CBS’s upfronts 2018-9 – a rundown and clips from the new shows – Murphy Brown, Magnum, God Friended Me, The Neighborhood and FBI

Magnum PI

All through ‘upfronts’ week, TMINE will be revealing the new shows that are going to be hitting US TV screens from September 2018

Not quite the last of the networks, since The CW is even as I type revealing what it’s got lined up for its Fall season (ooh! Sundays!). However, CBS traditionally got last place because it was the king of the ratings. However, as NBC stole that title from it, perhaps because CBS was so wedded to shows targeting an older demographic who are, erm, dying off, it’s now feeling less “who cares whatever anyone else does – we’ve saved the best for last!”, more “please like us, we’ve got stuff, too.”

CBS is at least king of the procedurals and the multi-camera comedy still, so naturally that’s mostly what it’s going to throw in our faces. But having learned with Macgyver, Hawaii Five-O, Roseanne and Will & Grace that if you can’t hit the 60-80 year olds hard any more, you can still hit the middle-aged’s nostalgia button, CBS has unveiled a swamp of remakes for our delights. But what CBS has also discovered this year is that shows about white blokes are running out of steam, so it’s decided to add a little bit of diversity to the mix.

After the jump, then a whole bunch of trailers for procedurals, studio comedies, nostalgia and minoriteams with Murphy BrownMagnum, Happy Together, God Friended Me, The Neighborhood and FBI. All with TMINE’s trademark hottest of hot takes.

Be warned, though – at least two of them have already been recast so don’t expect the final product necessarily to look the same as the trailers…

Murphy Brown

Murphy Brown

The Short Version

Former young, exciting journalists have grown old and decide the latest young, exciting journalists are rubbish.

The Long Version

Multiple Emmy Award winners Candice Bergen and series creator Diane English reunite for MURPHY BROWN, the revival of the groundbreaking comedy about the eponymous broadcast news legend and her biting take on current events, now in a world of 24-hour cable, social media, “fake news” and a vastly different political climate. Amid a divided nation, chaotic national discourse and rampant attacks on the press, Murphy returns to the airwaves with her original FYI team: lifestyle reporter Corky Sherwood, investigative journalist Frank Fontana and producer Miles Silverberg. Murphy’s son, Avery, shares his mother’s competitive spirit and quick wit, and has followed in her journalistic footsteps – perhaps too closely. Now back in the game, Murphy is determined to draw the line between good television and honest reporting, proving that the world needs Murphy Brown now more than ever. Diane English returns as executive producer with Candice Bergen for Bend in the Road Productions, Inc., in association with Warner Bros. Television. English created the series. Pamela Fryman will direct the pilot from a script by English. MURPHY BROWN stars Candice Bergen as Murphy Brown, Faith Ford as Corky Sherwood, Joe Regalbuto as Frank Fontana, Grant Shaud as Miles Silverberg, Jake McDorman as Avery, Tyne Daly as Phyllis and Nik Dodani as Pat Patel.

TMINE’s Hottest of Hot Takes

There’s no actual footage in the trailer for the show, just the actors revealing they’re going to be back and why improbably they’re all going to still be working together. Very short of jokes. Or acting talent. I’m not looking forward to this one.

Magnum PI

Magnum

The Short Version

Magnum gets a Fast and Furious makeover

The Long Version

Magnum PI is a modern take on the classic series starring Jay Hernandez as Thomas Magnum, a decorated former Navy SEAL who, upon returning home from Afghanistan, repurposes his military skills to become a private investigator. A charming rogue, an American hero and a die-hard Detroit Tigers fan, Magnum has Juliet Higgins and her Dobermans to keep him in line, as well as his trusted buddies and fellow POW survivors TC and Rick when he needs back-up on a job. With keys to a vintage Ferrari in one hand, aviator sunglasses in the other, and an Old Düsseldorf longneck chilling in the fridge, Thomas Magnum is back on the case! Peter Lenkov, Eric Guggenheim, Justin Lin, John Davis, John Fox and Danielle Woodrow are executive producers for CBS Television Studios in association with Universal Television. Lin directed the pilot from a script by Lenkov and Guggenheim. Magnum PI stars Jay Hernandez as Thomas Magnum, Perdita Weeks as Juliet Higgins, Zachary Knighton as Orville “Rick” Wright and Stephen Hill as Theodore “TC” Calvin.

TMINE’s Hottest of Hot Takes

Decent casting, some decent bits of updating, but as with Macgyver, everything gets lost in the retelling, as what was a fun but still a semi-decent and very occasionally serious drama about a Vietnam vet becomes nothing but a series of bad CGI stunts of laughable badness. It’s a shame since I’d otherwise have watched it on the strength of the cast alone.

FBI

FBI

The Short Version

Dick Wolf fits tab A in slot B for CBS

The Long Version

From Emmy Award winner Dick Wolf and the team behind the Law & Order franchise, FBI is a fast-paced drama about the inner workings of the New York office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. These first-class agents bring all their talents, intellect and technical expertise to tenaciously investigate cases of tremendous magnitude, including terrorism, organized crime and counterintelligence, in order to keep New York and the country safe. Craig Turk, Dick Wolf, Arthur W. Forney, Peter Jankowski and Niels Arden Oplev (pilot only) are executive producers for Universal Television in association with CBS Television Studios. Oplev directed the pilot from a story by Wolf and Turk, and a script by Turk. FBI stars Missy Peregrym as Maggie Bell, Zeeko Zaki as Omar Adom “OA” Zidan, Jeremy Sisto as Jubal Valentine, and Ebonée Noel as Kristen Chazal.

TMINE’s Hottest of Hot Takes

I do wish Missy Peregrym well, since I’ve monitored her career more or less since the slightly odd WB teen drama Black Sash, but I can imagine grains of sand on a beach with more individuality and creativity than FBI. Plus Connie Nielsen isn’t in it any more. That might have swayed me into watching it.

God Friended Me

God Friended Me

The Short Version

God’s alive and he has a Facebook account.

The Long Version

GOD FRIENDED ME stars Brandon Micheal Hall in a humorous, uplifting drama about Miles Finer (Hall), an outspoken atheist whose life is turned upside down when he receives a friend request on social media from God and unwittingly becomes an agent of change in the lives and destinies of others around him. After repeated pokes by God, Miles’ curiosity takes over, and he accepts the ultimate friend request and follows the signs to Cara Bloom (Violett Beane), an online journalist. Brought together by the “God Account,” the two find themselves investigating God’s friend suggestions and inadvertently helping others in need. Miles is set on getting to the bottom of what he believes is an elaborate hoax, but in the meantime he’ll play along and, in the process, change his life forever. Steven Lilien & Bryan Wynbrandt, Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter and Marcos Siega are executive producers for Warner Bros. Television and CBS Television Studios. Siega directed the pilot from a script by Lilien & Wynbrandt. GOD FRIENDED ME stars Brandon Micheal Hall as Miles Finer, Violett Beane as Cara Bloom, Suraj Sharma as Rakesh Singh, Javicia Leslie as Ali Finer and Joe Morton as Reverend Arthur Finer.

TMINE’s Hottest of Hot Takes

You can practically hear CBS wondering how best to attract young people with this one. They like social media, don’t they? And podcasts? And blogs, right? So how about we take one of the tiredest US TV tropes out there – virulent atheist learns there is a God – and crowbar it into a digital-oriented storyline packed with buzzwords.

It does look a little bit heartwarming, to be fair, but it has all the subtlety of a Led Zeppelin concert playing inside your prefrontal cortex, with authorial fiat the only real God.

The Neighborhood

The Neighborhood

 

The Short Version

White person moves into all-black neighbourhood and encounters prejudice – with hilarious results.

The Long Version

THE NEIGHBORHOOD stars Cedric the Entertainer as an opinionated neighbor in a comedy about what happens when the friendliest guy in the Midwest moves his family to a neighborhood in Los Angeles where not everyone looks like him or appreciates his extreme neighborliness. When Dave Johnson (Max Greenfield) and his family arrive from Michigan, they’re unfazed that their new dream home is located in a community quite different from their small town. However, their opinionated next-door neighbor, Calvin Butler (Cedric the Entertainer), is wary of the newcomers, certain that they’ll disrupt the culture on the block. Dave realizes that fitting into their new community is more complex than he expected, but if he can find a way to connect with Calvin, they have an excellent chance of making their new neighborhood their home. Jim Reynolds, Aaron Kaplan, Dana Honor (Kapital Entertainment), Wendi Trilling, Cedric the Entertainer, Eric Rhone and James Burrows (pilot) are executive producers for CBS Television Studios. Burrows directed the pilot from a script by Reynolds. THE NEIGHBORHOOD stars Cedric the Entertainer as Calvin, Max Greenfield as Dave, Sheaun McKinney as Malcolm, Tichina Arnold as Tina, Dreama Walker as Gemma, Marcel Spears as Marty and Hank Greenspan as Grover.

TMINE’s Hottest of Hot Takes

Slightly more promising now that New Girl‘s Max Greenfield is in it, but since more or less every joke seems to be “You’re white. Isn’t that funny? Because he doesn’t like white people”, I can’t imagine it lasting.

Happy Together

Happy Together

The Short Version

Formerly hip couple get to become hip again when a teen pop star moves in with them.

The Long Version

HAPPY TOGETHER stars Damon Wayans Jr. and Amber Stevens West in a comedy about a 30-something happily married couple who begin to reconnect with their younger, cooler selves when Cooper (Felix Mallard), an exuberant young pop star drawn to their super-ordinary suburban life, unexpectedly moves in with them. Austen Earl, Tim McAuliffe, Ben Winston, Harry Styles, Michael Rotenberg and Jonathan Berry are executive producers for CBS Television Studios. Phill Lewis directed the pilot from a script by McAuliffe and Earl. HAPPY TOGETHER stars Damon Wayans Jr. as Jake, Amber Stevens West as Claire, Felix Mallard as Cooper James, Stephnie Weir as Bonnie and Chris Parnell as Wayne.

TMINE’s Hottest of Hot Takes

Actually had a few funny moments, the cast seem quite amiable, but THERE WAS MUSIC AND SINGING IN IT. I WILL NOT TOLERATE MUSIC AND SINGING.

Fall Schedule

New programmes in UPPER CASE

MONDAY

8-8:30 PM — THE NEIGHBORHOOD
8:30-9 PM — HAPPY TOGETHER
9-10 PM — MAGNUM PI
10-11 PM — Bull

TUESDAY

8-9 PM — NCIS
9-10 PM — FBI
10-11 PM — NCIS: New Orleans

WEDNESDAY

8-9 PM — Survivor
9-10 PM — SEAL Team
10-11 PM — Criminal Minds

THURSDAY

8-8:30 PM — The Big Bang Theory
8:30-9 PM — Young Sheldon
9-9:30 PM — Mom
9:30-10 PM — MURPHY BROWN
10-11 PM — S.W.A.T.

FRIDAY

8-9 PM — MacGyver
9-10 PM — Hawaii Five-O
10-11 PM — Blue Bloods

SATURDAY

8-9 PM — CRIMETIME SATURDAY
9-10 PM — CRIMETIME SATURDAY
10-11 PM — 48 Hours

SUNDAY

7-8 PM — 60 Minutes
8-9 PM — GOD FRIENDED ME
9-10 PM — NCIS: Los Angeles
10-11 PM — Madam Secretary