ABOUT THE SERIES: COMEDY
Back to Kansas (working title)
Premise: When an only child New Yorker moves to Kansas so his wife can be closer to her family, he finds things getting a little too close for comfort. From her bug-collecting brother to her smug, condescending uncle, he struggles to fit in while still keeping his distance.
From What We've Seen: The good news is that no one seems to overplay his or her role too much; the Kansas-dwelling Kelly family aren't made out to be a bunch of braying yokels. The likable Meyer also shows no vestiges of Woody Allen-ness in his role as a reticent New Yorker. The bad news is that the fish-out-of-water premise can wear thin quickly. The show will need to make the characters three-dimensional to work.
Stars: Breckin Meyer ("Inside Schwartz"), Meredith Monroe ("Dawson's Creek"), Sam Anderson ("Angel"), Nancy Lenehan, Emily Rutherfurd ("The Ellen Show"), Josh Braaten and Derek Waters
Studio: Brad Grey Television, in association with Twentieth Century Fox Television
Producers: Tom Hertz and Brad Grey
Hope & Faith
Premise: When Faith, a soap opera diva, is killed off her show, she flees the tabloids by moving to the suburbs with her sister Hope's family.
From What We've Seen: We're predicting much confusion over the fact that Faith Ford plays the character named Hope, and Kelly Ripa is Faith. That said, it's good to see Ford back on TV; she seems at ease with the role and doesn't overplay too much. That's not the case with Ripa, but that's to be expected, as her character embodies most traits of an out-of-touch diva. On the down side, it's not apparent that the other characters have anything to do, and the laff-riot centerpiece of the pilot is a food fight between the sisters.
Stars: Faith Ford ("Murphy Brown"), Kelly Ripa ("Live with Regis and Kelly," "All My Children"), Josh Stamberg, Harve Presnell ("The Pretender", Macey Cruthird, Brie Larson ("Raising Dad") and Slade Pearce
Studio: Touchstone Television
Producers: Joanna Johnson, Guymon Casady, Emile Levisetti and Michael Edelstein
I'm with Her (working title)
Premise: Based on writer Chris Henchy's real-life marriage to Brooke Shields, this comedy chronicles a high school teacher who falls in love with a movie star and is completely unprepared for all that comes with it.
From What We've Seen: "Notting Hill," the sitcom. The regular-guy-dates-a-movie-star premise is a little narrow, so much will depend on the on-screen chemistry of Sutcliffe and Polo, who looks like she enjoys a leading role after a string of girlfriend-of-the-lead parts. The overall tone feels pretty good, although the writers might need to take the sidekick characters -- his best friend, living vicariously through him, and her overprotective sister -- down a notch.
Stars: David Sutcliffe ("Gilmore Girls"), Teri Polo ("Meet the Parents," "Sports Night"), Danny Comden and Rhea Seehorn
Studio: Tollin-Robbins Productions, in association with Warner Bros. Television
Producers: Chris Henchy, Marco Pennette, Mike Tollin, Brian Robbins, Joe Davola
It's All Relative (working title)
Premise: Bobby and fiancee Liz get along great. Their parents? Not so much. Liz has two dads and Bobby's Boston family is of the old-fashioned Irsish Catholic variety. Even if they didn't have a thousand things to disagree about, Bobby's sister Maddy is always there to come up with something else.
From What We've Seen: We're fans of Clarke from his days on "The Job," and the rest of the cast is capable, but the coarse material in this variation on "The Birdcage" is beneath them. Seemingly every joke plays off the culture clash between Scott's working-class Catholic family and Lawson's upscale gay dads. The characters will need to be humanized a lot more for this show to work.
Stars: Reid Scott, Maggie Lawson ("Nancy Drew" ), John Benjamin Hickey, Chris Sieber, Lenny Clarke ("The Job"), Harriet Harris ("Memento," "Frasier") and Paige Moss ("Beverly Hills, 90210")
Studio: Touchstone Television and Paramount Television
Producers: Ann Flett-Giordano, Chuck Ranberg, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron
ABOUT THE SERIES: DRAMA
Premise: Danny Nucci plays Rico Amonte, a Brooklyn bad boy who becomes a cop. But nothing prepares him from the hazing he receives as a trainee, under the watchful eye of a tough veteran determined to make Rico into a by-the-book officer.
From What We've Seen: If "Training Day" had been pitched as a somewhat lighthearted coming-of age story, it might look like this. Hudson is the hard-ass sheriff's deputy who's assigned to train -- and tries to break down -- new academy graduate Nucci, who's trying to live down his larcenous past. The action you'd expect from a cop show is there, but the focus will more likely be on the rookies and the hazing they receive on the job.
Stars: Danny Nucci ("Titanic," "Snoops"), Ernie Hudson ("Oz"), Indigo ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer"), Scott William Winters ("Oz"), Mercedes Colon and Travis Schuldt ("Passions")
Studio: Spelling Television and Touchstone Television
Producers: Aaron Spelling, E. Duke Vincent and Jorge Zamacona
Premise: Based on the Elmore Leonard character played by Jennifer Lopez in the movie "Out of Sight," Carla Gugino stars as the U.S. masrshal working the Miami Gold Coast who only really trusts her father.
From What We've Seen: Gugino might not be the first person you think of to embody the character Jennifer Lopez played in "Out of Sight," but she seems at home in the part of a tough-but-sexy federal marshal. This could be the best of ABC's fall dramas, provided it keeps the darkly comic tone of the Elmore Leonard novel on which it's based. The fact that "Out of Sight" writer Scott Frank is one of the executive producers bodes well.
Stars: Carla Gugino ("Spin City"), Robert Forster ("Jackie Brown" ) and Bill Duke ("Fastlane")
Studio: Jersey Television and Universal Network Television
Producers: Jason Smilovic, Scott Frank, John Landgraff, Danny DeVito, Stacy Sher and Michael Shamberg
Premise: Using stories ripped from the headlines, Special Agent John Kilmer heads the Homeland Security Agency, dedicating his life to diverting disaster and keeping America safe. Oh yeah, and he works with his lovely, lethal ex-wife.
From What We've Seen: There will be a lot of quick-cut editing. The preview clips ABC showed look nice, but they don't tell much about the story. Shows like this depend a lot on how well the cast works together, and that's something the trailer didn't show. We'll reserve judgment on whether that's a good or bad sign. Because of its topical nature, though, the show might be a little heavy for the 8 o'clock hour.
Stars: Jamie Denton ("Philly"), Kelly Rutherford ("Melrose Place"), Will Lyman, Kurt Caceres, Mahershalalhashbaz Ali ("Crossing Jordan"), Melora Walters ("Magnolia" ), Anthony Azizi and Shoshannah Stern
Studio: Touchstone Television and Industry Television
Producers: Daniel Voll, Emile Levisetti, Michael Edelstein, Keith Addis
ABOUT THE SERIES: MIDSEASON
Line of Fire (working title, Drama)
Premise: Check out the world of organize crime from both sides. One side enforces the law as the other one breaks it on a daily basis. Making things even more complicated, even as they work at cross purposes they remain unable (and in some cases, unwilling) to completely destroy each other.
From What We've Seen: We're wondering why ABC held this back for midseason. It's a kick to see Paymer, usually the nebbishy sidekick-type, as a crime boss, and Hope, who suffered through "24" last season, as a take-charge FBI agent. The technique of telling both the agents' and the criminals' stories looks could make for good television that goes deeper than what we usually see on the networks.
Stars: Lelie Bibb ("Popular"), Anson Mount ("Crossroads" ), David Paymer ("RFK," "State and Main" ), Leslie Hope ("24"), Jeffrey Sams, Brian Goodman, Michael Irby and Julie Ann Emery ("Taken" )
Studio: DreamWorks Television, in association with Touchstone Television
Producer: Rod Lurie, Marc Frydman and Jeff Melvoin
Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital (Horror/Drama)
Premise: Based on the Danish miniseres "The Kingdom," which was written and directed by Lars von Trier, King's hospital is populated by a brilliant surgeon who lives in the basement, a nearly blind security guard and a nurse who faints whenever she sees blood. Things get weirder when patients and staff start hearing a ghostly girl crying in the halls and a paraplegic suddenly recovers.
From What We've Seen: Not previewed. King is writing all 13 episodes.
Stars: To be determined
Studio: Columbia TriStar Television, in association with Touchstone Television
Producer: Stephen King and Mark Carliner