ABC Nashville vs. NBC Chicago Fire
Oh, to have seen the look on Denis Leary’s face when he was told that NBC was about to revive the long-dormant ﬁrehouse drama. The sandpaper-nerved comic’s searing FX vehicle Rescue Me had been off the air a little more than eight months when NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt announced that Dick Wolf’s Chicago Fire would introduce the neglected genre to a new generation of viewers.
The ﬁrst look at Chicago Fire was about what one would expect from the man who brought us the Law & Order franchise: workplace drama, blue-collar grit, grim-faced stoicism in the face of danger. Plus, there’s a guy who takes his shirt off every chance he gets, no doubt catnip for the considerable number of those who fetishize ﬁ reﬁ ghters.
At ﬁrst blush, ABC’s Nashville seems like the Music City version of Smash. This sudsy musical pits country crooner Connie Britton (in the Shelby Lynne role) against Auto-Tuned pop tart Hayden Panettiere, who portrays a sort of Knight Rider evil twin version of Taylor Swift. Nashville has a good shot at ﬁnding an audience in the post-Grey’s Anatomy time slot, though so much has to go right if the show is to sidestep the inherent pitfalls of the genre.