A lot of TV has been canceled in the past week—no, I’m still not over The Expanse getting the ax, and I never will be—but as the saying goes, when one show gets canceled, another gets its wings. OK, that isn’t a saying, but this is Upfronts Week in New York, where TV’s major broadcast networks boast about their upcoming programming and create showcases for prospective advertisers, delivering some hype for fans in the process. It is where television hope springs eternal.
In an effort to keep things festive—and to get rid of the bad taste left in our mouths last week—we’ll be tracking the best, most exciting developments from the upfronts, starting with the return of Project Runway to Bravo and Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s move to NBC.
Monday, May 11
Project Runway Is Back on Bravo, Baby!
After enduring more than a decade of programming chaos, Project Runway will return to Bravo, NBCUniversal announced. The show left the network after the fifth season in 2008 when the Weinstein Company purchased it in a deal with A+E Television Networks. A legal complication between the Weinstein Company and NBCUniversal then delayed the release of the following season, which aired on Lifetime.
More recently, the series had been in production limbo in the aftermath of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault scandal and TWC’s ensuing financial issues. With A+E Television Networks looking to sell the series, NBC swooped in, and now it’s coming back to its original home at Bravo. Rejoice, fans of nostalgia, Heidi Klum’s shade, and Tim Gunn’s enthusiastic voice!
NBC Is Really Excited About Brooklyn Nine-Nine
The Golden Globe–winning series had a very brief life on the cancellation shelf, as it was announced on Friday night that NBC would pick up the comedy for a sixth season after Fox had dropped the show. “We’re thrilled to have it,” NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt told reporters on Sunday. “We think it fits into our brand of comedy in many ways better than it ever fit into the Fox brand of comedy.”
Indeed, NBC is already the home of Brooklyn Nine-Nine cocreator Michael Schur’s other acclaimed comedy series, The Good Place, as well as the seven previous seasons of Schur’s Parks and Recreation.
An outpouring of fan love is certainly to thank for the show’s resurrection—though if you ask series star Terry Crews, much of that credit goes to Luke Skywalker himself for tweeting some support.
@HamillHimself I want to personally THANK YOU Mark for using the power of the force to save Brooklyn Nine Nine! *Wipes dirt off shoulder*— terrycrews (@terrycrews) May 12, 2018
Charmed Reboot Is a Go at The CW
Demons and warlocks beware: A trio of witches is returning to The CW. The network has given a series order to a Charmed reboot from Jane the Virgin showrunner Jennie Snyder Urman. The show will follow three sisters who discover they’re witches after the death of their mother. They will, to quote the amazing logline, take on anything from “vanquishing powerful demons to toppling the patriarchy.” Hell yes.
No word yet on whether any original Charmed cast members will make a cameo. They’ve all been pretty vocal about how a reboot would be super unnecessary, so don’t hold your breath.
The thing about them doing a #charmed reboot is... it just... it feels like yesterday. It feels too close.— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) October 25, 2013
They really are running out of ideas in Hollywood.— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) October 25, 2013
9-1-1 Adds Jennifer Love Hewitt and OH MY GOD
9-1-1 is Fox’s crown jewel of dramas—and by crown jewel I mean it’s the best of the plethora of procedurals flooding TV because Ryan Murphy and his team were just like, “Fuck it, let’s have this dude get carried away in a bouncy house.” I wait with bated breath to see how they can top last season’s Valentine’s Day–themed murder spree/emergency first date tracheotomy.
Hewitt will play Maddie, sister of firefighter/sex addict/human snack “Buck,” whose real name, I just found out, is Evan Buckley. Maddie will be “starting her life over as a 9-1-1 operator,” which means she’ll replace Britton’s character as the Mandatory Person Looking Really Confused While on the Phone that was essential to 9-1-1 in its first season. God, I can’t wait to inject more 9-1-1 into my veins.
Cosmos Returns in 2019 to Blow Our Collective Minds
While he’s a terrible follow on Twitter, Neil deGrasse Tyson was the perfect heir to Carl Sagan for Fox’s revived Cosmos series in 2014: informative and enthusiastic as hell, without getting bogged down by overly complicated science-textbook-speak.
Tyson and Cosmos return in 2019 with Cosmos: Possible Worlds, as revealed in a first-look trailer from Fox’s Upfronts presentation on Monday. The series will pick up where the original left off, further exploring both the outer reaches of the universe and the complex systems that exist inside us. Wow, all those words put together are already giving me a contact high.
Tuesday, May 15
Pretty Little Liars Spinoff Brings More Murder and Lying to Freeform
It seems like every successful TV show is morphing into a small-screen cinematic universe. Freeform has ordered a 10-episode first season of The Perfectionists, a spinoff of Pretty Little Liars which is expected to air in 2019. The series will follow original PLL characters Alison and Mona as they move to a college town in Oregon, and if you think murderous high jinks are behind them, well, to quote Alison’s vague intoning from the first teaser: “Someone is about to snap—and kill.” Sounds about right!
Alison was presumed dead at the beginning of PLL, but like a glamorous phoenix, she has now risen to star in her own show. Welcome to television’s new normal.
A Michael Jordan Docuseries Is Coming to Netflix
In what should be a slam dunk for the streamer (I’m not apologizing for this pun), Netflix is teaming up with ESPN and Andre the Giant director Jason Hehir for a 10-part documentary series on the career of Michael Jordan. (Andre the Giant was produced by Ringer Films.) Titled The Last Dance, Hehir’s documentary will chart Jordan’s ascendancy to basketball royalty, from the humble origins that famously included being cut from his high school varsity team to his six rings with the Chicago Bulls.
For Jordan fans, it’s the buzziest, most extensive opportunity to relive the GOAT’s greatest hits, and maybe learn some new things about the icon along the way. Specifically for me as a Washington Wizards fan, I can be reminded of how a Jordan decimated the entire league with clutch shooting and scathing shit-talking, something I never saw him do in a Wizards jersey because the dude was in his late 30s by then.
ABC Gets Its Very Own This Is Us
ABC dropped trailers for several new dramas during its Upfront presentation on Tuesday afternoon, but the one that’ll surely incite the biggest reaction is A Million Little Things. For better or worse, this show is extremely This Is Us–esque, following a group of friends in Boston who come together when one of them unexpectedly dies by suicide. (OK, maybe it’s The Big Chill–esque.) And that’s just the tip of the iceberg—another friend may or may not have cancer, and another almost killed himself before getting the call about the friend’s suicide. It’s an emotional roller coaster, in other words.
Come for David Giuntoli and Co. trying on some very questionable Boston accents, stay for the tear-jerking monologues on the power of friendship. No doubt ABC is banking on A Million Little Things being its next big hit.
Wednesday, May 16
Murphy Brown and Magnum P.I. Return to CBS
What’s old is new at CBS: The network’s Upfront presentation Wednesday afternoon was highlighted by a revival and a reboot.
Murphy Brown is back with Candice Bergen reprising her role as the titular character, who’s now hosting a morning show and trying really hard to understand what the hell social media is about (don’t worry, they brought in a millennial in to help her out). Meanwhile, Jay Hernandez headlines the Magnum P.I. reboot, which looks like more of the same—read: lots of action, a fancy Ferrari, and a boatload of Hawaiian shirts.
If these shows become the latest ratings hits for CBS, don’t be surprised to see more revivals and reboots come along.
This post will be updated as more good news flows out of Upfronts Week. I mean, that’s the plan at least. Hopefully there will be more good news to report.