WELL, STILL BETTER THAN UPN: Sadly, while I was away, I missed network up-front season, where new shows are announced and cancellations are confirmed. I'm only mildly ashamed to admit that there are a couple of shows I watch on the WB. "Everwood" and "Gilmore Girls" are both (at least when they're at their best) among the best television has to offer. In particular, the way both shows have dealt with teenagers and sex this year has been both memorable and excellent. Thus, I'm saddened to see that the WB will offer the following new shows next year:
"Blue Collar TV" (Wednesday at 9): Taking a "Blue Collar" perspective, each show begins with a standup routine by Jeff Foxworthy. The rest of the episode then continues with skits based on the them set up at the beginning.
"Commando Nanny" (Friday at 8:30): A 20-year-old ex-commando for the British Special Forces moves to Beverly Hills and takes a job as a nanny for three spoiled rich kids.
"Wife Swap" (ABC, Wednesdays, 10 PM): Another British import, this one swaps the matriarch of two families for 10 days. For the first half, the women must follow the established rules of the house and family they're now responsible. For the second half, they get to do things their way.
"dr. vegas" (CBS, Fridays, 10 PM): Rob Lowe and Joe Pantoliano star in a cut-rate ripoff of "Las Vegas." Lowe's the casino doctor, and Joey P is the bouncer.
"Father of the Pride" (NBC, Tuesdays, 9 PM): The CGI animated comedy about a family of lions who work in Siegfried and Roy's Vegas show. No word on if there will be any maulings.
And the few new shows I'm actually looking forward to:
"Lost" (ABC, Wednesdays, 8 PM): A group of survivors of a plane crash must make a new life for themselves on a desert island. From J.J. Abrams, wunderkind behind "Alias."
"The Practice: Fleet Street" (ABC, Sundays, 10 PM): Spader + Shatner = Gold.
"The Jury" (FOX, Tuesdays, 9 PM): Barry Levinson and Tom Fontana (creators of the brilliant "Homicide) take on a new style of crime drama--this one told from the point f view of the jury.
"Jack and Bobby" (The WB, Sundays, 9 PM): An eccentric single mother raises two boys, one of whom is destined to become President of the United States--the story is split between now and the future. From Greg Berlanti and Mickey Liddell ("Everwood"), political thriller author Brad Meltzer, and directing wunderkind Tommy Schlamme.