Would you buy a show from Bad Robot?
Are you making a deal with the brilliant team behind the top 20 hit Lost? And does the fact that we have now switched that qualifier from top 5, to top 10, to top 20 cause any concern? Or are you making a deal with the team that so bungled Alias that by the end of the run it was almost an act of charity for ABC to even air the show? Seriously. May 17th, 2006, Alias is the #5 show in its time slot behind Deal Or No Deal (NBC), Bones (Fox), The Amazing Race (CBS), AND Next Top Model (UPN), only managing to beat out the movie Final Destination 2 (WB).
Six Degrees? That one managed to stumble through six episodes before being pulled from the schedule. In its last airing it managed to hold on to just 36% of the Grey's Anatomy lead in. And then there is What About Brian. It is still on the air, but let's be honest. Last week Beauty and the Geek had more viewers than Brian. They don't make enough spin to not make that bad news.
So the question becomes, how many do-overs is a hit show worth? Bad Robot has a bona-fide hit with Lost. So do they get a pass on the Alias debacle, the Six Degrees implosion, and the floundering What About Brian? Clearly, nobody is perfect. The history of TV is littered with things like Stephen J. Cannell's Tenspeed and Brown Shoe, Aaron Spelling's The Heights, or Dick Wolf's Conviction. But then, those producers/production companies all have multiple hit shows in their bag as well.
I'm starting to think that there might be a whole lot more than just ABC's Wednesday night riding on Lost's return in a few weeks. With the decline in viewers the show has already had, and the move to a less lucrative time slot to dodge Idol, might future Bad Robot productions be on the line? Or am I just over thinking things? After all, Simon Cowell has managed to sell four different shows to four different networks despite the fact that only one of them has seen a second season.
And if you think performance of past shows isn't necessarily relevant, that the idea for the new show is what matters, I can get on board with that. But I would have one question. Do you think a network should look for some kind of guarantee that the show isn't going to be abandoned by the creative team that starts it? It's a pretty common theory that a lot of the problems with some of these shows is the result of changeover behind the scenes. I'd go so far as to say that the two best writers Lost has had can now be found at 24 and Medium. I suppose you can't blame Abrams for striking while the iron is hot, but at some point, someone is going to call him on the consequences.