How Fox landed its ‘Finest’ hour for fall

TV Pipeline

Jessica Alba (left) and Gabrielle Union

Q: I was surprised to hear that Fox is picking up “L.A’s Finest” for its fall schedule. Has that ever happened before, with a streaming or On Demand series going to a broadcast network? — Tim Wells, via e-mail

A: Very rarely. We’d point to two examples that involved CBS All Access, one being “Star Trek: Discovery” — which aired its premiere episode on the parent CBS network (in a broadcast-edited form) the same night it began on the streaming service — and the other being “The Good Fight,” which ran its first season on CBS (also in an edited version) some time after it had finished on CBS All Access.

The CW, which CBS partially owns, will be doing something similar with a couple of shows in the months leading up to the start of its new season (which it intends to launch in January). It also has acquired another CBS All Access show “Tell Me a Story” (which ended its two-season life there this past February) as well as “Swamp Thing,” which originally was streamed on DC Universe.

Back on “L.A.’s Finest,” an irony of it ending up on Fox is that it was sold to (and ultimately turned down by) NBC before becoming a series initially available only On Demand for subscribers to the Spectrum cable system. (A number of streaming services began carrying it later.) The “Bad Boys”-inspired police show is expected to debut its second season later this year on Spectrum, and it has two marketable stars in Jessica Alba and Gabrielle Union, which undoubtedly was a factor when Fox got a shot at it.

Minka Kelly

Q: After watching the recent “Charlie’s Angels” movie, someone told me there was a second television series of the show that starred Minka Kelly. If that’s true, when was it on? — Sherry Robinson, Stuart, Fla.

A: It’s true, but it didn’t last long. After several runs at rebooting the show, including a couple of foreign versions and one in the late 1980s that would have starred Tea Leoni (had it not been abandoned ultimately), ABC ultimately aired a “Angels” remake in the fall of 2011.

“Friday Night Lights” alum Kelly, Annie Ilonzeh (later of “Chicago Fire”) and actress-model Rachael Taylor played the trio of private detectives, with Ramon Rodriguez as a greatly reimagined Bosley and Victor Garber as the voice of unseen boss Charlie. It wasn’t even a month before the update was canceled, with all but one of its eight produced episodes airing.

Q: On “Saturday Night Live” in the ‘90s, Jeff Goldblum and Aerosmith were in an episode. We can’t find it anywhere. Any help would be appreciated. — Denise Palmer, Bellaire, Ohio

A: At this point in time, the easiest way to go probably would be NBC Universal’s new streaming service Peacock, which debuts widely on July 15. (Customers of Comcast, which owns it, have had access to a version of it since mid-April.) One of the big selling points for Peacock is that it will have every season of “SNL,” so it’s a good bet that anyone will be able to find any episode of it there.

Q: How long has Wolf Blitzer been with CNN? — David Corey, via e-mail

A: Among those who have come and gone at the cable news network over its 40-year history, Blitzer surely is the reigning veteran, having been there since 1990. A journalist for Reuters and then for the Jerusalem Post before he began his television career, he made a name for himself very early in his CNN tenure with his award-winning reporting on the first Gulf War in Kuwait, and Blitzer became the network’s White House correspondent soon afterward.

The host of the Sunday show “Late Edition With Wolf Blitzer” for more than a decade, the much-honored (including several Doctorates of Humane Letters) Blitzer began presiding over “The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer” in 2005; typically seen weekdays, the program also presents special weekend editions when news events warrant it. So recognizable is he, he’s made appearances as himself in several movies that use newscasts in their plots, such as “Skyfall” and “Mission: Impossible — Fallout.”

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Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

jbobbin has 2542 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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