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It’s been a long time coming since Top Gear was so popular worldwide when you got Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May onboard until the unexpected split nearly 10 years ago after Jeremy’s fracas with a producer saw the series go downhill ever since with multiple hosts like Friends alum Matt LeBlanc, Radio Host Chris Evans and the late Sabine Schmitz who was great at racing cars from Germany – even the final latest trio of former England cricketer Andrew Flintoff, TV personality Paddy McGuiness and Chris Harris didn’t go so well at times as none of them can really emulate the OGs.

We also had a couple of seasons with Top Gear Australia when things also didn’t go so well last time mainly when it was aired on Nine between 2010-12 despite a good start with Series 1 on SBS (who used to hold the distribution rights from the beginning) and now the show is back once more this time with a brand new trio of hosts alongside a brand new network to air these episodes that will is going to be behind a paywall on Network 10’s paid streaming platform Paramount +. You got two well-known hosts and a car enthusiast likewise with the other Top Gear shows worldwide such as Australian Survivor host and actor Jonathan LaPaglia, former Rugby League/NRL player and TV host Beau Ryan and Blair “Moog” Joscelyne.

So no Shane Jacobson (well-known actor) who moved on even though he’s always so passionate about cars as he was from the previous version on Nine last time alongside Ewen Page as well as original host across both networks Steve Pizzati.

All they will do for this instalment is travel around the world to take on some fun and difficult challenges alongside some in-studio segments at Cockatoo Island such as reviewing the latest cars & have The Stig test it out on an undisclosed race track while there will be a celebrity guest segment stopping by each episode with an interview including taking part behind the wheel (Subaru BRZ much like Toyota GT86 in the UK one) in a pre-taped lap from the same circuit. The Australian revival was originally announced at the Network 10 upfronts late last year as part of this year’s Paramount + Australian offerings with 4-5 months of filming as the premiere already launched yesterday with more weekly episodes to come in the next coming weeks.

And according to Mediaweek.com not long before the premiere, it seems we won’t have the chance to see it on Network 10 at all with no second window viewing at a later date unlike NCIS Sydney who finally made their way to free-to-air here a few days ago from its original November 2023 premiere on Paramount + worldwide and CBS in the USA. I guess it’s a show that is going to have a small following amongst car enthusiasts who love to see the best new stash of stuff on the planet rather than take it on a wider audience where most people might not be interested that much at the end of the day but understandable.

Top Gear Australia has been there, done that and unfortunately crashed and burnt when it was previously on Nine while they were they had the rights to air the original UK series a decade ago. And speaking of the UK version whose status is on hold for the time being after a series of Freddie Flintoff’s crash-prone accidents in recent years while hosting the show, Paramount + also now holds the Australian rights off Stan and you can view these latest episodes right now alongside the Australian revival.

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The last two of the ABC existing sitcom slate has been decided earlier today with The Conners (multi-camera) getting a proper farewell of six episodes for Season 7 later this year in the Fall while Not Dead Yet is no more after 2 seasons and 23 episodes.

With the 2024-25 prime-time schedule set to be released sometime next week, it’s possible that the Extreme Makeover revival will begin at 8pm Wednesdays followed by a Abbott Elementary-The Conners sitcom double after that and then a new show comes in place of A Million Little Things called High Potential (a comedy-crime drama adapted from France about a divorced mother of three who has an outstanding IQ of solving crimes even though she was a cleaner at a local police station).

People can say whatever they want as to why Not Dead Yet doesn’t deserve to be cancelled when they got a good/popular following but then the same goes with every other show and at the end of the day, there’s no point keeping it when the ratings keep on getting low over time. Not Dead Yet would’ve been a perfect lineline for Hulu or any other streaming services but again don’t see that happening unfortunately. It’s been a good run though as wish them all the best and surely we won’t see the last of Gina Rodriguez who will be hosting a brand new game show Lucky 13 in July on ABC with Shaquille O’Neal.

Meanwhile, great to hear that The Conners will get a proper ending at the request of star actress Sara Gilbert whose relationship with ABC has been great after the show recovered really well from the Roseanne Barr controversy regarding her political views that saw the second coming of Roseanne being unexpectedly short-lived. Yes, six episodes might be short but then it’s only going to last for this Fall likewise with Sara’s other show The Talk on CBS which will also end at the same time to make way for another new soap The Gates on Daytime TV from January 2025. We wish them all the best to bring this show home on a brilliant note ahead of the cast and creators next chapters after this.

What does it mean now for the network’s next slate of sitcoms going into the 2nd half of the prime-time TV season?

With Abbott Elementary always getting a full season order since it’s the network’s best sitcom in years, we could see at least one new sitcom coming through the door if not two at the mid-season mark depending on how things go at the pilot presentations next month. Shifting Gears would definitely be given an advantage considering Tim Allen is back onboard alongside 2 Broke Girls star Kat Dennings – no doubt about that. On Forgive & Forget, yes, you got Modern Family alumni Ty Burrell also fronting this project at the same time which is also excellent to hear. But then it’s 50/50 chance where his pilot might not make it when ABC might prefer one new sitcom in Allen to join Abbott and another one would be as to how they are going to fit another half-hour sitcom with no other new 30 minute show to complement on Wednesdays unless they want to throw in a repeat, another new sitcom pilot or a show from Hulu to finish off the prime-time season. These are the only pitfalls that could see Forgive & Forget being denied a series order but again, it’s going to depend on the pilot presentation next month. If that show comes out strong, then I’m sure that will give ABC a headache and not harshly dismiss them alongside Allen’s pilot considering they want to have more cheap multi-camera sitcoms alongside a studio audience.

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Well, CBS just made the announcement today that they will remove a chat show from their daytime line-up called The Talk going into next year. They first went on air back in mid-2010 in place of one of the channel’s former soaps As The World Turns, having enjoyed a great run of 14 seasons right now with the final 15th shortened season coming up to close it out between September-December 2024. Seems like it’s right time, although I think they should’ve bowed out a year or two ago but then the show gave a couple of guys a chance to step in full-time amongst a female-led panel after Sharon Osborne was fired. So what does that mean going forward? It seems they won’t make a CBS Mornings third hour and compete against ABC’s GMA 3 and NBC News Now during the middle of the day. However, they will most likely give another new soap a go that is centred around a rich African-American family called The Gates. Credit to CBS on fulfilling Michele Van Jean’s dream of running her own soap if this happens as it will be interesting to see who will be coming over soon enough from CBS’s other soaps like Bold & The Beautiful & Young and The Restless as well as ABC’s General Hospital & Peacock’s Days of Our Lives.

And with regards to the Australian showing here once The Talk will be taken off the air, I guess it won’t be much of a great loss from Network 10 who normally puts them on the air so early in the morning with a few days behind the original US airing which doesn’t gain much of an audience as another cheap-filler program will do to replace them at the 7 to 8am timeslot. I know CBS Studios is involved with The Gates when it comes to the production as we’ll wait and see if the show will be distributed internationally but don’t think an hour-long soap would be worth the risk since the popular B & B is 30 mins long as a decent lead-in to their 5pm news bulletin and Neighbours came back to life a few months ago thanks to Amazon Freevee.

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ABC has just made a big call today and it’s going to be a brand new straight-to-series drama show being led by 9-1-1’s Ryan Murphy that will begin later this year alongside High Potential called Dr. Odyssey. If they need a new medical drama to fill in for the soon-to-be-finished The Good Doctor, it’s gotta be at the right place at the right time in none other than this show where 9-1-1 meets The Love Boat on a cruise ship. More details will come at a later date including filming dates with Joshua Jackson playing the main character (definitely Dr. Odyssey who relies on charms to get what he wants) and will also do a bit of behind the scenes work as an executive producer with Murphy under the Disney owned 20th Television studios umbrella.

Great to see 9-1-1 finding its strong ground at ABC after Season 7 began last Thursday, having been with FOX over the first couple of seasons and ABC going for a new medical show with someone (Murphy) who can craft all about medical/first responders stories well is simply excellent timing after a few unsuccessful medical pilots over the past few years such as Triage and The Hurt Unit. I can see this replacing the also soon-to-be-outgoing Station 19 fire drama soon enough and have it sandwiched between 9-1-1 and Grey’s Anatomy on Thursday nights or like for like in place of the Good Doctor on Tuesdays.

Let’s hope since there has been another restructure within the network executives upstairs over the past year, I’m sure they won’t make another reverse cancellation of these straight-to-series orders like it has been in the past & instead give these new ones like Dr. Odyssey a go. Now with two upcoming series order dramas & two new comedy pilots being lined up for Fall in September/October, we have yet to see any involvement from ABC Signature other than the guaranteed High Potential show regarding the choice of these next pilot orders (comedy and/or drama) with the main network but it will come sooner rather than later. For now, congratulations to Ryan Murphy and Joshua Jackson with the new medical drama show Dr. Odyssey.

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We saw that coming last week when a new soap is in the works around a rich African-American family at CBS Daytime called The Gates. Now we know that this goes ahead, the episodes would go for an hour long at 2pm weekdays in place of The Talk.

The Young & The Restless and even Bold & The Beautiful isn’t going anywhere despite Bold being renewed a few years less than Y & R who remains the best performing soap on the air. When it comes to game shows, The Price is Right has been running for several decades since 1972 & it’s something CBS wants keep on running while Let’s Make a Deal won’t be axed whose ratings is good & game shows like TPIR doesn’t produce a lot of $$$ – they can both continue like Bold and Y & R unless things go south.

Now The Talk is a daytime talk show rivalling ABC’s The View where you can currently catch it at 7-8am weekdays here on Network 10 & anytime on 10 Play as the episodes are only a few days behind the US. The panel has been an all-female panel for the majority until Sharon Osborne was fired three years ago & they since got two full-time male panelists onboard months after her dismissal with Jerry O’Connell & Akbar Gbajabiamila.  Ratings wise, they are currently the lowest on their current line-up & is also ranked 3rd on overall daytime talk shows. But again, the show had another new face behind the scenes recently in the hope of turning things around named Rob Crabbe from the now finished The Late Late Show with James Corden. And yet, there’s no news yet if The Talk will be back for the 15th season later this year where we should find out in the next few months.

If this show comes back again, then sounds good as Crabbe still needs more time to make The Talk working again. But it also doesn’t generate much interest amongst Australians where Network 10 has been airing them way early in the morning from 5-6am, then 6-7am and now 7-8 am rather than during the day – which unfortunately didn’t work a long time ago. So it wouldn’t be a surprise if The Talk will be axed soon enough so CBS can give another soap (The Gates) the chance to fill its shoes and dominate the 2pm timeslot, while 10 can have another low budget or repeat time filler content that isn’t part of the CBS staple at the same time since they aren’t able to compete with Seven and Nine in the mornings.

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Lots of unscripted stuff coming Freeform’s way over the last 12 months with two new ones being added this week, while some in their current original scripted library, Good Trouble has just finished its book after five seasons & 88 episodes on air & Grown-ish’s 2nd half of the sixth and final season will resume on Wednesdays from the 27th March to May 22nd. Where to go to from here after this? Having reversed their plans to have While You Were Breeding on the air late last year despite having a finished production of all 10 episodes. 

All we know so far over the last two years is that they shot a pilot called AZNBBRL, a teenage drama following three Asian-American girls with a desire to follow their own way rather than their parents. But we haven’t heard much since then & it looks like that won’t be going forward & lots of people would have moved on by now since Freeform went with a different direction over time, which led to the reverse cancellation of While You Were Breeding. Freeform also added just two in-development projects throughout last year. One was Knife’s Edge (a horror drama where a Mother & Daughter is against vampires based on a book) just before the Strikes began in April & another most recent back in November was RUSH (a High School drama from Israel called The Station about their lives as first responders). Again, not much progress for both since then with no direction being finalised for Freeform’s original scripted programming over the next few months.

A few weeks ago, Craig Enrich who is the president of Disney Television Group & looks after Disney’s family of networks, said that Freeform won’t be going anywhere for the foreseeable future. He didn’t say much about what they will do about scripted stuff going forward but he did point out about the success of having reality content amongst a female focused audience & that the syndicated repeats & movie event nights are also here to stay. So there you have it, despite people cutting the cord in recent years, reality TV, repeats and movies has kept Freeform alive today until things go south & they find no other way to keep that channel going at some point in the near future. I guess RUSH & Knife’s Edge would still play a role onto the pilot stage & hope things will work out since there’s not much to offer on the comedy side, but it looks like it would be a thing of the past if Freeform think it would cost too much $$$ to chuck in a bunch of new scripted content like it used to be.

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The talk of having pilots coming out for the next US TV season in late 2024-early 2025 has emerged recently with CBS choosing not to make any orders & will select future shows via the long-term development process just like Fox whose system nowadays relies on the straight-to-series order process. But ABC will keep on ordering pilots both for the drama and comedy side as they will continue to choose quality over quantity (like 1-2 new shows for drama & comedy) once they’ve reviewed them following the pilot stage.

No surprise there considering they will have one new show that was postponed from last year in High Potential (a crime comedy drama based from France) whereas most of this Fall will focus on the storylines from most returning dramas and comedies that was interrupted during the first half of this 2023-24 prime-time TV season due to the Hollywood strikes including a few more reality/unscripted content. With that being said, a couple of new shows after High Potential would be introduced in January-February of 2025.

We don’t know which shows will be up in contention as time will tell later on but they did have a couple of comedy pilots being lined up after they decided not to order any new sitcoms into series last year when Keeping It Together & Public Defenders failed to meet the requirements they were hoping for being set by Abbott Elementary. 

So all in all, ABC won’t follow Fox & even CBS for the foreseeable future by having all of their future shows being available to the public when most unsuccessful pilots are locked up somewhere in a vault & will most likely never been seen again. I wish they can have all of their yearly unsuccessful pilots being put out only online though like they did with Bad Management (an unsuccessful half-hour sitcom pilot) back in late 2013 but don’t think they will do that again I’m afraid.

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Well, we found one recently unaired cancelled Disney + show ahead of its premiere that saw them land a new home at The Roku Channel (streaming service) a days ago, which is called The Spiderwick Chronicles. We will now see eight instead of the originally planned six episodes going into early next year, having finished filming during the production beforehand. 

If you’d like to know a bit about the plot, it’s based on a children’s fantasy novel around the Grace’s family discovery after they’ve moved into their ancestral home (Estate). That’s great news to hear & also even better to watch all eight episodes for free too thanks to Roku where it would’ve been gone behind a paywall if that show wasn’t cancelled on Disney +. Plus, we will expect to watch it on Paramount + here in Australia since they’re the International distributor, even though Disney’s 20th Television is listed as the co-producers of the show.

All we can hope now is for While You Were Breeding, a comedy drama travel show, to get a new home too after they were given the chop recently by Freeform – despite finishing all ten episodes in production beforehand. Yes, that show was also set behind a paywall but I would love to see it on Roku or a similar paid streaming service too, especially when this year’s film strikes have changed Freeform’s way over time before they were left out of it. As said, unaired pilots or even unaired scripted programming rarely get a 2nd chance. But this can be done if appropriate & we’d like to see While You Were Breeding on the air on a different streaming service of any kind with the help of Freeform via their studios arm sooner rather than later.

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