I'll get to sound off on the upcoming network TV season for months, but for one day I'll give the general managers of the local network affiliates equal time.
I'm happy to report that Bill Ransom, the general manager of the local ABC affiliate, WKBW-TV, and I both loved one ABC show -- "Pushing Daisies."
From Bryan Fuller ("Heroes") and Barry Sonnenfeld ("Men in Black"), "Daisies" is a weird, quirky crime-solving, romantic series narrated by Jim Dale. It is about a man who discovered at an early age that he can bring dead people and animals back to life for a minute or so to help solve their murders. He can keep them alive as long as he doesn't touch them again.
"I like that a whole lot," said Ransom. "It is like 'Six Feet Underish' to me."
He has good things to say about just about every new ABC series, which would seem more like propaganda if I didn't agree that the network has the best new shows. His favorite new show is "Dirty Sexy Money," which stars Peter Krause of "Six Feet Under" as the reluctant lawyer for an insanely rich family that has Donald Sutherland as its patriarch.
"It reminded me of a more glitzy and more ruthless [version of] 'Dynasty' and 'Dallas,' " said Ransom. He also praised a male-bonding series, "Big Shots," with Dylan McDermott and a female-bonding series, "Cashmere Mafia," with Lucy Liu.
We part company with "Cavemen," a broad ABC comedy about stereotypes inspired by the characters from a GEICO commercial. "I think it is going to be a hit," said Ransom. "I thought it was funny." I thought the pilot hit viewers over the head with a club and set back comedy five centuries.
The second most optimistic general manager is Nick Magnini, who runs Fox affiliate WUTV and MyNet-
workTV affiliate WNYO. He praises "the feel" of "K-ville," the Fox police series co-starring Anthony Anderson that is set in post-Katrina New Orleans.
"It has some great actors, and the pilot had a fast-paced, realistic look," said Magnini.
Agreed. But it is a bit depressing.
Magnini also sings the praises of "Back to You," a Fox comedy in which old pros Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton play co-anchors at a Pittsburgh news station. "[They] have great chemistry," assessed Magnini. "I think it will be a huge hit."
Sorry. It is so ordinary that it would be surprising if it lasted as long as WNYO's own 10 p.m. newscast.
Magnini suffered along with MyNet-
workTV's experiment with telenovellas last season. But he thinks the network will turn it around with reality shows. He likes "Jail," a series "that follows prison inmates from their initial booking through their first moments in the slammer." It is supposed to be humorous sometimes. Tell that to Paris Hilton.
"Great show," assessed Magnini. "The producer is from 'COPS.' I feel really good about this."
He also feels good about "Divorce Wars," about couples who undergo extensive counseling for five days to see if they can save their marriages.
"What is there not to love?" he asked. "It has everything most couples face sometimes in their lives. Turmoil. Nothing else like it on TV . . . Great TV."
The man does enjoy using the word great, doesn't he?
Chris Musial, the general manager of CBS affiliate WIVB-TV and CW affiliate WNLO-TV, seems more enthusiastic about the CW's new shows. He likes "Reaper," about a slacker who has to start working for the devil on his 21st birthday. He also said he laughed and enjoyed the comedy pilot "Aliens in America," about a Muslim teenage exchange student who bonds with a kid without friends. And he enjoyed "Gossip Girl," a teenage soap that is one of my favorites.
"I know I'm not the demographic," said Musial. "I think the CW is much more focused and is better able to go after the target audience."
He wasn't singing the praises of the CBS musical drama set near Las Vegas, "Viva Laughlin." He isn't a fan of the reality show "Kid Nation" or the sophomoric comedy "The Big Bang Theory."
"It could be a big bust," said Musial. Agreed. "Bang" is in "Cavemen" territory. Musial did like the new soap opera headlined by Jimmy Smits set in the Miami sugar industry. "It's got drama, it's got sex appeal," said Musial.
Jim Toellner, the general manager of NBC affiliate WGRZ-TV, liked the time traveling series "Journeyman" and the drama "Life," about a wrongly convicted cop who is back solving crimes.
"It will resonate a little bit here with [Anthony] Capozzi," said Toellner. "He wasn't a cop but somebody wrongfully convicted and in jail for a long time."
But his favorite new NBC series is a blast from the past -- the remake of "The Bionic Woman."
"I was a tepid fan of the original," said Toellner. "This looks much edgier."
Hate to say it. But I agree with him, too.