New fall shows bend reality in a race for the next ‘Lost’

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For next season, TV is still looking for the next “Lost.” But they wouldn’t mind finding the next “Mad Men,” either.

Themes of alternate realities, time travel and mysterious powers pop up in several high-concept dramas announced last week by the broadcast networks. Two of those dramas even come from the shop of J.J. Abrams, co-creator of “Lost.”

In Abrams’ “Alcatraz,” arriving at midseason on Fox, inmates from the notorious prison, closed for decades, reappear not just alive but also unaged. In his “Person of Interest,” making a fall debut on CBS, a genius billionaire (“Lost” veteran Michael Emerson) invents computer software to stop crimes before they happen.

Also with a “Lost” vibe (and a “Fringe” one, too) is NBC’s “Awake,” in which a detective lives in parallel worlds, one in which his wife is dead and one in which he lost his son. In CBS’ “A Gifted Man,” a doctor gets advice from his dead ex. In Fox’s “Terra Nova,” escapees from a dying Earth travel back to prehistoric times. (That one’s from Steven Spielberg, so you have to say it has a “Jurassic Park” vibe, too.)

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Network TV also goes retro for fall, scheduling two “Mad Men”-ish series set in the 1960s. ABC’s “Pan Am” is about the lives of stewardesses and pilots; NBC’s “The Playboy Club” is about the dark back rooms of the iconic men’s clubs. And speaking of retro — ABC remakes “Charlie’s Angels.”

One new fall show about fairy tales would have seemed fresh (even “Wicked”). But the networks, oddly, offer two: “Grimm,” starring St. Louisan David Giuntoli as a homicide detective whose ancestors hunted supernatural creatures, and ABC’s “Once Upon a Time,” whose characters live in both the modern world and the fairy tale world.

With “Modern Family” a superhit, comedy is also big for fall. NBC alone announced six new comedies, three for midseason. Fox has four, two animated; ABC has three, with two more at midseason; and CBS has two.

Here’s a network by network look at the new season’s scripted programs.

NBC:

Status: Rebuilding. With the sale to Comcast completed, Jeff Zucker (widely blamed for the network’s decline in prime time) is out and NBC Entertainment is in the sure hands of Bob Greenblatt, who built Showtime into a premium cable power player.

New comedies: “Up All Night,” “Free Agents,” “Whitney.”

New dramas: “The Playboy Club,” “Prime Suspect,” “Grimm.”

Midseason: “Smash,” “The Firm.”

Picked up but unscheduled: “Awake,” “Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea,” “Bent,” “BFF.”

Greatest hope: “Smash,” a musical-dramedy from Steven Spielberg about producers trying for a smash hit, which is already getting good buzz. But will that buzz fade before the show finally arrives?

Wild card: Will NFL games be played this fall?

Renewed: “Chuck” (for a final 13 episodes), “Harry’s Law,” “30 Rock” (holding for midseason), “Parenthood,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Community,” “Parks and Recreation” and “The Office.”

Canceled: “The Event,” “Law & Order: Los Angeles,” “Outsourced.”

NBC’s week:

Sunday: Football.

Monday: “The Sing-Off” (2 hours); “The Playboy Club.”

Tuesday: “The Biggest Loser” (2 hours); “Parenthood.”

Wednesday: “Up All Night,” “Free Agents,” “Harry’s Law,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”

Thursday: “Community,” “Parks and Recreation,” “The Office,” “Whitney,” “Prime Suspect.”

Friday: “Chuck,” “Grimm,” “Dateline.”

Fox:

Status: Cocky (No. 1 for seven seasons in a row with audiences 18-49).

New comedies: “The New Girl,” “I Hate My Teenage Daughter,” “Allen Gregory” (animated).

New dramas: “Terra Nova.”

Midseason: “Alcatraz,” “The Finder,” “Napoleon Dynamite” (animated).

Greatest hope: “The X Factor,” a singing competition from Simon Cowell. But does prime time need another singing competition, even one that reunites Cowell with Paula Abdul?

Renewed: “American Dad,” “Bob’s Burgers,” “Bones,” “The Cleveland Show,” “Cops,” “Family Guy,” “Fringe,” “Glee,” “House,” “Raising Hope” and “The Simpsons.”

Canceled: “The Chicago Code,” “Human Target,” “Lie to Me,” “Breaking In” and “Traffic Light.”

Fox’s week:

Sunday: “The Cleveland Show,” “The Simpsons,” “Allen Gregory,” “Family Guy,” “American Dad.”

Monday: “Terra Nova,” “House.”

Tuesday: “Glee,” “The New Girl,” “Raising Hope.”

Wednesday: “The X Factor” (90 minutes), “I Hate My Teenage Daughter.”

Thursday: “The X Factor” (results show), “Bones.”

Friday: “Kitchen Nightmares,” “Fringe.”

Saturday: “Cops,” repeats.

ABC:

Status: Evolving. With its hits aging and new shows failing to catch on, ABC is being pretty much carried by “Dancing With the Stars.” Paul Lee, the former head of ABC Family, puts a positive spin on this chance to mix things up.

New comedies: “Last Man Standing,” “Man Up,” “Suburgatory.”

New dramas: “Revenge,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “Once Upon a Time,” “Pan Am.”

Midseason: “Good Christian Belles,” “Missing,” “Scandal,” “The River,” “Apartment 23” and “Work It.” (Also for midseason: “Cougar Town.”)

Greatest hope: The “Charlie’s Angels” remake is certain to draw sampling, and Lee calls it “pure candy.”

Renewed: “Body of Proof,” “Happy Endings,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Castle,” “The Middle,” “Modern Family,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Private Practice.”

Canceled: “Brothers and Sisters,” “V,” “Detroit 1-8-7.”

ABC’s week:

Sunday: “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” “Once Upon a Time,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Pan Am.”

Monday: “Dancing with the Stars,” “Castle.”

Tuesday: “Last Man Standing,” “Man Up,” “Dancing with the Stars” results show, “Body of Proof.”

Wednesday: “The Middle,” “Suburgatory,” “Modern Family,” “Happy Endings,” “Revenge.”

Thursday: “Charlie’s Angels,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Private Practice.”

Friday: “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” “Shark Tank,” “20/20.”

Saturday: College football.

CBS:

Status: Confident. Fox may be No. 1 in the 18-49 demographic, but CBS is No. 1 in total viewers, and held that spot for 51 out of 52 weeks last year. Not much needs to be fixed, and CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler complained that she had more good shows than she knew what to do with and so had to pass on some.

New comedies: “2 Broke Girls,” “How To Be a Gentleman.”

New dramas: “Unforgettable,” “A Gifted Man,” “Person of Interest.”

Midseason: “The 2.2.” (Also, “Undercover Boss” returns at midseason.)

Greatest hope: Moving “The Good Wife” to Sunday, which CBS describes as its “prestige night,” is risky but could pay off both for the show and for CBS’ Sunday ratings.

Wild card: Ashton Kutcher replaces Charlie Sheen in “Two and a Half Men,” TV’s highest-rated comedy. CBS also has to wonder whether the NFL will play this fall.

Renewed: Freshman series “Blue Bloods,” “Hawaii Five-0” and “Mike & Molly” will return, along with “The Big Bang Theory,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Rules of Engagement,” “The Good Wife,” the three “CSIs,” the two editions of “NCIS,” “Criminal Minds” and “The Mentalist.”

Canceled: “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior.”

CBS’ week:

Sunday: “60 Minutes,” “The Amazing Race,” “The Good Wife,” “CSI: Miami.”

Monday: “How I Met Your Mother,” “2 Broke Girls,” “Two and a Half Men,” “Mike & Molly,” “Hawaii Five-0.”

Tuesday: “NCIS,” “NCIS: Los Angeles,” “Unforgettable.”

Wednesday: “Survivor,” “Criminal Minds,” “CSI.”

Thursday: “The Big Bang Theory,” “How To Be a Gentleman,” “Person of Interest,” “The Mentalist.”

Friday: “A Gifted Man,” “CSI: NY,” “Blue Bloods.”

Saturday: “Rules of Engagement,” comedy repeat, drama repeat, “48 Hours Mystery.”

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