Friday, February 29, 2008

Stuff I'm thinking about

I haven't posted my own thoughts on things in awhile. A lot of what I do is report TV news and happenings, link to other blogs...but of course, what's a blog's worth if I don't blather on a bit myself? I might as well just have a news aggregator up and running.

So, the TV landscape is a bit of a mess, not that it's a big surprise. We all expected some turmoil coming out of the strike, but current events show there is a great deal of uncertainty out there, both for the networks and the writers.

Let's look at some of the recent events. NBC announces a "52-week" season. First, someone should tell Zucker that sounds silly to anyone not in television (and some of us who are in TV). There are no weeks were there's no TV. TV is already 52 weeks, and I get that he's trying to differentiate between fall season premieres and premieres that can occur all year round. But think about it. When was the last time you saw a network show premiere outside of fall? How about ALL THE TIME. So, this big, daring announcement really amounts to NBC saying "We're tired of pouring money into cool pilots that turn into crappy shows. Now we're just gonna skip the cool pilot step and just make crappy shows." At least, that's what came through on my Zucker-Interpreter Relay (patent pending).

Quarterlife bombed on NBC, big time. Worst ratings in the 10 PM time slot in 17 years. Quite an achievement. Here's the thing. NBC schedules the show for 10 o'clock. It's called *quarterlife*, meaning, 25 year olds. Who is your target audience for this show? I'm telling you, anyone over age 30 -- not interested. The people who are really going to be into this show are young, hence, popularity on the internets. And it's on late. On NBC. Which most young hipsters ARE NOT WATCHING. To me, this boils down to programming error. NBC misread the audience for the show, and didn't give it the timeslot it needed to build an audience. Well, that and I think the show is boring and inconsequential. And I liked "My So-Called Life" and "Once and Again". Bravo will now air this series, but there was a reason ABC didn't pick this up as a pilot ages ago. It sucked.

The new ABC/NBC wrestling match over "Scrubs". Funny how NBC is the focus of the first three items. Pattern, mayhaps? ABC is the instigator on this one. This is personal for Steve McPherson. He developed Scrubs at ABC Studios, loves it to death. He wanted it last season, but couldn't get it. When NBC didn't order the 6 episodes that were left for this season, opting to keep the series to 12, McPherson saw an opportunity. Of course, I think both networks are idiots on this score. Look, I know the show has a lot of fans still, but it's a show no one cares about anymore. ABC picking it up would just be another (very costly) mistake for the network. NBC keeping it just to spite ABC would be ridiculous, liking poking oneself in the eyeball hoping that people won't see *you* as a result. The show should get one or two episodes, promote the heck out of the end of the show (or better, just make it an hour-long finale), book it for end of sweeps and send the show off into the sunset. Instead, the show will probably get renewed one more time, and it will die a slow, painful death with minuscule ratings. I weep for Zach Braff.

Showrunner roulette. Lots of changes everywhere! The Dexter showrunner moves to Dirty Sexy Money! The creators/showrunners for Women's Murder Club -- fired! (Fear not, they'll be writing for Whedon on "Dollhouse"). Moonlight's showrunner -- gone! And worse, Joel Silver will oversee the last three episodes (what the heck does Joel Silver really know about running a tv show??) I don't know if all of these changes were needed or not. Some of them are probably good changes, others...I don't know -- I can't imagine it's spite on the part of the studios/networks. Sure the showrunners stood in solidarity with their writing staffs, but even though they shirked their non-writing duties to walk the line, it seems unlikely that a grudge would be held against them for that. But then, I'm not a studio/network person. I only have a Zucker Intepreter Relay (patent pending), not a Studio/Network Minion Mind Reading Device (blueprints available).

What to make of all this? I wish I knew. I'm personally waiting on the fence -- I reported (finally) that I have a pilot optioned. Now I'm waiting to see when my producer people will enter the fray with said pilot. Things are a bit jumbled at the moment. No one knows when "pilot season" will start again, or if it really will be a "52-week" season (thanks Zucker!)

Here's what I do know. TV will continue on. The networks may not be able to pull 15 to 20 shares on its shows these days (unless you are Idol or Deal or No Deal) but that doesn't mean they won't continue to try to find shows that can pull that kind of audience. So, we, as aspiring writers, soldier on, work on our specs, our pilots, our dreams.

I really loathe the word "Change" right now (overused by just about everyone). Things are constantly changing -- it's a matter of when you sit up and take notice that things aren't the same. Changes are happening in this industry. It's important to be on top of them, embrace them, meet them head on. Don't be afraid to try different things. Clearly the marketplace is wide open.

Let's see what we can do with it.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

'Scrubs' moving to ABC

Wow. Big story. ABC needs comedies BADLY!

Linkn: Scrubs moving to ABC

UPDATE: Apparently, NBC isn't too happy about this possible move and are fighting back. I love a good tussle! And as Shawn says, weird that it is over a show on its last legs...

New Media words of Wisdom

Courtesy of half of "Ask a Ninja".

Link: Memo To ABC, embrace your audience « Kent’s Official Blog

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Quick news roundup

NBC's "Las Vegas" sevens out (that's canceled for those of you not hip to the gamble-speak).

CBS renews "The Ghost Whisperer", but "Moonlight" still waits for news and a new showrunner!

"Friday Night Lights" -- not quite dead yet.

USA renews "Monk".

TBS likes "Frank TV".

NBC has ordered 6 more episodes of "Lipstick Jungle".

ABC has given "Women's Murder Club" 3 more episodes.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Fox overhauls schedule for spring

Wow, some major changes ahead to the Fox schedule. Program your DVRs accordingly. Per The Futon Critic:

Mondays (March 10-April 7)
8:00/7:00c - "Canterbury's Law" (New Series)
9:00/8:00c - "New Amsterdam" (New Series)

Monday, April 14
8:00/7:00c - "Bones" (New Episode)
9:00/8:00c - "New Amsterdam" (Season Finale)

Monday, April 21
8:00/7:00c - "Bones" (New Episode)
9:00/8:00c - "House" (Repeat)

Mondays (April 28-May 19)
8:00/7:00c - "Bones" (New Episodes)
9:00/8:00c - "House" (New Episodes)

Wednesdays (March 12-April 2)
8:00/7:00c - "The Moment of Truth"
9:00/8:00c - "American Idol"

Wednesday, April 9
8:00/7:00c - "Idol Gives Back" (Two-Hour Special)

Wednesdays (April 16-May 14)
8:00/7:00c - "'Til Death" (New Episodes)
8:30/7:30c - "Back to You" (New Episodes)
9:00/8:00c - "American Idol"

Wednesday, May 21
8:00/7:00c - "American Idol" (Two-Hour Season Finale)

Thursday, May 8
8:00/7:00c - "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" (New Episode)
9:00/8:00c - "Don't Forget the Lyrics" (Season Finale)

Thursday, May 15
8:00/7:00c - "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" (Two-Hour Season Finale)

Watch List will be updated with the premiere dates.

NBC unveils year-round slate

Hugely important article in Variety today. NBC will announce a 52-week schedule in April:

For three days in April, Ben Silverman and Marc Graboff, co-chairmen of NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios, will meet in New York with ad-agency executives and media buyers to go over the network's 2008-09 programming strategy.

Following those sessions, NBC U's sales execs will engineer a series of client meetings in N.Y., Los Angeles and Chicago to talk not only about the year-round programming on NBC but ad buys across all of NBC U's networks, including USA, Sci Fi Channel, Bravo, MSNBC, CNBC and Telemundo.

These give-and-takes will build to a May 12 "spotlight event" that "will showcase the full scale of the NBC U offerings in a unique, multi-media, interactive environment."


Monday, February 18, 2008

Weekly Geekerati show reminder...this week in particular

Tonight at 7 PM Pacific / 10 PM Eastern our special guest is the Kung Fu Monkey himself, John Rogers. As mentioned in my previous post, John has a show in production for TNT called LEVERAGE, produced be Dean Devlin. We'll be talking to him tonight, one of his first conversations ANYWHERE about this new show.

We'll also talk about his other projects, Blue Beetle, hey, maybe even "Transformers"!

Join us tonight.

Listen to Geekerati  on internet talk radio

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

TNT, Showtime pick up pilots

TNT announced today that it has picked up "Leverage" from Dean Devlin and John Rogers to air later this year.

Showtime has announced it has greenlit "Possible Side Effects", a pilot Tim Robbins will direct. They have also picked up "The United States of Tara", written by current writer darling Diablo Cody and produced by Steven Spielberg.

Showtime renewed Brotherhood for another season...and this info from Hollywood Reporter:

Showtime has also lined up its spring and summer schedule, setting palace drama "The Tudors" as a lead-in for new variety show "Tracey Ullman's State of the Union" on March 30 and packaging "Weeds' and recent British acquisition "Secret Diary of a Call Girl" for June 16.

But returning David Duchovny romantic dramedy "Californication" likely won't debut until after the Summer Olympics in August, execs said Wednesday, essentially making the show a fall series. The series debuted last year in mid-August.
More news as it happens...which appears to be a lot this week! (Wonder why...)

More post-strike scuttlebutt

2/13 Lots of Updates!

Here are the tidbits being posted around the web on various sites and in notes I've gotten from people 'in the know':


* UPDATE: Shark is going back into production for four episodes, return date TBD. "The Unit" is still on hiatus.

* Cane is also a bubble show -- no requests for episodes from them, but pickup is still a possibility.

* The New Adventures of Old Christine and Rules of Engagement - also unknown if they will be picked up for next season -- bubble. UPDATE: Rules of Engagement will produce 6 more episodes for this season, return date is April 14.

* Moonlight might get 4 new episodes this spring,and will return to the schedule on April 11.

* Swingtown will go back into production. Air date is TBD.

* How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men each get 9 new episodes. All will return on March 17.

Other CBS shows, episodes ordered and return to air date:

"CSI: Miami," March 24, 8 episodes

"Cold Case," March 30, 5 episodes

"Criminal Minds," April 2, 7 episodes

"CSI: NY," April 2, 7 episodes

"CSI," April 3, 6 episodes

"Without a Trace," April 3, 6 episodes

"Ghost Whisperer," April 4, 6 episodes

"Numb3rs," April 4, 6 episodes

"NCIS," April 8, 7 episodes


* Word is that Prison Break won't shoot more episodes.

* Also rumor that 24 might get pushed to January 2009!! UPDATE: Still hearing this.

* House will push out 5 or 6 more episodes, and Fox isn't afraid to extend their spring season a bit to accommodate past May sweeps.

* Back to You and 'Til Death are expected to go back into production for a few more episodes this season.


* Chuck and Heroes will likely not produce any more episodes this season, but will return in the fall. No word on whether additional episodes will be tacked on to next season (this may happen to some shows being cut short this season).

* The Office and 30 Rock are expected to resume production.


* Lost will probably only eke out another 6 episodes or so. There were supposed to be 16 for the shortened seasons, so a few episodes may get added to the next two seasons, making them 17 or 18 episode seasons to accommodate the story-telling (still speculative)

* Boston Legal is expected to resume production, and may be quickest back to air with new episodes, as apparently David Kelley works really fast cranking out scripts (hat tip: Hollywood Reporter for several of these items)

* Women's Murder Club is really on the bubble. Three executive producers were let go from the show yesterday. Big Shots looks really dead.

The CW:

* Gossip Girl has already been picked up for next season. No word yet on production schedule (though probably won't have new episodes until fall).

* Girlfriends was aired its last original episode, but no more are expected to be produced since this was the show's final season. There is talk of a final episode -- possibly a clip show -- to give the show a proper send off (will add this cancellation to watch list).

* Aliens in America had already shot 18 episodes, likely won't get more produced for spring. Everybody Hates Chris produced their 22-episode order, and both series still have fresh episodes to be aired. The Game is expected to go back into production for a few episodes.

* Smallville, Supernatural, Reaper and One Tree Hill are expected to go back into production. No word on how many episodes will be produced.

Will update rumors/confirm news as it happens.

Monday, February 11, 2008

ABC starts to pick up some stuff

Woohoo! Real newsy news to talk about! So, ABC came out of the gate letting us all in on which shows they'd be renewing for next season (read: pushing off too much production until fall)

Hollywood Reporter published the following:

The list include juggernauts "Desperate Housewives," "Grey's Anatomy" and "Lost" (which is in the first year of a three-season pickup), sophomore series "Brothers & Sisters" and "Ugly Betty" as well as freshmen "Private Practice" "Pushing Daisies," "Samantha Who?" and "Dirty Sexy Money."

The returning series all have been picked up for a full season.

Meanwhile, the four first-year shows, which all had already been picked up for the back nine, have received 13-episode orders. It is expected that, with the possible exception of "Samantha Who?," they won't air any new episodes this season, with extra produced segments added to their run in the fall.

So, what's missing? "Boston Legal", "Men in Trees", "October Road", "Carpoolers", "Cavemen" and "According to Jim", for starters. "Big Shots" looks to be dead at this point. I think it is still too soon to write off "Women's Murder Club" or "Cashmere Mafia".

I can update the watch list again! What a great day! :-D

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Josh Friedman is back

Rather like a sighting of Haley's Comet every 72 years, Josh Friedman has posted again. Some good stuff, too.

Monday, February 04, 2008


It's good to know people are still reading the blog...or at least stopping by to annoy me to post something. Trouble is, I'm completely wiped out.

The strike. My new job. Britney Spears. Super Tuesday. All just drops in the bucket, but all taken collectively with everything else in the world, and I am just overloaded.

Call in 'Online O.D.'

I'm seriously spent, mentally. I wasn't sure why until I had to spend about 20 hours fixing the at home DSL after upgrading to high speed (thanks Earthlink!) While I was stressed to the gills trying to fix my onramp to the info super-highway (thanks Al Gore!) I was actually relieved to be out of touch for a whole 24 hours. Sure, there was anxiety...that happens to all addicts in withdrawl, but once the shakes diminished, I felt euphoric. It was like the shackles around my wrists had disappeared, and I was free.

Of course, once I was able to connect to the rest of the world again, my addiction came back full on. But this time, I have the knowledge of my addiction...and I am left empty with each email, web page, or blog post I read or write.

So, just to sate your hunger for 'stuff from me', here's my quick hits:

* THE STRIKE - Please, for the love of God, let this be the beginning of the end.

* LOST - Good buildup. Interesting stuff going on, as usual. At least I feel like the writers have the map in front of them and their road is marked.

* ELI STONE - Not as bad as I thought it would be. Actually enjoyed it near the end. Will watch again this week.

* SUPER BOWL - Meh. Didn't care for either team, but I found myself rooting for the Pats as I found more and more people were rooting for the Giants, and not because they *like* the Giants...more because they didn't want the Patriots to get their perfect season. I am actually ruminating on this phenomenon a lot. Maybe I'll even post about it at some point...

* HOUSE - Loved it. Still such an awesome show. Really doesn't get the kudos it deserves...

* BRITNEY SPEARS - Girl, there are people in this world who really do care what happens to you. Listen to them. Get some help. I really don't want to see you be a trainwreck anymore. The tabloids love it, but screw them. Get better.

* SUPER TUESDAY - Okay! Fine! Everyone (except Hollywood Park) wants me to vote for those Propositions to get more money from the Indian Casinos and grant them more slots. Just go away after tomorrow, please!!

* EARTHLINK - I wish I knew how to quit you.

* MY NEW JOB - Busy. Like, they are making me earn my ridiculous salary busy. Bastards.

I promise to come back and say something else this week. Maybe more than a couple of words.