WGA Strike Can't Stem Tide Of New, Returning Show Announcements

A writers’ strike is not stopping the networks from announcing their new and returning shows this week at the Upfronts.

Everyone in the TV biz knows that production on scripted shows, which employ the Writers Guild members who are on strike, is grinding to a halt.

And it will remain that way for the duration of the strike, the length of which nobody can predict. The strike began May 2.

At Monday’s Fox and NBCUniversal Upfronts in New York, both announced new and returning series for the Fox network and NBC, respectively. The other big presenters are doing the same at their Upfronts this week.

NBC announced three new series -- two dramas and one comedy. The network also announced a Monday-through-Sunday fall schedule, although many doubt if the network will have the shows ready in time for a fall premiere season.



Nevertheless, NBC announced a new crime procedural -- “The Irrational” -- starring Jesse L. Martin as, basically, an expert profiler.

NBC describes the character, Alec Mercer, as “a world-renowned leader in behavioral science who lends his expertise to an array of high-stakes cases … with his unique and unexpected approach to understanding human behavior.”

When it was presented at the Upfront, the show reminded the TV Blog of “Will Trent,” the ABC detective series just renewed for a second season about a police detective with unusual powers of deduction.

“The Irrational” is penciled into the Monday 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern slot in the NBC fall schedule.

The other new NBC drama is “Found,” centered on a woman who has dedicated her life to finding the missing and forgotten. The show is schedule for 10-11 p.m. Eastern on Thursdays. 

“Found” reminded the TV Blog of the Scott Caan drama on Fox, “Alert: Missing Persons Unit,” which premiered last January. “Alert” has also been renewed for a second season.

NBC’s new comedy brings Jon Cryer back to prime time. “Extended Family” is slated for 8:30 p.m. Eastern on Tuesdays following “Night Court” at 8 p.m.

In the show, Cryer (pictured above, right) plays an ex-husband in an “amicable” divorce with his ex in which they have vowed to put away their differences to continue sharing aspects of their lives such as child care.

In a clip shown at the NBCU Upfront, the Cryer character reminded the TV Blog of the last divorced man he played, Alan Harper, divorced brother of Charlie Sheen in “Two And A Half Men.”

Returning shows seen on NBC’s prospective fall lineup were: “The Voice” (Mondays and Tuesdays) featuring new judge Reba McEntire, “Night Court” and “Quantum Leap” (Tuesdays), “Chicago Med,” “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago P.D.” (Wednesdays), “Law & Order” and “Law & Order SVU” (Thursdays), “The Wall” and “Dateline NBC” (Fridays), Notre Dame football on Saturdays and the NFL on Sundays.

Other returning scripted shows being held for later in the season, strike permitting, are “Law & Order: Organized Crime,” “La Brea,” “Magnum P.I.” and “Lopez vs. Lopez.” 

Meanwhile, Fox on Monday announced six new series -- two dramas, two animated comedies and two unscripted game shows.

Fox did not, however, announce a fall schedule, preferring instead to adopt a wait-and-see attitude because of the writers’ strike.

One of the new Fox dramas is a medical series called “Doc.” Adapted from an Italian series, the show’s lead character is a “brilliant” physician at a Minneapolis hospital, Dr. Amy Elias, who suffers a brain injury that wipes out her memory of the previous eight years of her life.

And yet, despite this challenge, she bravely struggles to continue her practice. The show reminded the TV Blog, in a vague way, of “The Good Doctor” on ABC about a brilliant surgeon on the autism spectrum who also faces various challenges (and overcomes them).

A 2001 series starring Billy Ray Cyrus was also called “Doc.” It ran on Pax TV for 88 episodes from 2001 to 2004.

The other new Fox drama is “Rescue: HI-Surf” (the “HI” is for Hawaii) from producer John Wells (“The West Wing,” “ER”).

When I heard of this show, my first thought was an elevator pitch -- “ ‘Baywatch” in Hawaii.”

But the description provided by Fox for “Rescue: HI-Surf raises the stakes from the famed Malibu lifeguard show. 

The show “follows the personal and professional lives of the heavy-water lifeguards who patrol and protect the North Shore of Oahu -- the most famous and dangerous stretch of coastline in the world.

“Each episode will feature these dedicated, heroic, and adrenaline-seeking first-responders saving lives in the difficult and often life-threatening conditions of Hawaii’s Seven Mile Miracle,” Fox’s announcement said.

Fox’s two new animated series are “Krapopolis,” the long-awaited ancient Greece comedy from “Rick and Morty” co-creator Dan Harmon; and “Grimsburg,” about an eccentric detective, voiced by Jon Hamm.

One of the new unscripted series is “We Are Family,” a music guessing game to be hosted by Jamie Foxx, who also serves as executive producer. Foxx is reportedly recuperating from a long illness.

The other one is “Snake Oil,” produced by Will Arnett and hosted by David Spade. As the TV Blog reported yesterday, “Snake Oil,” in which contestants will try to guess from new-product presentations which ones are real or fake.

Series slated to return for new seasons on Fox include: “9-1-1: Lone Star,” “Accused,” “Alert: Missing Persons Unit,” “The Cleaning Lady,” “Animal Control,” “Bob’s Burgers,” “Family Guy,” “The Great North,” “The Simpsons,” “Farmer Wants a Wife,” “Hell’s Kitchen,” “I Can See Your Voice,” “LEGO Masters,” “The Masked Singer,” “Name That Tune,” “Next Level Chef” and “Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test.”

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