It’s showtime for U.S. television networks
AFTER a soul-crushingly cold winter and a reluctant-to-arrive spring, and with lingering sub-normal temperatures suggesting summer might never actually arrive, it seems both premature and unkind to be talking about autumn. But for the TV business, spring’s arrival means that fall is here, too, because it’s time for the U.S. networks to unveil the rosters of shows that will fill their schedules when September brings the launch of a new television season. All this week in New York City, American television’s major broadcasters — ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and the CW — will reveal their fall lineups to advertisers during the annual commercial-sales marketplace known as network upfronts.
Billions of dollars will change hands as network executives try to convince the marketers representing deep-pocketed corporations that their networks, and their shows, are the best bets for getting advertising messages seen by the maximum number of eyeballs. The lineups of new U.S.-network TV series — dramas, comedies and reality-TV shows — will be unveiled at a series of lavish sales presentations — Fox and NBC on Monday, ABC on Tuesday, CBS on Wednesday and the CW on Thursday. And as those new rosters are revealed, the fate of the shows that currently populate prime time will also be made clear. Some have already been renewed, and others have already been given the axe, so it’s the producers and stars (and fans) of those shows “on the bubble” who will be most nervous as this week of fall-schedule announcements unfolds. (Based on what’s announced in New York this week, Canada’s commercial networks — CTV, Global and Citytv — will immediately shift their program-acquisition departments into high gear so they can fill out their rosters and unveil their fall lineups early in June). Renewals and cancellations will continue to be issued right up until each network’s upfront presentation; here, at press time, is the most current rundown of who’s in, who’s out and who’s on pins and needles in the TV world’s class of 2013-14: Cancelled: How I Met Your Mother (series ended), We Are Men. Likely to survive: Most renewals have already been issued. On the bubble: The Crazy Ones, Intelligence, The Mentalist, Hostages, Friends With Better Lives, Bad Teacher.