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Ready the Remote: TV Networks Announce Fall Lineups

Monday, May 16, 2011

From a Cee-Lo Green performance to a sushi bar as long as a school bus, the city is expecting its share of West Coast glitz despite the week's gloomy weather forecasts this week. That's because television networks are announcing their new fall lineups with a whirlwind of events and schmoozefests geared towards courting advertisers. Aside from the events, this year's upfronts are hoping to bring new energy from new presidents heading up ABC and NBC, as well as high hopes for a solid fall after a generally disappointing season last year.

TV Blogger Kim Potts said the upfronts, which are meetings that kick off key television ad sales periods, are often seen as dog-and-pony shows where each network tries to out-dazzle advertising executives and media guests. The more competition there is, the bigger and schmaltzier the presentation.

"The networks aren’t just competing with each other anymore," Potts said. "They’re competing with cable networks, Netflix, movies, with the fact that people are watching TV on DVD so often and downloading. So they really have to compete with much more than just the other four or five networks now."

Even if the public can't attend shows featuring Cee-Lo or Jay-Z this week — or partake in some of that top shelf sushi — one can look ahead to what will be on television this fall. Here's a sneak peak of some highlights:

NBC The network of the multi-colored peacock is introducing several new shows, including "Grimm," which mixes drama with fairy-tale fantasy, and "The Playboy Club" about the Chicago hotspot in the 1960's. "Playboy" features Broadway songstress Laura Benanti (complete with bunny tail) while "Grimm" relies on a cast of actors more likely to encourage some Googling — "Where is that actor from?" Also in the lineup: the workplace sitcom "Free Agents" and a New York crime procedural "Prime Suspect."

ABC Reality TV competitions are the new arrivals on ABC, including the globe-trotting "Expedition Impossible" and "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition." A new daytime food and lifestyle show called "The Chew" features reality TV's reigning queen of positivity — "Top Chef's" Carla Hall — and celebrity chef Mario Batali.

CBS Keep your finger poised on the remote for the new comedic drama "Chaos" about four rogue C.I.A. spies that features "Six Feet Under" and "Ugly Betty" alum Freddy Rodriguez. You'll have to rely on DVR if you're a fan of the shows "$#*! My Dad Says," "The Defenders," and "Mad Love." All three shows have been canceled and won't be part of the fall offerings.

FOX The last letter in this network's name is also the biggest upcoming show over at Fox. Simon Cowell's Brit hit show "The X Factor" is expected to compete with Cowell's former hosting gig "American Idol" this fall. Fans of "24" can also put their minds at ease: Kiefer Sutherland will be heading up "Touch," after he leaves his role on Broadway in "That Championship Season."

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