Comedy and fairy tales upcoming in television

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ABC’s “Modern Family” breathed new life into the sitcom, and now networks consider comedy a priority. ABC is putting two comedies in a Tuesday time slot once held by a drama, and NBC is doing the same on Wednesday.

“Comedy is usually the core of any network schedule, which is why we would like to get back to that,” said Fox entertainment chief Kevin Reilly. “Comedy was kind of anemic for a while.”

Judging shows on the basis of a few minutes’ highlights is dangerous, but it looks like there may be a rough period of trial and error next season.

ABC’s “Work It” is about two men who dress as women to get a job; it’s hard to envision the idea sustaining itself for more than 20 minutes. The big joke in NBC’s “Up All Night” is new parents Will Arnett and Christina Applegate learning not to swear in front of their baby. The premise and performance of Tim Allen’s new “Last Man Standing” on ABC seemed tired.

Two promising entries are Fox’s sweet Zooey Deschanel entry “New Girl” and CBS‘ story of two struggling waitresses “2 Broke Girls.” It was a good week for Whitney Cummings, who will star in a new NBC sitcom and co-produces “2 Broke Girls” with Michael Patrick King.

The week’s best comic performance went to Steve Koonin, head of the Turner networks, who launched an impromptu monologue when a power surge knocked out the video at the TBS and TNT upfront. He even tried to lead the audience in rounds of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”

“Our (advertising) pricing is not going to change because of this,” Koonin said. “However, I think our expenses are going to go down, if you know what I mean.”

Get this man a talk show!


Blame it on the vampires, but the supernatural will be big on TV next season. NBC’s creepy “Grimm” is inspired by Grimms’ fairy tales. ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” features Snow White and Prince Charming’s missing daughter. The surgeon in CBS‘ “A Gifted Man” is haunted by the spirit of his ex-wife. Fox’s “Terra Nova” imagines a family from the future sent back to prehistoric times. A man who survived an auto accident in NBC’s “Awake” finds parallel realities _ one where his wife is dead, the other where his son is dead. In ABC’s super-creepy “The River,” a family investigates the mysterious disappearance of their wildlife expert patriarch.

Hard enough to keep the real world straight.

CBS’s two new dramas featuring characters with super-powers: a woman who has almost total recall of everything that’s happened in her life and a man able to predict the future fates of people through their Social Security numbers. In true CBS fashion, these powers are put to use to solve gruesome crimes.

RETRO CHIC(equals)

AMC has to be flattered that both ABC and NBC have series clearly inspired by “Mad Men” that are set in the early 1960s. Both ABC’s “Pan Am,” featuring the defunct airline’s stewardesses and pilots, and NBC’s “The Playboy Club,” featuring the bunnies, appear to have sleek, stylish casts and costumes. TBD: whether the stories can match up.

TAKE THAT!(equals)

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