and becomes an unexpected prophet for her husband (Michael Landes, "Final Destination 2"), his mistress (Alexandra Breckenridge, "American Horror Story") and their family and friends. Heather Burns ("Bored to Death"), Madison Davenport ("Shameless") and Lamman Rucker ("Meet the Browns") co-star.
NBC also has four new reality shows next season, none of which have premiere dates set. They are game show "Howie Mandel's White Elephant" (yes, based on the holiday gift game), dating competition "Ready for Love," celebrity military challenge "Stars Earn Stripes" and the hidden camera series "Surprise with Jenny McCarthy."
AMC has a marathon of "The Walking Dead" beginning at 11:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Catch all 19 episodes of the show to date, hosted by Chris Hardwick of "The Talking Dead," who will give sneak peeks from the set of season three and chat with the cast between episodes. It ends with a special "Talking Dead" season three preview at 9 p.m. Sunday, followed by a black-and-white version of the pilot at 10 p.m.
Scripted series premiere: "Perception," 10 p.m. Monday, TNT (crime drama with Eric McCormack, of "Will & Grace," as a schizophrenic doctor - M.D. and Ph.D. - assisting the FBI).
Series premieres: "Xtreme Waterparks," 8 p.m., and "Insane Coaster Wars," 9 p.m. Sunday, Travel Channel (vacation destinations); "Big Ang," 9 p.m. Sunday, VH1 ("Mob Wives" spin-off); "Opening Act," 10 p.m. Monday, E! (unknown singers get five days to prepare to open for top acts); "Trust Us With Your Life," 9 p.m. Tuesday, ABC (improv comedians act out celebrities' lives); "NY Med," 10 p.m. Tuesday, ABC (hospital documentary with Dr. Oz); "Beverly Hills Nannies," 9 p.m. Wednesday, ABC Family (reality show); "Picked Off," 10 p.m. Wednesday, History (antiquing competition).
Scripted series' season premieres: "Masterpiece Mystery: Inspector Lewis," 9 p.m. Sunday, PBS; "The Closer," 9 p.m. Monday, TNT (final season); "White Collar," 9 p.m., and "Covert Affairs," 10 p.m. Tuesday, USA.
Other season premieres: "The Dog Whisperer," 8 p.m. Saturday, National Geographic; "Sunday Best," 8 p.m. Sunday, BET; "Hoarding: Buried Alive," 9 p.m. Sunday, TLC; "Bizarre Foods America," 9 p.m. Monday, Travel Channel (preceded by a 100th episode retrospective at 8 p.m.); "Border Wars," 9 p.m. Monday, National Geographic; "Destination Truth," 8 p.m. Tuesday, Syfy; "Hardcore Pawn," 9 p.m. Tuesday, TruTV; "Toddlers & Tiaras," 9 p.m. Wednesday, TLC; "Haunted Collector," 9 p.m. Wednesday, Syfy.
Season finale: "Kathy," 10 p.m. Thursday, Bravo.
Special: "Fear Factor" two-part challenge, 8 p.m. Monday and July 16.
Rerun of note: Adele on "Live from the Artist's Den," 9 p.m. Friday, PBS2.
Andy Griffith tribute: TV Land will air marathons of "The Andy Griffith Show" from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
W.Va. alert: "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" repeats on BBC America, 9 p.m. Tuesday.
Reach Amy Robinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.