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July 24, 2014

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Fall TV: A Mid-Season Report

by Stephanie Earp, posted Nov 1st 2011 11:47AM


It's always tempting at this time of year to look for patterns where perhaps none exist. With four confirmed cancellations ('Charlie's Angels,' 'The Playboy Club,' 'How to be a Gentleman' and 'Free Agents') and several on-the-bubble new shows ('Pan Am,' 'Prime Suspect,' 'Body of Proof'), the only real theme (besides being awful) is a tendency to take themselves too seriously. I do take some satisfaction from seeing all the nostalgia shows die an early death. Apparently the one thing 'The Playboy Club' team didn't look up about 'Mad Men' were the ratings -- a couple million viewers. It was also the only thing they were able to duplicate.

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Cancellation Watch: Which New Show Should Get the Axe First?

by Chris Harnick, posted Sep 30th 2011 3:15PM
Which Show Should be Canceled?We're well into the new 2011-2012 TV season and there are a few hits (ABC's 'Pan Am,' CBS's '2 Broke Girls') and a number of flops (The CW's 'H8R,' NBC's 'The Playboy Club'), and the cancellation axe will start swinging very soon.

In terms of ratings, many of NBC's new shows are sinking. Coupled with critical appeal, it looks like the network is having the least luck this season. 'Free Agents' and 'The Playboy Club' are on death watch, yet NBC boss Bob Greenblatt seems to be content on watching, not canceling.

CBS has had some luck in finding an audience for its new dramas like 'Person of Interest,' as well as comedy '2 Broke Girls,' but the premiere of 'How to Be a Gentleman' did nowhere near 'Girls' numbers ... nor anywhere near the now-canceled '$#*! My Dad Says' that lived ever-so-briefly in that timeslot last season.

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NBC Not Cancelling 'Playboy Club' and 'Free Agents' (Yet)

by Catherine Lawson, posted Sep 30th 2011 8:20AM
'The Playboy Club' cast'The Playboy Club' launched on NBC this fall amid much fanfare and some controversy. After its ratings verged from bad to disastrous, we'd normally be expecting to report that the fledgling drama had been cancelled right about now.

However, NBC boss Robert Greenblatt is reportedly going to stay the executioner's hand. For now, anyway.

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'Free Agents' Premiere: Secret Sex Partners Make for Interesting Work Days (VIDEO)

by Jason Hughes, posted Sep 15th 2011 5:00AM
'Free Agents' - 'Pilot'['Free Agents' Season 1, Episode 1 - 'Pilot']

'Free Agents' (Wed., 10:30PM ET on NBC) is a perfectly acceptable new comedy. It's just also rather unremarkable so far. For the most part, it's another office ensemble, but so far no one in the office has managed to break beyond the second dimension.

Even Hank Azaria and Kathryn Hahn are so deep in their individual, but very similar, character quirks, that they forgot to be well-rounded characters we could believe in. There were a few laughs, though, like when Alex (Azaria) was put on the spot in the morning meeting about his exploits the night prior and he made up a series of sexual positions he supposedly explored.

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Hank Azaria Previews 'Free Agents' and Talks About His 'Adult Relationship' (VIDEO)

by Nick Zaino, posted Sep 14th 2011 1:50PM
Hank Azaria talks about 'Free Agents' on 'Today'Hank Azaria's character on the new sitcom 'Free Agents' is a very emotional guy, as Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb pointed out Wednesday morning on 'Today' (weekdays, 7AM on NBC). He is recovering from a divorce and commiserating with his friend, played by Kathryn Hahn, as the two contemplate getting involved with each other.

So how emotional is Azaria's character? "He is profoundly sad," said Azaria. "There's an exchange in the pilot where Kathryn is telling me, 'You're too emotional to do anything,' I'm like, 'No I'm fine,' and she's like, 'Are you aware that you're crying right now?'"

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Reviews: 'Free Agents' & 'Up All Night' Stars Contend with Babies, Scene Stealers and Meltdowns

by Maureen Ryan, posted Sep 13th 2011 11:00AM
The good news about 'Up All Night' (10PM ET Wednesday, NBC) and 'Free Agents' (10:30PM ET Wednesday, NBC) is that they are among the better comedy offerings for fall.

It's true that the broadcast networks' half-hour offerings for fall are not strong, but I'm not trying to damn these two shows with faint praise. Given time to work out a few kinks and settle into a rhythm, they may provide some quality guffaws going forward.

To their credit, neither show overindulges in sentimentality. It's hard to walk that fine line between sincerity and sarcasm in a comedy, and though each show is a bit broad here and there, neither of these shows overindulges in the kind of false, cynical patter or the unearned, warm-and-fuzzy mawkishness that sinks so many network sitcoms.

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