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September 5, 2015

Does Casting Matter? Yes, It Does!

by Allison Waldman, posted Sep 19th 2010 2:00PM
scott_caan_hawaii_five-0_cbsJust a few days before the new season kicks off in earnest -- there have been a few premieres already -- and there are shows that are going to be off my "gotta watch"' list for one reason and one reason alone -- casting.

Fair or not, some stars are a major draw, while others just a turn-off. Here's a short take on the casting conundrums that exist as the season commences ...

The Caan Connection
Until the 'Hawaii Five-0' cast included Scott Caan as Danno Williams, I wasn't too interested. However, Caan makes a difference. He's an interesting actor who exudes a fun, cocky and cool energy.

He was great in the 'Ocean's 11' movies and stole scenes on 'Entourage.' In fact, he's a chip of the old block, James Caan. I always liked his dad, and I like the son, too. For Scott, I'll be watching 'Hawaii Five-0.'

the_event_jason_ritter_laura_innes_nbcBigger than 'The Event'
NBC's massive promotion for 'The Event' has been all about ... "the event" -- Whatever that turns out to be! However, it's the stars of 'The Event' that Jason Ritter, Laura Innes, Scott Patterson, Blair Underwood, all known commodities and actors worth watching, that may be even more of a draw.

Like 'Parenthood' last year, the casting is so good that it demands a serious look. 'The Event' is so well cast, too, that is has earned viewership for at least a couple of episodes in my estimation. I want to watch these actors no matter what the event turns out to be.

tom_selleck_blue_bloods_cbsSmits Vs. Selleck
Jimmy Smits on NBC's 'Outlaws' and Tom Selleck on CBS's 'Blue Bloods.' They're going head to head in the Friday 10PM time slot and it's a tough call for television fans.

These are excellent actors who have great track records. Smits was amazing on 'Dexter,' and his work on the last season of 'The West Wing' was superb. Selleck's 'Jesse Stone' movies have shown how he's matured from his 'Magnum' days.

Both actors deliver, and more often than not, they're worth watching. Thank goodness there are DVRs, because otherwise it would be an even more difficult decision. Both actors and their shows will get a shot and then I'll decide. But again, casting counts. I wouldn't be watching either show without these stars attached.

No Allure for 'My Generation'
What does is say about ABC's faith in 'My Generation' that they're using former NBC head of programming Warren Littlefield in the promotion? To me it says, this cast is a bunch of unknowns whom you won't care about unless you get involved in the show. That's a problem. Would it have killed the producers -- that includes Littlefield! -- to cast one household name?

Based on the sneak previews, there's not much here to get me hooked. If you think about the template as a 'Friends' for a new generation, remember that they cast Courteney Cox precisely because they needed one star to draw in viewers. And 'How I Met Your Mother' threw in two -- Neil Patrick Harris and Alyson Hannigan. Maybe 'My Generation' would be more interesting had they managed to get someone like Alexis Bledel ('Gilmore Girls'). Maybe.

michael_imperioli_detroit_187_abcMichael Imperioli Tries It Without a Mustache

Michael Imperioli has something to prove with ABC's new cop drama 'Detroit 1-8-7' -- can he make anyone forget him as Christopher Moltisanti on 'The Sopranos'? That character and the show has loomed large over his career.

Interestingly, Imperioli tried playing the cop role on ABC's 'Life On Mars' in 2008, but the only thing memorable about that particular series for Michael was his Fu Manchu, 1970's mustache. Can he outlive that stache and make something memorable out of 'Detroit 1-8-7'? He's at least worthy of a viewing or two!

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And of course Firefly

September 20 2010 at 1:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I knew of Nathan Filion from the hilarious sitcom Two Guys And A Girl (and of course Dr Horrible).

September 20 2010 at 4:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Of course, a big name always helps a new show. But, the lack of a well-known commodity is not necessarily a deal breaker for viewership, as you imply. None of the star of "Cheers," one of the best comedies of all time, were household names before the show. In fact, it started near the bottom of the ratings, and I believe it was almost canceled.

"Castle" is a popular show, but who, outside of soap opera viewers, knew about Nathan Filion? And whoever heard of his co-star, Stana Katic?

The stars of "The Practice" weren't household names, either, before the show. The list goes on and on.

I know that the "Clash of the Titans" was a big movie, but I disagree with Harry Hamlin being the draw for "L. A. Law." I believe it was Susan Dey from "The Partridge Family." Those of us past a certain age remembered her as a youngster from the classic TV show.

And while Courtney Cox had some name recognition from Springsteen's video and playing alongside Jim Carrey, she was hardly a star.

So, it might not be such a good idea to brush off a show, only because it lacks household, mainstream talent. It may have great storylines and evolve into something good, not necessarily great, but good. I believe the days of truly great TV are behind us.

September 20 2010 at 12:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jackx's comment

I could not agree with you more here. How many shows started out with unknowns or little knowns and went on the be big hits. I myself....while I do like Scott Caan actually from his Friday Night Lights the movie performance....but the draw for me is Moonlights Alex O'Loughlin.....I would watch anything he was in....but I will also watch a show based on interest and merit and not just casting.

September 20 2010 at 4:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"'The Event' is so well cast, too, that is has earned viewership for at least a couple of episodes in my estimation."

Did this show start already?

September 19 2010 at 4:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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