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October 6, 2015

Tim Minear gets a new deal

by Brett Love, posted May 30th 2008 9:02AM

Tim MinearAs Roger Daltry once sang, "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss." Tim Minear has signed a new seven figure deal that will keep him at 20th Century Fox TV for another two years. His job will continue to involve working on existing shows while developing new drama projects. He's now been at 20th for over a decade, counting among his credits The X-Files, Strange World, Angel, Firefly, Wonderfalls, The Inside, and Drive. Currently he is working as a consulting producer on Joss Whedon's upcoming Dollhouse.

That's a really impressive list of shows, creatively at least. But it does stand out that five of them ended all too soon. On hearing that there was a new deal in place, I was surprised for that very reason. With the last four projects ending so quickly, I thought this might be where the two parted ways. The good news is that Minear's bosses are saying the right things. 20th TV chairman Gary Newman was quoted as saying, "We truly believe that there is a hit show in him, and we weren't prepared to let him go and do it somewhere else." I couldn't agree more. Tim Minear can make a hit show, and I'll keep watching them, four episodes at a time if need be, until he finds it.

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I really wish that the TVSquad bloggers would get this part straight as they invariably seem to miss it or mess it up and it invariably leads to frustrated confusion in the comments:

There is a difference between 20th Century Fox (the studio) and Fox (the network). In brief, the studio produces the show and the network airs it. Shows don't always air on the network owned by the same parent company as the studio. For example: "How I Met Your Mother" is produced by 20th Century Fox (studio) and airs on CBS (network); or, more famously this season, "Scrubs" which is produced by ABC (studio), aired on NBC (network) and is now switching to ABC (network).

Tim Minear's deal is with 20th Century Fox (studio), which has been very good to him over the years. This is at least his second 7-figure, 2-year deal and the studio has, in the past 10 years, optioned to pilot 4 shows where he was an executive producer/showrunner.

The problem is that Fox (network) tends to program either stupidly or audaciously (Tim's shows being the latter). Unfortunately, they promote stupidly for either category and Tim's shows tend to be harder sells because the core ideas tend to be more complex.

There is no set rule that Tim's shows will be picked up by Fox (network), they just have been consistently. He actually has no control over which network gets the show unless multiple networks express interest and start bidding.

Fingers crossed that Fox (network) passes on some of his new pitches and that they end up in more capable hands.

May 30 2008 at 2:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is the battered and beaten wife who keeps coming back to her husband. Hasn't FOX canceled enough of your shows, Tim? Seriously?

May 30 2008 at 12:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ugh. Don't even get me started. The Inside is a classic case of throwing money down a bottomless writer.

Do you know how The Inside started? It was essentially an attempt to remake 21 Jump Street. Rachel Nichols would have starred as an FBI agent posing undercover in a high school. Now, whatever you may think of 21 Jump Street, it was a tried and tested formula that had brought great success in the past, and could potentially have brought success again.

Since Fox scrapes its writers from the bottom of the barrel, the pilot intitially presented with was awful. So they brought on the admittedly less crappy Minear as showrunner to "fix" it, while keeping the same premise.

So of course, he chucked out every single element that had led to Fox greenlighting it in the first place, and replaced it with a crappy procedural with dark elements randomly added in for seemingly no good reason. The only thing the finished product had in common with the show Fox had wanted was the cast.

I personally disagree with the premise that a show that isn't up to standard "deserves" more time because a) it has a lot of competition in the genre and b) another show of the same genre and on the same network has found success. The fact that another, reasonably similar show became a hit where the sub-par show could not is not a point in favor of the sub-par show.

Bones is an example of a procedural that distinguishes itself from it's competition, and of a procedural done right. It's success is not an excuse to prolong another show's failure.

May 30 2008 at 12:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wonderfalls is one of the best TV shows ever made.

May 30 2008 at 10:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think the simple reason is no-one else would hire them.

His attempt at a non-Fox show, Miracle Man, evidently didn't get off the ground. So now he's back where he belongs, where they'll throw obscene amounts of money at him to make obvious flops like Drive.

May 30 2008 at 9:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ner's comment

I don't think Drive was an obvious flop - they were trying to create a mythology show like Lost, but with exciting car chases every episode, and starring Nathan Fillion with a generally good ensemble cast (particularly Dylan Baker and Melanie Lynskey). That said, it really didn't work in those few episodes that did air.

The Inside, on the other hand, shouldn't have failed, and shouldn't have been launched in the summer and cancelled after around six episodes. Considering there are so many cop/investigation/procedural shows out there, that Bones became a hit, I think that one genuinely got a raw deal - it deserved a full season to get its footing.

Then again, it's not like Minear hasn't worked on a lot of mediocre shows, too (K-Ville, Standoff).

May 30 2008 at 10:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Why, why do they keep signing with FOX?

May 30 2008 at 9:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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