If we were to give you an assignment to write down the ten things you're most looking forward to doing this summer, we're fairly confident that none of you would have "Watch more TV" on your lists. After all, television networks have long since ceded the entire season to their counterparts in the movie business, and savvy viewers have come to recognize that the major networks have little interest in doing anything other than serving up a heaping of low-cost (read: second-rate) talent shows and silly game shows. And whereas we had Mad Men to save us from the summer-TV doldrums for the last two years, pretty much all we have to look forward to this time around is the second season of I Survived a Japanese Game Show. Won't you follow along as we take a look at what other living-room surprises are in store for you this summer?
The Network: ABC
The Outlook: ABC had itself a pretty strong summer last year, bolstered by the success of the water-soaked obstacle courses of Wipeout (TV Week called it "the surprise hit of the summer") and I Survived a Japanese Game Show. So it's no surprise to see that both of those shows are coming back to haunt us again this year. They'll be joined by Mike Judge's latest animated program, The Goode Family, Surviving Suburbia, and a whole scad of reruns.
The Hit: ABC looks like it will have a stranglehold on Monday nights when it launches the latest installment of the newly revitalized Bachelorette franchise on May 18, which will be followed in a powerhouse dating block by Here Come the Newlyweds and Dating in the Dark (we can't wait to find out what that one's all about).
The Network: NBC
The Outlook: Considering Vulture hero Ben Silverman's spotty track record, it's almost hard to fathom that America's Got Talent actually became one of last summer's most popular shows, averaging more viewers than any other broadcast-network program. So, in addition to that, NBC will be rebooting the former ABC reality show I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here (which remains a big hit overseas) and debuting something called America's Road Trip. And on the scripted front, look for shows like The Philanthropist, The Listener, and Merlin to be quickly be added to this chart.
The Hit: America seemingly doesn't have taste, which is why it will continue to embrace Talent.
The Network: Fox
The Outlook: As the old saying goes, if it ain't broke, don't reprogram it. Fox found a great deal of success last year by anchoring their two hours of prime-time programming each night with Hell's Kitchen and So You Think You Can Dance; that combo will be back, airing the same nights it did last summer (Tuesday and Wednesday/Thursday, respectively). Other returning entries include Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? and Don't Forget the Lyrics, along with newbie drama Mental.
The Hit: Evil Fox geniuses continue their long streak of boundary-pushing reality shows with the dating show More to Love, a show in which a gaggle of overweight women will try to woo a "Kevin James type." After all, it is the year of the Blart.
The Network: CBS
The Outlook: Who knows? Harper's Island, which did fairly strong numbers when it debuted opposite NBC's Southland last week, is the only thing we know that will for sure be airing this summer. Someone ought to tell their programmers that summer is right around the corner!
The Hit: We'll have to catch up with you on this one!
Summer Has Original Look [TV Week]