ABC has aliens. NBC cast a monkey. Fox went with Britney Spears. Yep, the 2012–13 fall schedule could be a hot mess in the making. But the broadcast nets have a few pleasant surprises in the works, too. Now that the fall race is officially under way, here’s what to expect.
More laughs Twenty-nine sitcoms will hit the air this fall — including a pair of promising shows from NBC. There’s The New Normal from Ryan Murphy (about a gay couple who hire a surrogate) and Go On, which stars Matthew Perry as a grieving sportscaster who finds solace — and humor — through group-therapy sessions. (They also have Animal Practice, starring that capuchin monkey we talked about.) And ABC has the extraterrestrial comedy The Neighbors. Even The CW is looking to drop its moratorium on sitcoms by vowing to order pilots if its new shows gain ratings traction. (That looks entirely possible this year, with the addition of shows like Arrow.)
More serialized shows It’s a conceit that can mean the kiss of death come syndication time, but thankfully the networks aren’t snubbing the format. After the success of Once Upon a Time and Revenge, ABC is doubling down with 666 Park Avenue (about a New York co-op with…ghosts!), the submarine thriller Last Resort, and Connie Britton’s Nashville, while NBC has a blackout thriller from J.J. Abrams called Revolution.
More fresh talent Having a high-profile star couldn’t guarantee a pickup this year. (The nets passed on shows featuring Julia Stiles, Roseanne Barr, Mira Sorvino, Martin Lawrence, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Judy Greer.) Instead, look for possible star-making turns from Janet Montgomery (Black Swan) as a working-girl attorney on CBS’ Made in Jersey, Mamie Gummer (a.k.a. Meryl Streep’s daughter) on The CW’s Emily Owens, M.D., and Dakota Johnson (The Social Network) on Fox’s Ben and Kate.
More reasons to stay home on Friday night For years, Friday has been the Siberia of prime time. But the lack of shelf space earlier in the week has forced the nets to stack the night with a pretty decent lot of shows this fall. Besides the aforementioned Made in Jersey, Friday will now be home to Fox’s Touch, NBC’s Community, and ABC’s Last Man Standing.