Tuesday, 31 January 2023

NBC fall schedule remains steady with a few new series

Only a few weeks ago, CBS was claiming a ratings victory for the 2021-2022 television season, with a top network executive boasting that CBS was repeating its position as “America’s most-watched network.”

What does this have to do with the NBC network? Well, the Peacock network touts winning the September-to-May Season as the number one in the key 18 to 49-year-old demographic.

In the end, do the bragging rights have any real impact on the viewing audience’s consideration of where to tune in? It’s inside baseball that matters only to advertisers, so let’s chalk it up to pointless statistics.

Claiming to be the most-watched television show of the decade, “The Voice” returns this fall to anchor Monday nights for its 22nd cycle, welcoming multi-platinum global recording artist Camila Cabello.

Gwen Stefani, global superstar and music legend, returns to “The Voice,” alongside John Legend and Blake Shelton. The versatile Carson Daly, with a career as radio personality and talk show host, resumes his hosting duties.

Television producer Dick Wolf may be best known as the creator of the wildly popular “Law & Order” franchise, but success has also come to his Wednesday night lineup known as “One Chicago.”

The Windy City is at the center of a highly-rated night of drama series focusing on the professional and private lives of police officers, firefighters and emergency medical personnel with “Chicago Med,” followed by “Chicago Fire” and concluding with “Chicago P.D.”

NBC could also be the Dick Wolf network, at least for two full nights. The producer’s iconic brand owns Thursday nights with the flagship “Law & Order” kicking off Season 22, followed by the 24th season of “Law & Order: SVU.” The night concludes with “Law & Order: Organized Crime.”

What’s old becomes new in network television. “Night Court,” which ran on NBC from 1984 to 1992, starred Harry Anderson as eccentric Judge Harry Stone, who presided over a courtroom that devolved into plenty of wackiness.

John Larroquette’s prosecutor Dan Fielding, a constant presence before the judge’s night court, was an amoral narcissist and a lecher constantly hitting on attractive women with his sexual banter.

The new “Night Court” in the fall lineup has Melissa Rauch joining the cast as Judge Abby Stone, the daughter of the late Harry Stone, who follows in her father’s footsteps as she presides over the night shift of a Manhattan arraignment court.

Judge Abby has the unenviable task of trying to bring order to the courtroom’s crew of oddballs and cynics, most notably former night court prosecutor Dan Fielding. Indeed, John Larroquette returns 30 years later to the role. Will he be an aging lothario?

A family affair arrives for comedian George Lopez and his daughter Mayan Lopez in the fall comedy “Lopez vs. Lopez,” which is described by the network as a working-class family comedy about dysfunction, reconnection and all the pain and joy in between.

Apparently, George Lopez will have to contend with his ex-wife Rosie (Selenis Leyva), Mayan’s mother, as well as with Mayan’s live-in boyfriend Quinten (Matt Shively), seemingly thought to be the bane of his existence.

Another reboot to hit the fall schedule is “Quantum Leap,” which ran from 1989 to 1993 and starred Scott Bakula as Dr. Sam Beckett, a scientist who experimented in time travel and found himself trapped in the past.

Dr. Beckett’s journeys would have him “leap” into the bodies of different people on a regular basis to sort out their problems while trying like E.T. to get back home. On one occasion, he leaped into himself as a teenager to help his high school basketball team win a championship.

With Raymond Lee in the lead, a fresh team has been assembled in the new “Quantum Leap” to restart the time travel project in the hopes of understanding the mysteries behind the machine and the man who created it.

“Million Dollar Island,” a new unscripted series, is a high-stakes social experiment in which 100 contestants must forge friendships and build alliances as they plot to stay on a remote desert island for up to 50 days and compete to win their share of the ultimate $1 million prize.

Upon arrival each contestant is given a bracelet worth $10,000. During their time on the island, contestants gain and lose bracelets through various challenges, but when a player leaves the island, they must choose who will receive their portion of the money.

In this intense competition, the strength of personal bonds is just as important as being the ultimate player. “Survivor” won’t be the only game in town for an adventure reality show.

For the holiday season, “Dolly Parton’s Mountain Magic Christmas” is a movie musical about the frenetic backstage story of Dolly’s desire to uplift an exhausted world’s spirits by sharing the unique “mountain magic” found in and around Dollywood at Christmas.

Dolly shows the world that the real magic lies in the realization that Christmas is about the people we share it with, and how her faith remains the common thread between Christmases past, present and future.

Tim Riley writes film and television reviews for Lake County News.

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