Huh. That's the only thing I can say about the recent announcement that 'Til Death will be returning to the FOX lineup next year with a full season order. Well, I could probably add in a 'Hmm' or an 'Eh?' or even a 'Whaaaaa?', but they would all convey the same emotions.
I mean, who would have thought that the network had so much confidence in the show after it placed it on "hiatus" back in October (it still has 15 episodes left in its compliment)? It's not like the network had anything of importance to fill the time slot other than repeats of House or Fringe. Maybe the network felt bad that 'Til Death is, as of this moment, the only live-action, studio audience sitcom remaining on the network. Or, maybe they have some bigger ideas in the works.
Now the Brad Garrett-Joely Fisher sitcom Til Death will be off the air for two weeks, effective immediately. In that time slot, instead, we'll be seeing more House, albeit repeats. Still, you watch, those reruns will do markedly better than the sitcoms did.
Til Death, to be frank, has regressed this year. I defended the renewal of the show when Fox gave it a third season, based on the episodes I watched last spring. But the comedy has really strained since its season premiere in September. There's no other way to put it -- Death is in the death throes and should be put out of its misery. This two week hiatus should be the end of the series.
However, TBS has a throwback family comedy, one in The Cosby Show mode, and they're sticking with it. TBS's The Bill Engvall Show has just been given a third season renewal. The sitcom will be back in the summer 2009 with ten new episodes.
I've watched The Bill Engvall Show and enjoyed it. It's meant to evoke Cosby, but I also found a lot of Everybody Loves Raymond and Home Improvement in it as well, and that's a good thing. Engvall's a funny guy, and he's greatly aided in the show by sitcom vet Nancy Travis as his smart, attractive spouse.
Ok, it is after midnight here in the Jet City, and as I sit down to bang this post out on my beloved Model M it would appear that my tasty glass of juice is half empty. Maybe I'm just not in the right frame of mind to spin this news in a positive direction that will lead to a 2009 full of Dollhouse win.
Tucked away in a report on various network goings on over at Hollywood Reporter is a little line that says "Dollhouse is expected to launch mid-season." This is me shaking my fist in the general direction of Fox and screaming "Khaaaaan!" Just, because. Doesn't this seem like a road that has been traveled before? It's one that usually leads to a pretty disappointing destination. We haven't seen the finished fall schedule yet, but I would wager that most of us could easily find three or four hours where the network would be better served by inserting Dollhouse. Highlights of what the networks have planned are available after the jump.
Bateman, who starred in Arrested Development -- the Emmy-award winning comedy that the network dumped unceremoniously because of low ratings -- was behind the camera for The Inn pilot. The show, which is about the haves and have-nots in a fancy, five-star New York City hotel, has a promising cast of funny folks including Niecy Nash (Reno 911!), Jerry O'Connell (who looks like Jason's twin), and the really hilarious Jesse Tyler Ferguson (remember him on The Class -- he was so funny!).
Last contest's winner: pacheco
This week, a scene from last night's episode of Lost ...
NY-LON (no, not nylon the fabric!), refers to the New York-London connection via air. The story, which writers Patti Carr and Lara Runnels (who both worked on 'Til Death) are translating from the U.K. version, is about a British businessman who meets a New York City record store clerk while she's in London, and then their subsequent attempts to maintain a transatlantic romance. The series ran seven episodes in England, which is not atypical. Of course, for American TV, many more episodes than that will be necessary to constitute a hit.
Is the final season of Battlestar Galactica in danger now because of the ongoing WGA (Writer's Guild of America) strike? According to Deadline Hollywood Daily, NBC Universal is utilizing the force majeure clause in SAG (Screen Actors Guild) agreements to suspend actors' and actresses' working contracts. The clause indicates studios and networks can do this if production is halted on their shows.
It looks like letters have been sent to the casts of such shows as The Office, 30 Rock, Bionic Woman and Battlestar Galactica. Sony Pictures has sent similar letters to the casts of Til Death and Rules of Engagement, indicating that more letters could be forthcoming from other studios if the strike lingers.
But the biggest news is the press release they put out announcing some of their schedule changes. In order to accommodate three new series, the network will move 'Til Death will air on Wednesdays at 9:30, after American Idol, starting on March 14 (there will be post-Idol airings on Feb. 27 and 28, as well). The War at Home moves to Sundays at 7:30, starting March 4, and Standoff will air on Fridays at 8, starting March 30.
The new shows: Tim Minear's Drive, which will launch with a 2-night, 3-hour premiere on April 15 and 16 (then take Prison Break's timeslot when its over - thanks, Jefferson!). The Winner, with Rob Corddry, will premiere with two episodes on March 4, then air for 3 consecutive Sundays at 8:30 and 9:30 PM. Finally, The Wedding Bells premieres March 9; there will be a post-Idol sneak peek on March 7.
Scrubs (9PM, NBC)
It is a universally acknowledged truth that all musicians want to act, and all actors want to sing. Guess the grass is always greener on the other side. 'Scrubs' is staging a musical episode tonight, with songs written by the composers of the hit Broadway show 'Avenue Q' (the one with the dirty puppets). Nothing can top the 'Buffy' musical episode, but Zach Braff and cast sure have fun trying.
Watch TV Squad's sneak peek of the episode.
If you really sat down and looked at the numbers, you could probably count on one hand the number of successful live-action situation comedies FOX has had on its schedule over the last twenty years. Of course there were the three-camera, live audience sitcoms Married. . .with Children and That 70's Show as well as the single-camera comedies The Bernie Mac Show and Malcolm in the Middle. Also add the critically acclaimed Arrested Development to that mix, even though it was canceled after three seasons.
Yet, no matter how many unsuccessful comedies they have put on the air, the network brass still continues to try and find the right combination of talent and writing to give one of them a multiple season run. The brass is going to have to go back to the drawing board, because Happy Hour (premiering Thursday at 8:30 ET) does not have the right combination. In fact, I'm not too sure if it has a combination at all.
This time we're focusing on the new shows FOX has up their sleeves for this fall. Got any you're looking forward to in particular? Rather than have you choose your favorite of the bunch, we'll let you pick as many as you like. We'll update this post with the poll results in about a week, so check back then.
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