Pickups and Renewals
Ho-hum, I know. Most test patterns have had shorter runs on TV than 'Jeopardy!' and 'Wheel.' How is that news?
It just got me thinking: what would the world of TV and really the world itself be like without daily doses of America's favorite quiz show and America's favorite wheel spinning and letter guessing show?
The subscriber movie channel (known more these days for its original programming) has picked up the series 'Shameless' from 'ER' and 'The West Wing' producer John Wells. A remake of an award-winning British drama, 'Shameless' will star Macy as an alcoholic, blue-collar father of a large Chicago family. The twist...after his wife leaves him, he ends up handing the parenting of the clan over to his eldest daughter, who will be played by actress Emmy Rosum.
For Wells, the production of 'Shameless' will be a reunion of sorts. Not only will he be reunited with Macy, whom he worked with when the actor played Dr. David Morgenstern on 'ER,' but he'll also work with former 'The West Wing' colleague Allison Janey, who will have a recurring role as Macy's wife.
While the premise sounds good, it's also fairly vague. This is a good thing because it allows for the creators to take the concept in whatever direction they prefer. Still, it sounds suspiciously a lot like an HBO series called 'My Name is Earl,' but with a female lead. Of course that depends on one's definition of "self-destructive."
Production of the series is set to begin this summer. The pilot has already been filmed but HBO has ordered nine additional episodes. They'll probably be broadcast either late 2010 or early 2011.
The show has gotten lukewarm reviews from the critics. Perhaps it's the gladiatorial combat that draws in the viewers. Or perhaps it's the proliferation of sex in the series (including some nudity on the part of former 'Battlestar Galactica' cylon/'Xena: Warrior Princess,' Lucy Lawless). Or perhaps people are confusing it with the movie 'Spartacus' that starred Kirk Douglas and was directed by Stanley Kubrick.
Starz could very well become the Cinemax of scripted programming, relying on more adult original scripted programming with lots of sex and violence in order to be a player in the game along with HBO and Showtime. Time will tell.
TLC canceled the long-running bike building reality show 'American Chopper' back in February, but new reports have surfaced they are bringing the show back, or at least part of its principal cast, for another run.
Has anyone at TLC, which once stood for "The Learning Channel," learned about the concept of cognitive dissonance? Maybe they could learn about it by watching some of their pre-'Jon and Kate' programming, back when you could actually learn something from watching TLC other than how to exploit extremely fertile women for money and/or fame.
Andrew Lincoln has been cast as the lead in the upcoming AMC series 'The Walking Dead' based on the comic book of the same name. The series will be executive-produced by Frank Darabont, who is also writing and directing the pilot.
I've never seen any of Lincoln's previous work but I have read the comic. Lincoln seems a good casting choice although truthfully the part is somewhat generic and there are probably many lead actors who might have done the role just as well. Upon reading the comic, one actor that came to mind for the main character of Rick Grimes was Scott Bakula, but he's probably a little too old for that character now.
Jon Bernthal has been cast as Rick's partner in the police force, but he's likely only going to be seen in flashback as he's never really seen over the course of the comic. In fact, he's likely zombie food by the middle of the first issue. This is assuming the television series follows the same general story as the comic, which is no guarantee. See 'True Blood' for an example of this.
'Robot Chicken' along with 'Family Guy' proved that there is comedy potential in the 'Star Wars' franchise, but it sounds like Lucas is further mitigating the cultural impact of the first trilogy (or even the second trilogy, going by order of release) by making light of it.
Lucas has long proven that the fans care more about the franchise than he ever did. It has gotten to the point where pumping out 'Star Wars' dreck is a means to an end. Perhaps he wants the money to build his own Death Star?
Of course, that live action 'Star Wars' series has yet to appear, so this latest item could just be someone's idea of a late April Fool's Day prank. One can have "a new hope."
To paraphrase a Jerry Seinfeld routine, what's the deal with NBC? Here's the latest: they have given the green light to another season of three new shows: the celeb-filled 'Marriage Ref,' the Guy Fieri game show 'Minute To Win It,' and Lisa Kudrow's genealogy reality show 'Who Do You Think You Are?' Yup, all three shows will be back on your TV come this fall.
Is it too late to ask Jay Leno to come back to the 10PM slot?
For instance, NBC is bringing back the mystery series 'The Rockford Files' with Dermot Mulroney in the role that James Garner turned into a classic TV crime fighter. CBS has also ordered a remake of the procedural cop classic 'Hawaii Five-O' with Scott Caan and Jean Smart.
Normally, my gut reacts to a TV remake the same way a person who just washed his car reacts to a line of dark clouds (a lot of cursing and shaking of fists at God or some other celestial being). However, if done right, anything has the chance to be good... unless it's one of the following cop serials, which should never be touched by a TV producer ever again.
This is all a way to explain the following: ABC has renewed 'Castle' for another season. ABC is not just jumping on a strong pairing of 'Dancing' and 'Castle,' because you can't count on that always being the best draw of a Monday night.
The 'Who's the Boss,' 'Charmed' and 'Melrose Place' star has landed a new sitcom on ABC that can easily earn some steam since it's airing after 'Dancing with the Stars.'
'Romantically Challenged,' a sitcom about a recent divorcee looking for signs of life after marriage, will start airing on Monday, April 12 after 'DWTS.' The show is created by former 'Family Guy' writer Ricky Blitt and James Burrows has been tapped to direct it.
It sounds ridiculously simple and run-of-the-mill in terms of creativity, but sometimes the simplest ideas have the potential to catch fire. Does the show have the potential to be hot or will it go up in flames?
The comic itself is pretty awesome and lends itself to television well; it's pretty much about the relationships between the survivors in a world where they can be killed or turned into zombies at any minute. Actually in the comic everybody who dies automatically becomes a zombie so if the television show follows the comic death and zombification will be much the same thing.
You know the series will be quality as well since Frank 'Shawshank Redemption' Darabont is writing and directing the pilot. I'm convinced that the fourth 'Indiana Jones' film would have been much better if they used his version of the script.
While Martin Short did give an impressive dramatic turn on 'Damages,' he's no Alec Baldwin. He plays the little neurotic guy much better than he could play a confident businessman with ethical issues like Jack Donaghy. He'd be better off playing characters like Leo Bloom in 'The Producers'.
The combination of David Krumholtz and Martin Short is an interesting one. It would be worth tuning in just for that. Hey, both have even appeared in 'The Santa Clause' movie franchise.
Can Short pull this role off? It's television and anything is possible. Short could create a character that is a combination of Jack Donaghy and Leo Bloom, maybe with a little Ed Grimley thrown in for good measure.
The project is called 'Saved By Zeroes' and also stars Jonathan Silverman, who hasn't been in any science fiction shows that I recall, unless you count 'Weekend at Bernie's II.' The premise is that the two co-stars blew all their money from the sci-fi show that made them famous and have to work conventions to make ends meet.
The premise sounds cute but is definitely an example of "channel drift" since it is only tangentially related to science fiction. Here's to hoping that Rosenbaum's new gig doesn't keep him from making at least one cameo as Lex Luthor during the series finale of 'Smallville' in 2021 (or whenever it ends).
Actually, it is a bit of a surprise ... that it happened so fast! Showtime could have saved the news for a few weeks or even the end of these second seasons. But you have to figure the premium cable channel is pretty happy with the ratings these shows have generated and the enthusiasm is palpable. Another season, twelve more episodes of each, and for the creators of these shows that just has to be a great validation.
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