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Nothing new on TV next fall

March 12, 2012 - Andrea Johnson
The 2012-2013 television pilot season is already looking pretty dismal, not that there's all that that much on TV now.

Among some of the more interesting prospects: Lucy Liu is apparently going to play Dr. Watson on an updated version of Sherlock Holmes called "Elementary," which will air on CBS. I like Holmes as well as the next person, but I think there are already enough Holmes knockoffs on TV and in the theaters. Maybe they can put a different spin on things.

Susan Lucci, late of the canceled "All My Children," is signed to star in a show called "Devious Maids," about four maids who work for the rich and famous in Beverly Hills. This is adapted from a Mexican telenovela. Anyone who misses their ABC soaps and I bet a lot of people still do, might want to watch Lucci on prime time instead. Vanessa Williams, another big name, is signed to do a pilot called "666 Park Avenue." She plays a wealthy socialite who co-owns a haunted apartment building.

FOX has a drama in the works about an orphaned 14-year-old who is taken in by a mysterious rogue agent-assassin who trains her how to be a spy. Angela Bassett and Julian McMahon are the likely stars. Fourteen sounds ridiculously young to be a spy-in-training, but FOX is probably desperate to attract young viewers.

For the most part, though, the list of pilots looks like a remix of all the cop shows and comedies that are already on the air.

The powers that be haven't decided which existing shows are going to get the ax, but I'm afraid some of the ones I like will be gone. It took me a while to warm up to FOX's "Alcatraz," which debuted in February, but I've started really enjoying this sci fi show about prisoners from the past who mysteriously appear, not having aged a single day since 1963, and begin wreaking havoc in modern-day San Francisco. FBI agent Emerson Hauser (Sam Neill) heads the "Alcatraz Task Force" charged with rounding up the felons with the help of San Francisco detective Rebecca Madsen (Sarah Jones) and historian Dr. Diego Soto (Jorge Garcia). I hope the executives will overlook the show's anemic ratings and give it another season. I've lost some of my interest in FOX's other JJ Abrams-produced sci fi show, "Fringe," which has developed a pretty convoluted storyline. At this point I'd rather see FOX cancel "Fringe" and keep "Alcatraz," even though the network is likely to do the opposite.

CBS is considered likely to cancel at least one of its aging CSIs. Since the original "CSI: Las Vegas" is the only one I've been watching regularly this season, I hope they will keep it on the air on Wednesdays. The show lost my attention when William Petersen left his role as Gil Grissom a few years back, but it seems to have gotten a much needed shot in the arm this season with the introduction of Ted Danson as lab director DB Russell and Elisabeth Shue as blood spatter expert Julie Finaly. The new characters make it seem like a whole new show in some ways and that's pretty good for a show as old as "CSI: Las Vegas."

The networks will make their final decisions about what will air this fall sometime this spring.


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