The Chuck Mystique

So when did Chuck become the go-to everyguy name? “Chuck” is the new NBC show — two films reference Chuck in the title — “I Now Prounounce you Chuck and Larry” starring Adam Sandler and Kevin James and “Good Luck Chuck” starring Dane Cook.

I need some background on how we went from Joe or Ed to Chuck so very quickly. Is this Charlie Brown syndrome? Has everyone turned into Peppermint Patty?

Other questions to ponder from upfronts:

“Darling” as the last name in 2 series — “Dirty Sexy Money” and “Back to You”. In the former series, the family is a mess, far from “Darling”. In the latter series, Kelsey Grammer plays Chuck (!) Darling, news anchor and probably beloved in his own mind but nowhere else.

Christian already asked this, but it’s worth repeating: What is ABC’s fixation on a group of four friends? Check this out:

Big Shots: (From ABC press release) This is the story of four friends…

Carpoolers: (Again, from the press release) Less about saving the environment than male bonding, four guys from very different backgrounds…

Cashmere Mafia: (I wish I was making this up) Four ambitious and sexy women, who’ve been best friends since business school…

Women’s Murder Club: (seriously) Based on James Patterson’s bestselling novels, The Women’s Murder Club, four working women in San Francisco – a detective, a district attorney, a medical examiner and a reporter…

So, uh, I guess four is the magic number for them? Mental note: create series with four leads for ABC…

Another trend: Chicks as series leads is in. (Cashmere Mafia, Lipstick Jungle, Women’s Murder Club, Return of Jezebel James, Sam I Am, Private Practice, The Bionic Woman, Sarah Connor Chronicles, When Women Rule the World (reality show on Fox), and Miss/Guided)

I’ll keep parsing data for more trends…

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This post was written by Shawna on May 25, 2007

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Realizing what you already know

There are a lot of things we as writers already know. We just don’t know that we know those things.

At the Rossio and Elliot panel last night, they talked about characters having differing points of view (their example was Shrek — how Shrek is ‘ok’ and knows he’s ok (as in, how he feels about himself as an…ogre) which is very different than Fiona who is ‘ok’, but thinks she’s not. Anyway, by having each character with a different view (oh and Donkey is very much NOT ok) it sets up instant conflict.

This discussion somehow spun into dialogue, how to create good dialogue. Terry mentioned how he goes from Tia Dalma (in POC:vDead Man’s Chest) asking “Are you all ready to get Jack Sparrow?” to what she *actually* says. He also threw in the idea of knowing what the character of the scene is. The scene is about throwing down a challenge to this group (to set up the next movie) — think of it like Survivor, where Jeff Probst gathers the contestants and then tells them about their next task. Tia’s line becomes a challenge — “Are you ready to do what it takes to get Jack Sparrow?” which becomes this:

TIA DALMA
Would you do it?
(to all of them)
What would you do, would any of you, be willing to do? Would you sail to the ends of the earth and beyond to fetch back Witty Jack and his precious Pearl?

Cleary Terry and Ted find ways to use the vernacular of the character to spice up the line, but as it reads it evokes emotion and character far better than “so are you ready to go get Jack?”

Okay, so that got me thinking about my own work. I asked myself, do I give each character an emotional viewpoint for every line in every scene? That may seem like a lot of work, but think about it. Right now, you have an emotion. It may not be grandiose, but you could be annoyed with this post, amused, interested, angry, even indifferent. Each emotion would color any response you might give, and they would all do it differently. So, I looked at one of my scenes in my pilot. Braden (protag, a cop) has to deal with a guy who has locked himself into a room. The guy, Buddy, has gone crazy.

Braden’s emotion in this scene is one of annoyance. Buddy is a nuisance who is just causing Braden trouble. But Braden likes Buddy despite himself. He doesn’t want the little bugger to die. Buddy, however, is out of his mind crazy. He’s scared. He’s desperate for escape, to the point he’s willing to throw himself out a window So the question I have to ask myself is: does every line as written reflect the emotions and POVs of each character.

Guess what I’ll be doing this weekend? Yep, asking myself this question for every. single. line.

Posted under writing

This post was written by Shawna on May 25, 2007

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WGA Foundation Panel Tonight

I’ll be there listening to Terry and Ted (Rossio and Elliot) talk about the Pirates franchise and other collaborations of theirs.

If you are interested in seeing something that may only be viewed once every couple of years, I’m wearing a dress tonight.

Lord help me.

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This post was written by Shawna on May 24, 2007

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Breaking into the Box – WGA event recaps

Clark Perry has done a fantastic job recounting this event so far this week. Check out his posts here and here.

This event was held over the weekend, and I really wanted to attend — showrunners, some of the best in the business spilling their guts — why wouldn’t I want to be there?? Sadly, my schedule prevented it.

I can guarantee that won’t happen again.

Posted under blogs

This post was written by Shawna on May 22, 2007

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100,000 visits, 3 years, 700 posts

I know others do it bigger, faster, better, but somehow I managed to cross this milestone. I don’t know whether I have 100 of you to thank 1,000 times each or 10,000 of you to thank 10 times each. However many you are, for what ever reason you landed here, thanks for reading and participating.

With upfronts over, the posting will drop a bit as we head into summer, but that doesn’t mean I won’t have things to talk about — my own writing, summer tv shows, summer blockbusters (yes, I do still see films!) and any other random thing pops into my head. I hope you’ll stick around and even get involved in the discussion.

Your comments are my favorite part of this blog. Truly.

And obviously for that, I can’t do this without you.

Posted under blogs

This post was written by Shawna on May 21, 2007

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Where I’ll be Monday night

…on Blog Talk Radio for Cinerati. The show is from 10-11 PM PST and you can call in to the show during that hour. I’ll be talking about the upfronts and the new fall schedules announced this week.

If you can’t catch the live show, it will be streaming from that link after the broadcast.

I hope you can join us!

Posted under blogs

This post was written by Shawna on May 20, 2007

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Life steps in.

I don’t often blog about my personal life here, because I never really intended this blog as a place to do naval gazing about my own thoughts, feelings etc when they aren’t connected to my writing.

Still, I’ve come to think of a lot of you as my friends…some I know better than others, but I don’t mind sharing a personal life detail here and there.

One thing most of you may not know about me is that I haven’t been in a relationship in two years. In fact, it’s really been closer to three, but I know how bad that sounds so I just say two and leave it at that.

It has come to my attention recently that I might want to reconsider my position on this. Not the ‘declaring how long I’ve been out of the dating world thing’ but rather the ‘being out of the dating world thing’. As in, maybe I’ll get back in.

So, since I trust you all to have my best interests at heart, I will now let you know that I am back in play. Available. Unattached and looking. Etcetera.

I suppose I’ll save the details of why and what I want for some time later. Just let it be known that I am open to dating possibilities. God help me.

Posted under Uncategorized

This post was written by Shawna on May 20, 2007

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Previews of new fall shows

In earlier posts I embeded and linked to some video clips for some of NBC’s new shows. ABC and CBS also have some video clips up at the following locations:

ABC Fall Preview
CBS Fall Preview
Fox Fall Preview
The CW Fall Preview

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This post was written by Shawna on May 18, 2007

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2007 Upfronts: Fox announces Fall Schedule

From The Futon Critic:

FOX PRIMETIME SCHEDULE: FALL 2007 (All Times ET/PT)

MONDAY
8:00-9:00 PM PRISON BREAK
9:00-10:00 PM K-VILLE

TUESDAY
8:00-9:00 PM NEW AMSTERDAM
9:00-10:00 PM HOUSE

WEDNESDAY
8:00-8:30 PM BACK TO YOU
8:30-9:00 PM ‘TIL DEATH
9:00-10:00 PM BONES

THURSDAY
8:00-9:00 PM ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A 5th GRADER?
9:00-10:00 PM KITCHEN NIGHTMARES

FRIDAY
8:00-9:00 PM THE SEARCH FOR THE NEXT GREAT AMERICAN
BAND (working title)
9:00-10:00 PM NASHVILLE (working title)

SATURDAY 8:00-8:30 PM COPS
8:30-9:00 PM COPS
9:00-10:00 PM AMERICA’S MOST WANTED: AMERICA FIGHTS BACK
11:00 PM-MIDNIGHT MADtv
MIDNIGHT-12:30 AM TALK SHOW WITH SPIKE FERESTEN

SUNDAY
7:00-8:00 PM THE OT (NFL post-game)
8:00-8:30 PM THE SIMPSONS
8:30-9:00 PM KING OF THE HILL
9:00-9:30 PM FAMILY GUY
9:30-10:00 PM AMERICAN DAD

FOX PRIMETIME SCHEDULE: BEGINNING JANUARY 2008 (All Times ET/PT)

MONDAY
8:00-9:00 PM K-VILLE (January)/PRISON BREAK (Spring)
9:00-10:00 PM 24

TUESDAY
8:00-9:00 PM AMERICAN IDOL
9:00-10:00 PM HOUSE

WEDNESDAY (January)
8:00-8:30 PM BACK TO YOU
8:30-9:00 PM ‘TIL DEATH
9:00-10:00 PM AMERICAN IDOL

WEDNESDAY (Spring)
8:00-8:30 PM BACK TO YOU
8:30-9:00 PM THE RETURN OF JEZEBEL JAMES (working title)
9:00-9:30 PM AMERICAN IDOL Results Show
9:30-10:00 PM ‘TIL DEATH

THURSDAY
8:00-9:00 PM ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A 5th GRADER?
9:00-10:00 PM CANTERBURY’S LAW

FRIDAY (Spring)
8:00-9:00 PM BONES
9:00-10:00 PM NEW AMSTERDAM

SATURDAY
8:00-8:30 PM COPS
8:30-9:00 PM COPS
9:00-10:00 PM AMERICA’S MOST WANTED: AMERICA FIGHTS BACK
11:00 PM-MIDNIGHT MADtv
MIDNIGHT-12:30 AM TALKSHOW WITH SPIKE FERESTEN

SUNDAY (Spring)
7:00-7:30 PM KING OF THE HILL
7:30-8:00 PM AMERICAN DAD
8:00-8:30 PM THE SIMPSONS
8:30-9:00 PM FAMILY GUY
9:00-10:00 PM THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES

2007-2008 FOX PRIMETIME SCHEDULE NEW SERIES SYNOPSES

The following new dramas will premiere this fall on FOX:

K-VILLE (Mondays, 9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT): From writer and executive producer Jonathan Lisco (“NYPD Blue,” “The District”) comes a heroic police drama set in New Orleans. Two years after Katrina, the city is still in chaos. Many cops have quit, and the jails, police stations and crime labs still haven’t been properly rebuilt. But the cops who remain have courage to burn and a passion to reclaim and rebuild their city. MARLIN BOULET (Anthony Anderson, “The Departed,” “The Shield”) is a brash, funny, in-your-face veteran of the NOPD’s Felony Action Squad, the specialized unit that targets the most-wanted criminals. Even when his partner deserted him during the storm, Boulet held his post, spending days in the water saving lives and keeping order. Now he’s unapologetic about bending the rules when it comes to collaring bad guys. Boulet’s new partner, TREVOR COBB (Cole Hauser, “The Break-Up,” “ER”), was a soldier in Afghanistan before joining the NOPD. He’s tough and committed, but if he’s less than comfortable with Boulet’s methods, it’s because he’s harboring a dark secret. Cobb has come to New Orleans seeking redemption, but redemption can be dangerous. Will Boulet be able to trust him? Will Cobb’s past endanger them both? Rounding out the crew of cops are hotheaded BILLY “K-9” FAUST (Maximiliano Hernndez, “Law & Order,” “Shark”), who often speaks before thinking; wisecracking JEFF “GLUE BOY” GOODEN (Blake Shields, “Sleeper Cell,” “Veronica Mars”), the team’s comic relief; tough-as-nails GINGER “LOVE TAP” LeBEAU (Tawny Cypress, “Heroes”), the only female on the squad, who gives as good as she gets; and CAPTAIN JAMES EMBRY (John Carroll Lynch, “Zodiac,” “The Drew Carey Show”), who wrangles the eclectic personalities of his squad with equal parts humor and tenacity.

PRODUCTION COMPANY: 20th Century Fox Television

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER/WRITER: Jonathan Lisco

DIRECTOR: Deran Sarafian

CAST: Anthony Anderson as Marlin Boulet, Cole Hauser as Trevor Cobb, Maximiliano Hernndez as Billy “K-9” Faust, Blake Shields as Jeff “Glue Boy” Gooden, Tawny Cypress as Ginger “Love Tap” LeBeau, John Carroll Lynch as Captain James Embry

NEW AMSTERDAM (Wednesdays, 9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT): Directed and executive-produced by visionary Lasse Hallstrm (“My Life As a Dog,” “The Cider House Rules,” “Chocolat,” “The Hoax”) and written by Allan Loeb (“Things We Lost in the Fire,” “21”) and Christian Taylor (“Showboy,” “Six Feet Under”), NEW AMSTERDAM is the story of a New York homicide detective unlike any other. He is brilliant, mysterious, reckless, magnetic, unknowable. And he has a profound secret he is immortal. In 1642, JOHN AMSTERDAM (Nikolaj Coster Waldau, “Kingdom of Heaven”), then a Dutch solider in the colony of New Amsterdam later to become New York City stepped in front of a sword to save the life of a Native Indian girl during a massacre of her indigenous tribe. The girl in turn rescued Amsterdam, weaving an ancient spell that conferred immortality upon him. Amsterdam will not age, she told him, until he finds his one true love. Only then will he become whole and ready for mortality. But Amsterdam has found this to be a mixed blessing. Over the course of three centuries, he’s experienced endless adventure and honed his many talents. But everyone Amsterdam meets must leave him in time; lovers and children die while he remains young. His sole confidant and current lifelong friend is the sage jazz club owner OMAR (Stephen Henderson, “Law & Order: SVU”), the keeper of Amsterdam’s secret, as well as a few of his own. As the exhilaration of eternal life has given way to emotional isolation and bitter loneliness, Amsterdam discovers the blessing has become a curse. Bringing to bear the unorthodox techniques and unique knowledge gained from his vast life experience, Amsterdam today is one of the NYPD’s best homicide detectives, sparring with his vibrant, strong-willed partner EVA MARQUEZ (Zuleikha Robinson, “Rome,” “The Lone Gunmen”) as they solve difficult murder cases. But when Amsterdam suffers and then recovers from what appears to be a massive heart attack while chasing a suspect, and DR. SARA DILLANE (Alexie Gilmore, “Find Love”) pronounces him dead in the ER, he realizes that the Indian girl’s prophesy may have come true he felt the pain in his heart that she had foretold so long ago. His soul mate must have been nearby. As he works to find a killer on the streets of New York, Amsterdam understands that his own life and possibly his death have changed forever.

PRODUCTION COMPANIES: Regency Television, Scarlet Fire Films

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Allan Loeb, David Manson, Lasse Hallstrm, Leslie Holleran, Steven Pearl

WRITERS: Allan Loeb & Christian Taylor

DIRECTOR: Lasse Hallstrm

CAST: Nikolaj Coster Waldau as John Amsterdam, Zuleikha Robinson as Eva Marquez, Alexie Gilmore as Dr. Sara Dillane, Stephen Henderson as Omar

The new comedy premiering this fall on FOX is:

BACK TO YOU (Tuesdays, 8:00-8:30 PM ET/PT): In the 90s, the local TV news scene in Pittsburgh was dominated by one team: CHUCK DARLING (Kelsey Grammer, “Frasier,” “Cheers”) and KELLY CARR (Patricia Heaton, “Everybody Loves Raymond”). They had that elusive quality all news teams need: chemistry … at least on-screen. Off-screen, Chuck was a bit of a self-centered womanizer, Kelly a bit of an uptight know-it-all. So when Chuck got the call to move up to a larger market, no tears were shed. But after an embarrassing on-air tirade ended up on the Internet, Chuck found himself on the downswing career-wise. He even questioned whether his lifestyle of chasing women and living in hotels was as exciting as it used to be. So when he got the call to return to Pittsburgh, to reunite with Kelly and try to take the newscast back to No. 1, it was an offer he couldn’t refuse. Back in Pittsburgh, Chuck has a new coworker in RYAN CHURCH (Josh Gad, “Mary and Joe”), the overstressed news director. There are also familiar faces like MARSH McGINLEY (Fred Willard, “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” “Best in Show”), the affable, endlessly inappropriate sports anchor, and GARY CREZYZEWSKI, pronounced Kre-shoov-ski (Ty Burrell, “In Good Company,” “Out of Practice”), the perennially put-upon field reporter who always seems to get left out in the snow. But, mostly, there’s Kelly, now a single mom to 10-year-old GRACIE (Laura Marano, “Without a Trace”). There was magic between them once. Can they find it again?

PRODUCTION COMPANIES: 20th Century Fox Television, Levitan/Lloyd Productions

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS/CREATORS: Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd

DIRECTOR: James Burrows

CAST: Kelsey Grammer as Chuck, Patricia Heaton as Kelly, Fred Willard as Marsh, Josh Gad as Ryan, Ty Burrell as Gary, Laura Marano as Gracie

New unscripted series joining the FOX schedule this fall include:

KITCHEN NIGHTMARES (Thursdays, 9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT): Hell hath no fury like an angry chef, and no chef has a sharper temper than Gordon Ramsay when things go wrong in the kitchen. The star of the highly rated culinary boot camp “Hell’s Kitchen” returns to FOX with another sizzling unscripted series. This time, Chef Ramsay hits the road in each episode, tackling a restaurant in crisis and exposing the stressful realities of trying to run a successful food business. Inspired by one of the UK’s biggest hits, KITCHEN NIGHTMARES is seen in more than 50 territories around the globe, and the series reveals a whole new side to Ramsay. He’s still prone to the explosive outbursts and spectacular confrontations familiar to fans of “Hell’s Kitchen,” but he also shows his sensitive and nurturing side a unique blend of fury, passion, inspirational leadership and tough love that can coax a small spark of talent into a roaring flame. There’s no time for polite small talk as Ramsay embarks on his mission to turn things around. If the wine waiter’s service isn’t up to par, he’ll be out the door before he can say “merlot.” If the head chef doesn’t match up to Ramsay’s expectations, Ramsay will hammer him into shape, and if he can’t stand the heat, he may quit the kitchen. Ramsay’s reputation is on the line, so there’s bound to be high blood pressure, raised voices and serious clashes as he attempts to do the impossible: turn a deserted dining room into the most sought-after venue in town in just a week.

PRODUCTION COMPANIES: Granada America, Optomen Television, A. Smith & Co.

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Arthur Smith, Pat Llewellyn, Kent Weed, Gerry McKean, Curt Northrup

CAST: Gordon Ramsay

THE SEARCH FOR THE NEXT GREAT AMERICAN BAND (working title) (Fridays, 8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT): What “American Idol” did for individuals, THE SEARCH FOR THE NEXT GREAT AMERICAN BAND is going to do for musical groups. The producers of “American Idol” will conduct the ultimate search for an undiscovered band. THE SEARCH FOR THE NEXT GREAT AMERICAN BAND is scouring the country, seeking groups from all musical genres who think they have what it takes to make it big. Judges will narrow down bands from all walks of life musicians of different ages, family acts, garage bands, etc. to 10 semi-finalists, who will perform in front of a live studio audience. Viewers then will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite bands. The final three acts will compete for a major recording contract and the chance to become music superstars.

PRODUCTION COMPANIES: FremantleMedia North America, 19 TV LTD.

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Simon Fuller, Nigel Lythgoe, Ken Warwick, Cecile Frot-Coutaz

NASHVILLE (working title) (Fridays, 9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT): From the creative minds behind the hit series “Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County” comes NASHVILLE, a high-stakes, high-drama docu-soap set in “the biggest small town in America.” The show focuses on the dreamers and dream-makers in the music industry, as well as those trying to make their mark on Nashville’s big business and high society. The series features a diverse, vibrant young cast perched on the cusp of achieving their greatest successes in a town that can make you or break you. Talent, power, drive, love and hope are the fuel that makes Nashville burn bright and makes this unique place the true embodiment of the American Dream. Behind every song there’s a story waiting to be told, and there are many such stories in NASHVILLE.

PRODUCTION COMPANY: Go Go Luckey Productions

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Gary Auerbach, Julie Auerbach

The following new dramas are slated for January launches:

CANTERBURY’S LAW (Thursdays, 9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT): From executive producers Denis Leary and Jim Serpico (“Rescue Me,” “The Job”) and writer Dave Erickson (“Murder in Greenwich”) comes CANTERBURY’S LAW, a courtroom drama about a rebellious female defense attorney who’s willing to bend the law in order to protect the wrongfully accused. ELIZABETH CANTERBURY (Julianna Margulies, “ER”) is a force of nature. An attorney on the rise, she puts her career on the line to take on risky and unpopular cases, even when they take a toll on her personal life. Elizabeth and her law professor husband MATTHEW CANTERBURY (Linus Roache, “Batman Begins,” “The Chronicles of Riddick”), haunted by the disappearance of their young son, have settled in Providence, Rhode Island, in an attempt to distance themselves from the tragedy and put their relationship back together. But those goals become elusive whenever Elizabeth’s work provides a stark reminder of the justice absent in their own lives. At the office, Canterbury has surrounded herself with a brilliant but motley crew of attorneys. RUSSELL CROSS (Ben Shenkman, “Pi,” “Angels in America”) was forced out of the Providence District Attorney’s Office when he went toe-to-toe with his morally bankrupt boss, D.A. Zach Williams. His reputation tarnished, Russell turned to Canterbury, the only attorney willing to take him in. Now Russell provides a much-needed voice of reason for Canterbury even when she doesn’t want to hear it, his position of influence well-earned by their years of friendship. CHESTER FIELDS (Jocko Sims, “Dreamgirls,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”) and MOLLY McCONNELL (Trieste Dunn, “United 93”) are the associates rounding out Canterbury’s legal crew. Chester is a blue-blooded congressman’s son who is embarrassed by his privileged upbringing and has turned his back on politics. Molly, in contrast, is headstrong, passionate and quick to take sides even if she finds herself in the opposite corner from Canterbury.

PRODUCTION COMPANIES: Sony Pictures Television, Apostle

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Denis Leary, Jim Serpico, Mike Figgis

WRITER: Dave Erickson

DIRECTOR: Mike Figgis

CAST: Julianna Margulies as Elizabeth Canterbury, Linus Roache as Matthew Canterbury, Ben Shenkman as Russell Cross, Trieste Dunn as Molly McConnell, Jocko Sims as Chester Fields

THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES (Sundays, 9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT): Executive producers Josh Friedman (“War of the Worlds”), David Nutter (“Supernatural,” “Smallville”) and C-2 Pictures (“Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines”) bring to television an intense new drama based on the celebrated heroine of the “Terminator” movies: Sarah Connor. At the end of “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” Sarah vanquished the liquid metal Terminator sent from the future to kill her teenage son, John. Sarah and John now find themselves alone in a very dangerous, complicated world. Fugitives from the law, they are confronted with the reality that still more enemies from the future, and the present, could attack at any moment. THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES reveals what happens when SARAH (Lena Headey, “The Brothers Grimm,” “300”) stops running and goes on the offensive against an ever-evolving technological enemy bent on destroying her life, and perhaps the world. Her son, 15-year-old JOHN CONNOR (Thomas Dekker, “Heroes”), knows that he may be the future savior of mankind, but is not yet ready to take on the mantle of leadership that he’s told is his destiny. John finds himself inextricably drawn to CAMERON (Summer Glau, “Serenity,” “The Unit”), an enigmatic and otherworldly student at his high school, who soon proves to be much more than his confidante she assumes the role of Sarah and John’s fearless protector. On their trail are not only threats from the future, but an intelligent and tough FBI agent, JAMES ELLISON (Richard T. Jones, “Judging Amy”), who soon becomes a powerful ally. Directed by David Nutter and produced by Warner Bros. Television and C-2 Pictures, THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES represents an exciting reinvention of the “Terminator” franchise, in which the strong and intrepid Sarah discovers that protecting her son and stopping the rise of the machines is more difficult than she had ever imagined.

PRODUCTION COMPANIES: Warner Bros. Television, C-2 Pictures

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Josh Friedman, David Nutter, James Middleton, Mario Kassar, Andrew Vajna, Joel Michaels

WRITER: Josh Friedman

DIRECTOR: David Nutter

CAST: Lena Headey as Sarah Connor, Thomas Dekker as John Connor, Richard T. Jones as James Ellison, Summer Glau as Cameron

The new comedy scheduled to premiere in January is:

THE RETURN OF JEZEBEL JAMES (working title) (Wednesdays, 8:30-9:00 PM ET/PT): Can two estranged sisters, polar opposites, live together when one agrees to carry the other’s baby? SARAH THOMKINS (Parker Posey, “For Your Consideration,” “Best in Show”) is a bright, optimistic, determined woman who seems to have it all a great job as a children’s book editor, an eager-to-please assistant, BUDDY (Michael Arden), who helps keep her life together, and a no-strings-attached personal relationship with successful businessman MARCUS SONTI (Scott Cohen, “Kissing Jessica Stein”). Nevertheless, as her father, RONALD (Ron McLarty, “Law & Order”), is constantly pointing out, something is missing from Sarah’s life. Her hard work may garner accolades, but when she goes home at night, she is very much alone. All too aware that she isn’t getting any younger, Sarah decides to have a baby on her own and gets the shock of her life when the doctor tells her she can’t get pregnant. Having no concept of the term “can’t,” Sarah wills herself to execute a plan. With nowhere else to turn, Sarah sets up a meeting with her quirky younger sister, COCO (Lauren Ambrose, “Six Feet Under”), and proposes a plan for Coco to carry her baby. They haven’t seen each other in a while, and Coco refuses to go along with such a huge favor. But something happens when Sarah mentions that she’s turned Coco’s imaginary childhood friend, Jezebel James, into a children’s book. Even though she doesn’t say so out loud, Coco is clearly touched, and, realizing that her current living situation sharing a couch with her friend’s sick dog isn’t working out, Coco decides that this just might be worth a try.

PRODUCTION COMPANY: Regency Television

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Amy Sherman-Palladino, Dan Palladino

DIRECTOR: Amy Sherman-Palladino

CAST: Parker Posey as Sarah, Lauren Ambrose as Coco, Scott Cohen as Marcus, Michael Arden as Buddy, Ron McLarty as Ronald

The comedy slated for a spring debut is:

THE RULES FOR STARTING OVER (working title) (Date and Time TBA): From the creatively fruitful minds of the Farrelly Brothers comes a single camera comedy, set in Boston, about a group of newly single friends learning the painful lessons of starting over in their 30s. They’d all love to get remarried, if they could just find their true loves. JACK “GATOR” GATELY (Craig Bierko, “Cinderella Man,” “Boston Legal”) is a charismatic, optimistic leader who never expected to be single again. But now that he is, he’s determined to make the best of it. He’s going to sift through all the bruised, damaged, occasionally psychotic fruit until he finds “the one.” Joining Gator in bachelorhood redux is his thrice-divorced best friend TOMMY (Johnny Sneed, “The Guardian,” “Fever Pitch”). The founder and brewmaster of an upstart microbrewery, Tommy has a voracious appetite for food, beer and women. He falls in love easily and always disastrously, yet truly hopes his fourth starter marriage will be “the one.” DR. FREDDY SAHGAL (Shaun Majumder, “24,” “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle”) has seen some pretty strange stuff during his years as a successful surgeon, but he’s never seen any of it through the eyes of a single man. Probably the least equipped of the group to handle this unexpected life change is Dr. Freddy, who can execute a triple bypass in his sleep, but is all thumbs when it comes to the opposite sex. Rounding out the group is KATE (Rashida Jones, “The Office”), a smart, successful attorney who handled all three of the boys’ divorces. Having just turned 30, Kate finds herself dumped after a seven-year engagement. She reluctantly joins the guys in negotiating the treacherous waters of dating. Kate owns the brownstone next to Gator’s. Over time, this pair may find that “the one” is just a brick wall away.

PRODUCTION COMPANIES: 20th Century Fox Television, Conundrum Entertainment, Watson Pond Productions

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, Bradley Thomas, Brad Johnson

WRITERS: Chris Pappas, Michael Bernier, Kevin Barnett

DIRECTORS: Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly

CAST: Craig Bierko as Gator, Rashida Jones as Kate, Johnny Sneed as Tommy, Shaun Majumder as Freddy

The new unscripted series scheduled to premiere this summer is:

ANCHORWOMAN (Date and Time TBA): PHIL HURLEY is the owner of a tiny Texas news station, KYTX Channel 19, and he is desperate to turn the tide of his mediocre ratings, or even just compete with a rival channel. Phil has shocked the station and town of Tyler, Texas, by bringing in a gorgeous model and ex-WWE diva with no previous news experience to be his next ANCHORWOMAN all in hopes of reinventing the look of Channel 19 and overhauling its below-average 6 share to a number more like his competitor’s dominating 36. Former Miss New York and ber-vixen LAUREN JONES packs up her Versace dresses and heads to the middle of nowhere to start a new career. Can this bombshell cut it as a serious reporter? Will she save KYTX, or make it the laughingstock of the Lone Star State? Lauren wants to show everyone she’s no airhead, and this is her big chance to prove she’s more than just a pretty face. The entire newsroom thinks the boss has made a giant mistake. Reigning anchor ANNALISA PETRAGLIA is not about to lose her Queen Bee status to some L.A. hottie. News Director DAN DELGADO is fit to be tied as his beloved journalistic standards go out the window. MICHELLE REESE, a hard-nosed reporter bound for CNN, will take no prisoners. Lauren will struggle not only with the news team and an unfamiliar town, but also with the not-so-Hollywood news stories covering bake sales, cowpie-tossing contests and county fairs like they were Watergate. News anchor or dead weight? Only the ratings will tell, so stay tuned for the next ANCHORWOMAN: Lauren Jones.

PRODUCTION COMPANIES: Fox 21, The G Group

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Brian Gadinsky

SUPERVISING PRODUCERS/WRITERS: Chad Damiani, JP Lavin

CAST: Lauren Jones as herself, Phil Hurley as himself, Annalisa Petraglia as herself, Dan Delgado as himself, Michelle Reese as xherself

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This post was written by Shawna on May 17, 2007

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2007 Upfronts: The CW announces Fall Schedule

Monday
8:00 p.m. Everybody Hates Chris
8:30 p.m. Aliens in America (new comedy/sitcom)
9:00 p.m. Girlfriends
9:30 p.m. The Game

Tuesday
8:00 p.m. Beauty and the Geek (new day and time)
9:00 p.m. Reaper (new drama)

Wednesday
8:00 p.m. America’s Next Top Model
9:00 p.m. Gossip Girl (new drama)

Thursday
8:00 p.m. Smallville
9:00 p.m. Supernatural

Friday
8:00 p.m. Friday Night Smackdown!

Sunday
7:00 p.m. Online Nation (new reality)
7:30 p.m. CW Now (new reality/newsmag)
8:00 p.m. Life is Wild (new drama)
9:00 p.m. America’s Next Top Model (repeats)

“One Tree Hill” and “Pussycat Dolls” are held until midseason. No “Veronica Mars” on the schedule, but the CW has until June 15 to make a final decision on its future.

New Program Descriptions (from Mediaweek)

Dramas

GOSSIP GIRL
Based on the series of young adult novels of the same name, the lives of a privileged, but dysfunctional group of prep school teens on Manhattan’s Upper West Side is the focus. Being super-rich and super-popular are not necessarily synonymous with finding true happiness. The cast includes Penn Badgley, Chace Crawfrod, Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Taylor Momsen, Matthew Settle and former Melrose Place star Kelly Rutherford.

LIFE IS WILD
A blended family living in New York City relocate to spend a year at a broken-down lodge in a game reserve deep inside South Africa. Outsiders at first, the family begins to appreciate the breathtaking scenery, the enchanting locals, and the vibrant culture surrounding them. Brett Cullen (Friday Night Lights) leads the ensemble cast.

REAPER
When a 21-year-old slacker (Bret Harrison) learns that his parents sold his soul to the devil before he was even born, he must now serve as a bounty hunter, tracking down evil souls that have escaped and returning them to Hell. With his friends and trusty vessel-of-the-week at his side, Sam is ready to face his destiny as the Reaper.

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Comedy

ALIENS IN AMERICA
A sensitive, nerdy 16-year old (Justin Tolchuk) trying to make it through high school with the help of his well-meaning family finds his world turned upside down when a Pakistani exchange student of the same age (Adhir Kalyan) arrives. The cast includes My Pietz (Caroline in the City), Patrick Breen (Kevin Hill) and Lindsey Shaw as popular sister Claire.

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Non-Scripted

CW NOW
In this adult 18-34-targeted newsmagazine, the focus is on the hottest fashions, the coolest music, the A-list movies, and the best in technology.

ONLINE NATION
Scouring the endless number of websites, blogs and user-generated materials on the Internet, Online Nation will feature everything and anything that has captured the attention of the online world. Viewers, in addition, will be able to communicate with each other live on the air.

CROWNED: THE MOTHER OF ALL PAGEANTS (midseason)
In this eight-episode competition judged by Carson Kressley (Queen Eye for the Straight Guy) and former Miss U.S.A. Shanna Moakler, teams of mothers and daughters are pitted against each other in a no-holds-barred beauty pageant.

FARMER WANTS A WIFE (midseason)
In this reality sounding hybrid of Green Acres and The Bachelor, a group of 10 women fed up with bad dates in the big city will compete for the hand of a charming, hard-working farmer.

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This post was written by Shawna on May 17, 2007

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