Watching Way Too Much TV For You!

The schedules are coming, they are coming…

David Lyons in "The Cape"

Before the unveils of the plans, the networks are busy greenlighting series to order today and below is the latest. (Note: this post will be updated throughout the day with new news.)

UPDATED: ABC has picked up two more dramas to its new slate for next year. Dana Delany will officially be moving off of Wisteria Lane to be a medical examiner in Body of Proof. The series revolves around Megan Hunt, who is a cop stuck in the morgue. Also in the series, Jeri Ryan and Sonja Sohn. Second pickup this afternoon is the Shonda Rhimes produced, Jenna Bans written Off the Map. Map is a medical drama set in the tropics about three doctors moving to a remote practice for a change in their lives. Wonderfall‘s Caroline Dhavernas and Mammie Gummer as two of the doctors. More ABC pickups are expected to be revealed soon.

NBC this morning confirmed the demise of one of the longest series in television history, Law & Order. The Dick Wolf stable ran for 20 years which ties the record set by Gunsmoke. The series will wrap on May 24th, but on the flip side is that NBC renewed its most successful spinoff, Special Victims Unit, while creating a new one, LOLA (aka Law & Order: Los Angeles). LOLA will debut in the fall and is ran by Brotherhood creator Blake Masters. No casting has been announced yet.

Friends with Benefits

NBC then went on to order 4 more new series, including one comedy and three dramas. Friends with Benefits, a single-cam comedy from the writers of (500) Days of Summer, and stars Fran Kranz, Ryan Hansen, Jessica Lucas, and Danneel Harris among others. The series is a more modern take on Friends, and revolves around pals trying to navigate of dating world and it is not easy for them. The script was fresh and fun and will be a nice pairing to the already picked-up Perfect Couples.

Kathy Bates in "Harry's Law"

The Cape, a superhero drama from Tom Wheeler, stars the likes of Summer Glau and David Lyons. Lyons plays a man Vince who was wrongly accused of something and is forced to leave his family and become a masked superhero in a Gotham-esque town full of them. It is a certainly originally concept and I applauded the script and NBC decision to pick it up, certainly for midseason due to the effects.

The last two dramas of NBC pickups today both come from familiar faces. Conan O’Brian (still in business with NBC) produces Outlaw (formally Garza) and it is a starring vehicle for Jimmy Smits as a Supreme Court judge that comes to a revelation of the system, quits, and change his life. Finally, David E. Kelly is no stranger to law dramas (Boston Legal, Ally McBeal) and he is at it again with NBC producing Harry’s Law (fka Kindreds). The drama was originally written in a lighthearted script centering around a man, but when they saw the wonderful Kathy Bates that changed. Bates took the lead and the role changed to a woman who is a troubled lawyer who meets some interesting folks that changes her direction. The show also stars the charming Brittany Snow as her secretary.

Below is NBC official release….

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. – May 14, 2010 – NBC has issued pickups for four more new scripted series with dramas “The Cape,” “Outlaw,” “Harry’s Law” and the comedy “Friends With Benefits” – while renewing the action-comedy series “Chuck” for a fourth season — all for the 2010-11 season.

“The addition of these four inventive series to our new scripted lineup demonstrates a wide spectrum of creative stories,” said Angela Bromstad, President, Primetime Entertainment, NBC and Universal Media Studios. “We are featuring popular, top-flight stars along with a strong pedigree of successful writer-producers.  Likewise, ‘Chuck’ has proven its enduring appeal and we love the new creative direction that Josh and Chris have taken the show.”

The four new series join previously announced “LOLA’ (“Law & Order: Los Angeles”), “Perfect Couples,” “Chase,” “Undercovers,” “The Event,” “Love Bites” and “Outsourced” as the new scripted series that NBC has revealed for its new season.

“The Cape” is a one-hour drama series starring David Lyons  as Vince Faraday, an honest cop on a corrupt police force, who finds himself framed for a series of murders and presumed dead.  He is forced into hiding, leaving behind his wife, Dana (Jennifer Ferrin) and son, Trip (Ryan Wynott).  Fueled by a desire to reunite with his family and to battle the criminal forces that have overtaken Palm City, Faraday becomes “The Cape” his son’s favorite comic book superhero — and takes the law into his own hands.  Rounding out the cast are James Frain as billionaire Peter Fleming – The Cape’s nemesis – who moonlights as the twisted killer: Chess; Keith David as Max Malini, the ringleader of a circus gang of bank robbers who mentors Vince Faraday and trains him to be The Cape; Summer Glau as Orwell, an investigative blogger who wages war on crime and corruption in Palm City; and Dorian Missick  as Marty Voyt, a former police detective and friend to Faraday. “The Cape” is a Universal Media Studios and BermanBraun production from executive producer/creator Thomas Wheeler, executive producer/director Simon West, the executive producing team of Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun and executive producer Gene Stein.

Starring Emmy Award winner Jimmy Smits, “Outlaw” is a new drama from executive producer John Eisendrath. Cyrus Garza (Smits) is a Supreme Court justice who abruptly quits the high-level position. A playboy and a gambler, Garza had always adhered to a strict interpretation of the law until he realized the system he believed in was flawed.  Now that he’s quit the bench and returned to private practice, he’s determined to represent “the little guy” and use his inside knowledge of the justice system to take on today’s biggest legal cases — and he’s making plenty of powerful people unhappy along the way.  Jesse Bradford, Carly Pope, Ellen Woglom and David Ramsey also star. “Outlaw” is a Universal Media Studios production along with Conaco productions. Eisendrath is executive producer along with Terry George, Conan O’Brien, Jeff Ross and David Kissinger.  “Outlaw” is written by Eisendrath and directed by George.

Emmy Award-winning creator David E. Kelley brings his unique storytelling to “Harry’s Law,” a series about fate and the people it brings together, starring Academy Award winner Kathy Bates. Harriet (Bates), Matthew (Ben Chaplin) and Malcolm (Aml Ameen) couldn’t be any more different.  Harriet is a curmudgeonly ex-patent lawyer who, having just been fired from her cushy job, is completely disillusioned with her success and looking for a fresh start.  Her world unexpectedly collides with Malcolm’s — a young man trying to figure out life.  When he finds out Harriet is a lawyer, he begs her to represent him in an upcoming criminal case.  Matthew, a dreamer at heart and also recently fired from his job as a high school teacher, is introduced to Harriet through Malcolm, a previous student of his.  When these three cross paths, they realize they’re all looking for a fresh start.  Now, the most unlikely of people are starting a law practice in the most unlikely of places — a rundown shoe store.  “Harry’s Law” also stars Brittany Snow as Harriet’s assistant, Jenna Backstrom and Beatrice Rosen as Eve, a high school French teacher. “Harry’s Law” is produced by Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with David E. Kelley Productions and Warner Bros. Television.  David E. Kelley  and Bill D’Elia serve as executive producers. D’Elia also serves as director.

From Oscar and Emmy winner Brian Grazer, “Friends With Benefits” is a half-hour comedy revolving around a group of twenty-something singles as they navigate the difficult, and often confusing, world of dating.  Ben Weymouth (Ryan Hansen) is on the hunt for the perfect woman who meets his unique set of standards, while his best friend, Sara Maxwell (Danneel Harris), is just looking for a man to settle down with and raise a family.  Ben and Sara have fallen into the habit of turning to each other for moral and physical support as they wait for Mr. and Ms. Right to arrive.  Their friend Aaron (Fran Kranz), a romantic at heart, doesn’t approve of Ben and Sara’s complicated friendship, but he, along with womanizer Hoon (Ian Reed Kesler) and straight shooter Riley (Jessica Lucas), are all distracted with their own dating trials and tribulations. David Nevins joins Grazer as executive producer for Imagine Television.  Also serving as executive producers are David Dobkin (“Wedding Crashers”), who directs the pilot, writers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, and Jeff Kleeman.  “Friends With Benefits” is a production of 20thCentury Fox Television, Imagine Television and Big Kid Pictures.

Now in its third season that concludes with a two-hour season finale on Monday, May 24 (8-10 p.m. ET), “Chuck” is averaging a 2.4 rating, 6 share in adults 18-49 and 6.6 million viewers overall.  “Chuck’s” ratings increase significantly when all time-shifted viewing is added to its results, growing this season by an average of 22 percent in its 18-49 rating and more than 1.1 million persons in total viewers when going from its “live plus same day” to its “live plus seven day” results from Nielsen Media Research.

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