Tuesday, 31 January 2023

ABC fall schedule; USA Network loves competition series

ABC’s fall season offers two new drama series, one of which is a spinoff from the flagship series “The Rookie.” To leave no doubt as to its origin, the new series is, naturally, titled “The Rookie: Feds.”

The spinoff was introduced as a two-part event during the current fourth season of “The Rookie,” where Officer John Nolan (Nathan Fillion) and the LA Division of the FBI enlist the help of Simone Clark when one of her former students is a suspect in a terror attack.

“The Rookie: Feds” stars Niecy Nash-Betts as Simone Clark, the oldest rookie in the FBI Academy. If this sounds familiar, it’s because Fillion’s John Nolan was the oldest rookie at LAPD when “The Rookie” launched in 2018.

The middle-aged recruit to the federal agency will be joined by Frankie Faison as Christopher “Cutty” Sark and Felix Solis as Special Agent Matthew Garza.

Not much else is known about Nash-Betts’ Simone Clark than her ride-along as an FBI trainee helping Fillion’s LAPD officer in a search for a suspect behind a bomb plot somewhere in the city.

From the mind of Tom McCarthy (writer and director of the film “Spotlight”), “Alaska” stars Hilary Swank as Eileen Fitzgerald, a recently disgraced reporter who leaves her high-profile New York life behind to join a daily metro newspaper in Anchorage.

On a journey to find both personal and professional redemption, the discredited journalist’s search for a fresh start brings her in touch with Jeff Perry’s Stanley Cornik, Grace Dove’s Rosalind “Roz” Friendly and Matt Malloy’s Bob Young, among others.

In a likely endeavor to achieve verisimilitude, two of the executive producers of “Alaska” are with the state’s largest newspaper, “Anchorage Daily News,” one serving as the chief executive officer and the other as an editor.

“Celebrity Jeopardy” was a series of hilarious skits on “Saturday Night Live” in which cast members lampooned the television quiz show. Will Ferrell, in the role of host Alex Trebek, was often subjected to vulgar insults from Darrell Hammond’s Sean Connery.

Parody is not what ABC has in mind for its “Celebrity Jeopardy!,” an all-new game show airing this fall. This new series welcomes real celebrity contestants to compete for a chance to win money for a charity of their choice. Mayim Bialik (“The Big Bang Theory”) will host.

For the moment, only one midseason replacement series is on tap. “Not Dead Yet” follows Nell Stevens (Gina Rodriguez), a broke and newly single self-described disaster, working to restart the life and career she left behind ten years ago.

When she lands the only job she can find – writing obituaries, Nell starts getting life advice from an unlikely source. The series is adapted from Alexandra Potter’s book “Confessions of a 40-something F**K Up.”

USA Network, a basic cable channel owned by NBC Universal Television, has an upcoming slate of new larger-than-life unscripted series and exclusive live international sporting events such as cycling’s Tour de France and being the cable home of soccer’s Premier League.

Longtime friends Blake Shelton and Carson Daly head to Nashville and open the doors to Blake’s bar, Ole Red, and everyone is invited to join their party in the new series “Barmageddon.”

With Daly behind the bar and Shelton taking the stage with his house band for live music sing-alongs in front of a rowdy crowd, both the icons and celebrity favorites show a new side to themselves in this anything-but-ordinary game show.

No stranger to competition, WWE Hall of Famer Nikki Bella heats up the party and sets the stakes as celebrity friends go head-to-head in a series of classic bar games with a fun twist, including “Keg Curling,” “Drunken Axe Hole,” and many more.

In the most remote parts of Alaska, businesses such as canneries and hunting lodges operate seasonally. Each winter these businesses in the distant wilds shut down and hire “winter watchmen” to defend their properties against man, beast and the elements.

In “Winter Watchman,” four pairs of amateur survivalists sign on for a unique social experiment, based on the job of real winter watchmen. We will see if they can survive the harshest winter of their lives while protecting four respective lodges.

Can each duo make it to the spring thaw and collect a cash bonus? Or will extreme weather, isolation and fear of man-eating bears compel them to tap out? The cash bonus had better be a serious amount of greenbacks.

Pushing human nature to the limits with the new competition series “Snake in the Grass,” this action-packed social experiment is hosted by national radio and television personality Bobby Bones.

Each episode will feature four strangers who are dropped into the wild with a chance to win $100,000.

In order to win, the team must figure out which one of them is the Snake – a saboteur who is secretly undermining the group every step of the way.

In the ultimate outdoor competition series “The Chain: Alaska,” adventure racers and survival experts clash while battling through the horrible elements of Mother Nature to claim the $500,000 prize.

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

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