With TV Upfronts officially kicking off this Monday, a lot is happening behind the scenes at the networks. Here are some of the latest updates on renewals, cancellations and pickups.
ABC has renewed drama “Nashville” for a third season and the Tim Allen comedy “Last Man Standing” for a fourth season. The network has also picked up “Cristela,” “Fresh Off the Boat” and “Secrets and Lies” for next season. Those three series are described as follows:
In her sixth year of law school, Cristela is finally on the brink of landing her first big (unpaid) internship at a prestigious law firm. The only problem is that her pursuit of success is more ambitious than her traditional Mexican-American family thinks is appropriate. She’s stuck straddling the old culture she’s trying to modernize at home with her working-class family and the modern world she’s trying to embrace in her professional career. Her sister, Daniela, wants her to come work for her cable company call center where she can actually get paid while her brother-in-law, Felix, just wants her to move out of their home and stop freeloading. Meanwhile, her mother, Natalia, wishes she would just give up the dream and settle down, preferably with someone just like Felix. But what Cristela lacks in family support she makes up for with the gusto she approaches every situation with… including her internship interview where she manages to unwittingly insult her future boss. But as she’s learned from her upbringing, nothing that’s worth having comes easy. From the executive producers of Last Man Standing, breakout comedian Cristela Alonzo stars in this hilarious family comedy about laughing your way down the path to the new American dream. Produced by 20th Century Fox Television.
FRESH OFF THE BOAT
It’s the 90s and 12-year-old hip-hop loving Eddie just moved to suburban Orlando with his family. Before this, his immigrant family settled easily into Washington DC’s Chinatown. But here, it is pure culture shock for them. Orlando doesn’t have a Chinatown… unless you count the Huang house. The popular kids at Eddie’s junior high school are impressed by his love of hip-hop, but banish him from their table when he opens up his ‘fragrant’ traditional Chinese lunch in the middle of the crowded cafeteria. It is almost as bad for his immigrant mother, Jessica (Constance Wu), who has never seen the inside of a traditional American supermarket and can’t understand the fast-talking, rollerblading neighbor moms. Plus, the Florida humidity is a disaster for her hair. His immigrant dad, Louis (Randall Park) is the complete opposite. He loves all things American and proudly embraces his patriotism with his Old West themed American steakhouse complete with wagon wheel tables. He’s determined to bring in more customers and make his restaurant a success so his family can prosper and be happy in this country. His Grandma Huang is in her own world, cracking up while she watches the shopping networks with her new credit card in hand. Although she speaks no English, she is inexplicably tickled to death by Joan Rivers. Eddie has to watch out for his 9-year-old brother Gary, the suck-up of the family, who is always ready to tell on his brothers every chance he gets. It is Eddie’s 11-year-old brother, Freddy, who is fitting in best. He scored a girlfriend the first day of school while Eddie, trying to maintain some street cred, ended up in the Principal’s office for fighting the school’s other least popular kid. Through it all, they have each other’s backs and their American Dream. Based on chef Eddie Huang’s memoir Fresh Off the Boat.
SECRETS & LIES
Ben Garner (Ryan Phillippe) sets out on his early morning run through the woods. He normally runs every other day, but today is different. He’s hung over from drinking the night before. He’s stressed from his growing marital troubles. He’s devastated because his wife has asked for a divorce. Then he finds his neighbor’s young son lying on the trail. He tries to resuscitate him, but it is too late. The city of Charlotte, North Carolina is frantic at the news of this young boy’s death. Detective Andrea Cornell (Juliette Lewis) is assigned to investigate the murder. She is a tough, thorough investigator, and leaves no stone unturned. As she digs for the truth, all of the SECRETS & LIES that the community managed to hide for so long come to the surface. Accusations fly. Alliances are tested. Trust is gone. And soon, Ben is caught in the middle as the police, the press, and the world invade his untouched suburbia. Ben goes from Good Samaritan to murder suspect, as Detective Cornell searches his home, poke holes in his story, and demands a DNA sample. Reporters hound him and surround the house putting more stress on his failing marriage. The neighbors begin to look at him like he is the killer, while his teenaged daughter is harassed online. Only a few people have his back, like his youngest daughter Abby, or his best friend Dave, who freeloads in Ben’s guest house. Ben’s life will be turned upside down as he sets out on a complicated journey to prove his innocence in this thriller mystery. Yet the harder he fights for his innocence, the more the audience will wonder… did he really do it? From Barbie Kligman (Private Practice) based on the original Australian series of the same name.
ABC had yesterday cancelled “Super Fun Night,” “Suburgatory,” “Trophy Wife,” “The Neighbors” and “Mixology.”
At CBS, “The Mentalist” has been renewed for a seventh season. The network has also picked up spin-offs “CSI: Cyber” and “NCIS: New Orleans,” as well as “Battle Creek,” “Madam Secretary,” “The McCarthys,” “The Odd Couple,” “Scorpion” and Kevin Williamson’s “Stalker.” We should have descriptions of those shows soon.
On the negative side, CBS has cancelled “Bad Teacher,” “The Crazy Ones,” “Friends with Better Lives,” “Hostages” and “Intelligence.”
The latest from NBC is that the network has picked up “Mission Control,” “One Big Happy” and “Bad Judge” to series. Those three are described as follows:
Houston, we have a problem! Dr. Mary Kendricks (Krysten Ritter, “Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23″) is a tough but brilliant aerospace engineer, leading a team of NASA scientists at the cutting edge of space exploration. The only problem is, this is the 1960s and she’s a woman. Navigating the ridiculous boys’ club of astronauts and engineering nerds is no easy task, but she’s up to the challenge … until her boss brings on Tom (Tommy Dewey, “The Mindy Project”) – a former hotshot test pilot and overall man’s man – to co-manage her team. It doesn’t help that he initially mistakes her for a secretary. Between him, her astronaut boyfriend Cash and her offbeat all-guy team, Mary certainly has her hands full… but at the end of the day, they all want the same thing: to get a man on the moon. It might just take a woman to get him there. The cast also includes Malcolm Barrett, Jonathan Slavin and Julie Meyer. Writer David Hornsby serves as executive producer with Adam McKay (“Anchorman,” “Talladega Nights”), Will Ferrell (“Step Brothers”) and Owen Burke. “Mission Control” is a production of Universal Television and Gary Sanchez Productions.
ONE BIG HAPPY
Best friends Lizzy (gay and a bit type-A) and Luke (straight and more laid back) are like family. When they were kids and both of their parents were getting divorces, Lizzy (Elisha Cuthbert, “Happy Endings”) and Luke (Nick Zano, “2 Broke Girls”) stuck together, and they’ve been there for each other ever since. Now, all grown up and still single, they’ve decided to start a family of their own. No, not like that (there are some lines even they won’t cross), we’re talking the non-romantic, go-to-the-doctor’s-office type of babymaking. Then one night, after yet another failed attempt at conception, the two head out to a bar to let off some steam. That’s where Luke meets Prudence (Kelly Brook, “Smallville”), a free-spirited British girl who’s slated to go back to England in a matter of days. Lizzy isn’t a huge fan – it might have something to do with Prudence waltzing around their apartment naked – but Luke really hits it off with her. Soon they’re spending every last minute of her limited time together. Then, just as Lizzy discovers that she’s actually pregnant, Luke announces that he and Prudence got married and a different kind of family is born. The cast also includes Brandon Smith, Rebecca Corry and Chris Williams. Writer Liz Feldman (“2 Broke Girls”) and director Scott Ellis (“2 Broke Girls”) serve as executive producers with Ellen DeGeneres (“The Ellen DeGeneres Show”) and Jeff Kleeman (“The Change Up”). “One Big Happy” is a production of Warner Bros. Television and A Very Good Production.
No excuses, no apologies, no compromises. Wild child Rebecca Wright (Kate Walsh, “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Private Practice”) knows how to have a good time, but she also happens to be one of L.A.’s toughest and most respected criminal court judges. She has a reputation for unorthodox behavior in the courtroom, including creative and saying exactly what’s on her mind. Her private life, on the other hand, is anything but innocent. She parties too much and rocks out on the drums in a band with her best friend, Jenny. While there’s no shortage of male admirers who would love to spend time with her, she’s not ready to settle down … except when an 8-year-old boy – whose parents were put in jail by Rebecca – needs her help. He may, in fact, be the one thing that starts to tame this “bad” judge. The cast also includes Mather Zickel, John Ducey, Tone Bell and Theodore Barnes. Writer Chad Kultgen (“The Incredible Burt Wonderstone”) serves as executive producer with Adam McKay (“Anchorman,” “Talladega Nights”), Will Ferrell (“Step Brothers”), Anne Heche (“Men in Trees”), Jill Sobel Messick (“Baby Mama”), Kevin Messick (“The Other Guys”) and Kate Walsh. “Bad Judge” is a production of Universal Television and Gary Sanchez Productions.
Meanwhile, the network has cancelled freshman drama “Dracula,” which joins “Community,” “Growing Up Fisher,” “Revolution,” “Believe” and “Crisis” on NBC’s list of shows that are not returning.
FOX has also cancelled “Almost Human,” “Dads,” “Enlisted,” “Rake” and “Surviving Jack.”
Also, a quick update on the cable side – TBS has renewed “Cougar Town” for a sixth and final season.
Stay tuned this week for much more from the Upfronts!