The upfronts — that strange, delirious time of the year when the major networks unleash their upcoming schedules — has been upon us since last week, and has churned out no shortage of interesting tidbits. Check back later in the week, when Andy Greenwald will be dropping knowledge over the entire annual TV-nerd-info treasure trove. For now, here’s a quick look at some of the stuff that popped off over the weekend.
What Is Going On in Greendale?
NBC already announced that Community will return for a fourth season (albeit a shortened one, at 13 episodes), which was a great relief to its millions (er, hundreds of thousands?) of fanatical viewers. And then NBC promptly crapped all over the goodwill it had just generated. Not only will Community be buried on Friday nights, its showrunner and creator Dan Harmon may not return.
Says NBC chief Bob Greenblatt of the move, “The show has its faithful audience and they will follow it to the ends of the Earth. And I really wanted to do something to invigorate Friday because we love Grimm. So I thought, let’s move a show where the audience will move with it. I actually look at the positive side of it, although no good deed goes unpunished.” (“I mean, Community’s fans love Community so much, they’d probably even follow it into a dank crawlspace lined with cockroaches and rotting meat!,” Greenblatt did not add.) As for Harmon — who based the show on his own experience at a community college, and who is a notably exacting showrunner — Greenblatt says he “expect[s]s his voice to be part of it,” although that may mean involvement as just a consultant. But any issues about re-upping Dan’s contract have nothing to do with his feud with Chevy Chase, Greenblatt insists. So what do they have to do with? Did Dan Harmon maybe take Bob Greenblatt’s egg-salad sandwich out of the NBC kitchenette refrigerator, even though it was clearly marked “4 Greenzie”? Did Harmon perhaps not fully explain one episode's particularly obscure reference to the Kirstie Alley classic Summer School when Greenblatt asked him to do so in person? What was it, you guys?
Meanwhile, 30 Rock has just gotten the official word that next season, its seventh, will be its last. Blergh.
Life and Death
CBS says good-bye to: CSI: Miami; Rob Schneider’s “wait, wasn’t that already canceled?” Rob; Patrick Wilson’s A Gifted Man (and he’s angry-tweeting about it!); the now-tragically named Unforgettable; and NYC-22, crime novelist Richard Price’s attempt at procedural television. Wait, CSI: Miami? Really? I didn’t even know it was, like, legal for CSI spinoffs to be canceled. Thought that show would run for as long as David Caruso felt like dramatically shielding his eyes from UV radiation. Returning for the network, however, is CSI: New York. Ah, OK, phew. Some order restored in the universe.
As for notable pickups from elsewhere, there’s Sex and the City prequel The Carrie Diaries at CW; Connie Britton’s musical soap Nashville and Shawn Ryan’s awesome-sounding Last Resort, about a nuclear submarine crew who refuse orders to fire their missiles, then escape to a NATO outpost and declare themselves the world’s smallest nuclear nation, at ABC; the Jimmy Fallon–produced Guys With Kids, which is exactly what it sounds like, at NBC; and Friend Me, a comedy about two bros working at Groupon and adjusting to L.A., starring McLovin, at CBS. Will we remember any of these shows this time next year? Possibly not!
Guess who's joining Britney Spears on the X Factor judge panel so recently vacated by Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzingxkdkekdker? Why, it’s teen star Demi Lovato. Many grown-up people first learned of Lovato, a product of the indefatigable Disney machine, when she entered rehab in 2010 (as Daily Intel wrote at the time, “Adults, in case you are wondering: Yes, this does mean that after years of avoiding it, you now have to learn what a Demi Lovato is”).
But trust that Lovato does have jams. This song, for example, is massive:
Does this mean she’ll know how to judge on TV? I have no idea. Time will tell whether pairing her with Spears, another performer with highly publicized personal issues and no particular broadcasting track record, will be a good idea. For now, though, let’s just enjoy the tween pop, OK?