Upfronts: A Mock Fall 2010 Schedule for NBC, FOX, ABC, CBS, and The CW

     May 16, 2010


You may have noticed a recent glut of television news coverage here at Collider—that’s because  upfront week is nearly upon us.  Each year(give or take a writer’s strike) ABC, CBS, The CW, FOX, and NBC order dozens of pilot episodes from the scripts they have in development.  If a pilot wows the network, they will pick it up for either the fall schedule or midseason the following year, in which case said pilot often serves as the series premiere.  This week, the networks will announce their schedules at their respective upfront to press and advertising buyers. The announcements detail the pilots they’ve picked up and the final word on renewal/cancellation for current series; FOX and NBC are on May 17, with ABC on May 18, CBS on May 19, and The CW on May 20.

Upfront week is basically the equivalent of a sports draft mixed with the trade deadline for TV geeks.  In the vein of the mock drafts that sports news outlets post during draft week, I thought it would be fun to put together a “mock fall schedule”, which you can find after the jump.

Here’s the basic gameplan.  I’ll identify the shows which have already been (or are certain to be) renewed, those which have officially been cancelled, and the remaining bubble shows for each network.  Likewise, I’ll list the pilots the pilots that have already been picked up, and the pilots I think will be picked up in the coming week.  Pulling it all together, I’ll make a guess at how the fall lineup will look for each network, as well as the shows that will be held for midseason.  New shows are bolded, and current shows with new times are italicized.

I’m no whiz kid, to be sure, but hopefully I stumble upon a correct supposition or two.  I encourage you to plan your own lineups in the comments.  Without further ado . . .


NBC will hold their upfront on May 17, but they will announce their schedule on May 16.

Renewed/Renewal Imminent
30 Rock
Friday Night Lights
The Office
Parks & Recreation
Law & Order: SVU

Cancelled/Cancellation Imminent
Law & Order

New Shows
The Cape
Law & Order: Los Angeles
The Event
Friends With Benefits
Perfect Couples
Love Bites

Reminder: this is a mock schedule. We’ll update when it is officially announced.


Midseason: Chuck, Friday Night Lights, Celebrity Apprentice, Law & Order: LA, The Event, Friends With Benefits, Next, The Cape

Analysis: Though not at the level of Fox’s Animation Domination on Sunday or CBS’s Monday comedy block, NBC gets some mileage out of their two hours of sitcoms on Thursday.  Wednesdays 8:00-9:00 have plenty of comedies, but none are immensely successful, so NBC may be able to steal some thunder there from CBS and ABC.  Their major launch of the fall will be Undercovers, and if all goes to plan, it will be the great savior of NBC in 2010.  Keep plenty of material in the can for midseason when football is done and three hours open up on Sunday, and replace whatever new launches (or the second season of Parenthood) didn’t work in the fall.


Fox will hold their upfront on May 17.

Renewed/Renewal Imminent
American Dad
The Cleveland Show
Family Guy
The Simpsons
Human Target
Lie to Me

Cancelled/Cancellation Imminent
Past Life
Sons of Tucson
‘Til Death

New Shows
Lone Star
Running Wilde
Traffic Light
Keep Hope Alive

Reminder: this is a mock schedule.


Midseason: American Idol, Terra Nova, Ride-Along, Running Wilde

Analysis: It seems like is Lone Star is destined to be a noble failure that I adore, but not at the fault of Fox; they’ll give it the best lead-in they can with House on Monday nights.  Fox really wants a live-action comedy block somewhere, and they may be able to get something going on Tuesdays with some combination of Keep Hope Alive, Traffic Light, and Running Wilde.  If it’s failing miserably, you can always replace it with Idol at midseason.  In fact, with really solid midseason material (which Fox always has), it’ll be interesting to see how that unfolds.  Maybe the two lowest-rated dramas that escape cancellation head to Fridays.


ABC will hold their upfront May 18.

Renewed/Renewal Imminent
Brothers & Sisters
Cougar Town
The Middle
Modern Family
Desperate Housewives
Grey’s Anatomy
Private Practice

Cancelled/Cancellation Imminent
The Forgotten
Ugly Betty
Better Off Ted
Romantically Challenged
The Deep End
Happy Town

New Shows
Off the Map
Body of Proof
The Whole Truth
My Generation
Detroit 187
No Ordinary Family
Mr. Sunshine
Happy Endings
Better Together

Reminder: this is a mock schedule.


Midseason: V, Mr. Sunshine, Better Together, Detroit 187, Body of Proof

Analysis: It’s possible that ABC orders another hour or two.  Wright Vs. Wrong has a shot, and supposedly ABC is looking to scoop up New Adventures of Old Christine if CBS cancels it—if that happens, I’d slot it in the Wednesday 8:00 slot in place of Happy Endings.  Putting another medical drama produced by Grey’s/Practice creator Shonda Rhimes, might be a bit too on the nose, but ABC went the other way last year with that slot (the sci-fi FlashForward), and that didn’t work too well for them.  No Ordinary Family seems to have the hottest buzz, so I think it will get that fall promotional push, but other than that I’m not entirely sure which pilots will debut in the fall and which will be held for midseason; this is kind of an arbitrary guess.  V should be grateful for a renewal, so I’m thinking a short midseason order is in store.


CBS will hold their upfront May 19.

Renewed/Renewal Imminent
The Big Bang Theory
The Good Wife
How I Met Your Mother
NCIS: Los Angeles
Two and a Half Men
Criminal Minds
CSI: Miami
The Mentalist

Cancelled/Cancellation Imminent
Three Rivers
Miami Medical

New Shows
Mike & Molly

On the Bubble
Accidentally on Purpose
Cold Case
Gary Unmarried
Ghost Whisperer
The New Adventures of Old Christine
Rules of Engagement

Reminder: this is a mock schedule.


Midseason: Gary Unmarried, Rules of Engagement, Mad Love, Criminal Minds Spinoff

Analysis: CBS is the most fun, because they’ve officially picked up only one series, officially cancelled only one series, and are really the only network that actually has a slew of legitimate bubble shows: there’s a lot to be determined.  I think Mike & Molly gets the cushier Monday slot while Team Spitz and Bleep My Dad Says try to target males to counteract the female-friendly ABC comedy block on Wednesday from 8:00-9:00.  I could see them trying to establish a comedy block on Sunday at midseason if their new comedies are firing all cylinders, but for the fall I envision a Sunday night of mostly new dramas.  The Good Wife should go to Fridays once Numb3rs is cancelled, where I trust Julianna Marguiles can draw the same audience that Jennifer Love-Hewitt and Patricia Arquette do each Friday.  The Criminal Minds spinoff may need some fine tuning, so expect a midseason premiere (if any) to give it time.  I think CBS will save three or four comedies for midseason to plug holes or try their hand at that Sunday comedy block.


The CW will hold their upfront May 20.

gossip_girl_penn_badgley__ed_westwick__taylor_momsen._blake_lively__chace_crawford__leighton_meester_stars_in_gossip_girlRenewed/Renewal Imminent
Gossip Girl
The Vampire Diaries

Cancelled/Cancellation Imminent
The Beautiful Life: TBL

On the Bubble
Life Unexpected
One Tree Hill

Reminder: this is a mock schedule.


Midseason: Nomads

Analysis: There has been talk of a split order between One Tree Hill and Life Unexpected for 12-13 episodes, but that just doesn’t fit with the CW business model.  The success of The Vampire Diaries has given the network room to be a little risky, so I think they try out new shows Monday-Wednesday with their established shows as lead-ins.  Like last year, hold one scripted drama for midseason (Nomads!), and try (but probably fail) to get some reality fare going.








Sunday Night Football


The Biggest Loser



Who Do You Think You Are?


Perfect Couples

Parks & Recreation




The Office

Marriage Ref


30 Rock


Law & Order

Love Bites

Law & Order: SVU

Rockford Files