U.S. TV networks look to past for future programming

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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Los Angeles, California — Four of six national television broadcast networks recently wooed potential advertisers for the 2005-2006 season with programming offerings in the new development phase. These included NBC, Fox, ABC and The WB. Two other networks, CBS and UPN, plan to preview their offerings March 24.

After four years of focusing on high-profile reality television, network executives are turning to the past for inspiration on scripted series. Some networks said they are "more consciously aggressive about developing shows" that recall such classics as Taxi and Barney Miller, Craig Erwich, a programming executive for Fox, told USA Today. In the same report, Kevin Reilly, NBC entertainment chief said, "I don't think the answer has to be that it's groundbreaking or something you've never seen before."

But at least one ad buyer had reservations about the rear-view mirror technique. "Every network seems to be looking back rather than forward for programming ideas. The reminiscence factor may be good if you are looking for an older audience, but it may not be a way to bring in the younger audiences," Laura Caraccioli-Davis, senior vice president and director of Starcom Entertainment told Mediaweek magazine.

  THE CONTENDERS: New series touted for possible inclusion in the 2005-2006 season
Network Development
ABC
Emily's Reasons Why Not 
(Sitcom) - an unmotivated teacher in a class of Type-A students.
Life 
(Drama) - a group of young 20-somethings in Chicago facing life on their own.
Soccer Moms 
(Drama) - two suburban mothers become private investigators.
Fox
Briar & Graves 
(Drama) - a horror series in the vein of X-Files.
Hitched 
(Comedy drama) - a brother and sister run a Las Vegas wedding chapel.
Kitchen Confidential 
(Sitcom) - antics in an upscale New York restaurant.
The Loop 
(Comedy) - the travails of a young Chicago executive.
New Car Smell 
(Comedy) - a Brooke Shields star vehicle in a Las Vegas car dealership
Queen B 
(Sitcom) - Alicia Silverstone as a trendsetting columnist.
Reunion 
(Drama) - shows the lives of a group of friends over 20 years with each episode chronicling one year.
NBC
All In 
(Sitcom) - Janeane Garofalo as a single mom and professional poker player in Las Vegas.
Dante 
(Sitcom) - sports themed revolving around an NFL star.
Hot Property 
(Sitcom) - the competitive world of the real estate agent.
Lies and the Wives We Tell Them 
(Sitcom) - politically incorrect family comedy.
Notorious 
(Sitcom) - Tori Spelling stars in a mockumentary of her life.
WB
Nobody's Watching 
(Sitcom) - two normal guys win a reality show where their lives become a sitcom.
Pepper Dennis 
(Drama) - Rebecca Romijn as a modern Mary Richards-type journalist in Chicago.
Sisters 
(Drama) - four sisters coping with life in the city.

Sources