Top TV Stories of 2008: Second-year shows go down the toilet
by Debra McDuffee, posted Dec 19th 2008 11:03AM
As we do every year, we here at TV Squad are reminiscing on the top TV news stories of the year. What has 2008 brought us? Well, while we were all complaining about the lack of quality shows that debuted this season, we may have missed the second-year shows going right down the crapper.
Let's start over at ABC. Three very promising shows premiered last season -- Dirty Sexy Money, Eli Stone, and Pushing Daisies -- to praise from the critics and buzz from the viewers. Dirty Sexy Money, with the cast that could be someone's fantasy cast, started off strong. There was a mystery, unique and complex characters, and some integrity. With the writer's strike went the integrity and the ratings, and recently, we got the news that no more episodes of Dirty Sexy Money would be ordered.
Cut to Pushing Daisies ... visually amazing, quirky and unique, and unsustainable. The viewers grew tired of the gimmicks and strayed, and no more episodes of Pushing Daisies were ordered.
Eli Stone was a different story. I still think the writer's strike affected Eli, but I don't think the viewers have lost interest like they have in DSM and Pushing Daisies; it's more like they didn't have time to develop an interest, and then there was such a long break that people forgot about it.
Other shows followed the lead of the ABC trio, but will fare a bit better: Lipstick Jungle and Chuck over on NBC; FOX's Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and ABC's Private Practice.
Lipstick Jungle is one of the biggest mysteries to me. For all accounts, this show is hitting its stride, churning out quality episode after episode. Did it just take too long to get there and lost people along the way? Clearly, it leaves a nice spot in the schedule for Jay Leno to fill, and that must make NBC very happy.
I wonder if Chuck will be one of the shows that gets dumped for Leno as well. Chuck's ratings this season have been less-than-stellar, and I've got to imagine the budget for Chuck is a lot bigger than what it will take to produce Leno's daily crap (probably they won't name it that).
After radically canceling three of its quality one-hour dramas, ABC makes another move to try to eke out some ratings for another one of their second-year shows, Private Practice. I think the move to Thursdays at 10:00 will make sense, since Grey's Anatomy is a natural lead-in for its spin-off. I wonder if people will stay tuned for the puerile drivel of Private Practice after the adolescent drivel that Grey's is becoming.
It's a Christmas miracle that Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles is even still around to be a part of this article, with the track record FOX has for canceling shows. The ratings have sucked this season, and now FOX has moved it to the timeslot of death: Friday nights at 9:00. Can we say buh-bye?
Is there a dangerous pattern forming on Network TV this year? Will next year bring even more failing shows that are not given a chance to hit their stride? Without the writer's strike, I'm wondering if we'll be able to see a few good shows stay good -- and on the air -- after their second seasons.
Be sure to read all of TV Squad's top TV news stories of 2008.