Back to You: BuddyTV Fall 2007 Preview
Back to You: BuddyTV Fall 2007 Preview
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Premiere Date and Time: Wednesday, September 19, 8pm

Network: FOX

Time Slot Competition: Pushing Daisies, Deal or No Deal, Kid Nation, America's Next Top Model

Cast: Kelsey Grammer, Patricia Heaton, Fred Willard, Josh Gad, Ty Burrell, Laura Marano

Take two popular Emmy favorites and stick them in a new sitcom sounds like a can't lose proposition for FOX. Well, ask NBC, who tried the same thing with John Lithgow and Jeffrey Tambor in 20 Good Years. The new sitcom Back to You looks to be cut from the same cloth, relying on star power over content.

Kelsey Grammer (Frasier) plays Chuck Darling, a local news anchor who returns to his roots after a public disaster ends his run at the big leagues. He's a womanizer, and teams back up with Kelly Carr (Patricia Heaton, Everybody Loves Raymond), the uptight diva of the Pittsburgh local news scene. It's hard not to see how unoriginal the show's premise is when it centers on the classic mismatched pair of Id and Superego. You can hear the pitch right now: “It's The Odd Couple meets Murphy Brown.”

It's not to say these two actors aren't talented. Grammer won four Emmys for playing Dr. Frasier Crane, a role he inhabited for more than two decades. Both Cheers and Frasier were brilliant in their own rights, but that's only because he had brilliant writing to offset his often over-the-top performances. It's yet to be seen if Back to You will match hat, though it will be difficult, almost as hard as it will be few audiences to accept Grammer as anyone other than Frasier.

Heaton suffered the same problem on Everybody Loves Raymond, starting off as the clichéd wife, and slowly turning it into a great performance, then moving on to a laughably exaggerated parody of herself. Basically, the show is putting too massive hams in a show together and it will likely turn into a game of one-upsmanship, with each actor getting louder and flailing their arms even more wildly to try to gain the spotlight.

While following up sitcom success with a horrible rebound show is an old tradition, the saddest part is that the comic genius Fred Willard is getting caught in the middle as the news' sports anchor. If you've seen his film-stealing work in Best in Show,it becomes obvious no matter what he's given, Willard alone may be reason enough to watch Back to You.

There's always the chance that Back to You will become a surprise hit, like Brad Garret's Everybody Loves Raymond follow-up 'Til Death. The noticeable difference is that show premiered after American Idol, a time slot where quality is totally irrelevant. Without such a prestigious lead-in, will viewers flock to Grammer and Heaton's new show? It depends on whether the producers are willing to wholly rely on their star power, or if they'll actually bother to create something worthy of such a talented cast.

Get all the scoop and features on the Fall 2007 new and returning shows at BuddyTV's Fall TV Guide >>

-John Kubicek, BuddyTV
(Photo courtesy of FOX)