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Rolling Out the Red Carpet: The 68th Emmy Awards and Fall TV Premieres

Happy New Year! I have always associated fall with the start of a new year, mainly due to getting new pencils and a shiny new trapper keeper on the first day of school. The TV season also starts the year in the fall, launching new programs, and after a summer of reruns and reality TV, the welcomed the return of our scripted favorites. The season kicks off tomorrow, with the 68th annual Emmy Awards hosted by Jimmy Kimmel on ABC.

Red Carpet Emmy Awards

HBO has the most Emmy nominations with 94, followed by FX with 56 and Netflix with 54. For the 5th year in a row, “The Big Four” were shut out of the Best Drama Series category. I took a look at “The Big Fours” upcoming fall premieres; maybe one of them will find a hit on their hands.

CBS

35 Emmy nominations including:

• Reality-Competition Program: The Amazing Race

• Supporting Actress; Comedy Series: Allison Janney, Mom

CBS will kick off their season by shifting the 10th season of Big Bang to Monday night to accommodate Thursday Night Football through October 27—new series Kevin Can Wait will certainly benefit from this lead-in. Kevin Can Wait stars Kevin James; you may know him from King of Queens. His character is a newly retired police officer, with a wife and three kids, discovering the challenges of life are tougher than those he faced on the street.

Michael Weatherly may have left NCIS, but his new series Bull is airing on Tuesday, perfectly positioned between the original NCIS and NCIS: New Orleans. Inspired by the early career of Dr. Phil McGraw (yes, that Dr. Phil), Bull will combine psychology, human intuition and high-tech data to learn what makes jurors, attorneys, witnesses and the accused tick. In an interview with ET, Dr. Phil, who is serving as an executive producer, made it clear that this is not a biography.

“He [Michael Weatherly] is an amazing actor, and he brings a real sense of humor to it, He’s got a kind of smart-aleck attitude when he needs to have it and a real sincerity when he needs to have it. This is one smart guy. He breaks a lot of laws that I didn’t break. First episode, I think he breaks about three laws before the commercial break. So, let’s just be sure that this is inspired by, but not biographical.”

In an effort to reach the younger audience, CBS is pulling out their Swiss Army Knife and duct tape to make something old new again by bringing back MacGyver—this remake will follow a 20-something MacGyver.

NBC

41 Emmy Nominations including:

• Reality-Competition Program: American Ninja Warrior

• Reality-Competition Program: The Voice

• Reality Host: Jane Lynch, Hollywood Game Night

• Reality Host: Steve Harvey, Little Big Shots

• Supporting Actress, Comedy Series: Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live

Reaping the benefits of the viewer reach of the Olympics in which NBC aired over 1,500 in-house promotional spots, it will be interesting to see if the 260+ spots for the October 3rd premier of Timeless, coming out of The Voice no less, will help boost sampling. However, This is Us only received 60+ promotional spots in the Olympics and will possibly be the biggest hit of the season. It stars Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia (who will also be returning as Jess on Netflix’s Gilmore Girls on September 30th). This hour-long program follows a group of people born on the same day whose paths cross and their life stories intertwine in curious ways.

Ted Danson is returning to what used to be “Must-See-TV” Thursday in The Good Place. It is no Cheers—its premise (and expected same fate) is similar to CBS’s quickly cancelled Angel From Hell, with a slight difference: his character is the good guy playing mentor to a bad girl versus Jane Lynch’s bad mentor to a good girl.

ABC

35 Emmy Nominations

• Comedy Series: Modern Family

• Comedy Series: Black-ish

• Lead Actress, Drama Series: Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder

• Lead Actor, Comedy Series: Anthony Anderson, Black-ish

• Lead Actress, Comedy Series: Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish

• Reality-Competition Program: Dancing With the Stars

• Reality Host: Tom Bergeron, Dancing With the Stars

ABC is moving around their Wednesday comedy block with The Middle moving to Tuesday and The Goldbergs going to 8 p.m. leading into Speechless with Minnie Driver who, is a mom on a mission who will do anything for her eldest son with special needs. Expect to not recognize Kripke from Big Bang. Modern Family is back for their 8th season and Black-ish for their 3rd .

Capping off the night is Kiefer Sutherland, not as Jack Bauer in the longest day ever, but as the Designated Survivor. Just in time for the election, he plays a lower-level cabinet member who, and is way more than a heart beat away, becomes president after a devastating attack on Washington wipes out all of those in-line above him.

Nestled between Grey’s Anatomy and How to Get Away With Murder, Notorious (not the song by Duran Duran) will show the interplay between the media and criminal law. The story is based on real-life celebrity lawyer Mark Geragos (he represented Michael Jackson, Winona Ryder, Chris Brown and Scott Peterson to name a few) and Larry King Live news producer Wendy Walker.

Dancing With the Stars premiered last week ahead of all others, leading out on October 3rd and capitalizing on the election season with another politically based program Conviction. This is about a first daughter who gets arrested for partying too hard, gets bailed out and becomes a lawyer so she help her mom become a senator.

FOX

29 Emmy Nominations

• Actor, Comedy Series: Will Forte, The Last Man on Earth

• Supporting Actor, Comedy Series: Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine

• Realty Host: Ryan Seacrest, American Idol

FOX is making movies into series. In Lethal Weapon, the premise is the same as the movie: Martin Riggs (Clayne Crawford) transfers to the LAPD, where he is partnered with Roger Murtaugh (Damon Wayans), a family man who, in the wake of a recent heart attack, thinks he might be getting too old for this! Wayans has experience in cop movies he appeared as a hotel employee in Eddie Murphy’s 1984 Beverly Hills Cop.

Let’s do the time warp again…The Rocky Horror Picture Show will be a one-time live musical performance on October 20th starring Laverne Cox. They are promising to stick faithfully to the original text.

The Exorcist was released in 1973 and is one of the scariest movies of all time: all I can say is, nope, not even going to watch the trailer.

Not originally a movie (unless you want to compare it to A League of Their Own), launching the marketing campaign at the All-Star Game and premiering ahead of the World Series is Pitch, a show about the first woman to play Major League Baseball. The show received a rare MLB approval, Ginny, the lead character, will play for the San Diego Padres not a fictional team. In the pilot there is a flashback of Ginny and her father “A girl will never be able to throw hard enough to compete with boys. “ Oh yeah, just watch her. The series will be filmed in the off-season or during away games in Petco Park.

While not premiering in the fall, 24: Legacy (minus Kiefer) will get the coveted post-Super Bowl spot.

After the Emmy’s red carpet rolls out and we see who wears what, stay tuned to see who gets the ax and who could walk the red carpet next year.

—Julia McCray, Senior Media Planner/Buyer

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