/// Buyers Enthusiastic About Fall TV Prospects
With the first day of Upfronts Week on the books, there’s a palpable sense that the networks have come a long way toward redeeming themselves after last year’s lousy development slate. Speaking to media buyers at the Fox post-show party at Wollman Rink in Central Park, one couldn’t help but feel more than a little optimistic about the state of the 2013-14 broadcast schedule. Much of the talk under the tent had to do with Fox’s apparent triumph on the drama front, as buyers eagerly talked up the trailers for newbies Sleepy Hollow , Rake, Almost Human and Gang Related. “Sleepy Hollow is the most interesting new series I’ve seen so far,” said one national TV buyer, who said he’d reserve final judgment until after he has had a chance to review the ABC, CBS and CW presentations. “There was so much going on in that clip—the flashbacks to the Revolutionary War, the present-day cop stuff, the cool slow-motion decapitation—that it almost felt like you were watching a trailer for three different shows.” Another buyer said that what had seemed like “a goofy premise” when summarized in the show’s log line seemed to hold up really well onscreen. “I mean, we’ll see when we get the pilots,” he said. “A lot of these shows look great when we see them during the upfronts and you get to episode three and it’s like, ‘what happened?’” Judging by the applause that bounced off the ornate ceiling of the Beacon Theatre following each drama clip, Fox may have gone a long way toward making clients forget The Mob Doctor. J.J. Abrams’ paranoid android police drama Almost Human was received with particular enthusiasm, and Greg Kinnear’s mordantly funny fuck-up ( Rake ) was a nod to the all-messed-up-with-no-place-to-go anti-heroes that are Fox’s stock in trade. Shot through with the sunny, scummy L.A. street vibe of theatricals like Training Day and End of Watch, Gang Related could prove to be the season’s biggest draw among young males. Again, the proof will be in how the pilots scan and whether Fox can build off the first 48 minutes of each opener. But as one partygoer remarked, the broadcaster has put together a drama slate that, at first blush, promises to be as dynamic as that of its formidable cable sibling.