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October 9, 2015

Back To You producer never wanted to be on FOX anyway

by Bob Sassone, posted May 13th 2008 8:02AM

Back To YouI think Back To You producer Steven Levitan is echoing the sentiments of many TV viewers when he says about the show's cancellation, "we were surprised, but not shocked...nothing surprises me with [FOX Broadcasting] anymore."

As we told you earlier, FOX decided to dump Back To You but keep 'Til Death. This surprised many fans of the show, as they thought that out of the two of them FOX would probably go with the Kelsey Grammer/Patricia Heaton/Fred Willard show instead of the Brad Garrett/Joely Fisher show. Funny how Garrett played Heaton's brother-in-law on Everybody Loves Raymond and now it's his show being renewed while she is kicked to the curb.

Levitan says that the show was on the wrong network from the beginning, but that he and his team take full responsibility for being talked into the deal. ABC and CBS were interested, but Levitan says that "FOX had the better deal and lots of big promises they didn't keep."

There is one glimmer of hope in all this: Levitan is shopping the show around to other networks, including CBS. Who knows if that will work out, but I can picture the show in the Monday night lineup of comedies (not sure where it would fit but I can imagine it in the mix).

[via TV Tattle]

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All this really goes to show one thing. You can have the most talented actors, but without great writing, it doesn't work. It's all about the writing. It always is.

May 13 2008 at 9:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Riley Freeman

back to you was funny. 2 things i didnt like. them replacing the daughter the original was better. and second them firing the fake spanish weather girl. she was eye candy and it was funny how the news manager guy used to always sweat bullets over her. i liked her inolved there. too bad hopefully it gets picked up. and i DONT see it on monday it was fine where it was. monday has wayyyy too much going on at various point of the year theres heroes, 24, wrestling, how i met your mother, 2 and a half men, rules of engagement, big bang theory now those are the shoes i watch. for other people theres prison break and im sure other shows. i dont get why people overload monday its too much crap too watch i dont need anything else to be added cuz if it is i would stop watching back to you cuz all those other shows are more important to me. oh and i forgot to mention football

May 13 2008 at 4:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well I'm glad they have only themselves to blame... oh wait they are blaming Fox.

If they knew the network was such an ass why go to it when two other networks wanted it?

CBS however would have killed the show, their standards are too high. However ABC would fit perfectly. They now can have Samantha Who, Shrubs, and Back to You.

May 13 2008 at 3:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It was a show that had a great cast with a solid pedigree but delivered a creatively mediocre result. Factor in the cost of the people involved and it wasn't a completely ridiculous decision by Fox though they still struggle to launch a successful comedy since Malcolm flamed out.

Could we please have a moratorium on the Arrested Development as the show that didn't get a fair shake by Fox. Yes, it's scheduling was inconsistent but it did receive awards, strong promotion and THREE seasons. It was a good show that had 2 great seasons and 1 off one (season 2) but just couldn't connect to a mass audience.
I consider Sports Night an equal tragedy in comedy to Arrested.

May 13 2008 at 2:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to 1iPete's comment

I completely agree. Everyone hells at Fox for AD and that show just couldn't get an audience. It had comericals and was after The Simpsons when it first came on. The ratings were lower than 4 million viewers and yet Fox still gave the show 3 seasons.

Same with Sports Night. Season 1 ended perfectly but ABC wanted to give it a try with season 2 and it still didn't work. Well with season 2 it was ABC's fault, but they at least gave the show a second season.

May 13 2008 at 4:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Of the two, Til Death brings the funny on a regular basis, whereas Back To You is just somewhat funny on a limited basis. Til Death is the better show, and it's great to see Fox realize this.

Just because a show has veteran actors doesn't mean its any good. Remember that show from a year or two ago with John Lithgow and Jeffrey Tambor "Twenty Good Years"? Two brilliant actors, horrendous show.


May 13 2008 at 1:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It always seemed like an NBC show to me with Grammer and Levitan involved. It just has that FRASIER/JUST SHOOT ME/NEWSRADIO feel that says NBC...to me.

May 13 2008 at 11:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lucyfan62's comment
Joey Geraci

It doesn't fit at all with NBC's current mix of excellent comedies.

While the show may have sucked, Levitan's comments about FOX are spot on. Hopefully his comments will push more producers not to trust FOX in the future, because it almost always leads to disappointment for everyone involved (except FOX of course).

May 13 2008 at 1:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I didn't watch the show, yet I am not surprised that it was cancelled. I saw countless promo's for the show so I am a bit surprised that they felt Fox wasn't behind the show. Also, they did anchor it with American Idol - a fix that worked for Brad Garrett's show.

Kelsey Grammer is a truly good actor and Frasier will go into tv history as one of its most successful characters. Frasier still holds up - as well as watching Kelsey in reruns of Cheers. The show was miscast and Kelsey deserved better.

Respectfully said, the show might have gotten more response with a better cast and the chemistry with him and Patricia H. - well, it was just not there. The promo's were lackluster and just seeing them repetitively didn't even cause me a stirring of wanting to watch.

May 13 2008 at 11:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I love Kelsey Grammer and trust his comedic instincts, but after this show... eh, not so much. The entire premise was flawed, and I'm quite surprised nobody noticed this until the episodes really got underway.

While I know the original premise of the show was "familiar face has to eat a bit of crow and come back to his old stomping ground", that's not what was delivered. What was delivered was "overbearing twit has to work in a dysfunctional work environment and hide his secret child from everyone"

The "secret child" theme mixed in with "twit returns to dysfunctional group" seems to have been the theme for both Back To You and October Road, and they're both gone now. It's like someone spun the "drama plot wheel" and came up with that idea twice. Didn't work either time.

I'll tell you why I think Back To You didn't work -- the insufferable twit here may have supposed to have been Kelsey's character, but that's not the one I needed to see have their comeuppance. It's Patricia Heaton's character. WHY? Simple. She's the one that was supposed to have it all come together, the more uptight of the two of them, but Kelsey ended up with all the daft situations... until the end, when they gave them both something to do.

Now, I don't know if that has more to do with Kelsey assuming he could bring that off or not, but in the end, the show might **(MIGHT)** have worked with just Heaton handling that issue, and Kelsey's character running interference (making excuses).

You could see how the premise really fell apart when they started fleshing out the bimbo weather girl/nerdy-fat station manager relationship(s). That setup didn't parallel the rest of the show, and was essentially unrelated to the main story, and so was distracting in a 22 minute show.

How to have fixed the show: That's easy, should they try to resell it. A god-like force that threatens everything, and is advised by a do goodnick holier than thou "helper" -- ala Burns and Smithers. It might change the show too much, adding people, but there needs to be a foil somewhere here. Hyping up the pitiful location reporter who wants to be on camera was dumb, but only if he doesn't become the foil, either the Burns or the Smithers character.

May 13 2008 at 11:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They should have left the kid out of it and focused more on the newsroom. And there should have been a lot more Fred Willard in it. He was the best part of this show.

May 13 2008 at 10:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My husband and I would always find something else to watch during "Till Death," a horrible, horrible show, then turn the TV to Fox for "Back to You." Personally I really enjoy "Back To You" and hope it finds a new home.

May 13 2008 at 9:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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