UPFRONT DOWN AND DIRTY PT. 4: No, I’m not going to talk about Melinda today. As far as I’m concerned Idol has become the mildly irritating co-worker who did something so rude and inexcusable at the bar after work on Friday that you need a weekend to process just how you’re going to deal with him in the morning Monday. Not that you’re surprised – hell, you never liked the beady-eyed creep with his grating laugh and half-dozen catchphrases; even the stuff he used to decorate his cubicle was irritating, but for now it’s probably diplomatic to ignore the whole situation until you can come up one simple, perfect comeback that will sum up the pariah status of both the co-worker and their unforgivable behaviour.


In the meantime, let’s take one last look at this week’s New York upfronts, which shifted focus away from the Big Three networks to their rivals and offspring. Fox announced the slate of shows to fill the gap between Labor Day and the return of 24 and Idol (spit) to their schedule, a mix of comedy, drama, legal shows and police procedurals that will mostly be cancelled before the leaves are off the trees, except for the stuff that gets well-reviewed, which will be allowed to linger for a couple of extra weeks of schedule changes before getting the axe.


It looks like the Office romance between Jim and Pam will be back on next season, since Rashida Jones is leaving the show to star in The Rules For Starting Over, which was picked up yesterday morning by Fox, according to E! Online. The Farrelly Brothers are behind this comedy starring Jones and Craig Bierko as friends flung back on the dating market after their divorces; if my spidey sense is worth a damn, the big tsuris will involve the likelihood and etiquette of the characters sleeping together.


Lauren Ambrose and Parker Posey star as sisters in The Return Of Jezebel James; created by Amy Sherman-Palladino (The Gilmore Girls), it’s a drama about a woman who asks her sister to be her baby’s surrogate mother. Unless Fox cancels this one after a week, I’m guessing the answer will be yes. Patricia Heaton and Kelsey Grammer are the big names in Back To You, a sitcom about feuding news anchors at a Pittsburgh TV station. Assuming that Fox has some real coin invested in this one, it might last out the season.


The Sarah Connor Chronicles spins the Linda Hamilton character off from the Terminator films, with Lena Headey (the foxy Spartan queen in 300) in the Hamilton role. Another Fox show with sci-fi overtones is New Amsterdam, about an immortal New York homicide detective. Six weeks – tops.

Finally, there’s K-Ville, a drama about cops in post-Katrina New Orleans; is it me, or is New Orleans turning into America’s version of Rome in the 18th century – a city defined by its ruins, a centre for melancholy tourism? And Canterbury’s Law is a procedural starring Julianna Margulies as a defense attorney. (Yawwwwwwwwwnnnn.)