Tube Talk: Not canceled yet: An overview of the fall season

What’s wrong with the networks? They’re usually quick to cancel new series, and here we are, a couple weeks into the new season, and as of press time, only one show, The CW’s Online Nation, has been canceled. While CW’s docu-soap Nashville has been pulled from the lineup, speculation is it might return in November—which is almost a certainty if the Writers Guild goes on strike (we’ll know for sure by Halloween if there will be a strike or not).

My guess is the threat of an impending writers’ strike has made network executives more cautious about canceling new series because, if there is a strike, their options will be severely limited. While normally tempted to ax any show that doesn’t draw great ratings from day one, a potential strike means networks need to milk all the value they can out of their existing inventory.

The upside is viewers get more than two or three episodes to decide if they like a show, giving series a chance to build an audience. The downside? More Cavemen, Carpoolers and Big Shots. Maybe even Viva Laughlin.

While it’s hard for most people to sympathize when those earning more money per episode than some of us earn per year (plus all kinds of benefits we can only dream of) threaten to go on strike, I’m sure they have legitimate issues. Figuring out fair compensation for the rights to stream their work online—check any network’s Web site and see how many shows are being streamed online, a trend that hadn’t even begun the last time the writers were negotiating terms—is important. And in the grand scheme of things, Hollywood scriptwriters probably earn nothing compared with studio and network executives and the actors who bring their words to life.

So in the next week or so, as the threat of a writers’ strike looms, be sure to check out some of the newer shows while they’re still around. If the strike doesn’t happen, axes will no doubt start falling around Nov. 1.

Here are my favorite new shows of the season:

Chuck—7 p.m., Mondays on NBC

Reaper—8 p.m., Tuesdays on CW

Pushing Daisies—7 p.m., Wednesdays on ABC (this is my absolute favorite new show)

Back to You—7 p.m., Wednesdays on Fox

Shows that weren’t instant favorites, but are growing on me:

Sam Who?—8:30 p.m., Mondays on ABC (the amnesia idea might get old over a full season)

Journeyman—9 p.m., Mondays on NBC

Life—9 p.m., Wednesdays on NBC

Moonlight—8 p.m., Fridays on CBS

These are shows I expected more of, given their casts and/or pedigrees. Mind you, I had high expectations for most of these, which may be why I’m slightly disappointed in them. Yet, most are still worth a watch—there’s always hope for improvement:

K-Ville—8 p.m., Mondays on Fox

Private Practice—8 p.m., Wednesdays on ABC

Bionic Woman—8 p.m., Wednesdays on NBC

Gossip Girl—8 p.m., Wednesdays on CW

Dirty Sexy Money—9 p.m., Wednesdays on ABC

So what shows are you loving, hating, and loving to hate?

Paula Hendrickson is a regular contributor to Emmy magazine and Variety, and has been published in numerous national publications, including American Bungalow, Television Week and TVGuide. Send in your suggestions to

.from the Oct. 24-30, 2007, issue

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