2008-09 NEW SERIES DESCRIPTIONS:
CRUSOE – Based on the legendary novel by Daniel Defoe, this is the tale of Robinson Crusoe. A young man leaves his true love to embark on an adventure — only to end up shipwrecked on a remote tropical island for 28 years, completely detached from the life he once knew. His desire to return to his wife and his strong and unlikely friendship with Friday are the only things that keep him sane. While stranded, Crusoe encounters enemies and braves the elements. Equal parts “MacGyver,” “Castaway” and “Pirates of the Caribbean,” this series is an inspirational tale of survival rife with action and comedy. Power Entertainment produces “Crusoe.”
KINGS — “Kings” is an inspiring exploration of the timeless David vs. Goliath struggle. The show is set in a modern metropolis under siege where the fighting has gone on for too long and cost far too many lives. When David Shepherd (Christopher Egan, “Resident Evil: Extinction”), a brave young soldier, rescues the king’s (Golden Globe winner Ian McShane, “Deadwood”) son from enemy territory, he sets events in motion that will finally bring peace. Suddenly, David is thrust into the limelight, earning the affections of women — including the king’s daughter. When he’s promoted to captain, he becomes the reluctant poster boy for hope. But for David, the line between his allies and enemies will blur as the power players in the kingdom go to great lengths to see him fall. From the director (Francis Lawrence) of the blockbuster movie “I Am Legend” comes the ultimate story of David vs. Goliath, and there’s no telling who will win. Sebastian Stan (“Gossip Girl”) also stars. “Kings” is a production of Universal Media Studios; Michael Green (NBC’s “Heroes”) is the executive producer. Francis Lawrence (“I Am Legend”) is the director and executive producer and Erwin Stoff (“I Am Legend”) also is executive producer.
MERLIN – “Merlin” brings to life a new legend for a modern audience. “Merlin” is an exciting, hour-long fantasy series set in the mythic city of Camelot — but inspired by 21st Century storytelling. Before Merlin (Colin Morgan, “Doctor Who”) and Arthur (Bradley James, “Lewis”) became legends, they were ambitious young men looking for adventure, hoping to live up to their family’s expectations, discovering love and finding their own true destiny, making mistakes along the way. The innovative, action-packed drama has cross-generational appeal and paints a picture of Merlin and Arthur’s early life that audiences have never witnessed before. Anthony Head (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”), Richard Wilson (“A Passage to India”), Angel Coulby (“Magicians”) and Katie McGrath (“The Tudors”) also star. A FremantleMedia Enterprises distribution of a Shine production for BBC.
THE PHILANTHROPIST — This one-hour drama is about a rebel with a cause. Teddy Rist loves women, money and power. After the tragic death of his only child, Teddy has an awakening and becomes the world’s first vigilante philanthropist — a renegade billionaire who uses his wealth, connections and power to help people in need. He’ll do anything to achieve his goals — bargain with the self-righteous, trade with the nefarious and even tell the truth. Instead of spending $25,000 a plate at a fundraiser, he’s dodging bullets in third-world countries to hand-deliver vaccine. It’s a global adventure that will take viewers to the ends of the Earth and will inspire them as well. “The Philanthropist” is produced by Universal Media Studios, Original Media and the Levinson/Fontana Company. Tom Fontana (“Homicide: Life on the Street”), Barry Levinson (“Homicide: Life on the Street”) and Charlie Corwin (“L.A. Ink”) are the executive producers; Jim Juvonen is a co-executive producer.
THE LISTENER — In this one-hour drama, Toby Logan (Craig Olejnik, “The Runaway”) is a 24-year-old paramedic living with a secret: he can read people’s minds. This telepathic procedural takes viewers into the heart of a tortured hero who struggles to solve crimes with his unique gift. Week-to-week, “The Listener” balances high-stakes drama with irreverent humor and sends Toby on an intellectual and emotional adventure. Ennis Esmer (“The Path to 9/11”) also stars. “The Listener” is a production of Program Partners and Shaftesbury Films. The executive producers are Christina Jennings, Scott Garvie, Michael Amo, Russ Cochrane, Glen Davis and Bill Laurin.
THE OFFICE SPINOFF – From Greg Daniels, the executive producer of the Emmy Award-winning American version of NBC’s “The Office,” comes the most highly anticipated comedy of the season in “The Office” spinoff. Audiences will follow another comic journey, complete with new faces and new locations, but with the same unique sense of humor and brand of quality from Daniels and his creative team. It’s the next chapter of what viewers have come to know and love about “The Office.”
KATH & KIM — They’re the most dysfunctional duo in suburbia. Kath Day (Molly Shannon, NBC’s “Saturday Night Live”) is the mom, a foxy, 40-something divorcée who finally has time for herself and her valiant search for love. Kim Day (Selma Blair, “Hellboy,” “Hellboy II”) is the daughter, a self-absorbed princess recently separated from her husband who finds consolation in stuffing her face. When Kim decides to move back home, Kath reluctantly agrees — but to Kim’s chagrin, Kath is not about to cater to her every whim as she has in the past. Based on the most successful comedy in Australia of the same name, Kath and Kim are two brassy women who prefer the finer things in life like acrylic nails, big hair and faux diamond chips. The series is produced by Universal Media Studios and Reveille. The executive producer/writer is Michelle Nader (“The King of Queens”) and the executive producer/director is Paul Feig (“Freaks and Geeks,” “The Office”). Gina Riley, Jane Turner and Rick McKenna also are executive producers.
SNL THURSDAY NIGHT LIVE – Dubbed “TV’s funniest and most influential political player” by Entertainment Weekly, “SNL” expands its “Weekend Update” coverage to Thursdays in primetime for three live half-hour shows beginning October 16. With all of the excitement and attention around “Saturday Night Live” during the presidential primaries, the anticipation for the show’s take on this Fall’s election will be at a fever pitch, “SNL Thursday Night Live” will keep the momentum — and the laughs — going. The program is a production of Broadway Video in association with SNL Studios. Lorne Michaels is the executive producer.
CHOPPING BLOCK — It’s time to sharpen your knives! It’s not just about the meal, it’s about the business of food. From the producers of “Hell’s Kitchen,” original rock-star chef Marco Pierre White comes to America to host the ultimate food fight on NBC — a new reality competition set in the high-drama, high-stakes world of New York City restaurants. The cooks are given a grilling over the course of the series. The teams, which are made up of couples, will be tested in challenges that vary from having less than a week to design and revamp a restaurant space to planning a menu and creating a signature dish. The winning couple will get a chance to have their dreams come true — opening their very own restaurant in Manhattan. The series is produced by Granada America.
AMERICA’S TOUGHEST JOBS – From creator/executive producer Thom Beers (“Deadliest Catch,” “Ice Road Truckers”) and executive producers Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun, “America’s Toughest Jobs” is a new extreme competition series that will test 12 people who venture out of their safe, comfortable careers and are injected into some of the most challenging, dangerous and demanding jobs on earth. From logging high in the Oregon Forest to oil drilling on the Texas range, or from driving icy roads to extreme fishing — each job requires guts and stamina, and they’ll have to live up to the same standards as the pros. In the end, their new boss and co-workers will determine success or failure, and those who don’t make the grade get sent home. Upping the ante, the annual salary of each job will be thrown into the pot until the finale, where one rookie will take home the well-earned cash. “America’s Toughest Jobs” is created by executive producer Beers and is produced by Original Productions and BermanBraun.
SHARK TAGGERS — From creator/executive producer Thom Beers (“Deadliest Catch,” “Ice Road Truckers”) and executive producers Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun, “Shark Taggers” is a one-hour reality series that follows daring marine biologists as they track down the ocean’s top predators and hand-tag them with cutting-edge satellite transmitters or investigate bull sharks’ sudden attacks on surfers. The series is produced by Original Productions and BermanBraun.
MOST OUTRAGEOUS MOMENTS — This half-hour show proves that anything can happen when the cameras keep rolling. Audiences can enjoy hilarious outtakes from some of NBC’s most popular shows, as well as outrageous moments from home videos, newscasts, game shows and commercials from around the globe. “Most Outrageous Moments” is produced by Universal Media Studios and Scott Satin Productions. Scott Satin (“Who Wants to Be a Superhero?”) serves as executive producer.
THE LAST TEMPLAR — In this four-hour miniseries, Oscar winner Mira Sorvino (“Mighty Aphrodite”) stars in an epic action-adventure tale about the greatest mystery of our time. At the New york Metropolitan Museum, four horsemen dressed as 12th century knights storm the gala opening of an exhibition of Vatican treasures and steal an arcane medieval decoder. For archaeologist Tess Chaykin (Sorvino) and FBI agent Sean Daly (Scott Foley, “The Unit”), this is just the start of a suspenseful game of cat and mouse as they race across three continents in search of the enemy — and the lost secret of the Knights Templar. The miniseries is produced by MUSE Entertainment Enterprises. Victor Garber (“Alias”) and Omar Sharif (“Doctor Zhivago”) also star. Emmy Award-winning television impresario Robert Halmi Sr. (“Tin Man,” “Gulliver’s Travels”), Robert Halmi, Jr. (“The Poseidon Adventure,” “The Christmas Card”), and Michael Prupas (“Human Trafficking”) will executive-produce the miniseries.
XIII – “XIII” is a high-stakes cat-and-mouse thriller starring Val Kilmer (“The Doors”) and Stephen Dorff (“World Trade Center”). This adrenaline-charged miniseries begins dramatically as the first female U.S. President is shot dead by a sniper during her Veteran’s Day speech. Three months later, a wounded man is found tattered in a forest with no memory of his identity. The only clue is a tattoo on his neck, “XIII.” Could his lightning-fast reflexes and killer instincts betray him as the presidential assassin that the U.S. is desperately searching for? Submerged in a far-reaching conspiracy, which threatens to overthrow the entire government, XIII’s identity becomes the key to unraveling a complex and dangerous secret that will shock and excite. From the first bullet, this gripping action-thriller will leave audiences gasping for more. “XIII” is produced by Prodigy Pictures and Cipango.