The new network TV programs compete with the controversy for attention

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NEW YORK (AP) – When broadcasters staged their annual and extravagant showcases for next season's shows, they looked for hearts and portfolios and titles from media buyers, for example, the Edie Falco award winner for a detective series or Jimmy Smits of "LA Legge" fame returns to a new legal drama. Then unwanted twists hit different networks.

Consider Fox's situation with "Empire" and Jussie Smollett. The network made the surprise announcement that next season would be the last of the event, enthusiastically trumpeting a plan to make it "a big television event", as the Fox CEO called it Entertainment Charlie Collier during a press conference this week.

But would the embattled Smollett be welcome at the party? C & # 39; is an option to include Smollett "but at this point we have no plans for this," Collier said carefully.

Terry Bradshaw fumbled at Fox's presentation. Former football star and Fox Sports analyst, attempting a joke about being rebounded from "The Masked Singer" dissented panelist Ken Jeong as "the little Korean boy from Japan". Bradshaw later apologized for what he called an insensitive observation about the United States. born actor-comedian, who is of Korean origin.

CBS has faced controversy with the "Bull" star Michael Weatherly. The show was renewed for the fourth season despite the claims of actress Eliza Dusku who was let go after complaining that Weatherly had made cruel jokes and comments about her in front of the cast and crew in 2017. She got a strong deal under CBS Corp. The managing director Leslie Moonves, later dismissed for alleged misconduct.

When CBS executives were asked how the renewal corresponded to a corporate zero tolerance vote for misconduct, they claimed they were not aware of what happened until the publication of the newspaper. The decision was taken after considering what they called Weatherly's remorse remarks and the flawless recordings after years with CBS, including on "NCIS," they said.

The ABC had a less heavy situation to deal with: an online fusion of the "Fresh Off the Boat" star, Constance Wu, who greeted the news of the renewal of the sitcom with an explosion of meme-inspiring anxiety. Has the network considered recomposing its role?

No, said ABC entertainment president Karey Burke, diplomatically adding that he chose to believe Wu's next claim to be happy to return to the show. But Burke's inner comedian emerged during the presentation: "Fresh Off the Boat" will air Friday night, he said, "starring Constance Wu again."

WE DO WE TURN YOU ON

The monologues delivered by Jimmy Kimmel and his CBS nightly counterpart, Stephen Colbert, are reliable highlights of the presentations that are heavy on statistics and boast of why THIS network is the best place to advertise. The comedians have generously targeted their companies, the competition and, of course, have taken some topical jokes.

Among the highlights of Kimmel:

– "I've been doing this for so long, I remember when we saw a preview of & # 39; Lost & # 39; Alias ​​& # 39; and & # 39; Desperate Housewives & # 39;. They were back in the days when Felicity Huffman only played an intriguing suburban mom. "

– "NBC has & # 39; This is Us & # 39 ;, which is so popular that they renewed it for three years. Or as Constance Wu would call it, a death sentence."

– "The good news is that here at ABC we have managed many discussion groups … and we know exactly what the Gen Z-ers want. The bad news is that it is Netflix."

And of Colbert:

– "As you can see, despite Lindsey Graham's advice, I honored my summons to be here today."

– "Before coming here today, I received a large document from the network, full of details on how CBS behaved this year. Now, I didn't have time to get over it, so I just read the summary of four pages of Bill Barr. It turns out, Les Moonves, totally exonerated. I didn't see it coming. "

– "CBS has very successful crime films. For some reason, Americans these days really want to see the people who have committed crimes clearly go to jail for them."

YOU LOVED BEFORE

Remember how great Falco was in "The Sopranos" and "Nurse Jackie"? CBS hopes that you will want to see her portray the first female (fictional) Los Angeles police chief in "Tommy". The network also has the former NCIS star Pauley Perrette who changes gear in the sitcom "Broke"; Patricia Heaton ("Everybody Loves Raymond") as a middle-aged medical intern in the comedy "Carol's Second Act" and Marg Helgenberger ("CSI: Crime Scene Investigation") in the drama of the "All Rise" court.

Billy Gardell, formerly "Mike & Molly", gets a plum assignment in "Bob Hearts Abishola", the follow-up of producer Chuck Lorre to the recently concluded CBS hit "The Big Bang Theory." His co-star is Folake Olowofoyeku

Smits stars in NBC's "Bluff City Law" as a celebrated Memphis, Tennessee lawyer with family problems. Bradley Whitford, his former castmate in "The West Wing", is on top of the comedy "Perfect Harmony", on a choir of churches in a small town, while Fran Drescher ("The Nanny") and Steven Weber ("Mom" , "Wings") ") They are paired in the" boom-boom "sitcom of the" Indebted "network.

Cobie Smulders counts as a television broadcaster for "How I Met Your Mother", but his "Avengers" credits are more important to ABC's "Stumptown", based on the series of novels illustrated on a difficult private eye.

Fox has a complete list of veterans, including Rob Lowe in a new "9-1-1" series drama set in Texas; Kim Cattrall ("Sex and the City") in the accurate southern drama "Filthy Rich"; John Slattery ("Mad Men") in the story AI cautionary "neXt" and Tom Payne ("The Walking Dead") and Michael Sheen ("Masters of Sex") in the serial killer "Prodigal Son".

Fox's animated slate is an advantage for TV stars, if not for voice actors. Listen to Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph and Mary Steenburgen in "Bless the Harts", husband and wife Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally in "The Great North" and Amy Poehler, Ty Burrell and Rashida Jones in "Duncanville".

WHO IS THE BELL WALK

Here is the appeal of the missing person – as canceled – from the network.

ABC: "Whiskey Cavalier", "For the People", "Dancing with the Stars: Juniors", "Child Support", "The Alec Baldwin Show", "Children are fine" and "Splitting Up Together" and "Speechless. "

CBS: "Murphy Brown", "Happy Together", "Fam" and "Life in Pieces".

Fox: "Star", "Lethal Weapon", "Proven Innocent", "The Cool Kids", "The Gifted", "Love Connection", "The Passage" and "Rel."

NBC: "I Feel Bad" is the only victim, for now. On the bill: "Abby & # 39; s", "A.P. Bio," "The Village" and "The Enemy Within".

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Lynn Elber can be reached on lelber@ap.org and on Twitter at the address http://twitter.com/lynnelber .

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