A Look at the 2017-2018 Upfront Presentation
Next week the major networks will convene in New York City for the annual Upfront Presentations.
The upfronts, as they have become known, are specific presentations made by each network (major and cable) to the advertisers as a way to not only promote their returning, hit series but also to introduce the new shows that will debut during the upcoming fall TV season. These presentations are an extremely important “gathering” in order for the networks to get the financial support they need to fund each new TV season.
Additionally, with all the major media outlets in the presentation rooms, the word is spread quickly about what each network will be airing during the new TV season, including the returning shows as well as the new dramas, comedies, limited series events, specials and made-for-TV movies that will debut.
With all of that in mind, I wanted to focus on the five major networks (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and The CW), highlighting the new dramas that I think (or hope) will be picked-up for the 2017-2018 TV season.
Upfront Presentation: May 15
Of the six new dramas under consideration at NBC, two of them – For God and Country (a military-themed series, starring Anne Heche) and Rise (from Jason Katims) – have already received season orders.
The only other drama I could see them moving forward with is Reverie, a thriller about a former detective, starring Sarah Shahi from Person of Interest and Fairly Legal).
Upfront Presentation: May 15
FOX has four dramas for consideration this fall with the best one being a new Marvel’s action-adventure series that has yet to be given an official name, starring Stephen Moyer (True Blood), Amy Acker (Angel and Person of Interest), Jamie Chung (Once Upon a Time) and Blair Redford (Switched at Birth and Satisfaction).
The other possibility is the small screen adaptation of the box office movie Behind Enemy Lines that includes among its cast Marg Helgenberger (CSI) and B.J. Britt (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.).
Upfront Presentation: May 16
ABC has nearly a dozen pilots up for considerations with about half of them being highly buzzed about right now. But for me, the three that I see as having the best chance for pick-up are:
• The Gospel of Kevin, the dramedy about a man tasked with the mission to save the world, starring Jason Ritter (Parenthood and Joan of Arcadia), JoAnna Garcia Swisher (Reba, Once Upon a Time and Privileged) and J. August Richards (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Angel);
• Unit Zero, starring Toni Collette (United States of Tara), is about desk jockeys who become unexpected CIA secret agents; and,
• The untitled Marc Cherry pilot that will star country singer-actress Reba McEntire, Ryan McPartlin (Chuck), Jack Coleman (Heroes) and Emily Rose (Haven) [among others] about a small town sheriff and a young FBI agent working together to solve a horrific crime.
Upfront Presentation: May 17
The network has 8 dramas up for consideration. The one that is getting the most buzz is the Alan Cumming-led drama Instinct, based on the James Patterson novel. The other dramas that are most likely to get picked up are the Nasa-themed drama Mission Control, which includes among its cast David Giuntoli (Grimm) and Poppy Montgomery (Without a Trace and Unforgettable); S.W.A.T. – inspired by the TV show of the same name that stars Shemar Moore (Criminal Minds) and an untitled Navy SEAL’s pilot that will star David Boreanaz (Bones and Angel).
Upfront Presentation: May 18
There are six dramas under consideration at The CW with the best one being Black Lightning, based on the DC Comics character, starring Cress Williams (Veronica Mars and Hart of Dixie). The other drama that sounds intriguing is Life Sentence, starring Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars) that is about a young women diagnosed with terminal cancer who finds out that she’s not dying after all.
Stay tuned until next week to learn which dramas will actually be picked up.