Next week, I plan to start presenting my looks at as many of the new fall network series as I can fit into this space. (Those will run throughout September and into October, interrupted only by an Emmy awards review.) So this week, as a way to get myself trained up for that (and to clear out the idea inventory), I've got a few random -- and short -- bits of TV news to share. (Keepin' it brief; what a concept!)
It's been announced that Charlie Sheen's new sitcom "Anger Management" has been picked up by FX for 90 more episodes. (Yep, 90. Nine-zero. XC, for those Roman numeral enthusiasts out there.) This is part of a future syndication strategy on the distributor's part; television shows that make it to 100 episodes -- particularly sitcoms -- tend to have long and profitable off-network runs. FX's decision is great news for Sheen and the show's creators and backers.
And if "Anger Management" wasn't such an unpleasant, mean-spirited, unfunny mess, it might be good news for the audience, too. It's possible that this pick-up could give the writers the impetus to throw caution to the wind and create a show that aims high (or at least a fraction higher), but since everyone involved can now pretty much count on a steady -- and cashable -- paycheck, I kinda doubt it.
Eddie Murphy has sold a TV spinoff of his "Beverly Hills Cop" movie series to CBS. The show, which will be written by Shawn Ryan (creator of "The Shield" and co-creator of one of ABC's fall hopefuls, "Last Resort"), will not center on the character Murphy created -- Detroit detective Axel Foley -- but on the character's never-before-seen son. Murphy, as of now, is not going to be in the regular cast; he will guest-star in the pilot, and could become a recurring player if the show is picked up to weekly series.
Murphy had tried for several years to put together a fourth "Beverly Hills Cop" film, but found no success, which likely led to him altering his strategy toward the small screen. It will be interesting to see how far this idea goes -- I don't think that it's a bad concept, and on CBS, a wisecracking, fish-out-of-water procedural will fit right into the line-up. The wild card for me is Ryan: while he is a terrific writer (and you'll find out how I feel about "Last Resort" very soon), he's not exactly known for comedy. I'll keep my eye on this one.
Michael J. Fox will be returning to network TV next fall, thanks to a 22-episode series commitment from NBC. Fox, one of a handful of true television stars, is basing the new sitcom on his real life -- the show is about a husband and father with Parkinson's disease.
After Fox left his last sitcom, "Spin City," the 5-time Emmy-winner remained in the public eye as a spokesperson for Parkinson's research. He also kept acting, albeit in smaller roles, on shows like "Scrubs," "Boston Legal" and "Rescue Me." (He's up for two more Emmys this month, nominated for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama for his work on CBS' "The Good Wife," and Comedy Guest Actor for HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm.")
The 22-episode guarantee means the show will be coming to NBC's line-up -- probably next fall, barring some unforeseen obstacle. And since it's NBC who made the deal for the show, they must be pretty sure that the obstacle won't be the success of this fall's sitcoms.