Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Deal or No Deal to reair on CNBC

In case you missed it (like I did) the first time around, CNBC will reair the first few episodes all next week at 8PM and 11PM ET/PT. New episodes will air on NBC starting 2/27.

Oscars Yawn

Is it just me or is this the most unexciting list of nominations EVER? Take a look.

One interesting note was the nomination for "Paradise Now" in the foreign film category. Interesting that it comes from a country THAT DOESN'T EXIST (Palestine).

Thursday, January 26, 2006

'Bones' crushed by 'Lost', 'Criminal Minds'

'American Idol' may be the unstoppable train, but 'Bones' is laying on the track. Bones dropped 62% of AI's audience last night, with audiences flipping over to 'Lost' and 'Criminal Minds' for the 9PM TV viewing. More at Hollywood Reporter.

I wouldn't consider Bones dead yet -- Lost isn't an easy foe to go up against, it would probably do better in the post-Idol Tuesday slot that House owns, since the competition isn't as fierce. Still, if you are Fox, you've got to be a little worried about losing more than half of your audience (which was substantial -- a 32 share!)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Podcast survey

I've been pondering starting a 'Shouting Into the Wind' Podcast. Maybe, 20-30 minutes a couple times a week. Anyone interested in possibly listening to the smooth ducet tones of my voice for a half an hour? Topics would reflect what I write about on the blog, with occassional guest interviews, etc.

Let me know if the idea is cool or sucks in the comments.

The CW changes the landscape

With the announcement of the new joint venture between Time Warner/Tribune and CBS to create the CW from the ashes of the WB and UPN, the lives of many shows suddenly look to be shorter. In no particular order, I think the 'death watch' is on for the following shows:

  • Love, Inc (UPN)
  • Living with Fran (WB)
  • Twins (WB)
  • Related (WB)
  • Eve (UPN)
  • Cuts (UPN)
  • What I Like About You (WB)
  • Charmed (WB)
  • South Beach (UPN)
With only 13 hours of prime time programming available (from the combined 23 hours), I think we can see the following shows make the cut:
  • Smallville (WB)
  • Gilmore Girls (WB)
  • Everwood (WB)
  • Aquaman (WB pilot will most likely make it to air)
  • Veronica Mars (UPN)
  • Everybody Hates Chris (UPN)
  • Reba (WB)
  • Top Model (UPN)
  • Supernatural (WB)
  • Girlfriends (UPN)
  • Beauty and the Geek (WB)
  • All of Us (UPN)
  • Smackdown (UPN)
Wait a minute, you're asking. What about those new midseason shows? And some of those you listed, like 'Beauty and the Geek' might only be 13 episodes -- what else will go on in its time slot? There are also a smattering of other shows I didn't mention -- 'One on One', 'Half & Half'...and then there are the other pilots in development. Exactly why this will be interesting to watch. I'm going to wait it out a few days until we start to hear more about shows that might not make the cut before I update the Watch List, but expect this merger to impact the list in a big way.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Disney buys Pixar

The deed is done. $7.4 Billion. What a weird news day.

Book of Daniel, Jake in Progress cancelled

Two more shows fall off the schedule. This joins the news from TNT yesterday that 'Wanted' would not return for a second season. (Hat Tip: The Futon Critic).

Another Watch List update coming...

TV show blogs

UPDATE: 1/24 - This list is still under construction, but I noticed that people were looking for it, so it is back online. I know there are tons of blogs missing from the list. Patience, please. Thanks!

A new development this year was "added content" regarding TV shows...podcasts, behind the scenes clips, and blogs. The first two examples will probably end up on the DVD for that show (smart planning, I'd say), but the last...well, that's unique to the net. I particularly like blogs that aren't 'character blogs' but rather blogs written by the writers about the show. I've scoured the web to find these blogs and bring them to you.

'Behind the Scenes' Blogs

  • Grey's Anatomy (ABC)
  • Threshold (CBS) Yes, I know it's cancelled, but there's still some good stuff there, so get it until it is gone.
  • NCIS (CBS) Okay, it's an actress's blog, but get past the poetry and there are some insights into the process of making a TV show.
  • CSI:Miami (CBS) The Executive Story Editor, Corey Miller blogs.
  • Law & Order (NBC) I missed this one the first time around because it hasn't been updated since October. It is labelled the 'Producer's Blog'.
  • Monk (USA) So far, only one post, but hopefully this will continue forward. Also a couple of fun character blogs on the site.
  • Battlestar Galactica (SCIFI)
I'll add to the list as more pop up. I think it is a good trend as it gives us insight into what makes these shows tick.

Character blogs

These are blogs written in the 'voice' of a character on the show. Sometimes they are maintained by the actors, other times a writer on the show writes the blog. For the 'Lost' diary last year, the writer's assistant maintained it (not sure who is doing it this year). I have listed these by show in alphabetical order.


And then there were 5...

So, this is may be the strangest news of the morning (and that's besides Disney finally buying Pixar). It looks like the WB and UPN will become ONE NETWORK. Announcement made at 11 AM ET. Details in Hollywood Reporter.

What does this mean for the programming currently on the networks? Well, if I had to guess, there will be a weeding out of the weak shows, keeping the cream of the crop. Scheduling will become a whole lot more interesting for the other networks too.

More news here. Looks like it will be called the 'CW Network'. The WB and UPN will cease operations in September 2006.

From the Yahoo news article:

The CW will incorporate The WB's current scheduling model, which consists of a 6 night-13 hour primetime lineup including Monday through Friday nights from 8-10 (EST/PST); Sundays from 7-10 (EST/PST); Sunday from 5-7 (EST/PST) outside of primetime as well as a Monday thru Friday afternoon block from 3-5 (EST/PST) and a 5-hour Saturday morning animation block. Together, the network will program 30 hours a week over seven days for its affiliated stations.

As the top creative executive, Ostroff will have available a line-up of some of the most popular programming that appeals to young adults in the media business. These programming assets range from hit reality series such as "America's Next Top Model" and The WB's "Beauty and the Geek," to hit dramas like The WB's "Smallville," "Gilmore Girls," "Supernatural," and UPN's "Veronica Mars" as well as UPN's hit comedies "Everybody Hates Chris" and "Girlfriends" and The WB's hit comedy "Reba." In addition the WWE's "Smackdown," which has been a mainstay at UPN, is expected to play a role in the schedule.

In addition, The CW will also broadcast the schedule of children's programming now known as Kids' WB!, a 5-hour original programming block on Saturday mornings from 7:00 a.m.-Noon, considered primetime for kids. Kids' WB! has been the broadcast network ratings champion since Fall 2000, capturing 16 consecutive sweep victories as the Number One Saturday morning kids' broadcaster.
The joint venture between Time Warner and Tribune and now CBS will prove very interesting to watch...I'll keep a watch on this story, particularly as it pertains to what shows will continue to air on the new network.

Monday, January 23, 2006

TV show blogs post offline

I am updating the list with the character 'voice' blogs and podcasts. Hope to have it back up this evening.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Let the 'Earl' and 'Office' specs fly

Since NBC has now officially renewed the two shows for next season, sitcom spec writers everywhere rejoice. No longer will they have only 'Entourage' to spec! Huzzah!

NBC Cancels 'West Wing'

An AP story reports that NBC has made the decision to pull the plug on 'The West Wing' after 7 seasons. No decision has been made regarding 'Joey' but there are some time slot changes coming down in March. Full details to come and the Watch List updated...

Thursday, January 19, 2006


So, a friend of mine has a mostly-weekly podcast which I think will be of interest to many of my readers. Geeks debate movies, comics and more. Check out Geekdrome.

How to Fake It

A lot of the e-mailed questions I get pertain to my 'House' spec, as in how did I prepare to write the medical stuff? How did I pull off that stuff without being a doctor?

Look, I don't pretend to think I can fool a doctor with the stuff I write. In fact, a doctor would probably laugh at me for most of what I write. But then again, you aren't trying to fool a doctor (certainly not with a spec). You are trying to fool an agent or a showrunner. It's all about faking it.

Right now, I'm on a steady diet of 'Cold Case' -- 4-6 hours of it a day, plus one or two scripts read a night. You immerse yourself in the world. When I wrote House, I lived House. I would write with the show on in the background, rather than music. Normally I find any sound distracting when I write, but in this case just having the episodes playing continuously as I wrote helped the character voices seep into my skull. As for the technojargon, thanks be for the Net. I can't imagine trying to 'fake it' while looking up periodicals and books at the library (my hat is off to all of you who had to research the old fashioned way in order to pull this off. I remember those days writing school papers, and I salute you). Now I can search for 'sphincter of Oddi dysfunction' and find everything I need to know to make my characters sound believeable. I went one step further to buy a differential diagnosis handbook so I could cross-reference symptoms to find possible conditions, but that was just me being anal retentive. I probably could have done it without the book.

For the police procedural, again, you aren't trying to fool a cop. If you were actually staffed on a show, you'd have access to 'experts' who can help make your dialogue accurate and more realistic. On 'House' they have like 2 or 3 doctors consulting for all the medical stuff. If you know a doctor or can call an expert to pitch them your ideas and get their input, you'll go far, but even if you don't know someone (or are too afraid to cold call) you can still do it. It just takes time to do the research.

Speaking of which, I have to go back to researching deafness...

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Hooray for Ras!

Ras got herself an agent and it sounds like she had the power going in on that. Read her adventure and congratulate her for taking her 'first step into a larger world'.

Fox cancels Malcom in the Middle, That 70's Show

More news out of the Winter Press Tour in Pasadena...Mediaweek reports this morning that after 7 seasons, 'Malcom in the Middle' and 'That 70's Show' are done.

I already slotted these as 'likely to be cancelled this year' so I'll update with the official news in the Watch List. Tomorrow I expect we'll hear word from CBS about the future of 'Still Standing', 'Yes, Dear'. I doubt we'll hear a decision about 'Out of Practice'...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Production on Emily's Reasons Why Not Halted

Reported this morning in several places. Doesn't look good for the show. This officially places it in the 'waiting for the axe' category of the Watch List. One airing. Now, to be fair, at least Los Angeles was BLANKETED in advertising for this show, so if they couldn't get a curiousity tune-in factor, they can't build an audience for the show (theoretically).

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Places to write

Of course there's Starbucks, and we've mentioned Creative City Cafe, but Paul Guyot mentions what sounds to be an ideal writing place, the office. I'd heard about it before, but just based on Paul's recommendation, I might have to check it out. Wish it wasn't on the other side of town from me, but if you are in the mid-Wilshire/WeHo area, it may be a great new haunt. (Looks like they have a special right now for new customers of 2 free hours when you mention the website).

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The TV Bloodletting begins

So, already we have at least two new shows with troubling Nielsens. "Emily's Reasons Why Not" and "Book of Daniel" have premiered to pretty small audiences. "In Justice" seems to be hanging in so far, and returnee "Jake in Progress" looks like it is off to a rocky start. I usually wait out two airings of a show before I categorize it in The Watch List, so we'll wait until the numbers come in next week, but so far, I'd say these shows have limited life.

Stay tuned...

Monday, January 09, 2006

The new Scribosphere Meme

Fun Joel tagged me with this meme (maybe I owe him money). Sure, I'll play.

ONE (1) earliest film-related memory:
I'm pretty sure this one is real. I have this strong recollection that we waited outside the theater in our hometown (which at that time was one ginormous screen) to see "Star Wars". I was 3. I also have a memory of seeing "The Fox & the Hound" at a drive-in, so that's cool.

TWO (2) favorite lines from movies:
(Raising Arizona):
Ed McDonnough: This ain't family life!
H.I.: Well... it sure ain't "Ozzie and Harriet."

(The Philadelphia Story):
C. K. Dexter Haven: I thought all writers drank to excess and beat their wives. You know one time I secretly wanted to be a writer.

THREE (3) jobs you'd do if you could not work in the "biz":
Cafe' owner
High School teacher
Stay at home mom

FOUR (4) jobs you actually have held outside the industry:
Computer support analyst
Project Manager (I.T. again)
Tourguide on Disney Backstage Studio Tour
Call screener for a radio show (wait, that's kinda biz related isn't it)

THREE (3) book authors I like:
Terry Pratchett
Robert A. Heinlein
Jane Austen

TWO (2) movies you'd like to remake or properties you'd like to adapt:
"Wake of the Red Witch" (1948) - Don't want to say too much, because I really think I might try this one, but I've got a different angle on it.

"Silverlock" a book by John Myers Myers (not a typo). It seems to be out of print now, but I love this fantasy/comedic book and would love to adapt it.

ONE (1) screenwriter you think is underrated:
Steven Kloves. He's adapted the first four Harry Potter films (he's taking a break on the next one, will adapt 'Half-Blood Prince', the 6th book). But he's written two other fantastic screenplays which get overlooked, "Wonderboys" and "The Fabulous Baker Boys". It has to be monstrously hard to adapt the Harry Potter books, keeping the screenplay true to the spirit of the book and yet compact. Given what he has to do, I think he does it marvelously well.

THREE (3) people I'm tagging to answer this meme next:
Dave, Kira, and Scott the Reader.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Return of the Watch List and Midseason Premieres!

Everyone survive New Year's? Great, let's get back to business. Time to track the midseason shows.

First, if you need a list of midseason show premiere dates, look here.

The list does NOT include shows currently on hiatus (yes, 'Surface' is returning. No, 'Killer Instinct' is not.) The shows being pushed aside for the new ones will be back late Marchish, (Damn you 'Prison Break'!!) others even later. Also, these are shows that currently have premiere dates. As other show premieres are announced, I'll cover them.

New Midseason shows (hourlong)

  • Book of Daniel (NBC) Friday night is open territory, but I don't think redstaters are going to care that much for a drug addicted man of God. Six episodes, max and it is done.
  • In Justice (ABC) ABC needs a procedural. Really really needs one. This one has a shot, also on Friday nights, so we'll see. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
  • The Unit (CBS) (*Premieres in March) From David Mamet and Shawn Ryan (creator of 'The Shield'). It sounds promising. You'll see endless commercials for it during NFL playoffs. I say it goes the distance.
  • South Beach (UPN) Beautiful people. Cold weather people will probably watch just to remember what summer is like, but how much business can it do on UPN? I'm on the fence.

New Half-hour scripted shows:
  • Emily's Reasons Why Not? (ABC) Initial tune in will be good, but can Heather Graham really carry a sitcom? I say nay. Four and out.
  • Courting Alex (CBS) Because we don't have enough sexy single girls with sitcoms devoted to them. Jenna Elfman returns to our screens in this one. Good news: it is scheduled on Monday nights in CBS's comedy block. Bad news: It will go up against 24 and Prison Break.
  • Four Kings (NBC) Slotted after newly moved 'Earl' this one will have to battle the people turning over to Survivor. I dunno, sounds like bad mojo to me...even with Seth Green ("Greg the Bunny", anyone?)
  • Crumbs (ABC) It's got Fred Savage and Jane Curtain in it. There will at least be some initial tune in. As long as it is better than 'Freddie' I'm totally on board. I'm gonna give it a fighting chance.
  • Love Monkey (CBS) I think it might actually be an hourlong, but since I couldn't find out, I stuck it down here. I like Tom Cavanaugh, so I want it to live, but the title makes me laugh and not in a 'ha ha, that's hilarious kind of way'. Still, sober CSI network -- I mean, CBS, needs some more funny in its lineup. I'm just not sure this is the right kind of funny.

Of course as I said, there are lots more shows to evaluate and put into the Watch List. These will all be added to the 'On the Fence' category to start, just to give them all a fighting chance. New Watch List posted shortly...