While streaming is all the rage, the Big 4 networks opted to stick with the tried and true in their upfront presentations this week, keeping change to a minimum this fall, says Brian Lowry. "After a tumultuous year that saw Covid-19 keep people at home, disrupt production and force networks to scramble for original content after last year's presentations, the fall will feature precious few new series -- just a dozen total from the four aforementioned broadcasters," he says. "As for the emphasis on the familiar, revivals, reboots and themed nights have become the status quo. Look no further than NBC, which -- already airing three Windy City procedurals on Wednesday with Chicago Med, Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D. -- will do the same Thursday, with a trio of Law & Order-branded shows, as a new drama, For the Defense, joins SVU and Organized Crime. Not to be outdone, CBS' alphabet soup includes introducing a third FBI show, FBI: International, to air along with the others on Tuesdays, while bringing back the 20-plus-year-old crime procedural CSI and adding NCIS: Hawai'i next to the flagship show that moves to Monday nights. While crime is everywhere in primetime, laughs will be in short supply. NBC will present a fall lineup without a single sitcom for the first time since perhaps the 1950s, and Fox will do the same. ABC has scheduled just two new shows -- one of them a reboot of the coming-of-age dramedy The Wonder Years, which premiered in 1988, this time featuring a Black family." As Lowry points out, "the challenging environment the networks face -- and the image of them as dinosaurs -- might seem to argue for more risk-taking than the primetime lineups would indicate."
TOPICS: Dick Wolf, ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CSI: Vegas, FBI: International, Law & Order: For the Defense, NCIS: Hawai'i, The Wonder Years (2021 Series), FBI Franchise, Law & Order Franchise, One Chicago Franchise, Upfronts