Monday, December 31, 2007

My favorite TV of the year

Trying to decide which hours of TV to love is like picking your favorite child. Still, decisions have to be made. Here are the episodes (and their WRITERS, which I promise to add later once I can look them all up) that really hit it out of the park for me this year. (In no particular order -- I can pick the children, I don't have to rank them)

LOST "Through the Looking Glass" This one is still on the DVR, but now that I've got the 3rd season on DVD I can watch this one over and over again in anticipation of what is to come in one month's time. Truly awesome TV fun.

HOUSE "Airborne" House may have seemed stale by the end of Season 3 (and it has had some juice pumped back in Season 4) but this episode stands out to me for a) taking House out of his element and b) giving every major cast member some meaty stuff to do. Putting House and Cuddy on an airplane to do a differential was just icing on the cake.

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA "Crossroads, pt 2" Since "Exodus" technically aired in 2006, I'll pick the 3rd season finale for my fave of 2007. While I found "Razor" fascinating it was the completely unexpected revelations about Tigh, Anders, Tyrol and Tory and the end of Baltar's trial that really packed the punch for the series. We await the Season 4 open with baited breath...

CHUCK "Chuck vs. the Truth" Not just for really moving the story forward be revealing what had been up to that point character 'secrets' but also for the fast paced and breezy interplay of the characters, the show really hit its stride, showing what awesome TV it could be. Best line goes to Zac Levi: "Casey, your jaw was chiseled by Michelangelo himself." I know, not as great taken out of context, but man it floored me. Especially Adam Baldwin's reaction. Classic. Oh, and did I mention that our dear Marshall J. Flinkman (aka Kevin Weisman) is in it?

THE SOPRANOS "Kennedy and Heidi" Okay, I hate that the Sopranos wins like every award there is for this season, but dang, this was a pretty bitchin' episode. I mean, Christifuh dies at the hands of Tony! And Pauly is out of control funny.

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS (tie) "Pilot" and "State" - the bookends to an example of a perfect season of TV. Even if it hadn't had a second season granted, this would go down in my book as one of the most overall satisfying shows of the year.

VERONICA MARS "The Unaired Season 4 Preview" This look at what a 4th season of VM would have been like is something that pains me. It was sooo good, so fresh and so what I wanted. I curse the CW for their poor decision making.

LIFE "Dig a Hole" and "Fill it Up" Sure, continue to ignore this show, but you do so at your peril. This two-parter was great TV, the revelation of who committed the murder that Charlie Cruse had been wrongfully convicted and sent to prison for. Even better, there's still the mystery as to who orchestrated the whole thing (and why). I hope I get to find out...

FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS "Bowie" For making me laugh for almost 30 minutes straight. Actually, I could say that about almost all of the 'Conchords' episodes...

STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP "K&R" pts 1-3 and "What Kind of Day Has it Been" I know, crazy to have this on the list, but when I watched the last four episodes in one sitting, I was floored at how good they were. It was as if knowing that their doom was imminent Sorkin, Schlamme and company pulled out all the stops and put on a good show. Really reminded me of the first couple of years of 'The West Wing' that just pushed me closer to becoming a writer. I was humbled.

Okay, I will place one hour of TV above all the others (and yes, I know I've left off a lot of awesomely wonderful TV from the list...sue me).

DOCTOR WHO "Blink" A singular achievement. Steven Moffat has my undying love and devotion after I watched this. Terrifying and creepy (rare to honestly ascribe those terms to much TV today) I could not help but sit back on my couch and say "wow" once it was over. Also the ONLY TV episode this year I was compelled to watch again immediately upon viewing it the first time. If you haven't seen this, you haven't really watched TV as it should be.

Next post I'll detail some of the WORST Hours of TV of 2007 and some of my honorable mentions (I.E. stuff I forgot while I was writing this post)

Waking up to the future

So, while I remain somewhat secretive about some of my projects, I've decided that for my latest foray into entertaining the masses I will blog extensively on my efforts.

My latest project is a web series. I'm co-writing the series with my good friend Bernie Su. He and I believe that we can make a quality entertaining product specific to the web (at least to start).

While I won't be spilling the story details as yet, here's our basic construct for the series.

We've written a "pilot" episode which introduces our main characters and concept, but is (at least for now) not directly related to the main plot of the 8-episode series.

Each episode will be 5-6 minutes in length, and we hope to clock the total project in at 44 minutes.

We are still working on distribution and I am bringing aboard a producer I think will get us on the right track as we move toward ramping up the writing on the other episodes.

I fully intend for this to see the light of day by the end of April 2008.

Oh, and yes, it will have its own website and viral marketing elements. It should be fun.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Friday, December 14, 2007

Helpful Holiday Tip



There is this option now as well.

So, down with the Ebay scalpers!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

I feel a great disturbance in the Force...

According to Jane, Disney has already been interviewing people for the Fellowship next year. I had been under the impression that the interviews were on hold, but apparently no. This is three strikes and out for my "Medium" spec.

On to the next one...

New features coming to this blog

Starting in January I'll be starting a weekly feature called "Meet the Scribosphere". I plan to highlight a screen-blogger each week, asking questions, some of which may come from the readership, and highlighting what they emphasize in their blogging -- do they provide writing tips? review films and tv? talk about their lunch? Whatever it is, you'll learn about it and perhaps meet a blogger or two you haven't visited before.

Also, I'm going to start doing reviews of new shows. I'm working on increasing the number of screeners I am sent, and hopefully that will allow me to post reviews in a timely manner. To kick off this feature I'll be reviewing two shows next week -- the Dec. 10 episode of "Saving Grace" and the 2nd season premiere of "10 Items or Less". We'll see how it goes from there.

Opinions? Suggestions? Lay 'em on me.

Attention WGA -- come negotiate!

Brett brought a really interesting article to my attention via his blog.

I had heard some mutterings about this before, but this is the first time I've really seen this spelled out so clearly.

I was a business administration major in college. Reading an article about collusion gave me flashbacks to my business law class. And now, I have had an epiphany.

I would like to become a "new" WGA signatory. Here's my deal. I'll give writers, directors, actors and the unionized crews a fair profit sharing deal in exchange for their services on films. Oh, I need some venture capital for this, any takers?

Screw the AMPTP, long live the SBPRC (Shawna Benson Producers Replacement Corporation)! **

** now taking on producing partners with money.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

I blame Liz.

It's all her fault. She's been laying out her total A game on her blog...being all smart and revealing and funny and interesting and just...sublime.

I got jealous.

First, go visit her and show her love. That means leave a comment. She's putting out lots of words for you to read, the least you can do is toss a few back her way.

Second, I'm seriously asking her to take me on as a Padawan. She has much juju which I desire to know.

2007 has been a decent year for me...okay, actually it kinda kicked ass until November. 2008 needs to step up and really represent. I need the WGA contract issues to be resolved. I need to sell my flippin show. I need to shoot my web series. I need to finish 3 pilot specs. I need a new episode spec too.

I need a new computer. I need to lose 15-20 pounds.

By the way, current creative writing endeavors taking place with my sister over at a new blog we started -- Sistercritics.

CBS renews Moonlight, Big Bang Theory

12/6 UPDATE I spoke to an "insider" at MOONLIGHT last night -- they have not had official word from CBS on the renewal. My source was aware of the Mediaweek article and was encouraged by it, but was just as perplexed as everyone else as to what it means. For all the Moonlight fans checking in on this blog for news, I will bring you updates as quickly as I can get them.

CBS announced that it has picked up "Moonlight" and "The Big Bang Theory" for another season. These are the first new network shows to be ordered for an additional season (yes, the story says "renewed" not just a back nine pickup). CBS has also stated that if the writers strike isn't over by the new year, they may start airing shows from sister cable outlet Showtime, most notably "Dexter."

It looks like the sitcom writers definitely have a new spec opportunity. I think Moonlight as a spec is a little iffy, but we'll see...

Link: CBS to Air Showtime's Dexter; Will Renew Big Bang, Moonlight

Monday, November 26, 2007

NBC gives full season order to "Chuck" and "Life"

No word yet on the fates of "The Bionic Woman" and "Journeyman".

Link: Hollywood Reporter

I'm pleased that both of these shows are being picked up, since I'm still watching and enjoying them.

Watch List will be updated...

Get yer writer's strike news here

There's a good Facebook group for people who want to keep up with strike news.

Check out Facebook's Writers' Strike News Central group and join it if you are on facebook.

Also, a shout out to for being awesome.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

The original Adam Sandler Thanksgiving Song.

"As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."

For the adult viewers (very R rated):

...and for everyone else. :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Tim Minear on Geekerati Special Episode Friday!

The Geekerati crew (of which I am a part) will be doing a special show to discuss the fan support for the WGA strike. Tim Minear will be with us to talk about the strike, Fans4Writers.Com, his shows and whatever else we can pry out of him.

Friday at 7 PM Pacific / 10 PM Eastern. Call in with your questions!!

Link: Geekerati Radio Show.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Rob Long has a blog

Rob Long, who has commentary on NPR's "Martini Shot", is a contributor to National Review, and has been a successful (and sometimes unsuccessful) sitcom writer has a blog about the strike.

If you want even more information about the strike, you can play or download the Geekerati interview with writer/producer Rob Long below.

P.S. You can always click on the post title to link to referenced sites.

Wading into the Red Sea

Look, I don't talk about it much, because to do so puts me at risk of vilification, but I'm not a liberal. I'm even right of center, though on many issues, you'd know I was not part of the evangelical right wing. But here's the thing. We, as writers, need to engage this vast population of conservatives to help get the message out. Republicans tend to be anti-union, pro-big business, but they are also about questioning and repudiating patent unfairness (hey, if you disagree with this, don't bother to tell me why, I don't want this to degenerate into a political discussion, necessarily). So, it occurred to me, that no one is making this case to the red staters and really getting the Average Joe Republican on our side. I found that a very widely read conservative blog had a lot of misinformation about the strike, so I responded in the comments in a very civil tone to try to correct some of the misinformation. If I got anything wrong, please correct me and I'll go amend my post on that blog, because the last thing I want to do is spread more misinformation.

Anyway, if any of you think you could possibly engage the right-wingers in a civil tone without hatred or spittle, you can use my approach as a guide. It's important to get these people on our side, as they are the ones who will be fervent supporters. Also remember, the union is not made up of 100% Democrats. There are conservatives in your midst who adamantly support the strike. I think there's a way to bring both sides together on this issue.

Here's my comment on the Captain's Quarters blog:

I'm dismayed that so many people lack understanding of the issues involved. I am a conservative living in Hollywood, an aspiring TV writer, and believe me, I'm no union lover. But, consider the following:

* Not every writer sells work every year. Yes, there is the MBA (Minimum Basic Agreement) for works sold to studios, and many writers make more than the MBA on a screenplay sale, but often that screenplay is the result of a year or more in writing. The contracted minimum for a screenplay today is between $53,000 and $99,000. TV writers, who often only write one or two scripts in a season, can make up to $30,000 for an hour long episode (story and teleplay). Because staff writers are on salary, this is often counted against their salary. Meaning, that in order to make more than $50,000 a year, you'd have to write at least 2 TV scripts in full. Usually the only people making more than the minimums are the head writer (showrunner) who is also a producer and a handful of the exec-producer or co-producers.

* If a songwriter sells a song or a novelist publishes a book, should they not be compensated based on the sales of those works? TV and Film residuals are no different than the royalties other writers receive for their published works.

* Many TV shows today do not get re-run. 'LOST' episodes don't re-run well, and so the network has decided to run the episodes consecutively with no repeats. Without a repeated episode TV writers are not compensated as they used to be.

* Recording a program on a VCR is NOT like downloading or streaming on the internet. The networks sell the broadcast programs for advertising. Those advertising dollars are then used to pay the writers, actors, directors. The studios are selling advertising on streaming video and are selling shows directly to consumers on platforms such as iTunes. The writers receive NO COMPENSATION from these methods of sale. In short, the studios are keeping all of the profits from these distribution methods and are not paying writers at all. Nick Counter, the lead negotiator for the studios stated at the end of the contract talks that shows streamed online or available through paid download services were considered "promotional" and therefore not subject to the residual formulas for DVD, and they do not know how profitable the internet will be for them. By the studios own talking points to their shareholders, however, they sing a different tune.

* The $200,000 average is a misleading indicator of most writers. There are 12,000 Writers Guild members (and I'm not one of them), The MEAN income of a guild member is $4,000 a year. Yes, that means there is a very large distribution. There are the A-list writers who make a lot of money, there are writers making the minimum, and there are writers who aren't getting paid at all because they sold nothing in that calendar year.

* You may not watch a lot of scripted television today, but consider that the DVD formula applies to older shows you may watch and enjoy. 4 cents for every DVD sold. And that's for films. TV is an even more convoluted formula. Ken Levine, a writer on MASH and other shows, stated the following on his blog: "The producers say we already receive royalties from DVD sales. There are no less than fifteen box sets of TV series with my scripts in them. I haven’t received a dime. I have gotten $0.19 from American Airlines for showing eight of my episodes on maybe 10,000 flights."

Sorry for the long post, but this isn't a Dem vs. Republican issue. And it isn't a 'big evil corporations' issue, as some would frame it. The business model is changing, and what you are seeing is an industry that is grasping desperately at the remains of the old way of business. As far as the new way go, they fear making a deal with talent to share the wealth, because of uncertainty as to how much wealth they will have. The writers are looking at this form a standpoint of "Won't Be Fooled Again." In 1985 the studios pleaded with the unions that they didn't know how much money was to be made from home VIDEO. They promised that if the guilds agreed to a lower residual rate on video, they would 'make good' on it at some point in the future. 20 years later, the writers, actors and directors are still waiting.

I hope I did right by us. Again, I think it's important to get people on both sides of the political discussion engaged in this debate.

UPDATE: My comment got moved into its own post on the site and there were about 45 comments on it. I'm feeling like I actually made a dent and got some conservatives to think. I did see some solid support and those on the fence. There's still work to do.

Part of convincing people is to acknowledge that the world is changing, and that we are well aware of it. As writers, we want to take advantage of the new opportunities available to us in the online space, but we also don't want the studios to become a barrier to that by not paying us fairly for work needed to be performed.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

Late Show Writers start a Strike Blog

Or an "interwebblognetwebblog".

Link: Late Show Writers On Strike.

Joss Whedon in a video about the WGA strike

The first salvo in the new internet TV revolution?

A story that was reported over the weekend, but doesn't seem to have picked up much traction in the TV blogosphere. Here's the thing. If Google is partnering with Simon Fuller to create programming, it means Google is changing it's business model. It's not content to be in the distribution business only. They want to get into the content creation business.

A quote from the article: "News of the collaboration will prompt speculation that Google's plans for the TV market include generating original content and competing with major broadcasters."

And another very significant quote: "Earlier this month, it emerged that Google's advertising revenues had overtaken those of ITV1, Britain's biggest commercial TV channel."

Think about that -- it probably isn't at American network advertising revenues, but one could reasonably speculate that it's only a matter of time.

Goodbye, studio system. Your demise is imminent.

Link: Google turns to X Factor's Fuller for push into TV -- The Observer

A better list of the production status of tv shows

As always, The Futon Critic to the rescue!

(Thanks to commenters for additional information -- you guys rule!)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Status of shows

I got this list from the current thread at The Artful Writer.

30 ROCK * Shooting #210 through November 9th. * No additional scripts have been written.

BIG BANG THEORY * Production shut down.

CAPTAIN, THE * Shooting #102 November 8th ­ 14th. * Have scripts for #103 and #104 (production will conclude 11/30).

CARPOOLERS * Production shut down 11/16

CAVEMEN * Shooting #113 November 7th ­ 13th. * No additional scripts had been ordered.

COLD CASE * Production shut down 11/16

DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES * Production shut down.

DIRT * Prepping #206 for a November 20th ­ 30th shoot. * Script written for #207 (only).

DIRTY SEXY MONEY * Shooting #111 November 8th ­ 19th. * Prepping #112 next week. Shoots o/a 11/21. * There are other scripts written but it¹s unclear if production will continue.

ELI STONE * Prepping #111 now which shoots ~ 11/15­11/26. * Not clear if there¹s another script that¹s been written.

GHOST WHISPERER * Shooting #312 November 12th ­ 21st. * No additional scripts written.

GREEK * Shooting #1018 starting November 15th. * No additional scripts (20 episode order) written.

HEROES * Production shut down 11/9.

K-VILLE * Shot #110 October 28th ­ November 8th. * No update.

MEDIUM * Prepping 069-09 for a shoot November 15th ­ 28th. * No additional scripts have been written.

NUMBERS * Prepping #412 for a shoot November 19th ­ 30th. * No additional scripts have been written

OCTOBER ROAD * Shooting #210 November 9th ­ 21st. * Have scripts through #213

OFFICE, THE * Production shut down.

OLD CHRISTINE * Production shut down.

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT * Canceled production on #210 (was meant to shoot 11/7-11/13) * No additional scripts written * Production shut down.

SAMANTHA WHO * Production shut down 11/12

SWINGTOWN * Shooting episode #103 11/9­11/21. * No additional scripts written.

ŒTIL DEATH * Episode #212 completes production on November 9th. * No answer at casting office

TWO AND A HALF MEN * Production shut down.

UGLY BETTY * Shooting ³Odor in the Court² 11/9 ­ 11/20 * Prepping ³A Thousand Words Before Friday² next week, starts o/a 11/21. * No additional scripts available after that.

WITHOUT A TRACE * Production shut down 11/22.

New WGA Strike Videos

Click the blog title to add the "wgaamerica" channel to your Youtube subscriptions. Then you too can keep track of all the new videos posted by the WGA!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

24 premiere postponed.

A major casualty of the strike. Several sources are reporting that Fox has decided not to premiere 24 on January 13, as originally planned.

No new premiere date is forthcoming, due to the strike.

From my visit to the line today

A few photos from the main Disney gate. There was a show of force of major showrunners in the TV biz with press. At least 100 to 140 people (second number including press) at the main gate today.

Joss Whedon.

EVENING UPDATE: Looked through my photos again, and found one that caught Joss's sign in the corner!

Showrunners wore hats (United Showrunners) and carried signs with the name of their show. I'm sure that was to help the poor press.

One of the best signs today -- Carlton Cuse, showrunner for LOST. "Do you want to know what the island is??" (Damon Lindelof is on the left, Cuse is on the right)

Hey, Sonny this one's for you! (Clarification: Josh Schwartz, creator of THE O.C., CHUCK and GOSSIP GIRL)

Writers at the gate.

ETA: Hi Whedonesque and Fuselage visitors! Sorry I didn't have more pictures of our fave genre heroes. I'll try to get more in the future.

Some additional comments: I would have loved to talk to Joss or Cuse/Lindelof or Josh Schwartz, but press was swarming all over these guys. I'd say the event was a success to put faces to shows. The signs were a great idea to not only identify a showrunner and their show, but also to really drive home how many shows were impacted. You can see a few in this picture, but believe me when I tell you there were at least 40 shows represented (I didn't do a full count) at this gate today.

4:30 PM UPDATE -- This video hit Youtube. It's Damon Lindelof and Marc Cherry at the Disney lot today talking about why they are striking.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Rob Long on Geekerati tonight

Sitcom writer, author, and columnist (and host of NPR's "Martini Shot") Rob Long will be on the radio show I co-host with Christian Johnson and Bill Cunningham called Geekerati (yes, that's a lot of hyperlinks).

The show airs live at 7 PM Pacific / 10 PM Eastern. Podcast is available after the live call-in show. Rob will be discussing the WGA strike and the future of content distribution with the Geekerati crew. Should be interesting.

The WGA Writer's Strike Explained

Having trouble explaining the issues the WGA is striking over? Maybe don't understand them yourself? Well, here come some explanations...

In videos! Watch these:

"Why We Fight"

And this one, interviewing WGA "strike captains" on why they are involved with the strike.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Some weird music inspires writing meme

So somehow I got tagged with this meme by Rhys at Great Boobs and Tubes (best name for a blog EVAH). Being the kind of person who does not walk away from a glove smacked in my face, I pick up my revolver to fire out the following volley.

UPDATE: Joel reminded me that I forgot to quote the original meme. So here it is:

Find a song that inspires you to write something, whether it gives you an idea for a script or just puts you into a better frame of mind. AND/OR (don't you love choices) peek into the lyrics and find a stanza that sums up the theme of whatever script you're working on. It's quite uncanny how the two circumstances go together.

If possible, post a video of the song to really get people into the mood. (Yep, I'm aware of the irony of using Internet clips during the pissing contest. I like irony as much as bitchiness.)

I am currently inspired by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, a rockin' bluesy band from Vermont (?) who will in fact be playing the Henry Fonda Music Box theater on November 8 (but I'm a bit miffed that they are "supporting" Gov't Mule, when I got to see them headline and rule the Troubadour a few months back).

Anyway, their second album, "Nothing But the Water" was a breakthrough for them as a band, and now they are gaining momentum with their new album "This is Somewhere".

The title song from "Nothing but the Water" is of specific inspiration to me right now for the pilot I'm working on. In fact, the opening lyrics of that song hold particular special meaning (due to the structure of the song there is NBTW part one and NBTW part two -- i'm speaking of part one, though both parts are in the video below)

Here's the resonant verse:

I have seen
What Man can do
When the evil lives inside of you
Many are the weak
And the strong are few
But with the water
We'll start anew.

So won't you take me down to the levee
Take me down to the stream
Take me down to the water
We're gonna wash our souls clean

Take me down to the river
Take me down to the lake
Yes, we'll all go together
We're gonna do it for the good Lord's sake

As for who I'm tagging...let's see... I call out Fun Joel, Josh, Brett, Julie and Michael.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Looking for Radio Show guests

I'm considering the idea of a special edition of "TV Junkie" to discuss the strike. While I know a bit, I think it would be beneficial to get someone on who really knows what's up, perhaps even some WGA members.

Blogtalkradio is a great medium for getting out the message -- and if I get any "name" guests, I can get featured placement on the main page for the show, helping to generate a larger audience. A lot of the audience is made up of bloggers, who can help influence public opinion about the strike.

If you or anyone you know would be interested in participating in this show, please email me ASAP at the address to the right or comment here.

Please feel free to advertise this around other blogs -- I really want to get something together for later tonight or tomorrow afternoon. Once the live show ends, it becomes a podcast, available to all. We can also have a live chat room going during the show and as it is a live show, we can have people call in to ask questions.

UPDATE: The show will be at my regularly scheduled day (but one hour later) on Sunday at 5 PM. If you can call in, even for 10 or 15 minutes, I'd appreciate it. And hey, if there are non-WGA people who feel they have a grasp on what is up with the strike, enough to discuss it on air, drop me a line. I'm also looking for guests for upcoming shows, not just this one...(free publicity, people -- hint, hint)

Writing while the WGA pickets...

So, I'm contemplating my own future during the strike. Mystery project which had just gotten some MAJOR MOJO is now in limbo as we wait it out. There will be no joy in Mudville, and certainly no selling.

So, off I go to contemplate other projects. There is of course the new spec pilot I'm writing, which I will continue to crank on. Then there's the graphic novel I'm seriously considering. Oh, and I'm thinking of trying out another pilot as a longish narrative story first, just to help figure out the beats. And then there's the web series.

I'm very much looking forward to getting the web series off the ground as I think it's a cool idea and unlike most series which seem to be talking heads, this one might actually be interesting to some people. But here's my question of the day...

...if you were to watch a web series, what is the longest an episode could be before you'd get distracted/bored/stop and need to watch the rest of it later? My thought is 5 minutes is about the most someone will take in a sitting. But maybe it's less, maybe it's more. I know pacing and the goodness of the material accounts for a lot and can help the time fly by. But I'm interested in any other opinions.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

On the Outside Looking In on the WGA Strike

No article links. The contract expired almost 12 hours ago. In another 7, there will be the big meeting at the convention center to give the membership of the WGA the skinny on the negotiations and the strike. The strike is all but certain. The only detail seems to be when it will be called.

My money is on Monday. Give everyone tomorrow to clean out their desks and get their affairs in order. Then call the strike tomorrow night to start Monday. I could be wrong, but it feels logical to me (and who starts a strike on a Friday??)

What does it mean for us, the aspiring? We can't sell to WGA signatory companies if we want to have a chance in hell of joining the Guild. In '88 I hear there was some kind of amnesty, but I'm doubting that happens this time. The stakes are too high, and to forgive a bunch of scabs doesn't appear to be in the cards.

So what do we do? We keep writing our scripts, honing our craft, meeting in our writing groups, and we keep aspiring. We find other ways to get noticed that doesn't violate the strike -- work for non-sigs, go online, write a graphic novel, a book -- whatever it takes. When the strike ends, the flood will burst through and we will need to be ready to fight harder to get seen. I don't know if agents/managers will be looking for people, since we can't make them money from the sigs, which is their bread and butter. Still, I suppose it doesn't hurt to get some relationships started and nurtured for the time when we need them to blossom.

What do we do? We keep writing. And watching. And waiting. I'll be in support of our brethern. I've never been a huge advocate of unions, but there's something egregiously wrong with how writers are painted as greedy SOB's when they get treated worse than anyone and paid (in 99.5% of cases) worse than anyone involved with a film. TV is worse for residuals than film and looks to get worse if the studios don't pony up some dough for downloads above the approximately 4 to 5 cents per DVD rate writers receive today (or don't receive at all, depending on who's paying).

I'll do my best to post links to stories about the strike, but still -- the best place to read the news is Craig Mazin's site and Nikki Finke's blog. For the union viewpoint check out United Hollywood.

And of course you can always read the official press releases from the AMPTP and the WGA. Avoid the trades as they seem to be skewing to a pro-producer bias (gee, I wonder why -- they only depend on studio DEALS to report for their livelihoods).

The Master Returns to TV - UPDATE

I saw the story late last night while looking for any news about the pending writer's strike. But, I couldn't believe it well enough to post a link. Now, here it is, daylight and the story is still there.

Joss Whedon is coming home.

Some will complain that he's working on a show for Fox (a show killer if ever there was one). Some might even complain about the subject matter or Dushku. To me, none of this matters. What matters is we're getting our Joss back.

And if this series works, I COULD WRITE FOR JOSS WHEDON.

Yes, a pipe dream. But a girl's got to dream big...

UPDATE: News just got stupid ridiculously good. TIM MINEAR'S ON BOARD. Christmas came early this year!! Now I could (potentially) write for Joss AND Tim.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Quick notes on the fall season

ABC has ordered 3 additional scripts for "Women's Murder Club". This now leaves "Cavemen" as the only new show on ABC without an additional script order. Story Link: Hollywood Reporter.

NBC is cancelling the "Heroes" spin-off "Origins". They are blaming the strike. I blame the low ratings and general suckitude of "Heroes" this year.

The X-Files movie sequel is a GO!! July 25 is set for the release date. Clearly the script is done and they are going to start shooting soon to make that date.

Tonight the writers will meet in a general meeting, and we'll know what the story is for when the strike will be declared. Considering there was hardly any news throughout the day today, I'd say the negotiations haven't gone horrible or well. This could mean waiting it out until Monday to call the strike, but who knows...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

ABC gives Samantha Who? full season order

Ratings for the sitcom have been surprisingly strong, holding a significant portion of the "Dancing with the Stars" audience. In about a month, when "Dancing" goes down to one hour, it will be paired up with returning series "Notes from the Underbelly".

"Carpoolers" was given an order for 3 more scripts last week. No such order for "Cavemen".

Watch List has been updated today.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Back to You gets full season pickup

Fox grants a 'back nine' plus 2 for a total of 24 episodes. There's inference from Fox that 'Back to You' may either lead in to or out of American Idol come January.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Pushing Daisies gets a full season order

Rumblings on some TV discussion boards I frequent, have been lamenting that in the age of DVR/TiVO, it appears that 10 million viewers is the new benchmark for a "hit" show (it used to be 15 million a few years ago...20 million about 6 or 7 years ago).

As a result, "Pushing Daisies" gets a full season order from ABC.

On a related weird note, ABC has ordered three more scripts of "Carpoolers". Are they serious??

Monday, October 22, 2007

CBS cancels Viva Laughlin

Mercifully CBS has done the right thing by putting this abomination to rest. In celebration, I give you one of my favorite scenes from "Blackpool".

Well... okay, one more.

The Amazing Race will return in the 8 PM Sunday slot in a couple of weeks.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Private Practice, Big Bang Theory, The Unit get picked up

Reported in the trades, ABC gives "Private Practice" a back nine order.

CBS picks up "The Big Bang Theory" for a full season, as well as recommits to a full season for "The Unit". CBS had only renewed "The Unit" for 13 episodes this season, but the ratings have been good for the show, proving it deserved its renewal.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

WGA Strike News 10/17

Yesterday, there was a small breakthrough in the negotiations. The AMPTP took one of their demands around residual rollbacks off the table. Some feel that the studios reacted to an article in the L.A. Times specifically detailing the debate about residuals.

Now we wait to see what action the WGA does (or doesn't) take next...

Visiting Valhalla, or "I went to Austin and all I got was this kickass t-shirt"

Let the gushing begin! I doubt you'll find a negative review of the Austin Film Festival anywhere on the 'net. What you will find are a lot of bloggers who make the annual pilgrimage seeking wisdom, friendship, free alcohol and a few Hollywood contacts.

This year, things felt a little strange. And I wasn't the only one feeling it.

Gone was the desperate need to talk to everyone "important" in the room. Vanished was my anxiety over cramming as much as possible into my trip.

This year, I relaxed. And I had very dry skin. But, you don't care about the dry skin, I know what you're wondering.

"Why, oh great aspiring TV scribe, were you so relaxed?"

For starters, this was my second trip to Austin. It really does feel like coming home when you walk into the Driskill Hotel bar and plop down on one of the supple leather sofas. More than once I did said plopping and sighed audibly. There's something incredibly relaxing about sighing and plopping.

While in the Driskill bar post-sigh/plop I experienced the following (not in order, one thing about Austin, events of the few days get jumbled around).

  • I sat on the arm of one of those awesome couches, reading my Blackberry. In a sort of weird half plop onto the sofa, sliding down the leather to a mostly horizontal position, Kyle Chandler walked past and said "I saw that." I giggled like a giggling thing who has just seen an incredibly HOT man walk past her in a smokin motorcycle jacket. Really, I have a whole new appreciation of leather after this trip.
  • While lounging on a couch, again, mostly horizontal, tap tapping away on my lappytop, Oliver Stone cruised by. No one else noticed him. He was wearing this white suit that seriously looked like he'd raided the costume trailer on the MIAMI VICE TV show.
  • I was hanging in the lounge when Scott Richter, incredible writer, fabulous guy, came breezing through after the awards banquet. I jumped up off the couch (which, I think we've established by now, is no small feat considering how awesome these couches are) and asked him the BIG QUESTION: Well??? (Okay, that may not seem big to you, but it's all about context. Had I given you the rest of the conversation it would have been something like 'Dude, you totally are a finalist for the teleplay competition! You rock beyond all belief! You'd better tell me the minute you find out that you won this thing with your pinky finger and your Grey's Anatomy spec." Well, it was far less surfer dude when I said it, but you get the idea) So, I asked, "Well???" He smiled wide, and that's all I needed. It was epic, man.
  • I watched Terry Rossio twirl his girlfriend around as they danced. That was beautiful.
  • I ran into Will Bingham, winner of the FOX show ON THE LOT over the summer and a friend of my sister's boyfriend (side note: said boyfriend was also in the top 50 for ON THE LOT, but got cut in the top 32. He and Will went to FSU together and Will was in his short/trailer which BF submitted to OTL to get on the show. Yes, there were a lot of acronyms in there. Deal.) It was a bit weird as I was rushing through the lounge, and I turn to look at a guy standing there, and my verbal diahrea took hold and I shouted "Will!" He looked up, and I realized how stupid I was -- he's never met me. He's met my sister though, so I introduced myself and he relaxed, possibly realizing that I was not some weird reality show stalker.
  • I ate a lot of Clif Bars. I highly recommend the new Nectar Cherry Pomegranate.

I'm sure there was more, but like I said, total jumbled blur. I did revel in Brett's success with that Nicholl thingy, basked in the glow of the super successful Julie O'Hora there as a panalist and professional screenwriter, and celebrated the new release of
Deborah Chesher's
book Everybody I Shot is Dead. It's a fantastic book. Buy it at the link above.

There's more to say, but not right now. It was a fabulous trip made more fabulous by my friends, these great people (and I'm not forgetting you, Ryan, Thomas, Tina, Theresa, Ann, and those I met for the first time).

Let's do this again next year. When, hopefully, I'll be a panalist.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Lost in Translation

It's not a new phenomenon. For many years, American producers have taken brilliant British television shows and attempted to translate them for American audiences.

Sometimes, they succeed. "The Office" is probably one of the better success stories. Sometimes they fail ("The Kumars", "Coupling"). But there are two very high profile projects out there waiting in the wings. One we won't see for awhile. BBC America showed "Life on Mars" last year, and now David E. Kelley is creating the American version of that show.

But right now, there's a new experiment. And I want it to succeed very much. But it probably won't, because what American television producers and executives are afraid. I'm sure they wanted to fully embrace the look and feel of "Viva, Blackpool" with their new show "Viva, Laughlin". Right now, based on what I've seen, they are chickening out.

Why don't you decide for yourself?

First, watch this promo from CBS for "Viva Laughlin", which previews this Thursday at 10 PM.

Now, the original. Granted, the CBS clip is short, but you tell me which one is more interesting to watch.

They definitely changed the story for the usage of the song too. Makes it tough to compare, I know...but try.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

CW gives Gossip Girl full season order

Surprise! The CW, despite weak ratings for its new shows, moves first to order the back nine of "Gossip Girl". Article in Variety.

Stay tuned for updated Watch List.

WGA Strike Talk

If you're like me (and you probably are), you're following the strike news pretty closely. The town has gone bonkers in the last week trying to deal with the looming possibility (more like probability).

So, I thought I'd collect a few links to articles which will really help break down what the dealio is with the negotiations and the strike.

First off, if you aren't reading Craig Mazin's blog The Artful Writer, you need to start. Right now. He probably has the single most useful site for newbies to understand WGA politics, the MBA and what is up with this whole strike thing.

An article today I spotted at Mediaweek today. It's more about the TV perspective, which obviously, I care about.

Variety article published yesterday. Details a lot of the recent finger pointing.

A fascinating interview with
Terry George (Hotel Rwanda) where he discusses the strike and his advice to new writers. (George will be at AFF, where I am headed tomorrow!)

The WGA has a page devoted to strike news.

Hey, guess what? The Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers (AMPTP) has a site too. Fun, fun.

Have any other good blogs or articles to add? Please do so in the comments.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Irrational Anxiety

So far, I've had no luck with any of the contests I've entered specs in this year. Austin -- didn't even make it to the second round. Expo -- no dice. Scriptapalooza -- QF one script. PAGE -- nada.

It makes me incredibly nervous about ABC and WB, the two I really want to do well with (obviously). It's starting to make me wonder where I've gone wrong with these specs.

Yeah, yeah, I know. It's subjective. My scripts could be so brilliant they are blinding the readers to their brilliance. Or, maybe I'm just missing something...

Keeping my fingers crossed for the big 2 "contests" left...

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

How the new series fare so far...

(For Nielsen coverage in full, check out Mark Berman's Programming Insider column daily.)

New Show Debut Ratings from last week:

Private Practice (ABC) – Wed. 9 p.m.
Viewers: 14.41 million (#13), A18-49: 5.2/13 (#10)

Bionic Woman (NBC) – Wed. 9 p.m.
Viewers: 13.91 million (#16), A18-49: 5.7/14 (#8)

Big Shots (ABC) – Thurs. 10 p.m.
Viewers: 11.10 million (#29), A18-49: 4.5/12 (#20t)

Dirty Sexy Money (ABC) – Wed. 10 p.m.
Viewers: 10.44 million (#31), A18-49: 3.6/10 (#32t)

Life (NBC) – Wed. 10 p.m.
Viewers: 9.95 million (#34), A18-49: 4.0/11 (#27)

The Big Bang Theory (CBS) – Mon. 8:30 p.m.
Viewers: 9.52 million (#37), A18-49: 3.7. 9 (#30t)

Chuck (NBC) – Mon. 8 p.m.
Viewers: 9.21 million (#42), A18-49: 3.6/ 9 (#32t)

Journeyman (NBC) – Mon. 10 p.m.
Viewers: 9.16 million (#43), A18-49: 3.5/ 9 (#35t)

Moonlight (CBS) – Fri. 9 p.m.
Viewers: 8.54 million (#47), A18-49: 2.5/ 8 (#55t)

Reaper (CW) – Tues. 9 p.m.
Viewers: 3.28 million (#85), A18-49: 1.5/ 4 (#76t)

So far this week, "The Big Bang Theory" held most of its audience from last week, and "Chuck", "Journeyman" and "Reaper" have on par numbers. "Cane" last night had better ratinigs than "Smith" in the time period a year ago. I say it will hold on for a few weeks. So far this bunch of shows look relatively stable.

"Cavemen" and "Carpoolers" last night bowed to unspectacular numbers. Both shows managed a 6.5/10 and a 6.3/10 in the fast nationals. This will probably put them in the top 50 shows of the week, but I don't expect those ratings to hold next week. Both shows were painful to watch.

There are articles all over the web detailing how increased DVR usage impacts the ratings this year. Nielsen has not yet published the live +3 and live +7 day ratings which include the DVR usage. Last year, DVR penetration was at about 8.5%. This year it is estimated to be more than double that, to 19%. 19% of households is roughly equal to 22 million households. That is a significant amount for the ratings picture and could catapult some shows from decent numbers to hit status once the DVR viewership is factored in.

Of course, the advertisers aren't so sure that people using DVRs are seeing their ads (probably not) so they are probably going to take the live +3, live +7 ratings with a grain of salt...

ABC in love with "Cupid" again?

In what may be the strangest resurrection story of the week, ABC has given the greenlight to Rob Thomas ("Veronica Mars") to recreate his show from eight years ago. "Cupid" ran 13 episodes in 1998-99 and put Thomas on the map. It starred Jeremy Piven and developed a cult following over the years.

It's not uncommon for networks to revisit shows which worked and try to revamp them ("Bionic Woman"?) but to take a show that was cancelled so early in its run and try to recreate that? With the same showrunner? This is practically unheard of.

I certainly hope Thomas can find a way to make the show work the second time around. I enjoyed "Cupid" during its original run. Piven won't be back since he's moved on to playing Ari Gold.

Weird. Interesting. Exciting.


Sunday, September 30, 2007

TV Junkie on the air at 4 PM PDT today

I'll be talking about Nielsen ratings -- what they are, how to decipher them, and the impact that a 19% DVR penetration this season (vs. 8% last year) will have on the ratings for primetime.

Podcast will be available here after the live broadcast.

** CANCELLED DUE TO TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES ** We'll try again next week.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Was it just me, or...

...did "Heroes" last night seem a narrative mess?

The story threads were practically incoherent. The only one that made any sense at all was Claire's and that was pushing it.

I'm disappointed.

Oh, and we were told to check out this site to learn more about Hiro's personal hero (who is apparently Julian Sark) Takezo Kensei.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Fall Season Starts in Earnest Tonight

It's time, people. Time to celebrate TV and the glorious return of our favorite shows!

It's also time to start sizing up the new ones.

If you are on the East coast, you can kibbitz about what you watch tonight with me and my mates on Geekerati Radio. West Coast, our show is at 7 so we'll be previewing the new shows and trying desperately to stay spoiler free.

Call in and join the fun! And listen to my scratch throated voice. Yes, I'm still sick.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Writing while fatigued

I'm trying to finish the first draft of my new pilot spec in the next 8 days. Of course, today I'm feeling under the weather. I can barely hold a thought in my head for more than a few seconds (I find even typing passwords to be taxing). This does not bode well for cranking out pages.

Suggestions? I'm already loading up on Vitamin C and chicken noodle soup...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Decent premiere numbers from 'Kid Nation' & 'Kitchen Nightmares'

If you want the latest and greatest on the overnight ratings, visit The Programming Insider Forum daily, about noon Eastern, 9 AM Pacific for the numbers.

Kid Nation underperformed somewhat, considering all the hype. Gossip Girl was nearly a bomb, losing a significant amount of America's Top Model lead-in audience.

Back to You and Kitchen Nightmares were well sampled on Fox.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

'Mad Men' gets a second season

Looks like I can invest the time in the series from this summer, now that it is being renewed.

Link: - AMC set to renew 'Mad Men'

K-Ville has a promising premiere

The premiere numbers were a bit better than the numbers "Vanished" got last year. Whether it holds up in week 2, will really depend on how much it loses from going up against 'Heroes' premiere next week.

And really Jill's breakdown of K-Ville's pilot is a must read for aspiring TV writers.

In fact, her blog is now one of the top ones I read every day. Just too much good insight and analysis to NOT read it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Aaargh, there be squalls n' scribbles ahead...

It's National Talk Like a Pirate Day, me hearties. But I imagine you landlubbers ken that already.

Let yer Jolly Roger fly free today! I may be persuaded to write me latest opus in pirate-speak should the mood strike.

In the immortal words of the greatest pirate of all, Jack Sparrow, "Why is the rum always gone?"

Saturday, September 15, 2007

TV Junkie on the air at 3 PM PDT today

Yep, I'm doing it again -- blathering on about TV for an hour. Call in if you want to chat or argue or make funny noises. 3 PM Pacific / 6 PM Eastern. It'll feed here as a podcast when the broadcast is completed.

Of course, you people all have lives and will be out doing things at 3 o'clock, right??

For me, it's procrastinating once more on writing or cleaning or something important...


Thanks to UNK I've added a new widget. I'm starting to think I'm a widget addict.

Let me know if you like / hate any of the widgets I have (the search, twitter, blogrush, etc)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

And the ground keeps shifting beneath our feet

So, this new media game is ON, people. Two big names in TV Zwick and Herskovitz (ever hear of a little show called "My So-Called Life"? "Once and Again?") are taking a pilot they developed at ABC and shot two years ago revamped, updated, rewrote, and it's going to be distributed through Myspace. AND it will have its very own social networking site (The pilot is called "Quarterlife"). Read the article at Variety today.

Worst new night of the fall season

Wednesday. Particularly, 9 PM.

I was just working on my DVR grid, carefully calculating what will be taped on the various DVRs in my house (I have 3). Wednesday at 9 is a complete logjam -- "Gossip Girl" (CW), "Bionic Woman" (NBC), "Kitchen Nightmares" (Fox), and "Private Practice" (ABC).

Hopefully one of these will get cancelled quickly or I'll hate it so much I can drop it immediately. My money is on "Private Practice" for the show I'll hate, just considering my general disdain for "Grey's Anatomy".

Monday, September 10, 2007

If you find my brain, please call 818-...

I'm not sure I can write a proper blog post at the moment. This weekend I participated in yet another event of pure masochim, the 2nd round of the VISA Invitational via the 48 Hour Film Project. This second round is a Visa sponsored thing -- the top 10 films from Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco (as figured out through some voodoo beyond the #1 and #2 finishers in each city) were invited to participate in another 48 hour marathon to vie for a prize of $10,000. So, being the greedy little b*stards that we are, we eagerly signed right up.

So last time out (in July) we drew Horror as our genre and found a way not to make a slasher/creepy monster film. At least we could make it 6 minutes.

This time, we got three. And we had to use a VISA card as a prop. I think you see where this is going.

So we get the draw at 7 PM Friday night...oh great, we can choose any genre we want! That's oh so helpful, Visa people. Now we have to contemplate what genre to write for an hour. We finally settle on our genre and set to staring at the walls for another hour or so to come up with a story idea. We finished our first draft by 1:30 AM.

This wasn't like our 12 person production last time out. We had 20 people -- 5 actors, twice as many grips, a dolly, a Director and a Cinematographer, a Make up artist...oh and a kick ass location. Of course, with a larger production comes more challenges, and, oh did we have challenges...

But right now, I don't have a brain, so once it's recovered, I'll spew forth the details of the weekend.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Too Much Reading

Taking a UCLA Extension class:

Pros: Deadlines, bonding with fellow writers, great notes and feedback, make progress on a script.

Cons: After 11 weeks and people are writing drafts, there's too much to read!

I'm in a class with 11 other masochists writers, and we are all producing script pages (well, I'm still on my outline...I've been busy!) Each writer is submitting anywhere between 15 to 60 pages. And I have 2 days to read it all. And give coherent notes.

Good thing I don't have a JOB or my own projects or anything to do...

I do have a job. That was sarcasm.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

TBS Renews The Bill Engvall Show

The 06-07 Watch List is winding down. I'll keep updating it, so long as there is news relevant to it, but I expect you'll only care about the new list in another week or two...

The 2006-07 Watch List

Updated 09/07.

Cancelled (new) shows:

  • Blade: The Series (Spike)
  • Smith (CBS)
  • Runaway (CW)
  • 20 Good Years (NBC)
  • Waterfront (CBS) (midseason, never aired)
  • Kidnapped (NBC)
  • Happy Hour (Fox)
  • Vanished (Fox)
  • 3 Lbs (CBS)
  • Help Me Help You (ABC)
  • Justice (Fox)
  • Daybreak (ABC)
  • The Wedding Bells (Fox)
  • The Black Donnellys (NBC)
  • 6 Degrees (ABC)
  • In Case of Emergency (ABC)
  • Andy Barker, P.I. (NBC)
  • The Nine (ABC)
  • Big Day (ABC)
  • Raines (NBC)
  • Drive (Fox)
  • Standoff (Fox)
  • Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (NBC)
  • The Knights of Prosperity (ABC)
  • The Class (CBS)
  • The Winner (FOX)
  • Creature Comforts (CBS)
  • Traveler (ABC)
  • Hidden Palms (CW)
  • John From Cincinatti (HBO)
  • Painkiller Jane (SciFi)
  • Heartland (TNT)
Shows likely to be axed:
    None at this time.
Ordered full season:
    None at this time.
Likely pickups:
    None at this time.
New shows on the air, no decision:

  • The Singles Table (NBC) (will it ever air??)

  • Monarch Cove (Lifetime)
  • The Dresden Files (SciFi)
  • Tyler Perry's House of Payne (TBS)
  • Meadowlands (Showtime)
  • Damages (FX)
  • Greek (ABC Family)
  • Side Order of Life (Lifetime) (resumes airing in Sept)
  • State of Mind (Lifetime) (resumes airing in Sept)
  • Mad Men (AMC)
  • Flash Gordon (SciFi)

Renewed for another season:
  • Eureka (SciFi)
  • Psych (USA)
  • 10 Items or Less (TBS) (summer 07)
  • My Boys (TBS) (gets 3rd season for summer 08)
  • Lincoln Heights (ABC Family) (summer 07)
  • Doctor Who (SciFi)
  • Dexter (Showtime)
  • The Wire (HBO) (last season)
  • The Office (NBC)
  • My Name is Earl (NBC)
  • Heroes (NBC)
  • Law & Order: SVU (NBC)
  • Everybody Hates Chris (CW)
  • Battlestar Galactica (SciFi)
  • House (Fox)
  • Bones (Fox)
  • Prison Break (Fox)
  • The Simpsons (Fox)
  • American Dad (Fox)
  • Family Guy (Fox)
  • Las Vegas (NBC)
  • Nip/Tuck (FX)
  • Grey's Anatomy (ABC)
  • Boston Legal (ABC)
  • Men in Trees (ABC)
  • Brothers & Sisters (ABC)
  • Ugly Betty (ABC)
  • Desperate Housewives (ABC)
  • Lost (ABC)
  • 30 Rock (NBC)
  • The Tudors (Showtime)
  • The Riches (FX)
  • Dirt (FX)
  • Medium (NBC)
  • Blood Ties (Lifetime)
  • Friday Night Lights (NBC)
  • Til Death (Fox)
  • October Road (ABC) (13 episode order)
  • Notes from the Underbelly (ABC) (13 episode order)
  • Law and Order (NBC)
  • Law and Order: Criminal Intent (NBC) (Will go to USA next season)
  • Shark (CBS)
  • The Unit (CBS)
  • How I Met Your Mother (CBS)
  • The New Adventures of Old Christine (CBS)
  • Ghost Whisperer (CBS)
  • Criminal Minds (CBS)
  • CSI (CBS)
  • CSI: NY (CBS)
  • CSI: Miami (CBS)
  • Cold Case (CBS)
  • NCIS (CBS)
  • Without a Trace (CBS)
  • Numb3rs (CBS)
  • Two and a Half Men (CBS)
  • One Tree Hill (CW)
  • Supernatural (CW)
  • Smallville (CW)
  • The Game (CW)
  • Girlfriends (CW)
  • Rules of Engagement (CBS)
  • Jericho (CBS)
  • According to Jim (ABC)
  • Robin Hood (BBC America)
  • Burn Notice (USA)
  • Saving Grace (TNT)
  • Flight of the Conchords (HBO)
  • Army Wives (Lifetime)
  • The Bill Engvall Show (TBS)
  • Californication (Showtime)

Veteran shows death watch:
  • The O.C. (Fox) (cancelled)
  • Stargate: SG-1 (SciFi) (cancelled)
  • King of Queens (CBS) (cancelled)
  • Reba (CW) (cancelled)
  • 7th Heaven (CW) (cancelled)
  • Gilmore Girls (CW) (cancelled)
  • The George Lopez Show (ABC) (cancelled)
  • What About Brian (ABC) (cancelled)
  • Crossing Jordan (NBC) (cancelled)
  • The War at Home (Fox) (cancelled)
  • Veronica Mars (CW) (cancelled)
  • All of Us (CW) (cancelled)
  • Close to Home (CBS) (cancelled)
  • The Loop (Fox) (cancelled)

A brief explanation of the watch list:

Cancelled (new) shows - these are CONFIRMED freshman cancelled shows (or as close as we can get to confirmation).

Shows likely to be axed - their numbers aren't good, news stories point to it being yanked, it may soon end up in the cancelled category.

Ordered full season - this doesn't mean it is renewed for next year, just that the series has gotten a full season order. (e.g., 'back nine' pickup).

Likely pickups - the numbers are good, all we need is the confirmation from the network (again, this is for full season orders, not renewals).

New shows on the air, no decision - consider this the neutral zone, detailing the premiere dates for new shows and tidbits of info which could forecast a move to another category.

Renewed - Will be back next season.

Veteran show death watch - they've been on the air and their time may be coming. We watch and wait...

TV Tonight 9/4

The ABC Family show returns tonight for its 2nd Season. It's not bad, I recommend it since there's nought else on TV tonight...

Saturday, September 01, 2007

What's the Frequency, Shawna?

Special "treat" today -- at 3 PM PST / 6 PM EST. I've decided to do my own Blogtalk Radio Show exclusively about TV. I still plan to appear on Geekerati but I felt like I wanted more time to talk TV, writing and the industry.

So, give me a listen today. Call in and let me know what you think. If you can't listen live, the 'podcast' of the show will be available in the sidebar here or on my Host Page at BTR. I would like your feedback on format, etc...want to know if this is something I should do again!

More unnerving -- I created the show profile yesterday, and Blogtalkradio already pointed me out in their blog as a 'diamond in the rough' people should listen to! Yikes! The pressure is on!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Dink, dink, goose.

The Medium and the House spec got dinked at Austin. The House made it to 2nd round last year.


Meanwhile, this doesn't change anything with all of my super secret happenings...

Friday, August 24, 2007

Friday, August 10, 2007

I'm not kidding with the radio show, people

So, I'm hosting Geekerati next Monday night at 7 PM Pacific time. Our topic is "Treasure or Trash?" as we'll discuss those cinematic, comic, tv, and other media wonders which might be considered either depending on the person. If you'd like to post a list of your treasures or trash, do it here and I'll read it on air, giving you due credit of course. If you only have your screenname and not a real one, well that's what I'm using, so be sure to tell me if you want credit as you or as your phantom internet you.

We'll also be GIVING AWAY -- That's right, FREE one copy of each of the hosts top treasure pick, most likely a DVD, comic or book. All you need to do to be elligible for this giveaway is 1 of 2 things:

1. Post a treasure/trash item here (I also refer to these as no-guilt pleasures of a questionable nature) and leave your email/name/some form of contact info. If you don't want to be public about your treasure, you can email it to me at the address in the sidebar. (And it would be nice if you could give us a know, for the stats).

2. Call in to our show live on Monday night with your treasure/trash and you'll be elligible. If we have more than 3 people, we'll be drawing randomly for winners.

So, tell your friends, your neighbors, or your enemies if you are so inclined. We'd like to see a spike in our listernship this week.

Oh and if you think we suck, feel free to email me that comment.

Final note: if you are an industry type person who wants to talk about a project that would appeal to a geek audience, drop me a line as we are looking for future guests for our show. Topic suggestions are also welcome.

You guys are the best. But you knew this.

Starting from scratch

I know you've been there. You're working on an idea, you've even got it vaguely sketched out in your head. It's a BIG IDEA, and it's daunting. And then you try to cobble it together quickly so you can get some feedback, figure out if you are going in the right direction...

...and you confuse everyone. They barely get it. It's frustrating.

That's where I am right now on the new pilot I'm writing. For some reason, I can't just write a simple little cop show or maybe a nice dramedy. No, I have to go EPIC. It has to be ginormous scope, and little me trying to rein it in, tackle it to the ground and make it do my bidding. I went through hell and back with the last one, and this one looks like it is going to be the same process. The only good news is I went through the wringer once, so at least I know what to expect.

Oh, and by the way this is the *third* pilot idea I've started in a month. The first one wasn't working, the second one was too similar to someone else's, so now here I am, third idea. I was saving this one back because I felt like I needed more time to envision it before putting it on paper.

Looks like I was right. Another high concept idea, comin' right up.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Burn Notice gets another season

I already reported the 'Saving Grace' news, now comes word that 'Burn Notice' is getting 13 more episodes.

Link: Cablers pick up more 'Burn,' 'Grace'

Article: Consumers spend more time with paid media

Mad Pulp Bastard, this story is for you.

From the AP:

A study finds that U.S. consumers are increasingly shifting their attention away from traditional, advertising-supported media in favor of paid entertainment such as video games, the Internet and cable TV.
From 2001 to 2006, the average amount of time spent by the typical consumer on paid media has jumped 19.8 percent, according to a report released Tuesday by Veronis Suhler Stevenson, a media investment firm.

Over the same period, overall time spent with traditional, or ad- supported media such as broadcast television, radio and newspapers declined 6.3 percent, the study found. The researchers said they expect the trend to continue over the next several years.

As of 2006, ad-supported media still had a 53.8 percent share of the total amount of time people spent with media, versus 46.2 percent on for-pay media, which include the Internet, cable and satellite TV, movies seen in theaters, books and recorded music.

At the same time, the study found that the total amount of time spent on all types of media actually declined slightly last year for the first time since 1997, dipping 0.5 percent to an annual total of 3,530 hours.

Leo Kivijarv, vice president of research at PQ Media, a media research consulting firm that worked on the report, said the slight decline came after several years of growth amid rapid adoption of new kinds of hardware and services such as high-speed Internet connections, satellite TV and digital video recorders.

With many of those services now already purchased by those who want them, Kivijarv said that time spent with media had reached a saturation point.

Also, researchers found that users generally spent less time with online media than they did with traditional media such as newspapers. Since people are online more often, that's resulted in an overall decline in total time spent consuming all media.

You just know this will be on the show

From FoxNews:

For the first time in "American Idol" history, a contestant went into labor while waiting with 13,500 hopefuls for her chance to become the next singing superstar.

On Monday, nine months' pregnant Antoria Gillon arrived at Texas Stadium with hopes of becoming the next "American Idol. However, as the time of her audition approached, she realized she was in labor.

Determined not to miss her shot at fame, Gillon sang her heart out while in the midst of severe contractions.

After completing the audition, she was taken to the Medical Center at Lancaster, where she gave birth to a healthy son — whom she named Jamil Labarron Idol McCowan.

Baby Idol arrived early Tuesday morning and weighed 6 pounds, 7 ounces.

Ack! Jane's sharing my brain again!

Lady Jane ponders putting a Brit's dialog in the proper British spelling of words.

I actually did this with my House spec. I was rather pleased with myself. I doubt anyone has noticed. :(

Saving Grace gets 15 more episodes

TNT's press release, below:

TNT’s Critically Acclaimed Hit Series SAVING GRACE Spreads Its Wings Wider as Network Orders 15 Additional Episodes

Provocative New Drama Stars Academy Award® Winner Holly Hunter Series Claims Top Spot as Ad-Supported Cable’s #1 New Series Launch for the Year to Date Among Viewers and Households

TNT’s provocative, critically acclaimed series SAVING GRACE, starring Oscar® winner Holly Hunter, is set to fly ever higher as the network orders an additional 15 episodes, according to an announcement today by Michael Wright, senior vice president in charge of the Content Creation Group for TNT, TBS and TCM. The series launched July 23 with ad-supported cable’s biggest audience for a new series premiere for the year to date. It airs Mondays at 10 p.m. (ET/PT), following THE CLOSER. SAVING GRACE comes to TNT from Fox Television Studios and creator Nancy Miller (Any Day Now), who wrote the pilot and is also executive-producing with Gary A. Randall (A Little Thing Called Murder) and Artie Mandelburg (Leaving L.A.). Hunter also serves as producer.

“SAVING GRACE is wholly original, thought-provoking show with a dynamic, gut-wrenching performance by one of Hollywood’s top actresses at its center,” said Wright. “We’re thrilled at the response to the show and happy that it has connected with its audience. And we’re proud to be extending the run of this exciting new series as it continues to build on its success.”

SAVING GRACE stars Hunter as Grace Hanadarko, an intense and cynical Oklahoma City police detective. Despite being at the top of her field, Grace lives life hard, fast and on the edge. Wicked-smart and tough, she hits bottom one night when she slams into a pedestrian while she is driving drunk. Horrified at the realization of what she’s done, Grace uncharacteristically asks for help and receives it in the form of an unconventional angel named Earl. The journey for both of them will not be an easy one. For Grace, it will bring up life’s most complicated issues. Each episode of SAVING GRACE revolves around a specific case that the detectives are trying to solve, while delving deeper into the characters’ lives. Leon Rippy (Deadwood), Kenneth Johnson (The Shield), Bailey Chase (Las Vegas), Bokeem Woodbine (The Big Hit) and Laura San Giacomo (Just Shoot Me) co-star.

SAVING GRACE premiered July 23 to more than 6.4 million viewers and 4.8 million households, flying to the top of the charts as ad-supported cable’s #1 new series premiere for the year to date, according to data from Nielsen Media Research. The debut episode also joined the list of ad-supported cable’s Top 3 series premieres of all time in household delivery. To date, SAVING GRACE is averaging 5.5 million viewers.

Turner Network Television (TNT), television’s destination for drama and one of cable’s top-rated networks, offers original movies and series, including the acclaimed detective drama The Closer, starring Golden Globeâ winner and Emmy® and Screen Actors Guild Awardsâ nominee Kyra Sedgwick; Saving Grace, a provactive new drama starring Oscar® winner Holly Hunter; and the epic television event The Company, executive-produced by Ridley Scott and starring Chris O’Donnell, Michael Keaton and Alfred Molina. TNT is also home to powerful one-hour dramas, such as Without a Trace, Law & Order, Las Vegas, Cold Case, ER, Charmed and Judging Amy; broadcast premiere movies; compelling prime-time specials, such as the Screen Actors Guild Awards; and championship sports coverage, including NASCAR and the NBA. TNT is also available in high-definition.

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, is a major producer of news and entertainment product around the world and a leading provider of programming for the television industry.

Fun with search terms

I love when strange searches hit my site. Always fun. Sadly, doesn't happen as much as I'd like. I'm sure Brett gets cooler searches because he puts the weirdest tags on his posts. Usually searches for '[blank] show cancelled' are the norm here.

Today I got TWO odd requests...first up, apparently Scott Gardenhour has something going on, because there were no less than 6 google searches for him hitting my page. Scott, you owe me money.

Second was even better-- "jack bauer insurance". I don't know if the person is trying to find out *if* Jack Bauer has insurance, or if he is a coincidentally named insurance agent, or maybe it's a new brand of insurance (When you need to save the world in 24 hours, be sure you carry Jack Bauer Life Insurance! Accidental Death and Dismemberment not available in all states).

"Dammit! I forgot to pay my premium!!"

Monday, August 06, 2007

Listen to Geekerati Radio tonight...please?

I'm trying to make this easier for people to find. Every Monday night, other geeks and me talk about geeky things in a geeky way. You know you wanna hear that. And we very often give away stuff!! C'mon! What isn't to love about free stuff??

Never miss another episode -- subscribe!

Add to iTunes

Listen right now! And of course there's "extended radio time" on the podcast.

I Have a Talk Show

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Curses! I've been tagged!

Julie tagged me specifically for a 'ten things you don't know about me' meme. Usually I ignore any of them which say 'I tag you all in general if you haven't done this' because, frankly, I don't like being lumped in with the mob. But Julie must know this, and in her super-sneaky fashion she called me out. Bitch.

Okay, so ten things you may (but hopefully don't) know about me...

1. My sister and I share the same birthday 3 years apart. Yes, I realize some of you already know this. Sue me.

2. In my youth, I collected postcards. There was a time when I didn't travel much, and I craved seeing postcards from exotic locales. I also almost religiously bought a postcard, no matter where we visited. I finally quit around high school, when I figured out it was kind of lame. I also collected stamps for awhile.

3. You can still find usenet posts I made and IRC logs that mention me dating back to 1993.

4. In high school and college, I competed on speech teams. In high school I primarily did acting competitions, in college I used to enter "pentathalon" competions, for which I did Extemporaneous speaking, Impromptu speaking (yes, they are different), Informative speaking, Persuasive speaking, Rhetorical Criticism and Dramatic Duet acting. I'd always drop my weakest one for the Pentath. I went to Nationals one year for Persuasive speech and for Dramatic Duet acting.

5. When I was six years old, I won best costume in the Pumpkin Princess Pageant in Morton, Illinois, pumpkin capital of the world. My grandmother made me a saloon girl costume for the western themed festival. My sister won the same award two years later for her Little Bo Peep costume.

6. I can write backwards and upside down. (and I'm left handed) This is how I used to write notes to my best friend in high school. We also had our own heiroglypic code we used for notes.

7. I once had to fetch a newspaper for Gene Siskel. I was working on a radio program in Orlando on which he was a guest, and they needed a paper to look up the film listings. I went out in the rain to get one from a machine. I think of all famous people I have personally met, this is the only one I met who died not long after.

8. I once sang backup on a demo CD for a songwriter in Orlando. I sang lead on one song.

9. I have a lot of scars. If you read my right knee, left elbow and left knee in that order, my scars spell "OIL".

10. This tenth thing...well, I'm going to be cryptic. There's some...'stuff' happening. Good stuff. Very very good stuff. But I'm far from a point where I can talk about it. I promise that when the time comes, I will have quite a story to tell. So for now this continues to be 'something you don't know about me.' But you will know. You will know.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Summer Series Showing Success

Don't you love alliteration??

So, "The Closer" got renewed by TNT for a 4th season today.

ABC Family ordered the back 10 episodes for "Greek" to air TBD.

News looks positive (so far) for "Saving Grace" and "Burn Notice".

I guess I need to start a new friggin' Watch List.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Updates from the Con

I'm doing live updates from the convention. Follow me in the sidebar with my Twitter account.

It's crazy here. That sums up a lot.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Twitter now enabled

I've set up a Twitter account so I can report on the happenings at Comic-con in real time.

If you want to follow me at the site, look for 'TeelaJBrown'.

Fun begins tomorrow!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

My new movieweb column

is up. Chit chat about summer tv. I also have a review of "The Bill Engvall" show up. I laughed a few times, so I will probably tune in to see if the show really finds its legs.

Academy of Television Arts & Sciences

It's Emmy Time.

'Friday Night Lights' doesn't make the cut (boo!)

But Minnie Driver of FX 'The Riches' does (really?) Connie Britton is robbed!

More thoughts later. I have to get to work.

Update: Just saw the writing categories. Wow.

The best 'Lost' episode of the year made it...and BSG gets a nom! (HUGE!)...and three Sopranos episodes. No House. No 24. No Heroes. No Friday Night Lights. No CSI (the finale was really good).

And Boston Legal gets a nom for drama this year?? I mean, it's a good show, but... *sigh*

Monday, July 16, 2007

NBC Press release - fall premiere dates and schedule changes

(I'll be creating the new watch list very soon!)


New Drama "Chuck" Kicks Off Mondays (8-9 p.m. ET) and "Deal or No Deal" Shifts to Fridays (8-9 p.m. ET) Leading into "Friday Night Lights" (9-10 p.m. ET) Followed by "Las Vegas" (10-11 p.m. ET)

"The Biggest Loser" Expands to 90 Minutes on Tuesdays and Shares the Night with Summer Hit "The Singing Bee," New Addition to Fall Lineup

One-hour Episodes of "My Name Is Earl" (8-9 p.m. ET) and "The Office" (9-10 p.m. ET) Premiere on Thursday, September 27

BURBANK – July 16, 2007 – NBC launches its season premieres the week of September 24. The network will adjust its schedule by moving the new comedic spy thriller "Chuck" to Mondays (8-9 p.m. ET) – followed by switching the popular Monday version of "Deal or No Deal" to Fridays (8-9 p.m. ET), and shifting "Friday Night Lights" to an earlier new time of 9-10 p.m. (ET) and " Las Vegas" to 10-11 p.m. (ET).

In addition, NBC will expand "The Biggest Loser" to 90 minutes on Tuesdays (8-9:30 p.m. ET) and will have a special two-hour premiere on Tuesday, Sept. 11. Summer's newest hit, "The Singing Bee" (which premiered earlier this month), will have its Fall premiere on Tuesday, September 25 (9:30-10 p.m. ET).

NBC's premiere week will also feature one-hour episodes each of "My Name Is Earl" (8-9 p.m. ET) and "The Office" (9-10 p.m. ET) on Thursday, September 27 and a two-hour episode premiere of "Las Vegas" on Friday, September 28 (9-11 p.m. ET).

The announcements were made by Ben Silverman, Co-Chairman, NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios, and Marc Graboff, Co-Chairman, NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios.

"We can't wait for the new season to begin and we believe that these programming changes will allow for a powerhouse Monday night with 'Chuck,' 'Heroes' and 'Journeyman,'" said Silverman. "On Tuesdays, the 90-minute 'The Biggest Loser' has always performed well and will fit perfectly with our new summer hit 'The Singing Bee.' On Fridays, we can hammock 'Friday Night Lights' between two proven hits – 'Deal or No Deal' and 'Las Vegas,' with new cast member Tom Selleck."

Said Graboff: "We like that we can start our season off strong with hour-long episodes of such comedy favorites as 'Earl' and 'The Office.' Coupled with the dynamo of 'Sunday Night Football,' we will have a very potent fall lineup and these schedule adjustments will only make us stronger."

All of NBC's primetime entertainment series will bow during the week of September 24 with the exception of "The Biggest Loser" (Tuesday, September 11), "30 Rock" (Thursday, October 4), "Friday Night Lights" (Friday, October 5) and "Scrubs" (Thursday, October 25).

In addition, "Deal or No Deal" will premiere on Monday, September 17 (8-9 p.m. ET) -- one final time in its previously announced day and time before moving to Fridays (8-9 p.m. ET) on September 28.

Likewise, "Friday Night Lights" was previously scheduled for Fridays (10-11 p.m. ET) and "Las Vegas" (9-10 p.m. ET) on the same night before swapping time periods.

On September 24, NBC tees up its new season on Mondays (8-9 p.m. ET) with "Chuck," a new hour-long series from executive producer Josh Schwartz ("The O.C.") and executive producer-director McG ("Charlie's Angels," "We Are Marshall"), who deliver a comedic spy thriller about Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi, "Less Than Perfect") -- a computer geek who is catapulted into a new career as the government's most vital secret agent. Then comes the much-anticipated second-season debut of "Heroes" (9-10 p.m. ET) as the epic ensemble drama centers on several ordinary people who possess extraordinary abilities.

Monday, September 24 will also serve as the premiere of the new drama "Journeyman" (10-11 p.m. ET). From Emmy Award-winning writer-producer Kevin Falls ("The West Wing") and Emmy Award-winning director-producer Alex Graves ("The West Wing"), "Journeyman" is a romantic mystery-drama about Dan Vasser (Kevin McKidd, "Rome"), a San Francisco newspaper
reporter and family man who inexplicably begins to travel through time and change people's lives.

Tuesdays mark the beginning of a new season of "The Biggest Loser" (8-10 p.m. ET) starting September 11 as the popular competitive weight-loss series boasts a few new twists. "The Singing Bee," introduced earlier this month, is hosted by Joey Fatone (*NSYNC) as it challenges contestants to not only sing a song – but compels them to sing the words
correctly. The variety-competition series will join the fall lineup on September 25.

The perennial favorite "Deal or No Deal" (8-9 p.m.) jump-starts Wednesdays beginning September 25 with host Howie Mandel, whose provocative series title question: "Deal – or no deal?" – has become a national catchphrase. The new "Bionic Woman" (9-10 p.m. ET) stars Michelle Ryan ("EastEnders") as a young woman whose life is radically altered and empowered after a car crash as it debuts on September 25. Also on the same night, the new drama "Life" (10-11 p.m. ET) features a complex police detective (Damian Lewis, "Band of Brothers") who's given a second chance on the force after serving years in prison for a crime he didn't commit.

"My Name Is Earl" (8-9 p.m. ET) and the Emmy Award-winning "The Office" (9-10 p.m. ET) will break out of the gate in a big way on Thursday, September 27 as each premieres with an hour-long episode. The 14th season debut of "ER" follows (10-11 p.m. ET).

The two-hour premiere of "Las Vegas" (9-11 p.m. ET) will follow the new Friday-night "Deal or No Deal" (8-9 p.m. ET) on September 28.

As it did during last fall, "Football Night in America" (7-8 p.m. ET) and "Sunday Night Football" (8-11 p.m. ET) will dominate on autumn Sundays.

Catching up

If it's Monday, I must be on Geekerati Radio at 7 PM PDT (in about 30 minutes from now)

Why not give us a listen? We're giving dvds away tonight! Details for tonight's show from Christian's blog Cinerati:

Have you ever wondered, "what's so special about DVD special editions?" Well the geeks at Geekerati Radio will be discussing that very question tonight at 7pm Pacific. Joining the Geeks will be film critic David Chute who will be discussing his commentary tracks on KING BOXER and ONE ARMED SWORDSMAN. Chute was joined by Quentin Tarantino in his commentary on KING BOXER.

Come and join in on the conversation, you might even walk away with a free copy of a movie.

I Have a Talk Show

Found out today that the short film I co-wrote with my friend Bernie for the 48 Hour Film Festival made the 'Best of L.A.' screening! If you are interested in seeing it and the other 15 films, here are the details for the screening:

"Best of Los Angeles 48HFP"
Screening and Awards Ceremony
Saturday, July 21, 8:30 p.m.
Fine Arts Theatre
8556 Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

Note: We've made arrangements for $2.00 parking in the basement of the
Flynt building on Wilshire and La Cienega.

Here are the Best Films of Los Angeles 2007:
"Asian Arrow 4: Back from Sheboygan" by All Together Now
"Buddy System" by Genesis Films
"Breakdown" by Tri-County Lawnbowling Association
"Chips" by Zip Quink
"Cookie De Mayo" by Cultural Detritus
"A Homecoming" by The TCS
"Life After Life" by Tickle Party
"Limbo" by Time Lapse Productions
"The Lunch" by Team Plaid
"Mickey & Mike" by Bucks Boys
"Project 96B" by Soapbox
"Serial Dating" by Wilcox Films <--- WE ROCK!! YAY US!!!
"Til Death Does His Part" by White Maria
"Trust" by Jeffrogee
"World Domination for Beginners" by Biscuits & Gravy
"Writers Do It Alone" by Rabid Manatees

I've really started work on a new pilot spec now. And the other pilot is 'out there'. More news when it happens...