News and Quick Comments

“Lincoln Lawyer” lofts lotsa legal twists

A decade ago, “The Lincoln Lawyer” was an OK movie that felt like a pretty good TV episode. Afterward, there was talk of turning it into a TV series, the sort where our hero wins a case each week. Fortunately, David E. Kelley has crafted something better (shown here).
Kelley has already done TV’s best lawyer shows – “L.A. Law,” “The Practice” and more. Lately, he’s spent more time on mini-series, including “Big Little Lies” and “Nine Perfect Strangers.”
Now he’s adapted some Michael Connelly novels into a 10-part”Lincoln Lawyer” mini that arrived recently on Netflix. “The Lincoln Lawyer” could go another season, but doesn’t have to. Read more…

CW sets new shows … and delays its big ones

When the big networks battle this fall, a smaller one will wait semi-patientlly.
The CW will hold many of its top shows until mid-season. That includes “The Flash,” “Superman & Lois,” “Nancy Drew” and the final year of “Riverdale.”
Instead, it will try an intriguing assortment. Two summer shows – “Stargirl” and “Coroner” – will be promoted to the main season. Four new dramas will also be there – including a “Walker” prequel (shown here) and a “Supernatural” prequel. Read more…

CNN boosts its Sunday plans

Somewhere amid the storm and fury of the first Warner Brothers Discovery presentation to advertisers there were glimpses of what’s ahead for CNN.
Yes, Chris Licht, the network’s new chief, is talking about getting back to basics. “In a time when extremes are dominating cable news, we will go a different way,” he insisted.
But Licht is also continuing CNN’s habit of being an entertainment network on Sunday nights. This fall, that will include:
— Some of the shows that were slated for the now-vanished CNN+. Chris Wallace (shown here) will have his interview show then … on the same night where his dad (Mike Wallace) used to rule with “60 Minutes.” Eva Longoria will also have her food-and-travel show viewing Mexico. Read more…

ABC for fall? “Stability” trend continues

ABC calls it “unprecedented stability”; viewers might call it “same old, same old.”
Either way, the trend is clear: The fall schedule that ABC announced Tuesday (May 17) has few new shows. The same was true of the ones that NBC and Fox announced Monday.
ABC has only three new ones, and two sound terribly familiar – a “Rookie” spin-off starring Niecy Nash and a series version of “Celebrity Jeopardy.”
That leaves only one totally new show, which brings some solid credentials: “Alaska” (shown here) is written by Oscar-winner Tom McCarthy (“Spotlight”) and stars two-time Oscar-winner Hilary Swank as a disgraced reporter, trying to re-start her life at a newspaper in Anchorage. Read more…

NBC’s new season: “Leap,” Lee, Lopez, Larroquette

NBC will play it safe this fall, then get only a tad friskier as the season goes on.
Its line-up, announced today (Monday), has only two new shows, both with familiar names. One is a reboot of “Quantum Leap,” with Raymond Lee (shown here) as the new star; the other has George Lopez, now paired with his daughter in the comedy, “Lopez vs. Lopez.”
Another reboot arrives at mid-season: “Night Court” has John Larroquette returning to his Emmy-winning role, now with Melissa Rauch (“Big Bang Theory”) as the judge. Read more…

Update: Fox sets fall line-up … with “9-1-1”

Update: A half-day after leaving it in doubt, the Fox network has made something clear:
Yes, it will have “9-1-1” and “The Resident” (shown here) next season.
When executives talked to reporters early Monday morning, that was still in doubt. Charlie Collier, the network CEO, would only say that negotiations were going well; he even took the unusual step of announcing the other shows for the fall season – but not a day-to-day schedule.
A spin-off, “9-1-1: Lone Star,” was definitely coming back, but “9-1-1” – Fox’s top show in the Nielsen ratings – was indefinite. Heading into its sixth season (as is “The Resident”), it needed a new contract.
Now the earlier story:
Read more…

USA Network season: It’s mostly macho

The USA Network will be a mostly macho place next season.
It will also be mostly unscripted, at least among its original (non-rerun) shows. The network — which once debuted “Monk,” “Psych,” “Suits” and “Mr. Robot” — has plans next season for exactly one scripted original –continuing “Chucky,” the killer-doll tale.
Instead, USA seems to reflect the success of its Monday and Tuesday wrestling, via the WWE. (One new show will be hosted by WWE star Nikki Bella, shown here; a returning reality show features a WWE couple.) It also reflects an expanded sports line-up, now that sister channel NBC Sports Network has folded. The announcements for next season include Read more…

Freeform plans a scripted summer

As the broadcast networks launch their summer line-ups – even before summer starts – scripted shows are scarce.
Not to worry; cable and others are filling the gap. Freeform has set June or July starts for four of them – one new, two starting its season, one returning for the season’s second half ..,. and “Motherland: Fort Salem” starting its final season.
Some networks have been in a hurry to get their summer shows in place. ABC installed a games-and-reality night on Tuesday, May 3; Fox returns “So You Think You Can Dance” – for the first time in three years – on Wednesday, May 18.
But scripted shows are another matter. The Freeform summer has: Read more…

CNN Films score (again) with “Navalny”

It’s easy to dump on Jeff Zucker, the former head of NBC and CNN and more.
But let’s look at something that has turned out well: Under Zucker, CNN developed a strong lineup of shows on Saturday and Sunday nights; that’s clear now, with:
–Sundays: “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy” has just started its second season. Barring breaking news, it’s at 9 p.m. and midnight, with another travel-and-food show (“Nomad with Carlton McCoy”) at 10 and 1, plus a Tucci rerun at 11.
— Saturday, May 14: “Navalny” (shown here), a compelling documentary movie, reruns from 9-11 p.m., followed by Tucci and McCoy reruns. It had been set for May 7, but then was pushed back a week. Read more…

“Signora” brings smart stories, Foxy fun

Sylvia Fox didn’t really want to go to small-town Italy for her niece’s wedding.
She had plenty of things to do in London. Working for the MI-6 unit, she handled informants worldwide; also, she had an ex-husband with benefits.
But after fuming at her bosses, she departed for the wedding. She would soon prove to be one of the greatest aunts in fictional history.
That’s the start of “Signora Volpe” (shown here), an exceptionally good mystery series. The first season – three movie-length tales – streams over three Mondays (starting May 2) on Read more…