The 2014 TV season got off to an early and staggered start with both Fox and ABC kicking off with reality competitions and NBC and CBS starting their seasons with America’s most popular pastime, football. In the coming weeks the networks will roll out their new crop of shows for our entertainment viewing as well as pull out some of our favorites.
In early September Fox rolled out a new reality competition called “Utopia.” The series produced by Endemol is equal parts “Big Brother” and “Survivor” where 15 14 contestants spend a year creating their own society from scratch and find a way to survive in a remote location while being filmed live, 24/7. Much like the CBS reality competition “Big Brother,” “Utopia” has more than 100 cameras some hidden throughout the site. With more than 100 cameras filming their every move, it seems like a technologically challenging endeavor for Fox given there are no handheld cameras on the filming site. Most of the cameras used to film up close are robotic with the cast having no interaction with crew. It’s reported that Fox’s social experiment is costing the network more than $50 million with a one year commitment. The series premiered with more than 4 million viewers, after two weeks and five episodes, a little more than 1.5 million have come back to see how the pioneers are faring. With more than $50 million invested in this show, you would have thought they would at least set aside a small monetary prize for the winner.
Over on ABC, season 19 of “Dancing with the Stars” premiered on September 15. The former “DWTS” dancer and Ryan Seacrest’s ex, Julianne Hough has returned as the fourth judge. Did I mention her brother Derek; who is fresh off of tour with her, is also back as a pro? Guess they see no conflict of interest there. This season’s celebrities include actress Lea Thompson, UFC fighter Randy Couture, Actors Alfonso Ribeiro and Antonia Sabato Jr., talk show Tavis Smiley and the quirky fashion designer Betsey Johnson, just to name a few.
Some good but most of it bad, the NFL has been at the forefront of the news cycle this month. After video surfaced of Baltimore Ravens’ running back Ray Rice assaulting his then fiance in a casino elevator, the NFL has been at the center of a storm of controversy of not only how that situation was handled, but how the league in general handles cases of physical and sexual assault on women by its players. Repeated attempts by the league to turn the media storm around failed after new incidents of player involved conduct surfaced. Ratings for NBC’s NFL coverage on Sunday slipped from its season premiere by some 15% according to Deadline.com. The numbers will depend on how well the public receives the NFL response to the many controversies it now faces. CBS is expected to air at least 8 games on Thursday night, which saw the summer series “Big Brother” move to a new time slot.
NBC teased viewers with an early preview of the police drama “The Mysteries of Laura” starring Debra Messing. The series follows a NYPD police detective recently split from her hubby who is a captain at a different police precinct. On top of her hectic personal life that includes two rowdy boys whom she referred to as future juvenile delinquents, she’s constantly competing with a female co-work who is implied as to have been involved with her ex as well as solving a case that appears unsolvable. “The Mysteries of Laura” also stars Josh Lucas, Laz Alonso and Janina Gavankar. The series will air Wednesdays at 8 pm followed by “Law & Order: SVU” and “Chicago P.D.”.
On Sunday September 21, 2014 CBS is kick starting its Sunday night dramas with it new series starring Téa Leoni as newly installed Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord. Among her first tasks as Secretary of State, she has to learn to navigate the political landscape of Washington, D.C. in order to do her job, however she has her own style of getting things accomplished and it’s bound to rub the politicos of the Beltway the wrong way. The series highlights the realities faced by our modern day government much like “The West Wing” did; giving us a glimpse of what a former real-life Secretary of State may have encountered behind closed doors. “Madam Secretary” will be followed by the season six premiere of “The Good Wife” both airing after “60 Minutes”.
Once Upon a Time – ABC
Madam Secretary – CBS
The Simpson – Fox
Sunday Night Football – NBC
Brooklyn Nine-Nine – Fox
Resurrection – ABC
The Good Wife – CBS
Family Guy – Fox
Mulaney – Fox
Revenge – ABC
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation – CBS
Be sure to check your local listings for times and channel information specific to your location. Please note that some programming may be delayed due to NFL and other sports coverage.
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