Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Monday Bloody Monday...

Yesterday was 'cut the fat' day as several TV series bit the dust, outlined in this Variety article. Notables included Six Degrees, Wedding Bells (I LOVED this show!), and Black Donnelly's. No real surprises but I feel a bit for several friends who'd made Donnelly's required viewing. Not discounting DMc's slash and burn, but this variation on Brotherhood and/or Sopranos (sans the language and skin of course) never had a chance. It was running on a network known these days for The Apprentice, Deal or No Deal, Law and Order forever, and some Thursday Night comedies.

Like I said, it never had a chance - even with Olivia Wilde.

Perhaps you can't fault NBC for trying, but viewers today know where to go for their dark gritty family drama...Showtime, HBO, F/X ('Rescue Me', 'The Riches'), etc.. And they go there with confidence because those are networks that will allow a drama to grow and evolve and eventually find an audience. So viewers who 'commit' can count on getting in at least a seasons worth of shows.

These same friends had fallen for Six Degrees and Studio 60 as well (and had high hopes for 60's return). Now they feel burned, betrayed.

What's replacing Six Degrees? Repeats of 'Wife Swap'. Sigh. And what's replacing Donnelly's? Bigger sigh.

What's bad for "Donnellys" is good for "Crashers," however. NBC is slotting "The Real Wedding Crashers" in a primo slot behind "Heroes".

Skein, a cross between "Punk'd" and "Beauty and the Geek," will bow Monday, April 23, at 10 p.m. It will follow the premiere episode of the third installment in the first season of "Heroes." There had been talk that "Crashers" would air Sunday nights. But Peacock execs liked early episodes of the show and decided it deserved to get a crack at the post-"Heroes" timeslot.

Another reality show...crashing real weddings...one that sounds like making fun of people or having laughs at others expense will be its bread and butter. Much like so many of these 'reality' shows. And that really really pains me. There's a 'mean-spiritedness' at the core of so many of these programs that I ultimately find unhealthy. But that's just me.

So I grumbled and muttered, but then I got to thinking...maybe this isn't the end of the world. Perhaps this is, in fact, the future of the major networks. Hit dramas and comedies are fewer and farther between. Procedurials have run their course for the most part. So I see lots more reality shows and game shows and newsmagazines interspersed with the occasional comedy or high concept prime time soap/drama/actioner. And viewers who want headier, more challenging fare can travel over to the cable or pay nets.

Would that be so bad?


jimhenshaw said...

An LA producer and I were chatting about the mass cancellations this morning and came to similar conclusions.

But we also put some of it down to the way many of these shows are being managed by the nets.

Both "Studio 60" and "Black Donnellys" debuted half baked, their concepts and ongoing story lines not clearly defined and with obvious weaknesses perhaps overlooked or unquestioned because of the marquee names behind them.

There also seems to be a growing reticence to challenge either the audience or the other guy's hits. I can't remember a time when the competitors don't even try to counter program another network's #1 shows (such as "Idol").

Weak as it may have been, you gotta think "Donnellys" or even "Six Degrees" might have connected with all those 18-24's who aren't into Karaoke.

CAROLINE said...

Seriously, you liked Wedding Bells? 'splain, please. I wanted to like it, and I'm a CHICK, and I couldn't fully buy in.

I am sorry about Black Donnellys ... it could have been great. But I won't miss the others. Six Degrees was bad from the start.

Bill Cunningham said...

Hated the many misses and so few hits of STUDIO 60...
Liked WEDDING BELLES, excuse me, BELLS. I liked to look at the screen - point to the groom and shout at the top of my lungs:


I would also drink every time one of those noxious sisters said or implied that their biological clock was ticking, had problems with men, or were pining after someone who was "emotionally unavailable."

I was drunk by Act Two. So yeah, I liked WEDDING BELLS.

By Act 4, well that best be left unsaid...

Mef said...

has studio 60 been officially cancelled (yet)?

wcdixon said...

Yer right Mark - I don't think 60 has been 'officially' killed yet, but it is widely thought to be on its way out.

Mef said...

just filling out the dvd, as someone else wrote.

Emily Blake said...

I think one of the problems with Donnelly's was it's lack of sympathetic men. Lots of men in this story and all of them are completely screwed up. And none of them are pretty since Shawn screwed up his face.

I started watching but I could feel my interest slip with every episode. And I adore Paul Haggis.

It's difficult to keep a show with a romance and brotherly love - which appeals to women on the surface - when it has no men for you to love.

Juniper said...

Man, you called those ones Will.

I will be sad to not see Black Donnelly's or Six Degrees again....

I don't like the reality shows, and haven't caught any of the new shows at all. What is there to watch.... oh, when will Blood Ties come to the lower cable channels!!!


Anonymous said...

I am glad Donnellys is gone, maybe the studios will stop depending on people sticking to the same channel in the same spot just because they watched something else there previously

Jennifer Smith said...

So I see lots more reality shows and game shows and newsmagazines interspersed with the occasional comedy or high concept prime time soap/drama/actioner. And viewers who want headier, more challenging fare can travel over to the cable or pay nets.

Would that be so bad?

So... those who can afford it get to watch stimulating, thought-provoking programming, and the poor get nothing but shite?

I dunno - something in my little socialist Canadian soul started shrieking at the very thought.

Mind you, I'm an intellectual snob rather than a socio-economic one. I'd personally prefer a system where anyone with an I.Q. over 110 gets EVERY channel for free, and the rest of them can subsidize it by watching Dancing With the Stars on advertising-based basic cable.