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Friday, May 18, 2018

Fall TV Preview (in which we welcome back Murphy Brown)

The five major networks revealed their 2018-19 schedules this week, and once again most of their preview trailers made me want to turn off my TV. And in order to make room for all of their underwhelming new shows, the networks had to cancel some old ones, but NBC's Rise is the only series that I wish was coming back for a second season (I was one of the few who enjoyed its soapy mixture of music and drama).

Below are the trailers for the four new shows that I do plan to watch (at least their pilot episodes), but first let's begin with the worst. My selection for the Worst New Show is actually an old favorite - among Republicans who think the Trump-loving Tim Allen is funny. Yes, folks, Fox is bringing back his sitcom, Last Man Standing, which ABC canceled last year after six seasons. Obviously the high ratings for the Roseanne revival led to this decision, but my gut instinct tells me that Last Man will not be getting 10 million viewers on Fridays next fall.

As for the Best New Show, I have to go with another old favorite - among Democrats who think the lifelong liberal Candice Bergen is funny. Yes, folks, CBS is bringing back her 1988-98 sitcom, Murphy Brown, which will also feature original cast members Faith Ford (as Corky Sherwood), Joe Regalbuto (as Frank Fontana) and Grant Shaud (as Miles Silverberg). In addition, actor Jake McDorman will play Murphy's now adult son, Avery, while Emmy winner Tyne Daly will play Phyllis, the sister of deceased bar owner Phil. The series will air on Thursdays at 8:30 PM (CST) after Mom (and NBC's Will & Grace, which I will be watching at 8).

As for a brand new sitcom that is reminiscent of an old favorite (The Wonder Years), ABC's The Kids Are Alright made me laugh - especially actress Mary McCormack as an Irish-Catholic mother raising eight boys during the 1970s. The cast also includes Michael Cudlitz (The Walking Dead) as McCormack's husband. The series will air on Tuesdays at 7:30 PM (CST) after Roseanne.

Another new sitcom that I plan to watch is Fox's The Cool Kids, which stars David Alan Grier, Martin Mull, Leslie Jordan and Vicki Lawrence as a group of friends living in a retirement community. I don't know how many people under the age of 50 are going to tune in to this show, but this guy over 50 is looking forward to a series featuring a talented cast of actors over 60. It will air on Fridays at 7:30 PM (CST) after Last Man Standing.

Finally, since I've always been a sucker for a good sudsy soap opera, I will be tuning in to the ABC midseason drama, Grand Hotel, about the scandals and secrets hiding beneath the picture-perfect exterior of a family-owned Miami hotel. The cast includes Demián Bichir (Weeds, The Bridge), Roselyn Sánchez (Devious Maids) and Bryan Craig (General Hospital).

Other shows that I plan to check out are ABC's Schooled (a midseason spin-off of The Goldbergs set in the 1990s) and NBC's The Gilded Age (a drama from Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes that will premiere sometime in 2019). I'm also hoping to see ABC's False Profits, a comedic soap starring Vanessa Williams and Scandal's Bellamy Young that is still in consideration for a midseason pickup. And if you want to see a complete fall schedule, click here to start planning your own viewing habits.

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