Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, February 27, 2006

Networks airing fresh series in March

Gannett News Service

Unsure where his life is headed, Nate, played by Josh Dean, center, returns home after college in the partially improvised comedy "Free Ride," which premieres Wednesday on Fox. The show also features, from left: Loretta Fox, Allan Havey, Erin Cahill and Dave Sheridan, bottom.

JOSEPH CULTICE | Fox via Gannett News Service

spacer spacer

Operating on a calendar all its own, television is ready for its next push. March means change. It means new shows, returning shows and sometimes the introduction of odd shows.

That starts Wednesday with "Free Ride," which is both new and odd. It's a comedy without a script.

"I have attention-deficit syndrome," says Rob Roy Thomas, the show's creator. "And I have trouble sitting down and writing scripts."

So the actors improvise just as actors do in "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and the upcoming "Sons & Daughters." Somehow, it works.

That will be followed two days later by a much more traditional show, NBC's "Conviction." Then the avalanche begins.

Networks like to introduce midseason shows in January or March, when viewership is still high and competition is light.

NBC is less cautious because it has Olympics oomph. Today, it moves "The Apprentice" to Mondays and starts a weeklong rush of "Deal or No Deal."

Fox figures anything that follows "Idol" will be sampled, so it introduces "Free Ride." Josh Dean plays a college grad who moves home, stunning his parents (Allan Havey and Loretta Fox). Erin Cahill is his dream girl and Dave Sheridan is a guy whose soul remains rooted in high school.

Here's a sampling of the changes on broadcast networks, then key ones on cable and satellite:

  • New comedies: "Free Ride," premieres at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Fox, then moves to Sundays; "Sons & Daughters," 8 p.m. Tuesdays, ABC, premieres March 7; "The Loop," 8:30 p.m. March 15 on Fox, then moves to Thursdays; "Teachers," 8:30 p.m. Thursdays, NBC, premieres April 6.

  • New dramas: "Conviction," 9 p.m. Fridays, NBC, premieres Friday; "The Unit," 8 p.m. Tuesdays, CBS, premieres March 7; "Bedford Diaries," 8 p.m. Wednesdays, WB, premieres March 29; "Heist," 9 p.m. Wednesdays, NBC, premieres March 22; "The Evidence," 9 p.m. Wednesdays, ABC, premieres March 22; "What About Brian," airs 9 p.m. April 2, ABC, then moves to Mondays, beginning April 3.

  • New comedy-drama: "Pepper Dennis," 8 p.m. Tuesdays, WB, premieres 8 p.m. April 4 with an encore 8 p.m. April 9.

  • New reality: "Miracle Workers," 9 p.m. for four Mondays, ABC, premieres March 6; Simon Cowell's "American Inventor," 8 p.m. Thursdays, debuting 7 p.m. March 16, ABC. Also, ABC has its post-Katrina "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition After the Storm" at 7 p.m. on four Thursdays, beginning March 23.

  • Returning reality: "The Apprentice," 8 p.m. Mondays, NBC, starting tonight; "The Amazing Race," 9 p.m. Tuesdays, CBS, after an 8 p.m. start tomorrow; "Supernanny," 8 p.m. Mondays, ABC; premieres March 6; "America's Next Top Model," UPN (check local listings).

  • More returns: "Everwood," 8 p.m. Mondays, WB, after two one-hour episodes, 7 and 8 p.m. March 27; "Prison Break," 7 p.m. Mondays, Fox, March 20, with the cliffhanger rerunning March 13.

  • Game show: NBC's "Deal or No Deal" reappears at 7 p.m. today through Friday, then is 7 p.m. Mondays, beginning March 6.

  • Making room: NBC's "Las Vegas" moves to 8 p.m. Fridays, beginning Friday. ABC's "Commander in Chief" rests March 7 for "Sons & Daughters," but will return on April 18. NBC's "Law & Order" moves to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, beginning March 22.