During the third week of May each year, television network executives scramble to put together a perfect fall programming schedule that they then unveil to advertisers, marketers and press during the network’s "upfront" presentation.
Essentially, it’s a week-long event where networks pitch their new shows in the hopes of luring in potential marketers, creating buzz for their new concepts and, of course, drawing audiences in.
Upfronts is also a period during which fans learn about new shows the network has decided to take a gamble on, as well as whether or not a cult favorite (cough - Community - cough) will be renewed or canceled.
As for television fanatics like me? Upfronts allow me to geek out and devise my own fall schedule, deciding which shows I’m willing to try out and which shows I’ll be sure to avoid.
Here are some notable developments from each network so far:
Each network has their upfront presentation on a different day, but fall schedules for NBC and FOX have already been released; NBC was up first and has perhaps been the most successful in creating buzz on the internet about their new schedule.
In what looks to be a shift from the network’s more critically acclaimed niche comedies, NBC has decided to go back to its roots with more traditional comedies, one of which stars former Friends star, Matthew Perry and another which is produced by Glee creator, Ryan Murphy.
However, most important of all, NBC has announced the renewals of all their cult comedies, but not without an asterisk. 30 Rock will return for a 13-episode season — but it will be the show's last, ending with an hour-long series finale.
The critical darling, Community has been renewed as well, but will be moving to Friday nights after lead-in Whitney. (Yes, Whitney was renewed.) To make matters worse, NBC has so far only ordered 13 episodes for Community's season, and creator/mastermind Dan Harmon is still in negotiations with Sony to renew his contract for the show’s fourth season.
Parks and Recreation, on the other hand, has gone through the ringer unscathed and is renewed for a full season (and after an exceptionally strong season finale, I say rightly so). The Office has also been renewed, but continues to limp and bleed until NBC can milk every last season out of the series.
In reality news, The Voice has been expanded to two cycles this coming television season, premiering both in the fall and next spring. Let’s just hope that no other former Mouseketeers audition for the show, shall we?
FOX has already released its fall schedule and their upfront presentation is well underway. The biggest news from FOX seems to be the confirmation that Demi Lovato and Britney Spears will join The X Factor, replacing previous judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger.
Let’s all take a moment to thank NBC and FOX for transporting us back to 1999, when "Britney vs. Christina" headlines assumed every cover of every tabloid in the market.
Meanwhile, FOX has also picked up Mindy Kaling’s (The Office) new show, The Mindy Project, pairing it with the actually funny New Girl on Tuesday nights. FOX favorite Glee will also be moving to Thursday nights, following The X Factor.
Other Notable Developments
ABC, CBS and CW have yet to unveil their official primetime schedule, but have already announced some of the shows that they would be bringing back or cancelling.
ABC, meanwhile, has canceled two noteworthy freshmen series, Pan Am and GCB, but renewed Suburgatory, Happy Endings and practically every other ABC show. As far as new shows, the network has picked up
Mrs. Taylor's Connie Britton's family soap, Nashville.
CW has picked up Sex and the City prequel The Carrie Diaries as well as Arrow, a series based on the DC hero, Green Arrow. The young network also announced the renewal and final season of the network’s flagship, Gossip Girl. Meanwhile, Sarah Michelle Gellar's less-than-stellar comeback, Ringer has been canceled.
TVBytheNumbers has compiled a list of renewed/cancelled shows from each network; click here to view the list.
To get a preview of the new shows coming next season, check out TVLine’s helpful slideshow.
ABC, CBS and CW will hold their upfront presentations on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.