Score one for companies with theme parks. Could Disney be eyeing a stake in Dollywood next?
Because ABC’s wading into the world of country music with both feet, with Connie Britton (“Friday Night Lights,” “American Horror Story”) playing a star who may be on her way down in the drama “Nashville” and Reba McEntire playing a country-music legend’s ex who’d like to be on her way up in the comedy “Malibu Country.”
NBC has two sitcoms about guys on the radio, with Matthew Perry playing a newly widowed sports-talk host who’s resisting grief counseling in “Go On” and Dane Cook as a foulmouthed satellite-radio DJ paired with a “chipper NPR feminist” in the midseason series “Next Caller.”
Other TV trends (or coincidences) we may or may not have seen coming:
Doctors with dark secrets: On Fox, Jordana Spiro (“My Boys”) is “The Mob Doctor,” cracking chests by day, patching up bad guys by night (and trying to avoid becoming a killer 24/7). NBC’s “Do No Harm,” a midseason drama filmed in Philadelphia and starring Steven Pasquale (“Rescue Me”), takes trouble a step further: His Dr. Jason Cole is the good guy and the bad guy and Mr. Hyde is no longer responding to Dr. Jekyll’s treatments.
Doctors with no secrets whatsoever: Mindy Kaling (“The Office”) writes and stars in the Fox sitcom “The Mindy Project,” in which she plays an ob-gyn who’s obsessed with living her life like a romantic comedy. And then there’s the CW’s “Emily Owens, M.D.,” which stars Mamie Gummer (“The Good Wife,” “Off the Map”) as a newly minted physician whose very thoughts we hear as she navigates her first hospital job in the presence of her med-school crush and one of her high school’s mean girls.
Big-government paranoia: An election year in a divided country brings us NBC’s “Revolution,” a “Jericho”-meets-“The Walking Dead” drama about what life might be like 15 years after the lights go out; and ABC’s “Last Resort,” in which the U.S. targets one of its own nuclear submarines after its captain seeks confirmation of a not-through-standard-channels order to bomb Pakistan. One of these will almost certainly inspire a campaign to save it, so maybe instead of shipping nuts to the network this time, à la “Jericho,” fans should just turn over some of that gold they’ve been stockpiling?
Cautionary real estate tales: ABC’s “666 Park Avenue” and its new Wednesday sitcom “The Neighbors” deal with situations in which relocation carries certain hazards, whether it’s a demonic landlord or a gated community full of extraterrestrials.
It takes a village: This season’s unconventional families include the gay couple, their surrogate and their surrogate’s bigoted grandmother (Ellen Barkin) in NBC’s “The New Normal,” from “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy; the brother helping to raise his sister’s child in Fox’s “Ben and Kate”; the single mother (Sarah Chalke) who moves in with her eccentric parents (Elizabeth Perkins and Brad Garrett) in ABC’s “How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life); and the three dudes from NBC’s “Guys with Kids” who are (gasp) caring for their offspring. n
Contact Ellen Gray at 215-854-5950 or email@example.com follow on Twitter @elgray.Read her blog at EllenGray.tv.