As the broadcast networks announced their fall schedules this week, their cable competitors already had a jump on them. For the past few weeks, cable networks have been holding their "upfronts," gathering advertisers in the hope of selling them on shows in the pipeline.
(Premium cable networks don't sell advertising, so they don't have upfronts.)
Unscripted shows are the bread and butter of many cable networks, and program announcements have been typically heavy on reality. But here are some of the comedies and dramas we can look for on various cable networks next fall and beyond. (If casts aren't mentioned, they haven't been announced.)
A&E: Big Mike will star Greg Grunberg (Heroes) as a "gentle giant" of a detective in San Diego. Longmire, based on the Craig Johnson mystery series, stars Robert Taylor as a newly widowed Wyoming sheriff forced to suck it up and get on with the job; Katee Sackhoff, Bailey Chase, Cassidy Freeman and Lou Diamond Phillips are also in the cast. A&E also announced Coma, a miniseries based on the Robin Cook best seller, for next spring.
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ABC Family: Popular novelist and former Herald-Leader reporter Jennifer Weiner wrote and is executive producer of State of Georgia, a comedy starring Raven-Symoné as aspiring actress Georgia, trying to make it in New York. Switched at Birth stars Katie Leclerc and Vanessa Marano (Gilmore Girls) as teens who discover they were accidentally switched in the hospital and grew up with the wrong families. Lea Thompson, D.W. Moffett and Constance Marie also star.
In The Nine Lives of Chloe King, a teen "starts developing heightened abilities and discovers she's being pursued by a mysterious figure"; Skyler Samuels stars in the thriller, from the book by Celia Thomson, with Amy Pietz as her mother. In The Lying Game, from the novel by Sara Shepard (Pretty Little Liars), a foster child (Alexandra Chando) learns she has an identical twin who was adopted by wealthy parents; things go crazy after they agree to switch lives for a few days.
AMC: After grabbing the spotlight with scripted shows including Mad Men, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead (all returning), AMC reportedly is looking at getting into the unscripted business. Meanwhile, Hell on Wheels, a Western drama about the building of the transcontinental railway, has just begun production; Anson Mount stars.
BET: Reed Between the Lines stars Tracee Ellis Ross and Malcolm-Jamal Warner as heads of "quite the contemporary blended black family."
Bravo: Bravo is developing its first scripted series, Face Down, a dramedy that follows "a charming and irresistibly flawed makeup artist" (as yet uncast) and his clients.
Lifetime: The Protector, arriving this summer, stars Ally Walker as a detective and single mother. Against the Wall, also for summer, stars Treat Williams and Kathy Baker as the heads of a family of Chicago cops.
Lifetime also announced a long list of TV movies and many new hours of unscripted programming, including the spin-offs Project Runway All-Stars and Project Accessory, and Roseanne's Nuts, following Roseanne Barr as a macadamia farmer in Hawaii.
Syfy: Me and Lee imagines Eastern Kentucky native Lee Majors (as himself) as bionic mentor to a down-on-his luck young man. Alphas, with David Straithairn heading a team of ordinary citizens with unusual abilities, launches in July, along with the return of Warehouse 13, Eureka and Haven.
Battlestar: Blood and Chrome, is a prequel to Battlestar Galactica set in the 10th year of the First Cylon War. In the Dark follows misfit ghost hunters. Three Inches, a half-hour comedy, is about an underachiever who is struck by lightning and gets the ability to move any object, but only 3 inches.
TBS: TBS has announced Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse, a dramedy based on Perry's hit Why Did I Get Married? films. Michael Jai White and Tasha Smith will reprise the roles of TV anchor Marcus and salon owner Angela. (Perry's House of Payne is ending its run.)
TNT: Falling Skies, from executive producer Steven Spielberg and starring Noah Wyle, premieres June 19. Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Malcolm McDowell are among the cast of Franklin & Bash, a lawyer drama premiering June 1.
USA: Silent Partner, from the creator of Leverage, features an ambulance-chasing lawyer and his idealistic young paralegal; the twist is that he's in Florida and she's in India. On We Go, a half-hour comedy, stars Nathan Lane as an actor who resembles — but is not — Nathan Lane. M. Diety, described as an unconventional medical drama, is the story of a doctor fighting hospital bureaucracy.
The Special follows an L.A. detective who suffers from "hypomania" — he's always happy and enthusiastic, even euphoric. Big in Japan, a comedy with Kara DioGuardi, the former American Idol judge as a consulting producer, has a boy band reuniting 20 years after its last, disastrous concert.
We the Jury is a comedy about a group of jurors sequestered for an indefinite time. TGIM, which stands for "Thank God It's Monday," looks at life on a suburban cul-de-sac over a weekend.