There is no such thing as a traditional Upfront season anymore. Last year, very briefly, it felt like the Upfronts — the events when the networks announce their upcoming fall schedules and new series — were back following the pandemic and the steady decline of network television in general. But now with a writers’ strike that could very well stretch through the summer, and potential strikes by the Directors Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild on the horizon, the networks are having to play the upcoming fall season entirely by ear. With some networks, this looks like loading up on reality content; with others, it looks like they are moving forward with their scripted material and hoping for the best.
The CW changed ownership last year and they are shaking things up. Out are the superhero shows that defined the network for the past decade. In are more “adult”-friendly series from unconventional sources, including the raunchy, definitely-not-meant-for preteens reality series salvaged from HBO Max, FBoy Island, and the well-received crime drama, 61st Street, that AMC unceremoniously canceled last year. They’ve also added a dark sitcom from the UK, and a number of series from Canada: three family sitcoms and two female-led dramas.
7/8 p.m.: All American
8/9 p.m.: 61st STREET
7/8 p.m.: SON OF A CRITCH
7:30/8:30 p.m.: RUN THE BURBS
8/9 p.m.: CHILDREN RUIN EVERYTHING
8:30/9:30 p.m.: EVERYTHING ELSE BURNS
7/8 p.m.: SULLIVAN’S CROSSING
8/9 p.m.: THE SPENCER SISTERS
7/8 p.m.: FBOY ISLAND (Encore episode)
8/9 p.m.: FBOY ISLAND
7/8 p.m.: Penn & Teller: Fool Us
8/9 p.m.: Whose Line Is It Anyway?
8:30/9:30 p.m.: Whose Line Is It Anyway? (Encore)
7/8 p.m.: Masters of Illusion
7:30/8:30 p.m.: Masters of Illusion
8/9 p.m.: World’s Funniest Animals
8:30/9:30 p.m.: World’s Funniest Animals (Encore)
7/8 p.m.: I AM MOVIES
New Fall Shows
From BAFTA-winner Peter Moffat, J. David Shanks and Outlier Society, 61ST STREET is a propulsive thriller which courses through the dark heart of the infamous Chicago criminal justice system as police and prosecutors investigate a deadly drug bust that threatens to unravel the police department’s code of silence. Two-time Emmy(R)-winner Courtney B. Vance (“The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” “Lovecraft Country”) leads an ensemble cast that includes Emmy(R)-nominee Aunjanue Ellis (“When They See Us,” King Richard), Mark O’Brien (“City on a Hill,” “Blue Bayou”), Holt McCallany (“Mindhunter,” “Lights Out”), Tosin Cole (“Doctor Who,” “Hollyoaks”), Andrene Ward-Hammond (“Your Honor,” “Manifest”) and Bentley Green (“Snowfall,” “Sweet Magnolias”). From AMC Studios, 61ST STREET is executive produced by Moffat (“The Night Of,” “Your Honor”), Shanks (“The Chi,” “Seven Seconds,” “Shots Fired”), Michael B. Jordan and Outlier Society (Creed III), Alana Mayo (Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse, Just Mercy), Jeff Freilich (“Lodge 49,” “Dispatches from Elsewhere”) and Hilary Salmon (“MotherFatherSon,” “The Night Of,” “London Spy”).
This was a surprising acquisition on The CW’s part: this serious legal drama certainly doesn’t look like anything previously featured on the network. But upon reflection it makes sense: The CW is trying to reposition itself as a more adult network, and this is certainly an adult series; and AMC had already filmed two seasons of it, but only broadcast one. The drama was more respected than liked by critics, with Courtney B. Vance being singled out for his powerful performance.
SON OF A CRITCH
Based on the award-winning, bestselling memoir from Mark Critch (“This Hour Has 22 Minutes”), SON OF A CRITCH is the hilarious and very real story of a young Mark coming of age in the 1980s. The series is a heartfelt window in the life of a child – who is much older inside than his 11 years – using comedy and self-deprecation to win friends and connect with the small collection of people in his limited world. The comedy stars Mark Critch as his father, Mike, and Benjamin Evan Ainsworth (Pinocchio) as young Mark. Claire Rankin (Molly’s Game) stars as Mark’s mother, Mary, alongside newcomers Sophia Powers and Mark Rivera, who play classmates of young Mark. Colton Gobbo (“Ginny & Georgia”) plays Mark’s older brother, Mike Jr., and Golden Globe(R) and SAG nominee Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange, Bombshell) also stars as Patrick “Pop” Critch. SON OF A CRITCH is created by Mark Critch and Tim McAuliffe (“The Office,” “Last Man on Earth”) and produced by Emmy(R) and Golden Globe(R)-winning producer Andrew Barnsley (“Schitt’s Creek”). The series is a co-production between Barnsley’s Project 10 Productions Inc. and Take the Shot Productions in association with CBC and Lionsgate Television, which handles worldwide distribution rights. SON OF A CRITCH is executive produced by Critch, McAuliffe, Barnsley and Allan Hawco. Renuka Jeyapalan, Perry Chafe, Amanda Joy and Anita Kapila serve as co-executive producers with Jeyapalan directing the first four episodes of the series.
The CW returns to Canada for news shows, and why not? It worked for Schitt’s Creek, who knows what other gems our Northern neighbors have hidden away up there? This coming-of-age series set in the 80s reminds me of a number of other popular series, including Malcolm in the Middle; Everybody Hates Chris; a little bit of The Wonder Years, and a dash of The Real O’Neals or even Derry Girls. Also, Malcolm McDowell!
RUN THE BURBS
RUN THE BURBS follows the Phams, a young, bold Vietnamese-South Asian family taking a different approach to living life to the fullest, while changing the way we think about contemporary family values and life in the burbs. Often the instigators of community events and always the first to know what’s going on in the neighborhood, the Phams have become the heart of their cul-de-sac. Through all the challenges and stresses of everyday suburban life, the Phams take on the world as a cohesive unit. Because together, nothing can beat phamily. Andrew Phung (“Kim’s Convenience”), who co-created and executive produces the series with Scott Townend, stars as stay-at-home dad Andrew Pham. Rakhee Morzaria (“What We Do in the Shadows”) stars as Andrew’s free-spirited entrepreneur wife Camille, Zoriah Wong (“Nancy Drew”) as their teenage daughter Khia, and Roman Pesino (“Odd Squad”) as their clever young son Leo. RUN THE BURBS is a CBC Original Production produced by Pier 21 Films and distributed by Fifth Season.
The second Canadian comedy on the schedule is a very 21st-century take on the family, following the ethnically-mixed Pham family as they take over the suburbs. So, basically, Fresh Off the Boat, but set in the present day.
CHILDREN RUIN EVERYTHING
Created by Golden Globe(R) and Emmy(R) Award-winner Kurt Smeaton (“Schitt’s Creek”), CHILDREN RUIN EVERYTHING is a half hour comedy that follows Astrid (Meaghan Rath, “Being Human,” “Hawaii Five-0”) and James (Aaron Abrams, “Blindspot,” “Hannibal”), as they raise their two young children in the city, while struggling to hold onto their pre-kid life. Illustrating the hilarious and varied ways kids can wreck happiness, alter plans, annihilate goals and dreams, and force parents to re-invent their lives, the series also explores how maybe that re-invented life is somewhat okay, too. Nowhere near as good as that old, really great life. But still kind of nice. The series also stars Ennis Esmer (“Blindspot,” “Schitt’s Creek”), Nazneen Contractor (“Ransom,” “Heroes Reborn”), Logan Nicholson (“Blues Clues and You”), Mikayla SwamiNathan, Dmitry Chepovetsky (“Killjoys,” “Departure”), Veena Sood (“Corner Gas Animated,” “The Indian Detective”), Lisa Codrington (“Letterkenny,” “Anne With an E”), and Darius Rota. CHILDREN RUIN EVERYTHING is from award-winning New Metric Media. Chuck Tatham (“Modern Family,” “Arrested Development,” “How I Met Your Mother”), multiple Canadian Screen Award-winner Mark Montefiore (“Letterkenny,” “Shoresy”) and Meaghan Rath are executive producers, with Alyson Richards (“The Retreat”) serving as producer. The series is produced by New Metric Media in association with Bell Media’s CTV, with the participation of the Canada Media Fund and Bell Fund.
The third family Canadian comedy, in which a couple tries to maintain their pre-kid identities while raising kids in the city, feels like a much nicer, gentler, Canadian version of Breeders. By the way, if you like biting comedies with sharp edges but haven’t watched Breeders, get to it.
EVERYONE ELSE BURNS
Blessings be upon the Lewises: a strictly religious family who believe the world will end within the decade. Patriarch David (Simon Bird, “Friday Night Dinner,” “The Inbetweeners”) longs for the church to promote him. Long-suffering Fiona (Kate O’Flynn, “Landscapers”) hungers for a life beyond sermons and squash. Aaron (Harry Connor) is a model young believer – except his drawings feature the rest of the family burning in hell. And anxious 17-year-old Rachel (Amy James-Kelly, “Three Families,” “Military Wives”) is about to fall for someone who could save her social life, but also damn her soul. Co-produced by JAX Media and Universal International Studios, a division of Universal Studio group, for Channel 4, EVERYONE ELSE BURNS is created and written by Dillon Mapletoft and Oliver Taylor. JAX Media’s Tony Hernandez and Brooke Posch serve as executive producers with Molly Seymour (JAX Media) producing and Nick Collett directing.
The fourth family comedy of the night comes from the U.K. and is at a glance very different from the Canadian comedies above, as it follows a strictly religious family in Manchester. However, the British reviews suggest that it’s not a series that takes cheap shots at Christianity, but rather uses the family’s very insular faith to explore their relationships. For your trusty blogger, this looks like the most intriguing of the CW’s comedy offerings — it’s a unique take on the family sitcom, especially compared to the three others above, which we’ve seen before a number of times.
Maggie Sullivan (Morgan Kohan, “Transplant,” “Batwoman”) is a star neurosurgeon who seemingly has it all, until her business partner is indicted for fraud and she finds herself charged with negligence. Looking to distance herself from the fallout, Maggie decides to leave Boston and return to her childhood home of Sullivan’s Crossing, a rustic and remote campground set against the stunning coastline still run by her estranged father, Sully Sullivan (Scott Patterson, “Gilmore Girls”). There, Maggie rekindles old friendships and builds new ones with the local residents, including a handsome newcomer, Cal Jones (Chad Michael Murray, “One Tree Hill”), who only serves to complicate her life further. As Maggie works on clearing her name and reputation, she is forced to confront her painful past, as she attempts to reconnect with a side of herself she had long forgotten. From executive producers Roma Roth and Christopher E. Perry, the team behind the hit series “Virgin River,” SULLIVAN’S CROSSING is executive produced by Reel World Management in association with CTV and Fremantle with Roth also acting as showrunner. Mike Volpe and Mark Gingras serve as producers. For Fremantle, Michela Di Mondo and Hilary Martin are executive producing. SULLIVAN’S CROSSING is distributed internationally by Fremantle.
It’s funny, while I was watching the trailer for this, my first thought was, “Oh, so it’s a Canadian Virgin River …” Turns out it’s based on the books of Robyn Carr, whose books Virgin River are also based on. So if you like Virgin River, and are missing Chad Michael Murray on your TV screen, do I have the series for you …
THE SPENCER SISTERS
THE SPENCER SISTERS is a female-led, lighthearted procedural that follows mystery novelist Victoria Spencer (Lea Thompson, Back to the Future, “Caroline in the City”) and her daughter Darby Spencer (Stacey Farber, “Superman & Lois,” “Schitt’s Creek”) who are mistaken as sisters as they tackle puzzling cases. Joining the cast in supporting roles are Thomas Antony Olajide (Learn To Swim) as Darby’s high school best friend and local cop Zane Graham; Edward Ruttle (“Arctic Air”) as Darby’s high school flame Doctor Lucas Collins; Husein Madhavji (“Saving Hope”) as Victoria’s “IT Consultant” (a.k.a. hacker) Alastair Dhumal; Ayesha Mansur Gonsalves (“Sort Of”) as Victoria’s feisty literary agent Sarita Stark; Rodrigo Massa (“El Dragon: Return of a Warrior”) as Zane’s husband Antonio Pereira, who operates a Brazilian bistro; Kaitlyn Leeb (“Spinning Out”) as Lindsay Yip – a hotshot lawyer who is Lucas’ fiancée; and Adam Hurtig (Cult of Chucky) as the lead detective of the local police force. THE SPENCER SISTERS is produced by eOne and Buffalo Gal Pictures. The series is created by Alan McCullough (“Private Eyes”, “Rookie Blue”) and executive produced and co-showrun by McCullough and Jenn Engels (“Sort Of”). Jocelyn Hamilton and Tecca Crosby serve as executive producers for eOne. Phyllis Laing and Jennifer Beasley are executive producers for Buffalo Gal Pictures.
The lady detective series is a time-honored TV tradition, and you know exactly what this is. It looks light-hearted and meaningless fun, and we love Leah Thompson on this blog.
Hosted by comedian and actress Nikki Glaser (“One Night with Nikki Glaser”), FBOY ISLAND follows three women who move to a tropical paradise where they’re joined by 26 men – 13 self-proclaimed “Nice Guys” looking for love, and 13 self-proclaimed “Fboys,” there to compete for cold, hard cash. The women will navigate the dating pool together with the hope of finding a lasting love connection. By the finale, all will be revealed: who is a Nice Guy, who is an FBoy, who the women ultimately choose, and who walks away with the prize money. FBOY ISLAND is a social experiment that asks: Can FBoys truly reform or do Nice Guys always finish last? FBOY ISLAND is produced by STXtelevision. The series was created by Elan Gale (“The Bachelor” franchise) who is executive producing for TheYearOfElan Productions alongside Jason Goldberg for STXtelevision, Nikki Glaser, Noah Fogelson and Bob Simonds.
I am not even kidding, this is my favorite reality dating competition. I love it; I’m thrilled The CW saved it; I have NO IDEA how they are going to air it on network TV.
I AM FILMS
The I AM franchise is an industry-leading and award-winning series of feature documentary films that showcase and celebrate American and global icons. I AM was launched in 2012 with the release of I Am Bruce Lee. Quickly building off the film’s tremendous success, a slate of feature documentaries was created under the I AM banner and launched the franchise with I Am Steve McQueen followed by films on Evel Knievel, Chris Farley, John F. Kennedy Jr., Heath Ledger, Sam Kinison, Martin Luther King Jr., Paul Walker, Richard Pryor, Patrick Swayze, Jackie O, Burt Reynolds and Alfred Hitchcock. The films feature incredible casts and A-list storytellers that have an authentic and profound connection to its subjects, a distinct cinematic sensibility and meticulously curated archival content. I AM is created and produced by Network Entertainment led by producer Derik Murray and a producing team of John Barbisan, Jesse James Miller, Adrian Buitenhuis, Paul Gertz, Brian Gersh and Kent Wingerak.
Quick question: why, out of 12 profiles on this new celebrity docuseries that sounds an awful lot like ABC’s Superstar series, is only one of a woman?
Sophie Turner (“Game of Thrones,” X-Men: Dark Phoenix, “The Staircase”) stars as notorious jewel thief Joan Hannington in this exhilarating yet emotional story set against the vibrant backdrop of the 1980s – an era known for its bold fashion trends, iconic music and cultural shifts. The series opens with Joan, a fiery and uncompromising woman in her twenties who is deeply scarred and vulnerable. She is a devoted mother to her six-year-old daughter, Kelly, but is trapped in a disastrous marriage with a violent criminal named Gary. When Gary goes on the run, Joan seizes the opportunity to create a new life for herself and her daughter. Adopting new identities and making new acquaintances along the way, Joan becomes a masterful jewel thief. She embarks on a thrilling, high-stakes journey that challenges her every limit, driven by her desire to care for her daughter and create a secure home for them both. Through her sharp intelligence, charm and talent for impersonation and performance, we follow the twists and turns in Joan’s life, the ups and downs, the heartache and the joy that makes this story so compelling to follow. Turner stars alongside Frank Dillane (“Fear the Walking Dead”) as Boisie, a London antique dealer. Kirsty J. Curtis (“Match Not Found”) plays Nancy, Joan’s older sister and salon worker while Gershwyn Eustache Jr. (“I May Destroy You”) portrays Albie, an old acquaintance of Boisie who’s made a new life in Spain with his wife Val, played by Laura Aikman (“The Split”).
I don’t know! I wish we had a trailer, but it sounds intriguing and I do enjoy Sophie Turner, so I’m willing to set the DVR for this one.
THE LIBRARIANS: THE NEXT CHAPTER
THE LIBRARIANS: THE NEXT CHAPTER is a spinoff of the original TV series “The Librarians,” which followed the adventures of the custodians of a magical repository of the world’s most powerful and dangerous supernatural artifacts. The new series centers on a “Librarian” from the past, who time traveled to the present and now finds himself stuck here. When he returns to his castle, which is now a museum, he inadvertently releases magic across the continent. He is given a new team to help him clean up the mess he made, forming a new team of Librarians. THE LIBRARIANS: THE NEXT CHAPTER is produced by Electric Entertainment and The CW Network. Dean Devlin (“The Librarians,” “Leverage,” Independence Day) serves as executive producer and showrunner along with executive producers Rachel Olschan-Wilson and Marc Roskin. Jonathan English of Balkanic Media serves as producer.
WHERE MY LIBRARIAN FANS AT?
Around the world, strange happenings, borne out of the oceans: Whales destroy boats, deep sea crabs attack beaches, mussels block container ships. An unknown ice worm destabilizes continental slopes and triggers tsunamis. A deadly pathogen spreads into the drinking water. Across the globe, lives are increasingly imperiled, the situation worsening by the day – and yet, nobody can draw a connection between the seemingly random attacks. Except for a group of scientists who come together through their shared sense that something bigger is at play: an intelligent life force, dwelling in the deep – capable of manipulating the ocean, and everything that resides in it. A being which has borne witness to our destruction of the seas and has decided to drive us to extinction. But hardly anyone believes their findings. And so, the group are forced to undertake a life-threatening mission, tracking the intelligent life force within the Arctic Ocean. It is a mission they know may claim their lives. Based on the bestselling novel by Frank Schätzing, THE SWARM is created by executive producer Frank Doelger (“Game of Thrones”), Eric Welbers, Oscar-nominated producer Marc Huffam (The Martian, Saving Private Ryan) and Ute Leonhardt (“Killing Eve”).
Hey — have y’all heard about the orcas who are attacking and sinking boats in Europe in a coordinated way? NO REASON.
PATTI STANGER: MILLIONAIRE MATCHMAKING (working title)
The legendary matchmaker is at it again! In this self-contained dating format, best-selling author and popular reality personality Patti Stanger helps singles find their perfect match. The series is executive produced by Emmy(R) award-winning producers Eli Holzman and Aaron Saidman (“Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath”). Patti Stanger and Rob Lee also serve as executive producers.
Well, well, well, look who’s back. I hope she’s learned and grown and will not be making gross homophobic and antisemitic comments going forward.
THE FORCE (working title)
This action-packed, adrenaline-pumping series delivers raw, unfiltered action and heroism but with a layer of character and storytelling only found in scripted police procedurals… until now! THE FORCE carefully crafts stories and builds characters following members of law enforcement that viewers will know, love and root for over each season. SallyAnne Salsano (“Jersey Shore”) serves as executive producer.
Oh great, a live-action cop series. What could go wrong?
THE GREAT AMERICAN BAKEOVER (working title)
Struggling bakeries all over the country are having a tough time keeping their doors open. Decorated baker and business expert Nancy Birtwhistle is traveling to each small-town storefront to give them a much-needed bakeover to save them from bakeruptcy. Jen O’Connell and Rebecca Quinn serve as executive producers.
- The Flash (Ending)
- Kung Fu
- Nancy Drew (Ending)
- Riverdale (Ending)
- Walker: Independence
- Whose Line is it Anyway?
- All American
- Great Chocolate Showdown
- Masters of Illusion
- Mysteries Decoded
- Penn & Teller: Fool Us
- World’s Funniest Animals
Shows Still Up in the Air
- All American: Homecoming
- Gotham Knights
- Superman & Lois
- 100 Days to Indy
- Barons (Premieres this Summer)
- Cris Angel’s Magic with the Stars
- Down to Earth with Zac Efron
- Family Law
- The Great American Joke Off
- Killer Camp