2011-2012 TV Season: Wednesdays

CBS is the only network without a new show on Wednesday nights. It made a big move though by switching CSI from Thursday to Wednesday. CSI’s ratings shouldn’t suffer for it.

By the way, I realize formatting on show titles isn’t following any prescribed formatting rules. Deal with it.

Fox – The X Factor – 8-9:30
Full (1/2) Season, Almost Definite Return

Essentially this is American Idol redux. It even has Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul as judges. What makes this different from AI (which takes over the same time slot at the midseason break)? Contestants can be as young as 12 years old and can be groups of singers or a solo act. The first round of auditions is before an audience and contestants who make it through will be separated into four groups under the tutelage of one of the judges: Cowell, Abdul, LA Reid and Nicole Scherzinger. Scherzinger was slated to be a host but Fox recently announced she was taking over a judge spot from Cheryl Cole. Prize is a $5 million recording contract. Not too shabby. There’s little doubt this will make its full run and unless the viewing public suddenly develops a disdain for competitive reality shows, it’ll be on the 2012-2013 schedule.

NBC – Up All Night – 8-8:30
Full Season, Likely Return

I hope this show makes it. Christina Applegate. Will Arnett. Maya Rudolph. Lorne Michaels as producer. Emily Spivey as creator. It’s got all the pieces to be successful. The plot centers around Applegate and Arnett as new parents with Arnett as a stay-at-home dad. Episodes plots could be predictable, but the actors should be able to give them a fresh spin. It’s up against Survivor and the X-Factor, so if you don’t watch reality TV, your 8:00 choices are ABC sitcoms or NBC sitcoms. If you’re not a fan of NBC’s 8:30 show, Up All Night may not make it.

NBC – Free Agents – 8:30-9
Pulled at Midseason

Another show with good pieces – Hank Azaria, Anthony Head – but this one doesn’t seem to add up. Azaria is a newly divorced PR guy who ends up sleeping with a coworker. Is it a romantic comedy, a workplace comedy, a divorced dad putting his life back together comedy? It’s hard to tell from the trailer. I’m afraid that confusion will carry over to the show and viewers won’t be hooked. That’s sad. Azaria’s talented and I enjoy his work. But NBC has 3 other comedies announced as in development but not scheduled. Expect one of those to take the place of Free Agents.

ABC – Suburgatory – 8:30-9
Gone after 4 episodes

What is it with sitcoms that cast good actors in what’s sure to be a blemish on their resumes? This one has Jeremy Sisto, Cheryl Hines and Alan Tudyk. Sisto and his teenage daughter move from Manhattan to the suburbs (hence the clever name that someone should change before this airs). The ‘burbs are full of stereotypical white people with white teeth and nose jobs. How will our city girl fit in? How will her dad fend off the single moms in the neighborhood? Who cares? I don’t know if The Middle is strong enough lead in. This show may make Free Agents more successful than it deserves.

Fox – I Hate My Teenage Daughter – 9:30-10
Full Season, Likely Return

The show with a long title that will be known as IHMTD in the press obviously has the incredible lead-in of The X-Factor and American Idol so it has a really strong shot at making it. It’s also the new sitcom on Wednesdays that looks like it will do everything right. Good actors – Jaime Pressley, Katie Finneran (from a bunch of stuff on Broadway including Noises Off). A central plot that looks familiar but has enough twists – single moms raising teenage daughters differently than how they were raised. After watching the trailer, I wanted to see more.

ABC – Revenge – 10-11
Makes It to Midseason

The infinity symbol is bound to be a central clue to the convulted mysteries in store.I could be wrong; this could run the full season. It’s a soap opera/mystery piece about a woman who experienced something “bad” when she was a little girl in the Hamptons. Now she’s back for revenge and no one knows who she is. Rich people. Murder. Intrigue. It could work. But despite having Madeleine Stowe in the cast, I don’t think it’ll catch on. It seems to be one of those shows that if you miss an episode or two, you’re lost. It’s up against CSI and Law & Order SVU. It’s an abrupt switch from the 2 hours of sitcoms that precede it. I don’t know if Emily Van Camp can carry a show.

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