Monday, October 30, 2006

It Don't Look Good...

...for 'Studio 60'. Even though it received an order for more scripts, this more recent Fox News story paints a bleaker picture.

Sunday , October 29, 2006

Studio 60’ Cancellation Imminent

Despite receiving an order for three more episodes on Friday, the Aaron Sorkin NBC drama “Studio 60 on Sunset Strip” is about to be put out of its misery. Cast members are already confiding in friends that the end is near. Its likely NBC will pull the plug shortly I am told by insiders. Last week, Studio 60 had 7.7 million viewers. Compare that with competing "CSI: Miami," with 17.5 million. That gap cannot be closed. But ‘Studio 60’ has trouble internally at NBC, forget its intramural rivals. According to ratings stats, the “Saturday Night Live” behind the scenes soap opera loses almost half the viewers delivered to it a few minutes earlier by another new show, “Heroes,” which has become a surprise cult hit.
On Monday, ‘Heroes’ had 14.3 million viewers. The substantial drop off with 'Studio 60' is probably the last nail in its coffin. The order of the three extra episodes is considered by insiders to be a contractual move, and not one based on faith that they will ever be made or aired. The all important demo situation didn’t help: 'Heroes' had 15 percent of viewers aged 18-49. Studio 60 had 8 percent. The notion that 'Studio 60' is a big draw for NBC among desirables is, sadly, blown on those stats.
Sorkin and friends will argue that NBC has done something wrong, or that the audience isn’t smart enough. Alas, in this case, neither is true. 'Studio 60'—as I wrote on August 7th after viewing the pilot—is just a bad show. There’s nothing wrong with the acting, directing, or dialogue writing. But the premise is faulty. No one cares whether a bunch of over caffeinated, well off yuppies, some with expensive drug habits, put on a weekly comedy sketch show from Los Angeles. Even worse: no one cares whether or not the people from the Bartlett White House puts on a comedy show. That’s what 'Studio 60' is, essentially: the "West Wing" annual talent show. There’s so much earnestness involved in this endeavor, you start to think that nuclear war will be declared if the 'Studio 60' staff doesn’t air some joke—usually one we don’t hear anyway. The whole thing just feels weighted down and frankly, not entertaining.

NBC will probably fill the lost 'Studio 60' timeslot with 'Deal-No Deal: The Next Generation,' or some such thing. So the losers here will be the audience, which is about to be pummeled by more reality and game shows.

I think they should try it out on another night - pair it up with something more complimentary and leave 'Friday Night Lights' to follow 'Heroes' as is happening tonight. Couldn't hurt.


Emily Blake said...

Friday Night Lights and Heroes are the best new shows of the season. Their pairing is perfect. I liked the Studio 60 pilot, but I started to get bored and a little annoyed when Christine Lahti talked about how important the show was to the world. Give me a break.

Riddley Walker said...

Oh bugger! :-(

I liked the show a great deal. Not the best thing on earth, to be sure, but I don't think it deserves the panning it seems to be getting from some quarters.

It's always good to read a bit of quality, unbiased Fox "journalism". Definitely takes the tone of 'I didn't like the show at the start, I told you it wasn't any good, and now I've got some stats to illustrate just how much of a clairvoyant I am. Aren't I clever?' Hmm, if only the execs at NBC had hired this guy, they'd have nothing but perfect shows that everyone likes, and not put us through the horror that is Studio 60. What a loss to us all that he's not in charge...

Of course the characters were going to be earnest about their work, most people are if it pays their rent. Also, as writers, we make decisions about what aspect of a given premise we're going to show to an audience.

Jed Bartlett and his crew were shown doing particular things, while other things were left out as they didn't serve the narrative being presented. Come to think of it, they all got pretty earnest about what they did for a living, didn't they? You'd think with all that power and money, they'd find a lot more fun ways to get through the day.

I'll admit that Christine Lahti crapping on about how central the show was to the furtherance of mankind is beginning to get a little wearing, but there's a lot more to like (for me personally, that is).

Shows hold my interest for so many different reasons. I think S60 gets to me with the characters, the milieu (I only live in a US-compatible country, not the real thing...), the performances and the gorgeous camera-work (among other things).

Haven't seen Heroes, but am very much looking forward to it having read many despatches from the blogosphere.

By the way Will, sadly I have to tell you that the mind-bendingly awful Torchwood is a co-pro between BBC Wales and... CBC! Infidels... :-D

blueglow said...

I guess I'm really in the minority here but I find Sorkin to be such a showy writer that I have never really liked any of his work very much. There seems to be a real "look at me" quality to his dialogue and his plotting is, to my mind, virtually non-existant.

While one can get away with that on shows like "Sports Night" I don't think it plays in a one hour drama (my two bit opinion was that West Wing was a success because it fulfilled something that many Americans were wanting -- a President they could be proud of).

While it is true that mulit-character ensemble pieces can often function without "Plot" in the traditional sense -- just cut to the mini story for each character each ep -- it seems that most of the successes in the last few years have been story driven series. I don't think this is Sorkin's strong point.

English Dave said...

Sorkin is a Pinko rat commie.

I for one will only watch the show when it legally comes to our shores so that I can then knock seven bells out of it.


Fox News is da bomb!

Good Dog said...

Oh, great. That's just great.

Still got a couple of episodes waiting for me to watch.

Because Lahti plays a Vanity Fair reporter, is there a possibility she's saying this to blow smoke up their ass. Or channelling Preston Sturges message from Sullivan's Travels?

Caroline said...

I'd be shocked if they didn't at least give it 13, despite the ratings. It's Sorkin. I think it needs a new night. Ironically, CTV in Canada runs it the day before, Sundays at 10pm, and it is kickin' butt.