Thursday: Finales for ‘Gotham,’ Six Others

gotham-reboot-season-5-1102607Another seven shows have season finales — happy ones though, since they’re all coming back next season.

After tonight, there’s just one more season of “Gotham” (Fox, 8 p.m.), so they’ll likely accelerate the transition of Bruce Wayne to the Caped Crusader.

It’s the sixth season ending on “Arrow” (The CW, 9 p.m.), with an epic final battle between Oliver and Diaz.

A terrorist is poised to bomb on the season one finale of “S.W.A.T.” (CBS, 10 p.m.).

It’s also the first season end for “Station 19” (ABC, 9 p.m.) where a captain may well be chosen.

The longest running drama on TV will be “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC, 8 p.m.), which ends its 14th season tonight with the last of Kate Capshaw and Sarah Crew, whose characters Arizona and April are being written off the show.

Close behind it is “Supernatural” (The CW, 8 p.m.), ending its 13th season.

“Life in Pieces” (CBS, 9 and 9:30 p.m.) ends its third season with a pair of episodes. In the first, Sophia wanting to get a second piercing; then Samantha’s birthday goes a different direction.

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CBS Upfronts: Looks Familiar

CBS-Logo-e1331750370386CBS unveiled eight new shows for advertisers at its upfronts Wednesday, though at least two of them seemed like retreads. New versions of “Murphy Brown” and “Magnum P.I.” will both be on the schedule of the network that has already successfully revived “Hawaii Five-0,” “MacGyver” and “S.W.A.T.” (though they listed “Magnum” as a new show, but not “Murphy Brown,” possibly because much of that same cast is returning).

In addition to familiar show titles, there were familiar actors attached to the new projects, which sounded pretty much like a lot of existing shows.

The new comedies are:

  • “The Neighborhood” – In which a Midwesterner played by Max Greenfield of “New Girl” moves his family to a Los Angeles neighborhood where Cedric the Entertainer is his next door neighbor. Trichina Arnold is also in the cast. Mondays this fall.
  • “Happy Together” -  In what sounds a lot like the previous comedy, Damon Wayans Jr. and Amber Stevens West star as a couple who welcome in a pop star to their home. Harry Styles is one of the executive producers. Mondays this fall.
  • “Murphy Brown” – A 72-year-old Candice Bergen returns as the outspoken broadcaster. She and her team —  Faith Ford, Joe Regalbuto and Grant Shaud — all now in the world of 24-hour cable. Tyne Daly joins the cast and Jake McDormand plays Murphy’s now grown son. Thursdays this fall.
  • “Fam” – A 16 year old half-sister comes to live with a woman, her fiancee and his parents in this comedy starring Nina Dobrev, Tone Bell and Brian Stokes Mitchell. Midseason.

The new CBS dramas are:

  • “Magnum P.I.” – With Jay Hernandez in the title role as the military-trained private investigator and Tigers fan (who doesn’t have the mustache of his predecessor). With Perdita Weeks, Zachary Knighton and Orville “Rick” Wright. From the director of “Fast & Furious,” it has a particular interest in cars and crashes. Mondays this fall
  • “FBI” – “Law & Order” creator Dick Wolf (who is behind all the “Chicago” shows on NBC) creates a procedural about the bureau with Missy Peregrym, Zeeko Zazi and Jeremy Sisto. Tuesdays this fall.
  • “God Friended Me” – Brandon Michael Hall (who was recently “the Mayor”) is an atheist who gets a friend request from the Almighty and begins doing his bidding. What looks a little like the canceled “Kevin (Probably) Saves the World” was created in part by Greg Berlanti. Sundays this fall.
  • “The Code” – About military attorneys in Quantico with Anna Wood, Ato Essandoh and Phillipa Soo. Midseason.
  • “The Red Line” – Three Chicago families intersect after the mistaken shooting of an African American doctor by a white cop. With Noah Wyle, Emayatzy, Aliyah Royale. From Ava DuVernay and Berlanti again. Midseason

Returning shows include “The Amazing Race,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “Big Brother,” “Blue Bloods,” “Bull,” “Celebrity Big Brother,” “Code Black,” “Criminal Minds,” “Hawaii Five-0,” “Elementary,” “48 Hours,” “Instinct,” “Life in Pieces,” “Man with a Plan,” “MacGyver,” “Madam Secretary,” “Mom,” “NCIS,” “NCIS: Los Angeles,” “NCIS: New Orleans,” “No Activity,” “Ransom,” “Salvation,” “SEAL Team,” “60 Minutes,” “Survivor,” “S.W.A.T.,” “Undercover Boss” and “Young Sheldon.”

Not returning are “Kevin Can Wait,” “Living Biblically,” “Me, Myself & I,” “9JKL,” “Scorpion,” “Superior Donuts” and “Wisdom of the Crowd.”

The week of upfronts concludes Thursday with The CW.


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Wednesday TV: Finales and Royal Fuss

KIEFER SUTHERLAND, NATASCHA MCELHONEIt’s all about season finales and the ramp-up to the royal wedding tonight.

For its last episode, “Designated Survivor” (ABC, 10 p.m.) could have devised a neat ending to its series, answering all questions after two seasons. But the network pulled the plug on the series starring Keifer Sutherland too late to do so. As it is, it sounds like they’re probably ready to unveil a cliffhanger.

Also airing its last episode ever tonight is the Zach Braff comedy “Alex, Inc.” (ABC, 8:30 p.m.).

The remaining half dozen shows end their seasons, but have been renewed for another season, from “The Goldbergs” (ABC, 8 p.m.) to “Riverdale” (The CW, 8 p.m.), “The Blacklist” (NBC, 8 p.m.), “Modern Family” (ABC, 9 p.m.)  “SEAL Team” (CBS, 9 p.m.) and “American Housewife” (ABC, 9:30 p.m.).

The special “Inside the Royal Wedding: Harry and Meghan” (NBC, 10 p.m.), hosted by Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, plays opposite the week-long “Royal Wedding Watch” (PBS, 10 p.m.) with Meredith Vieira and Matt Baker.

There is also “The Royal Wedding” (BBC America, 8 p.m.) looking at the 1981 wedding of Prince Charles and Diana Spencer, whose death is explored in the subsequent “Diana, 7 Days” (BBC America, 9 p.m.).

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ABC Upfronts: Four New Fall Shows

ABC_logo_2007ABC began its upfront presentation Tuesday crowing about having the No. 1 show for the first time in a dozen years and then suggested a drinking game every time they mentioned the show at the top, “Roseanne.”

Like other networks who have presented so far this week in New York, they had a few more new titles to show advertisers — four this fall and another four by midseason.

The new comedies are:

  • The Kids Are Alright” – After mining the 80s in “The Goldbergs, this family comedy shows a crowded household in the L.A. 70s, with Mary McCormack and Michael Cudlitz as the unsentimental parents. It’s inspired by the childhood of writer and producer Randall Einhorn, who also provides the voice over. Tuesdays this fall.
  • “Schooled” – This is a direct “Goldbergs” spinoff set in the 90s at the William Penn Academy where the kids went, and focusing on the faculty — principal Tim Meadows, coach Bryan Callen and new music teacher AJ Michalka. Midseason.
  • “Single Parents” – Stars former “SNL” star Taran Killam as an over-conscientious parent who can’t relax to the degree of the other single parents who avoid PTA and other duties, among them Brad Garrett and Leighton Meester. Co-producer is “New Girl” creator Liz Meriwether. Wednesdays this fall.

The new dramas are:

  • “The Rookie” – Nathan Fillion returns to ABC as an L.A. cop who gets the brunt of old man jokes (though he’s only in his 40). With Alyssa Diaz, Richard T. Jones and Afton Williamson. Tuesdays this fall.
  • “A Million Little Things” – A suicide among a group of friends makes them recalculate their relationships in a show that seems to be aiming for the “This is Life” lane. with David Guintoli, Ron Livingston, Romany Malco and Lizzy Greene. Wednesdays this fall.
  • “The Fix” – Former prosecutor Marcia Clark looks to re-litigating her most famous case in this legal drama, in which a double-murderer who got away (who happens to be a black celebrity) the first time he goes to court is under suspicion years later for another murder. With Robin Tunney, Adam Rayner and Breckin Meyer, with Clark as co-writer and co-executive producer. Midseason.
  • “Grand Hotel” – A soapy saga set at the last family-owned hotel on Miami Beach, done up telenovela style in part by co-producer Eva Longoria. With Demian Bichir, Roselyn Sanchez and Denyse Tontz. Midseason.
  • “Whiskey Cavalier” – Action series about an FBI agent who teams with a CIA operative for assignments and sexual tension. Starring Scott Foley and Lauren Cohan (of “The Walking Dead”). Midseason.

Returning shows include “American Idol,” “American Housewife,” “The Bachelor,” “The Bachelorette,” “Black-ish,” “For the People,” “”Fresh Off the Boat,” “The Goldbergs,” “The Good Doctor,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “How to Get Away with Murder,” “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “Modern Family,” “Roseanne,” “Shark Tank,” “Splitting Up Together” and “Station 19.”

Not returning to the schedule are “Alex, Inc.,” “The Crossing,” “Deception,” “Designated Survivor,” “Downward Dog,” “The Great American Baking Show,” “Kevin (Probably) Saves the World,” “Marvel’s Inhumane,” “The Mayor,” “Once Upon a Time,” “Quantize,” “Scandal,” “Somewhere Between,” “Still Star-Crossed”  and “Ten Days in the Valley.”

The variation “Dancing with the Stars: Juniors” will feature child stars paired with competitive child dancers. Two shows with tentative starts, the Sunday night talk show “The Alec Baldwin Show” and “Child Support,” featuring Ricky Gervais with kids, will get fuller seasons.


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Tuesday TV: Say Goodbye to ‘New Girl’

new-girl-season-7-episode-7-1“New Girl” (Fox, 9 p.m.) ends its super short seventh and final season with a one hour series finale in which Zooey Deschanel and Jake Johnson’s characters Jess and Nick finally resolve their long-simmering relationship and the gang from the loft look back as well as decide about the future.

A greater irony is found on “Rise” (NBC, 9 p.m.) where just as we reach opening night on the musical, it’s curtains for the series, which has been canceled after one season. Tonight is the last episode.

Also ending their seasons tonight are “Blackish” (ABC, 9 p.m.), “Chicago Med” (NBC, 10 p.m.) and “NCIS: New Orleans” (CBS, 9 p.m.), all of which will be back in the fall.

Results roll in for the live semifinals of “The Voice” (NBC, 8 p.m.).

Lena and Martin try to decide how to celebrate Milo’s birthday on “Splitting Up Together” (ABC, 9:30 p.m.).

Becky and Darlene compete for a job on “Roseanne” (ABC, 8 p.m.) and Crystal announces her retirement.

A delusion leads to disaster on “Legion” (FX, 10 p.m.).

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David Byrne Innovates at The Anthem

IMG_5719David Byrne has always been as interested in visual art as in music. So his tours with the Taking Heads became increasingly more creative performance pieces with the herky, jerky music, big suits and band movements to accompany his spiky, polyrthmic sounds.

His solo tours were often just as arresting, and for the current “American Utopia” tour accompanying his first solo album in 16 years, he is breaking new ground.

On the vast, completely empty stage at the Anthem Saturday, ringed only by a curtain of chains, he appeared at a table and chair and picked up the life-sized model of a brain as he pointed out hemispheres of the organ and sang, “Here is a region of abundant details, here is a region that is seldom used…”

It was just about the last stage props put on the stage. When joined by his musicians — nine all dressed in similar grey suits and two singers — they were all fully portable.

With wireless microphones, a wireless bass, wireless guitar and wireless keyboard (which provided a lot of the sound), fully half of the musicians were assigned to parts of what would be a traditional drum set – toms, snare, timbale, other percussion – as if they were ready to be a marching band.

Instead of striding into the crowd in formation, though, they moved in planned patterns, stood 12-people across, or in two six-person lines, in a circle or a pinwheel in what must be the most choreographed rock concert for musicians ever devised.

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Fox Upfronts: Make Way for Football

Fox-NetworkAt Fox, football is the new “American Idol.”

Instead of scheduling around its onetime singing contest behemoth as it once did, now it’s all about using its acquisition of Thursday Night Football in addition to its Sunday NFL to promote and highlight less than a handful of new shows, many of which will be focused on men and, in the case of comedies, look like the multi-camera laugh-track sitcoms of the past than more recent single camera shows.

Just two new shows — comedies – are planned for the fall, with two new dramas set for midseason. Also the network is bringing back Tim Allen in “Last Man Standing,” an ABC show produced by the network’s 20th Century Fox Television that lasted six seasons. Execs Monday said they were “emboldened by the response to ‘Roseanne,’” in bringing back “Last Man Standing,” though they clarified they were talking about numbers for reviving old series more than bringing back outspoken conservative stars, of which Allen, like Roseanne Barr, is.

The network also will present a live production of the musical “Rent” Jan. 27 and present a new chapter in the science series “Cosmos: Possible Worlds” in spring 2019.

The new comedies are:

  • “The Cool Kids” – David Alan Grier, Martin Mull and Vicki Lawrence are among the cast of a group of retirement community rebels out for fun. From Charlie Day of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” Fridays this fall.
  • “Rel” -  Lil Rel Howery, the TSA agent in “Get Out,” stars as a guy on Chicago’s West Side who loses both his wife and his barber after he finds they are having an affair. With Sinbad, Jess Moore and Jordan L. Jones.  Fridays this fall.

The new midseason dramas are:

  • “The Passage” – Thriller about a secret medical site developing a virus that could either cure all disease or kill everybody. Based on author Justin Cronin’s trilogy, produced in part by Ridley Scott, it stars Saniyya Sidney, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Brianne Howey and Vincent Piazza.
  • “Proven Innocent” – Legal procedural from Danny Strong (“Empire,” “Game Change”) about a team that tries to free the wrongfully convicted. With Rachelle Lefevre, Russell Hornsby, Vincent Kartheiser and Riley Smith.

Returning shows include “Bob’s Burgers,” “Empire,” “Family Guy,” “The Four: Battle for Stardom,” “Gotham” for its final season, “The Gifted,” “Hell’s Kitchen,” “Lethal Weapon” (with Sean William Scott ireplacing Clayne Crawford ), “The Orville,” “9-1-1,” “The Resident,” “The Simpsons” (for its 30th season), “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Star.”

Not returning are “The Exorcist,” “Lucifer,” “The Mick” and “The Last Man on Earth.” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” was also canceled by Fox, but was picked up by NBC.

The fates of the comedies “Ghosted” and “LA to Vegas” were not yet announced.


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NBC Upfronts: Three New Fall Shows

NBC LogoNBC began the annual week of network upfronts, when broadcasters announce new shows and unveil fall schedules in hopes of locking down advertisers, in a manner that many networks will follow: With surprisingly few new shows.

Just three new series were announced for the fall, one comedy and two dramas. Another three dramas and one comedy is planned for midseason. The only new reality shows either originated in summer, such as “World of Dance” or are variations like “America’s Got Talent: The Champions.”

Some of the biggest news came in switching days for returning shows. With “Law & Order: SVU” moving to Thursdays, there will now be three of Dick Wolf’s Windy City series back to back on Wednesdays: “Chicago Med,” “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago P.D.” NBC also caused some attention by picking up “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” for its sixth season after Fox canceled it.

The new dramas are:

  • “Manifest” – Talk about adjusting to a time change on a flight. Passengers on Montego Air Flight 828  are surprised to find that when they land, five years have gone by on the ground and they have to adjust accordingly. God knows what happened to their luggage. The cast includes melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas, Athena Karkanis and J.R. Ramirez from a production team that includes Robert Zemeckis. Mondays this fall.
  • “New Amsterdam” – Ryan Eggold of “The Blacklist” stars as a charismatic new medical director who wants to shake up the oldest public hospital in America in this medical procedural. Freema Agyeman, janet Montgomery and Jocko Sims co-star. Peter Horton is part of the production team. Tuesdays this fall.
  • “The Enemy Within” – Jennifer Carpenter of “Dexter” stars as a former CIA operative now imprisoned as a traitor, who is nonetheless enlisted to fight a specific foe. Morris Chestnut, Raza Jaffrey and Kelli Garner co-star. Midseason.
  • “The In-Between” – In what looks like a variant of “The Medium,” Harriet Dyer stars as a woman who can communicate with the dead and helps solve crimes with detectives. Anne-Marie Johnson, Cindy Luna also star. Midseason.
  • “The Village” – Multiple stories from a single apartment building in Brooklyn including a nurse, law student, military veteran. With Moran Atias, Dominic Chianese, Lorraine Toussaint and Grace Van Dien. Midseason.

The new comedies are:

  • “I Feel Bad” – Sarayu Blue stars as a working wife and mother who ties to do it all and has problems. With Paul Edelstein, Aisling Be a, Zach Cherry and Jonny Pemberton. it’s from Amy Poehler’s production team. Thursdays this fall.
  • “Abby’s” – In what sounds like Mike Schur’s stab at “Cheers,” a woman runs a backyard bar in San Diego. The cast includes Natalie Morales, Nelson Franklin, Jessica Chaffin, Kimia Behpoornia and Neil Flynn. Midseason.

Returning shows include “A.P. Bio,” “America’s Got Talent,” “American Ninja Warrior,” “The Blacklist,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (which had been on Fox), “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago Med,” “Chicago PD,” “Dateline,” “Ellen’s Game of Games,” “”Good Girls,” “The Good Place,” “Hollywood Game Night,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Little Big Shots,” “Marlon,” “Midnight, Texas,” “Superstore,” “Trial & Error,” ”This is Us,” “The Voice,” “The Wall,” “Will & Grace” and “World of Dance.”

Gone from the schedule are: “The Brave,” “The Carmichael Show,” “Law & Order: True Crime,” “Great News,” “The Night Shift,” “Rise” and “Taken.”

Fate is still to be determined for the second season of the comedy “Champions” and the third season of “Timeless,” the drama that found itself on the same precipice last year.

Other networks announce their 2017-18 schedules all week.

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Monday TV: Last Glimpse of ‘Lucifer’

LuciferIt’s that time of year when networks make decisions of what shows stay and which ones go. And all of a sudden, what would have been merely the third season finale of “Lucifer” (Fox, 8 p.m.) tonight is actually its last episode ever.

Same thing for the comedy “Superior Donuts” (CBS, 9 p.m.), which ends with an armed robbery. Inexplicably renewed for season three, though, is “Man with a Plan” (CBS, 8:30 p.m.).

“The Resident” (Fox, 9 p.m.) has its first season finale with Conrad calling in a favor; it’s been renewed for a second season.

Of course the normally royal-mad PBS isn’t going to let this week’s ceremony pass without some attention. So here’s the premiere of the nightly (!) “Royal Wedding Watch” (PBS, 10 p.m., check local listings).

We’re already halfway through the four-episode “Dancing with the Stars: Athletes” (ABC, 8 p.m.) and Tonya Harding is still in it; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is out. Guest judge tonight is season 24 runner up David Ross.

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Upholding Family Legacy in ‘Little Women’

MayaHawkeThe BBC shifts to American literature (and a largely American cast) for its version of Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women” on “Masterpiece” (PBS, 8 p.m., check local listings).

While the three hour adaptation by “Call the Midwife” creator Heidi Thomas may be highlighted by the appearance of TV legend Angela Lansbury briefly in the role of the disapproving Aunt March, it stars a young actress making her film debut as the central character Jo.

Maya Hawke has a bit of acting pedigree, though, as the teenage daughter of Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman, whom she resembles. She brings a fresh and unfettered performance in an adaptation that seems a little slow-footed (probably because it’s intended as family fare).

“I have been sort of in love with that character since the eighth grade when I read it for the first time. I was so excited and tempted by her fervor and her energy,” an exuberant Hawke excitedly told reporters at the TV Critics Association winter press tour in January. “I never expected to get cast in that part, but when it happened, it was one of the most terrifying and thrilling opportunities that I’ve ever had.”

Hawke had to drop out of Julliard to take the role in “Little Women,” which recreates Civil War-era Concord, Mass., on sets in Ireland.

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