TV Upfront

Ad Age Picks the Upfront's Hits and Misses

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Now that broadcasters have unveiled their new series for the new season, and now that you're voting on the dramas and comedies most likely to meet the schedulers' axe first, here are our network-by-network picks for what will last -- and what won't.

Credit: NBC


NBC "The Michael J. Fox Show" (Thursday, 9:30 p.m.): Michael J. Fox returns to the small screen in a comedy that's emblematic of his own life. Mr. Fox plays a news anchorman who is battling Parkinson's disease. Mr. Fox is easy to root for and the semi-autobiographical comedy will at the very least attract viewers to the first episodes.

Runner up: "The Blacklist" (NBC, Monday, 10 p.m.): In what is being described as a grittier "White Collar," James Spader stars as a most-wanted criminal who turns himself in and offers to help the FBI track down everyone he has ever worked with. His one condition is he will only work with a rookie FBI agent, played by Megan Boon, with whom he seemingly has no connection. NBC positioned "The Blacklist" in the highly coveted slot following "The Voice" on Monday night, which should allow it to build an audience.


Credit: Fox
"Almost Human" (Monday, 8 p.m.): J.J. Abrams has two new series airing next season, "Almost Human" and NBC's "Believe," with the former the more likely one to stick. "Almost Human" is set in 2048 at a time when cops are partnered with human-like androids. It follows LAPD officer John Kennex (Karl Urban) who is paired with Dorian (Michael Ealy) to solve crimes, but aside from the inevitable action, it also appears to have some endearing and humorous moments.


"Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." (ABC, Tuesday, 8 p.m.): ABC shrunk "Dancing With the Stars" to one night to make way for Joss Whedon's "Avengers" spin-off, showing its commitment to the series. It's poised to not only attract "Avengers" fans, but Mr. Whedon's ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer") own cult following.

Runner up: "Super Fun Night" (Wednesday, 9:30 p.m.): Rebel Wilson will likely do to "Super Fun Night" what Melissa McCarthy has been able to do on CBS's "Mike & Molly." Ms. Wilson's roles in movies like "Pitch Perfect" and "Bridesmaids" show she can carry an ensemble. "Super Fun Night," executive produced by Conan O'Brien, also has a prime slot, following "Modern Family" on Wednesdays.


"The Millers" (Thursday, 8:30 p.m.): Nathan Miller (Will Arnett) is looking forward to living the single life after his divorce, but when his father (Beau Bridges) sees how happy he is, he decides to separate from his mother (Margo Martindale). This leaves Nathan to take care of his mom, who moves in. The show has an "Everybody Loves Raymond" feel and Ms. Martindale is poised to become its biggest star.

Runner up: "The Crazy Ones" (Thursday, 9 p.m.): CBS got a coup with Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar as father-and-daughter partners of an advertising agency. This marks Mr. Williams's first TV series in 30 years and Ms. Gellar has a significant following in her own right. The advertising world already has a hit drama with AMC's "Mad Men" and it could be time for a comedic look at the industry. Though it's likely the biggest buzz may come from the media buyers and advertisers.

Credit: NBC


"Sean Saves the World" (Thursday, 9 p.m.): We want a Sean Hayes comedy to work, but we're not convinced "Sean Saves the World" will be his glorious return to NBC. Mr. Hayes plays a divorced gay dad who is juggling caring for his teenage daughter and his job with a strict new boss.


"Enlisted" (Friday, 9:30 p.m.): The military comedy stars Geoff Stults, Chris Lowell and Parker Young as brothers getting to know each other again on a Florida army base and the misfits that surround them. It's a goofball comedy that could struggle in its Friday timeslot.


"Trophy Wife" (Tuesday, 9:30 p.m.): Yet another half-hour comedy that's bound to get lost in the flurry of sitcoms. From Emily Halpern and Sarah Haskins, "Trophy Wife" centers on a reformed party girl, played by Malin Akerman, who finds herself with an insta-family when she falls in love with a man who has three kids and two ex-wives.


"We Are Men" (Monday, 8:30 p.m.): The reoccurring theme in CBS comedies next season seems to be single people (single people with children, single people living with their parents, newly sober single people), and this one just gets lost in the mix. The sitcom focuses on four newly single men living in a temporary apartment complex -- inevitably highjinks ensue.


We went two for three in picking "hot" shows. While Fox's "The Following" and ABC's "Nashville" survived, CBS's "Partners" was all but DOA. (Our honorable mentions are best left unmentioned. But for the record: ABC's "The Last Resort," NBC's "Animal Practice," Fox's "Ben and Kate" and the CW's "Emily Owens, M.D." all washed out.)

We successfully predicted as failures Fox's "Mob Doctors" and NBC's "Do No Harm" and "Save Me." We also predicted ABC's "The Family Tools" to flop but the jury's still out -- the network only started airing it a few weeks ago.

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