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Bowman inks deal with 20th, gets back to basics on Earl

by Jane Boursaw, posted May 20th 2008 9:40AM
My Name is EarlBobby Bowman is continuing his monogamous relationship with 20th Century Fox TV. The My Name is Earl executive producer has inked a new two-year deal with the studio.

Bowman will continue on Earl, where he manages the writing staff and oversees the writer's room, serving as executive producer with creator Greg Garcia and director Marc Buckland. He'll also develop new projects for the studio.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, it's a seven-figure deal (so if my math is right, it's at least one million, but less than 10 million).

Bowman has spent the past eight years at 20th TV, working on Family Guy, Yes, Dear, and Earl. He describes his relationship with the studio as "monogamous," saying, "They do exciting shows and have great executives. Sure, I would prefer it if 20th were monogamous in return, and didn't feel the need to have multiple partners. But they're not going to change."

It's kind of funny to hear a TV exec talk about his job like it's a marriage, but that's exactly what it is. Plus, in Hollywood, most working relationships last far longer than most marriages, so there's that.

But it does make me think that Earl's days are numbered. And is it just me, or has the show been going downhill the past couple of years? They kind of lost me with the whole 'Earl in Jail' thing.

It sounds like Bowman might be thinking that, too. In his Live Blog last Thursday, he wrote, "What we actually have planned is very back to basics, straight up, stand alone story, list-of-the-week kind of thing. It's going to be old school Earl, just like the original. The story telling, the resolutions, will be more self-contained, whereas before we were doing a lot more cliff hangers. And so we're looking at a lot of stuff from the first season and bringing over the style of story telling that we were doing back then."

Still, sounds like he's hedging his bets with some other projects.

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I'm torn on the direction of Earl as well. I was so into the show in the beginning, but the time spent in jail left me a little bored as well. It was starting to feel like filler while I was waiting for the Office to start. Funny filler, sure, but filler nonetheless. But at the same time, anybody who follows a direction based strictly on faith - even if he is a dimwit from Camden County - questions that faith at some point when life doesn't go exactly the way he thinks it should, so I applaud the decision to test Earl's dedication to the list. It made the character more well-rounded. But I'm not going to lie and say I wasn't pleased when Billie ran off to join the Camdenites and Earl was left back in the position he was in before he went to jail for Joy. It felt like all was right with the world - we went full circle - and now perhaps Earl will be more than filler again.

May 21 2008 at 1:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm torn about the path Earl has taken. While I quite enjoyed the stand-alone episodes of the first season, I thought that the show's strongest ever episode in the show's short history was the season 2 final episode; 'The Trial'. So a bit of both is fine for me, I just feel like this season neglected the list a little bit. Also, it seems like karma has been terrible to Earl. He tries to do right and finds himself in prison, tries to do right there and is kept by the warden, gets out and does a few bad things and is put into a coma and almost killed. Then Billie turns out to be a nutjob and almost resets his list to zero. All of this after Earl works on his list for 2 seasons! Earl has earnt himself some good karma, so bring on season 4!

May 20 2008 at 12:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"...going downhill the past couple of years?..."

Its only been on for a couple of years :) But I've been having the same sort of feeling which is why the last scene of the finale with earl back with the list felt like such a relief.

I think the formula of the show is strong enough that they could of stuck with it long enough. Law and order saddles up and rides the same old horse every week, and its great. I think Earl can crank out the same plot week after week and keep it fresh.

May 20 2008 at 10:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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