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Friday, May 14, 2010

Early TV Pick-Ups Announced, Surprise No One

It's May in TV-land and that can only mean one thing: pilot pick ups and series orders.  While there hasn't been much in the way of news to this point yet, a slow trickle has officially begun with the recent axing of Law & Order, Heroes, and Flash Forward (my Flash Forward was seeing Flash Forward get canceled - an event that came to be!  Spooky!).  And as those of us who work in television wait to see which shows get a green light, two early announcements have just been made that may change the face of TV as we know it.  Fuck it.  It WILL change the face of TV as we know it. 

First, from the creators of Dr. Oz comes Dr. Obv, a so-called "doctor" that shares completely obvious medical and health related knowledge without really adding any real insight to the discussion.  With Dr. Oz slated to host, we can't help but wonder how this show will be any different than the already-daytime-hit.  Pilot episode includes Dr. Obv talking about what arms and legs are and where they are located on the body.  Pointing is demonstrated.  Later, Dr. Obv sits down with no one for a Q&A about hearing, and why we can't choose not to do so.  And I think you'll all agree that you wish you could have couldn't.   Or something.  The series co-creator, that obnoxious Bravo talk-show host guy, says they have a lot in store if the first 30 episodes go well.  "The great thing about this show is that we don't even need to try.  Everything is just so obvious.  Like how I got a career, for instance, which is actually our second episode."

TBS also surprised many with the announcement of the multi-camera Queen Latifah vehicle "Yo, Mama!" about a retired rapper mom and her three rambunctious kids.  While Lala had originally planned to stay away from television, she said TBS's new "urban allure" drew her back.  One can hardly argue with her judgement.  Between Ice Cube's newest incantation of his popular film franchise "Are We There Yet?," and Tyler Perry's veritable monopoly on the "no comedy-comedy" market, the time couldn't be better for the former "Living Single" to come back.  Plus it would help TBS fill that last half hour between "Tyler Perry's: Meet The Browns," and George Lopez.

And she'll hardly be living single this time around.  Latifah, who will play Jacky Jackety (her characters rapper alias) is set to co-star with a venerable cavalcade of "who's who" in today's black Hollywood.  Bow-wow will play her eldest son, the silent leader of the family and stand-in for a father.  Usher will play his little brother, T-bow.  And T-bow Williams will be playing Terrell "Snips" Jackety, the youngest of the bunch.  Though 14 years old, his character's hook is that he hasn't said a word since he saw a drive-by some 6 years back.  That should be a fun one.

The pilot episode opens with JJ (for short) sitting down with LL Cool J for coffee.  LL, as himself, reminisces about when LL and JJ ruled the streets of the lower east side...of Cleveland.  As bland as watching a freshly painted fence post dry, the scene carries them back home where we meet JJ's kids.  After each is introduced, and given time to "floss," she instructs them to do their homework.  They promptly walk out the front door much to the studio audience's delight.

Though several other scenes were slated to be shot, no one on set could manage to get this group of super stars to put their egos aside and finish the episode.  TBS has high hopes they get it done though.  As does Conan O'Brien, who owns 80% of the network after his ball smashing new deal.*

While these two pick-ups stand out as obvious shows that deserve our attention this fall, one can't help but wonder who will win the big TV lottery next.  Will it be the new Top Chef franchise, Top Chef: Bastards?  A kitchen full of bastard chefs could really light things up.  Perhaps it will be the new Fred Savage reality show Month-To-Month where Fred tries his luck one moth at a time in an apartment building that offers the first month free.  While he be able to pick himself back up and get his career back?  Or will A&E once again deny us the right to see a former star completely deteriorate on TV and do absolutely nothing to stop it?  It's all up in the air for now!

*fuck yes.

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