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December 12, 2007 |

By Seth Freilich | Industry | December 12, 2007 |

Well I had been saying for a while now that I thought the WGA strike would resolve itself by Christmas. Turns out, not so much. As you may have heard, talks broke down again late last week, and the shit has been flinging fast and furious from both sides ever since. It looks like we can kiss much of the spring goodbye and, in fact, the Television Critics Association just canceled its winter press tour. Plus, next fall is perilously close to getting very few new shows as pilot season is taking a whomping because of the strike. Many of you might say “whatever, most of the stuff is shit anyway.” Correct. But my fellow TV Whores know that shit is better than nothing at all. After all, without the shit, what would we bitch about?


Meanwhile, ABC has given an early yank to “Big Shots,” shelving the last three filmed episodes. The Hollywood Reporter starts its article on the story by stating: “In a surprising move given the raging writer’s strike, ABC has benched freshman dramedy ‘Big Shots.’” Well it’s not really that surprising, even in light of the strike, if you ever watched more than five minutes of that stinktard. I actually saw stink lines emanating from my television while trying to watch an episode.

Turning to a comment left in last week’s Round-Up, yes, CBS is considering broadcasting an edited version of “Dexter” if the strike does in fact make an extended run, and some other Showtime shows could also be on the table (such as “Weeds,” “Brotherhood” or “Californication”). “Dexter” actually makes a fair amount of sense because it wouldn’t need a heavy amount of editing to not only be shown on the network, but to retain most of its goodness (of course, you’re still better off catching it on cable or DVD). But I’m not so sure any of Showtime’s other shows could make the translation, as they have an awful-lot of naughty language and T&A, and I think everyone already learned the danger of going down that road with A&E’s utterly failed experiment of airing edited episodes of “The Sopranos.” But with NBC already pulling “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” from USA and CBS talking about yanking some Showtime shows, I’d expect more cross-station airings in the months ahead (if NBC has half-a-brain, “Battlestar Galactica’s” shortened season will get some network love come next spring, but we all know the Peacock has the brain of, well, a peacock).

We can also expect a lot more reality TV over the coming months, as the networks flounder to find any new content to spit out onto the airwaves. CBS has already announced that “The Amazing Race” will be back for a thirteenth season, and filming is currently slated to start next April or May. But don’t be surprised if CBS bumps the start date up for a summer airing. ABC, meanwhile, has given the go-ahead to a pilot for “Wipeout,” which will feature 50 contestants working their way through an enormous obstacle course. The producers say it’ll basically be like “Fear Factor” without the gross-out factor. And SciFi has also given a reality pilot the go-ahead, in the form of “Run For Money.” This show is basically The Running Man without Arnie or Richard Dawson. Or, presumably, the murder. The show will feature folks hunting other folks down in an ever-decreasing game perimeter, with various tasks and whatnots to carry out along the way. And I gotta say, between this and “Kid Nation,” it feels like we’re only about a year away from a Battle Royale-based reality show, and I actually think I’m OK with this.

One of the few bright spots on the TV horizon continues to be the glowing beacon of the impending final run of “The Wire.” And HBO is pimping both the DVDs for the Fourth Season as well as the upcoming final season by releasing three short flashback videos (which actually came out about a week ago, so you might’ve already seen them). One clip features McNulty’s first day in homicide, while another jumps way back in time to show us a wee-young Prop Joe. As for the last video, need I say anything more than “young Omar?” …I thought not. You can currently catch the videos over on the Amazon page for the Fourth Season DVDs, or you can wait until December 15, when they’ll show up on HBO’s web site and on HBO On Demand. Or you can see them tacked on to episodes three, four and five of Season Five.

While HBO is goodness, VH1 is evil. Pure unadulterated badness. From here on out, consider yourself on notice — you might want to steer entirely clear of the channel, because otherwise you risk eventually stumbling upon “Life and Times of Marcus ‘Felony’ Brown.” And I guarantee that you’ll regret it. The show is basically a Hip-Hop “Entourage,” about a new rapper moving to LA to start work on his second album, entourage in tow. But the reason you want to avoid this show like the plague is that VH1 has answered the cry of our own Dustin, made just yesterday in his Trade Round-Up: “In fact, you know what else needs more Wayans? Everything.” Well ask and ye shall receive Dusty, as “Life and Times” comes to us courtesy of Shawn and Marlon Wayans. Huzzah!

Now if you’re looking for a real time-killer in the wake of your TiVo drying up, you can tune into ABC next week for “Duel.” The show starts on Monday with a 90-minute premiere, followed by hour-long episodes running through Friday and then a finale airing on Sunday. There are 24 contestants on the show who apparently face off against each other by answering trivia, but there’s also some sort of strategy that comes into play. Whatever with all that. But here’s the “good” part, from the ABC press release: “These 24 people will become characters to root for (or against) during the six nights. Examples of contestants include The Marine Alligator Wrestler, The Lunch Lady, The Rocker, The Used Car Salesman, The Funeral Home Director, The Cab Driver, The Nurse and The Belly Dancer the key being that not everything will be revealed about contestants’ backgrounds before they choose their opponents in a duel.” The Marine Alligator Wrestler facing off against The Belly Dancer in trivia? Who can resist? Not a mere mortal like I.

And I’ll leave you with one of those prequel clips I mentioned earlier, because I don’t like to tease (and don’t worry, DVD Folk, the only thing it kinda spoils is what happens to your tie if you fall asleep on the job):

Seth Freilich is Pajiba’s television editor. He’d like to throw a hat tip to our own Beckyloo, from whom he shamelessly stole today’s Round-Up photo.

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The Daily Trade Round-Up / The TV Whore
Dec. 12, 2007

Industry | December 12, 2007 |

Seth is a Senior Editor and sometime critic. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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