Fans of TV drama and comedy can find plenty to be happy about in the fall lineups unveiled by the broadcast networks this week.
There are a lot of 'em, and there are only a few new "reality" shows, along with the successful standards, like Fox's "American Idol," ABC's "Dancing with the Stars," CBS' "Survivor" and NBC's "Biggest Loser."
Remember when it looked like cheap-to-produce "reality" shows were going to take over prime time? Remember last season, when Jay Leno's cheap-to-produce prime-time hour was endangering the future of scripted dramas? Remember how TV viewers were continuing to drift away from the networks to cable channels and other options?
Well, nothing has changed that last part.
Last place NBC is clearly trying to rebuild its lineup after the Leno fiasco. But CBS' axing of seven shows and its strategic shuffling of its lineup caught a lot of observers by surprise. It's clearly not trying to rest on success.
But scripted shows cost money and have to make money to survive. Whatever debuts in September isn't guaranteed to be around by November sweeps. And there's plenty of cheap "reality" always waiting in the wings to plug into unexpected holes in the schedule.
Yes, it looks good short-term, at least superficially. But even looking at some of the new shows, are they really new?
CBS' "$#*! My Dad Says" is ostensibly cutting edge, coming from a Twitter feed. But it looks like a run-of-the-mill sitcom with William Shatner as a cranky old man, with the structure of countless sitcoms that came before it.
And are TV viewers really clamoring for a new version of "Hawaii Five-O"?
The CW Lineup: The CW Network becomes the last of the broadcast networks to roll out its schedule. It consists of "90210" and "Gossip Girl" on Monday, "One Tree Hill" and "Life Unexpected" on Tuesday, "America's Next Top Model" and the new "Hellcats" on Wednesday, "The Vampire Diary" and "Nikita" on Thursday, and "Smallville" and "Supernatural" on Friday.
No, "Melrose Place" didn't survive. "Nikita" is a thriller and "Hellcats" is about cheerleaders.
Take that, CBS: Milwaukee's Dan Harmon, creator of NBC's "Community," fired back at rival CBS after the network announced the move of its successful "Big Bang Theory" to 7 p.m. Thursdays this fall -- opposite Harmon's show.
"Well, if CBS thinks I'm a big enough threat to send a terminator, the least I can do is prove them right," he tweeted Wednesday.
On TV: "Smallville" star Tom Welling tells Hollywoodlife.com that this fall's 10th season of the CW show will be the last.
- There's been talk of ABC rescuing CBS' canceled "Ghost Whisperer" and "New Adventures of Old Christine. EW.com's Michael Ausiello says the odds aren't good for Julia Louis-Dreyfus' sitcom, but the picture's brighter for "Ghost Whisperer."
- TBS says its Conan O'Brien show will premiere Nov. 8.
- With too much going on Tuesday night, I didn't get to see the "V" season finale until Wednesday. I know they're trying to get viewers to tune in next season, but if they could get a little more of that action and actual plot advancement into regular episodes, we'd really have a fine show here. Anna's scream was terrifying TV.
A wannabe Food Network Star: The next season of "The Next Food Network Star," one of the better "reality" competitions around launches June 6 and one of the dozen competitors is 30-year-old Aria Kagan, a private chef who's now living in Florida, but comes from the town of Erin.
Here's a look at her:
Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for OnMilwaukee.com. He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.
A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.
In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at OnMilwaukee.com.
When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.