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November 24, 2014

Southland may yet find new life on cable

by Jason Hughes, posted Oct 19th 2009 2:29PM
SouthlandJust when I'd added Southland to my list of shows to spotlight in upcoming editions of "Gone Too Soon," now there are glimmers of hope for its future. After NBC unceremoniously dumped it before it premiered this season, in favor of more Dateline, fans and television pundits were stunned.

Executive producer John Wells has reportedly been in contact with the cast to tell them he has at least two cable networks interested in picking up Southland. The good news comes in two ways. One, the series gets to come back. And two, a cable network is a lot less likely to tamper with the storytelling style Southland was developing in its first season. NBC already had them de-emphasizing the larger cast and the serialized nature of their storytelling in the episodes they were filming for the new season.

As TNT is corporate kin to Warner Bros., which produces the show, it seems a likely target. The thinking now is that if it does get picked up, the thirteen episodes already produced (seven from last season, and six produced so far for season two) would make up a new "first" season, with subsequent seasons to follow. I suspect a lot of industry insiders are hoping that not only does Southland find a new home off of NBC, but that it thrives.

Even bolder would be for its new cable home to put it on some weeknight at 10pm, so it would take on The Jay Leno Show, the ultimate reason didn't make it onto NBC this year. NBC is afraid to gamble any of their precious remaining schedule to a show that might not perform as well as Dateline, which has a consistency they can count on. But a network that's afraid to gamble on a scripted show because it might not do well is a network that is dying or dead already.

If I were a production studio, I can guarantee you I wouldn't be shopping any new shows to NBC anytime soon. Even if I have a solid first season, get renewed and start production on my new season, there's still no guarantee that NBC might not get nervous and just cancel me anyway. That's no way to run a show. That's no way to run a network. It's crazy, and I'm not seeing how NBC comes out of this looking like anything other than desperately flailing around grasping at anything that can promise instant ratings.

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PORSCHE

I think Heros and Chuck are the only shows I watch on NBC....oh I think Friday Night Lights is NBC. Ok 3 shows and 2 are reduced seasons.

NBC isn't what it use to be.

BTW.. I hope Southland gets a new home.

October 19 2009 at 11:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
R

Southland is a fabulous show, I loved it from the start. Great move if it does go to TNT, they've put some really good shows on the air. It's nice having an alternative network. NBC has already died. Heroes is dead and boring and they are killing Law and Order: SVU at 9pm. They should have put Jay Leno on at 8pm and given shows at 10pm a better shot.

October 19 2009 at 10:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BC McKinney

"NBC is afraid to gamble any of their precious remaining schedule to a show that might not perform as well as Dateline, which has a consistency they can count on. But a network that's afraid to gamble on a scripted show because it might not do well is a network that is dying or dead already"

It's actually more insidious than that. Leno is stripped at 10pm and NBC brass started thinking that the episodes already filmed were too "dark" for 9PM on a broadcast network. Plus, Leno's supporters have apparently complained about 9PM shows that they feel don't put people in the right mood for "humor." Although why 'Dateline" would be considered lighthearted isn't clear.

October 19 2009 at 10:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Courtney

I heard that one of the two networks said there might be a delay in showing the new episodes. I'd take a delay any day if it means that the show would go on. NBC made a terrible move in canceling it. It's one of the few instances of quality television left. Honestly, I think it would be a perfect fit for TNT, but I'd be happy with any network that respected it.

October 19 2009 at 4:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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