TV seems to be bouncing back in the fall 2012 season. After a rough pilot season in 2011, the major networks have reason to smile so far. Of course, that could always change, but there is hope. With so many new shows that premiered in September, it's difficult to forecast where the ratings will end up down the road. However, by this point last year, TV fans could have easily predicted the grim fates of shows like "The Playboy Club" and "Charlie's Angels." Why are things different in 2012? Here is a look at why the major TV networks are going to have a better season.
Originality is backWhile 2011 brought about a slew of shows that were either remakes or rip-offs, originality has found some momentum this season. Both dramas and sitcoms are taking bold new steps toward different things. Consider the ABC show "The Neighbors," a comedy in which a middle-class family moves into a community inhabited by aliens. There is also the drama "Last Resort," a promising ABC series about a renegade captain that is prepared to defend his ship against both foreign and American threats. These are just two examples of some bold new series that have injected some much-needed life into the typical TV pilot.
The stars are coming backOver the years, drawing a big star hasn't always led to success for TV shows. However, luring the right actor can make a world of difference. This season, plenty of recognizable faces have returned to TV in the right kind of role. Veteran actor Andre Braugher is playing the lead in the previously mentioned "Last Resort." Michael Chiklis is starring in the period drama "Vegas," and he's joined by Dennis Quaid. Sherlock Holmes is getting a new twist with the show "Elementary," starring Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu.
Sitcoms are getting bigger stars, as well. Matthew Perry seems to have finally found his niche after "Friends," and his new show "Go On" has been a big hit in the ratings. Other recognizable faces to appear in new shows this fall include Justin Bartha, Ellen Barkin, and Sophia Bush. That list doesn't even count Mindy Kaling, who left "The Office" to start her own show on Fox. The fact that such respected actors are getting into the TV game is a sign that these shows have promise.
Reality TV is slowing downUnlike in recent years, the new season lacks any new reality shows of note. There are still returning heavyweights like "Dancing With the Stars" and "The Voice," but the networks seem to have invested heavily in scripted TV. Whether it's dramas or sitcoms, networks are no longer devoting the bulk of their prime-time lineup to reality TV. Not counting Saturday, CBS has scripted TV every night of the week. NBC is airing sitcoms in prime-time on Tuesdays through Fridays. Those two channels are even allowing scripted shows to follow their biggest reality hits. That should help them draw, and keep, bigger audiences. For the first time in a long time, it feels like scripted TV is back. That should bode well for the future of the major networks.
- Arts & Entertainment