The Winners And Losers Of New Fall TV

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We’re nearly into November sweeps, and it’s time for the networks to make some tough (and, in some cases not-so-tough) decisions.Plenty of shows are already distant memories (rest in peace, “Free Agents”).

But there’s still a lot of shuffling to come — and as the execs deliberate, we’re taking a look at the most telling wins and losses of the season.

The NBC sitcom has failed, so far, to fall into the trap of trying to be everything to everyone -- despite the fact that it has a cast that can do it all. It keeps things simple, and recently made what we consider a smart move: airing an episode that rewound time to show us the central baby's birth, a storyline that only deepened our affection for the parents played by Will Arnett and Christina Applegate.

Lots of shows have already gotten the ax, but 'Playboy' is one of the bigger network embarrassments. Save for the scheming Laura Benanti and the sprightly Naturi Naughton, the cast was a sleepy-eyed bore. Hugh Hefner blamed the network, but we don't think the Club was worth saving.

We won't belabor the point here: Zooey Deschanel made magic out of one of Fox's all-in big investments of the season.

The FOX sci-fi drama should have been the fanboy sensation viewers can't shut up about by now. Instead, it's slipped into the background, an expensive reminder that this seems to be comedy's year.

This is an early call -- the fairy tale drama just premiered last night. But it was ABC's biggest fall debut in two years.

OK, it crashed and burned even with Minka Kelly in the press every other day leading up to the premiere. Can we please stop remaking this franchise now?

We've been hard on 'Whitney' -- and its star Whitney Cummings -- since we saw preview one. But we've got to hand it to her -- while the ratings haven't been amazing, they haven't been devastating, either. And NBC is so behind this show that they recently filled the Wednesday night spot the cancelled 'Free Agents' vacated with 'Whitney' reruns.

Just like 'Playboy,' 'Pan Am' is learning the hard way that the retro lusciousness of 'Mad Men' would be nothing without insanely talented writers and a captivating cast. ABC trotted stars Christina Ricci and Kelli Garner out on 'The View' last week in an attempt to keep the show's buzz alive, but its ratings are tanking so quickly, they -- well, they set up an endless number of plane-descending metaphors.

It became an instant hit -- and the backlash came almost as quickly. Unfortunately for the CBS sitcom, it's not entirely gratuitous -- there is, as critics have complained in a chorus, a strangely consistent meanness to the show, and it's already starting to feel a little repetitive.

But we're thinking '2 Broke Girls' can sharpen its game before HBO's 'Girls' bows this winter -- that twentysomething-friends show is bound to be nuanced, and Kat Dennings/Beth Behrs can be too, with some dialogue adjustments.

Before this show aired, we gave it hardly a second thought -- Simon Cowell never fails, right? Well, he hasn't exactly failed, yet -- but he's certainly not hitting this one out of the park. A lot of things about the show feel off. But basically, Cowell's return to television was hailed as the new last word on singing competitions -- and it mostly just feels like a remix of the rest of them.

Yeah, we know it doesn't come on until January. But while Cowell flounders, it's got to feel good to be Randy Jackson, Steven Tyler, Ryan Seacrest, or Jennifer Lopez, who smugly star in the season-11 promo that premiered last night. It's full of the uplifting vibe that breathed a second life into the show's ratings.

Now check out this week's winners and losers in media.

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