The fall TV season is about to kick into full swing, and bets are being taken as to which shows will become hits and which will be dogs. While it can’t guarantee the winners and losers, market intelligence firm BrandIntel has released its ranking of viewers’ most-anticipated shows of the season. Programs are scored by tracking online discussion forums, such as blogs, message boards and TV forums. A trend the firm has been witnessing is networks’ heavy marketing pushes much earlier in the year. “The networks have really done a phenomenal job in publicizing these shows,” said Michael Coristine, lead media analyst for BrandIntel. “The top pilots started aggressive ad campaigns back in May.” He added: “We don’t measure which shows are good or bad….The only thing we can measure is who is curious about which shows. We don’t claim responsibility for a well-marketed show that stinks.” — Cecily Hall
1. “PUSHING DAISIES,” ABC
Sentiment score: 4.3
“This is a quirky new show that a lot of people are curious about,” said Coristine. “People have responded positively to the vibrant feel and tone of its ad campaigns.” Creator Bryan Fuller (“Heroes”) has developed this part comedy-drama-fairy tale, which centers around Ned, a pie maker with a special talent: With a single touch, Ned can bring dead things back to life — everything from plants and fruit to people and animals — a second touch will kill the object or person once again. Played by Lee Pace (“The Good Shepherd”), the character faces the challenge of being unable to become emotionally attached to anyone, including waitress Olive Snook (played by Kristin Chenoweth). The story really takes off when he attends the funeral of his childhood sweetheart, Charlotte “Chuck” Charles (Anna Friel). The show also stars Swoozie Kurtz, Ellen Greene and Chi McBride. Series premiere: Oct. 3.
2. “DIRTY SEXY MONEY,” ABC
Sentiment score: 4.1
“I personally think this show has a chance to be the biggest of the season,” said Coristine. “The previews look great, it’s got an extremely generous time slot and, with the ‘Private Practice’ lead-in, it’s got great potential.” Peter Krause (“Six Feet Under”) portrays Nick George, who, after his father’s suspicious death, is asked by the wealthy Darling family to succeed him as their lawyer — for a cool $10 million. George begins uncovering the family’s secrets and faces the challenge of how to keep them hidden. The cast includes Donald Sutherland, William Baldwin, Natalie Zea, Jill Clayburgh, Samaire Armstrong and, reportedly, Blair Underwood. The show was created by Emmy-nominated Craig Wright (“Brothers & Sisters,” “Lost” and “Six Feet Under”). Series premiere: Sept. 26.
This story first appeared in the September 20, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
3. “BACK TO YOU,” FOX
Sentiment score: 4.0
Signal of a trend? This show is the only half-hour situation comedy to make the top 10 — perhaps because it features two award-winning stars: Kelsey Grammar of “Frasier” and “Cheers” fame and Patricia Heaton of “Everybody Loves Raymond.” They play Pittsburgh TV co-anchors with a past — years earlier, Grammar’s character, Chuck Darling, left the station, where he anchored the news with Kelly Carr (Heaton). After jobs in higher-profile markets, a publicized on-air rant got him fired, so he’s returning to Pittsburgh to save his reputation. The supporting cast includes Fred Willard (“Best in Show”) and Ayda Field (“Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip”). Series premiere: Sept. 19.
4. “CHUCK,” NBC
Sentiment score: 3.9
Billed as an action-comedy-drama, this one-hour series features Chuck Bartowski, played by Zachary Levi (“Less Than Perfect”), as a computer geek who works at Buy More Electronics store. After opening an encoded e-mail, government secrets seemingly become implanted in his brain. The government immediately tracks him down, and Chuck becomes a secret agent. The show also stars Adam Baldwin, Yvonne Strahovski (“Gone”), Joshua Gomez (“Without a Trace”) and Sarah Lancaster (“What About Brian?”). Josh Schwartz (“The O.C.”) and Chris Fedak are its creators. Series premiere: Sept. 24.
5. “PRIVATE PRACTICE,” ABC
Sentiment score: 3.8
Can a “Grey’s Anatomy” spin-off attract the same faithful viewers? It’s a question that’s about to be answered by “Private Practice,” starring Kate Walsh. Her character, Dr. Addison Forbes Montgomery, has ditched Seattle Grace in favor of a posh wellness center in L.A. “Grey’s Anatomy” creator and executive producer Shonda Rhimes chose to spin off Walsh’s character in a test-run last spring, which wasn’t terribly well received by audiences, according to BrandIntel. But that didn’t seem to stop ABC or Rhimes, who also will serve as executive producer for “Private Practice.” Walsh’s co-stars include Taye Diggs, Amy Brenneman and Tim Daly — who appears to be her immediate potential love interest. Series premiere: Sept 26.
*6. “JOURNEYMAN,” NBC
Sentiment score: 3.6
Clearly aiming to tap into the popularity of “Heroes,” this series revolves around a family man who travels back in time to help people in trouble. Set in San Francisco, this time-traveler will encounter people from his past, including his ex-fiancée, whom he lost in a mysterious plane crash. Kevin McKidd (“Rome”) plays the role of Dan Vasser, and Brian Howe (“The Pursuit of Happyness”), Reed Diamond (“Judging Amy”) and Gretchen Egolf (“The Namesake”) are a few of the supporting cast members. “Journeyman” was created by Kevin Falls (“The West Wing”), who serves as executive producer alongside Alex Graves (“The West Wing”). The show is billed as a science fiction-fantasy-drama. Series premiere: Sept. 24.
*7. “SAMANTHA WHO?,” ABC
Sentiment score: 3.6
This comedy features Christina Applegate as a materialistic, selfish woman who becomes a victim in a hit-and-run accident, which leaves her in an eight-day coma. Once she comes to, she has amnesia but begins to discover what a terrible person she was prior to the accident and wants to make changes in her life (consider it “My Name Is Earl” with a female). Applegate had been on the hunt for an acting gig when this script landed in her lap, she said at the show’s red-carpet screening. She is joined by plenty of veteran actors, including Jean Smart, Jennifer Esposito, Kevin Dunn (“Dave”) and Barry Watson (“What About Brian?”). Series premiere: Oct. 15.
8. “CANE,” CBS
Sentiment score: 3.5
Jimmy Smits is back, and this time, it’s as the heir to a Cuban-American family’s sugar cane and rum empire. CBS described the hour-long show by saying: “It’s a steamy and seductive drama about bitter rivals and their dangerous battles for love, lust and wealth.” The cast also features Rita Moreno, Hector Elizondo (“Chicago Hope”) and Ned Vaughn (“Commander in Chief”). Series creator Cynthia Cidre has several writing credits to her name, including the screenplay for “The Mambo Kings” and “A Killing in a Small Town.” Series premiere: Sept 25.
*9. “BIG SHOTS,” ABC
Sentiment score: 3.4
It’s “Sex and the City” from the male perspective. Four good-looking New York City chief executives are at the top of their games, yet their lives begin going topsy-turvy when their women and work woes begin to take over. The show’s stars include Dylan McDermott (“The Practice”), Michael Vartan (“Alias”), Joshua Malina (“The West Wing”) and Christopher Titus (“Titus”). The women characters include Paige Turco (“Rescue Me”), Jessica Collins (“Unscripted”) and Amy Sloan (“Gilmore Girls”). Jon Harmon Feldman, the series’ creator, named comedic drama veterans Danielle Stokdyk and Jennifer Gwartz (both of “Veronica Mars”) as executive producers, and “Veronica Mars” series creator Rob Thomas will act as consulting producer. Series premiere: Sept. 27.
*10. “BIONIC WOMAN,” NBC
Sentiment score: 3.4
Yes, it’s a remake of the Seventies cult drama starring Lindsey Wagner, and it’s hit troubles even before its premiere. In the new series’ pilot, the audience meets Jaime Sommers, whose life is turned upside down after she’s involved in a car accident, leaving her with injuries so severe she can only be saved by using bionic body parts. Michelle Ryan (“EastEnders”) plays Sommers, but a big surprise is one of her co-stars: the recently ejected “Grey’s Anatomy” doc Isaiah Washington, whose contract with that show wasn’t renewed after he made antigay remarks. The series has undergone a number of changes already: At least three versions of the pilot episode were produced, the show has lost one of its co-creators (David Eick and Jason Smilovic are now in place as executive producers) and at least one of the main cast members has been replaced. Series premiere: Sept. 26.
SOURCE: BRANDINTEL, A MARKET INTELLIGENCE FIRM BASED IN TORONTO; 22 COMEDIES AND DRAMAS WERE RANKED BASED ON SENTIMENT SCORES; “SENTIMENT” RELATES TO A CONSUMER’S OPINION/FEELING ABOUT A SHOW (1=MOST NEGATIVE, 5=MOST POSITIVE); NETWORKS REPRESENTED INCLUDE CBS, NBC, FOX, ABC, MYNETWORKTV AND CW; REALITY SHOWS ARE RANKED SEPARATELY IN A DIFFERENT STUDY; * indicates a tie