NBC and CW tout new fall primetime lineups with preview specials

By Jeff Pfeiffer

Fall is in the air! Around here, at least, you can feel it with the days getting darker a tad earlier than they had been, and some slightly cooler temps in the evenings. But even more so in our office you can sense the change in seasons by the non-stop flood of Fall 2011 programming info we have been getting from TV networks since July. At this point our staff is pretty well-versed in what is coming up, but you may not be. To help you out, some networks are presenting preview specials highlighting new and returning series in their 2011 seasons, so you can check out the trailers and clips that we’ve been taking for granted for months now. A couple of these specials are listed below.

And for complete, ongoing coverage of broadcast and cable as the networks roll out their fall premieres and returns, check out our special Fall TV Preview website.

NBC — You’ll be hard-pressed to avoid catching at least a glimpse of The NBC Primetime Preview Show — which I’ve already seen in my onscreen guide this past week, airing on Syfy — between now and its apparent kill date of Sept. 25. Not only will this preview special (called “engaging” and “fast-paced” in the press release) be offered to NBC’s 234 television stations (check your local listings for the airdate and time in your area), but you’ll likely see it pop up on fellow Comcast-owned entities like USA Network, Syfy, Bravo, UniHD, Chiller, mun2, MSNBC, CNBC, Oxygen, Sleuth, E!, Xfinity and NBC2Go, as well as On Demand and broadband services. Beyond airing it on TV, NBC stations can make the special available on their websites, and it will also be on NBC.com. Thinking of hopping a flight to get away from the show? Ha-ha! So sorry, my friend! The special is going to also be screened on selected American Airlines flights (estimates put it as being shown on about 11,000 flights).

Don’t tell our writer Ryan, but The NBC Primetime Preview Show is co-hosted by Whitney Cummings (pictured above), star of NBC’s new comedy Whitney (which Ryan called a “blight on an otherwise strong night of NBC comedies”), along with her series costar Chris D’Elia. They will look at NBC’s new and returning Fall 2011 series. New shows previewed include the dramas The Playboy Club, Prime Suspect and Grimm, while the new comedies featured are Up All Night, Free Agents and, yes, Whitney.

Viewers will also get a first look at the midseason musical drama Smash, which will star Debra Messing, Katharine McPhee, Megan Hilty and Anjelica Huston in a series that looks to capture the beauty and heartbreak of the Broadway theater.

NBC’s returning series featured in the preview are Parenthood, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Harry’s Law, the final season of Chuck, Community, Parks and Recreation, The Office (with new boss James Spader), 30 Rock, The Voice, The Sing-Off, The Biggest Loser and Sunday Night Football.

CW — The CW is using perhaps the ultimate current pop-culture lead-in to draw viewers into its fall season preview special: Lady Gaga. The pop star and fashion icon will be sitting down with designer Jean Paul Gaultier in an interview special, Gaga By Gaultier, airing Sept. 12 from 8-9:15pm ET on the network. The two will discuss everything from her rise to fame, secret backstage details, her relationship with fans, her love for fashion and art and more.

Immediately following this special, The CW hopes viewers will stick around from 9:15-10pm ET for The CW 2011 Fall Preview Special, a sneak peek of the network’s upcoming season of new and returning primetime shows, including new dramas Hart of Dixie, Ringer and The Secret Circle, as well as new reality series H8R, and returning hits America’s Next Top Model, Gossip Girl, Nikita, 90210, Supernatural and The Vampire Diaries. Nikita star Maggie Q (pictured right) and Kristoffer Polaha (of the dearly departed CW series Life Unexpected, and now starring in Ringer) host the special.


Whitney Cummings: Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

Maggie Q: © 2010 The CW Network, LLC. Credit: John Nuttal