March 14, 2007 | Comments ()

By Seth Freilich | Trade News | March 14, 2007 |


Yesterday, Bravo announced that it has purchased Television Without Pity. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t really care about this news all that much. But if cable networks are looking to start throwing money at popular and snarky websites, umm, hello? HBO, seriously, give us a call. Let’s hook something up.

I’ve said before that I’m not a fan of the decision to move the setting of “Nip/Tuck” from Miami to L.A. And now, I’ve got three more reasons (one tied to that L.A. move) to be very wary of the upcoming season. First, after the big emotional sendoff last season, word is that Joely Richardson is already coming back. Whatever family/personal issues caused the need for her to run of to England have been taken care of (and of course I’m happy for her that things seem to have worked out), so she’s talking with the show’s execs now about being in the fifth season (for which she is under contract). I was pretty happy to actually see her go, as the character was becoming a bit repetitive for me, so I’m not terribly pleased about this. But that’s like winning the lottery compared to the news that Rosie O’Donnell will also be returning to the show. She was entertaining enough, in a very limited dose, last season, but that was more than enough. I really don’t need more Rosie in my life. And God help me if they show her ass again — the last good synapses in my brain may just frizzle away. Lastly, because of the change in setting to L.A., Ryan Murphy says there will be many more celebrity guest stars. And we all know shows only get better with more celebrity stunt-casting!

Staying on the cable side of things for a minute, SciFi has put an interesting little online package together with the Battlestar Galactica Videomaker Toolkit. It basically includes various visual and audio effects that folks can use to create their own fan flicks. Those videos can then be submitted to the website to be seen by all, and one lucky filmmaker will actually get to see their short aired during an episode of the show later this season. Fan films are, of course, rarely worth their salt and usually blow hard. But I still love the idea of this, of the show and the network getting behind its fanbase and doing something to help keep an intimate atmosphere between the fans and the show.

I’m less pleased, however with NBC, and I’ve got a couple of bones to pick with the Peacock. First, it’s made a scheduling move that has me doubly concerned: “30 Rock” is on hiatus right now, and was originally slated for a late-April return, but now, it’ll be back with new episodes on April 5 (and on April 12 will be swapping time slots with “Scrubs”), and it will then run through its final episodes by the end of April. NBC’s decision not to run new episodes of the show during May sweeps certainly worries me, as it could mean that the network may not be as in love with the show as it should be. Which, of course, could mean the show is on the bubble for renewal. And I’m not happy about that, because I need more Alec Baldwin in my life. Plus, this move also suggests that NBC is less than pleased with “30 Rock’s” replacement, “Andy Barker, P.I.” There have only been six episodes of that show shot, and NBC has already marked one of those as “online only.” As it seems they want to burn it off as quickly as possible would suggest that things doesn’t bode well for the show’s future. And this bothers me because, as you’ll see in my review of it tomorrow morning, I quite like the show. So damn you NBC!

But I’m a bit more tweaked with NBC over “The Office.” I read an article recently somewhere (I’d give up a link, but I truly don’t remember where the hell it was), where one of the show’s producers was talking about deleted scenes and how he doesn’t mind if deleted scenes (which are usually posted on NBC’s website), contain “important” information. For example, folks have been wondering where Andy (played by Ed Helms) has been — turns out he was sent off to anger management, but most of us don’t know this because it was stated in a deleted scene. When a character goes missing for a month of the show, seems like you might want to include a line about that in the actual show, not just in the deleted scene that most folks will never watch (as much as I love the show, and even given the fact I spend all day on my computer, I almost never watch the online clips myself). In any event, NBC is taking things a step further with their reruns of the show. This week for example, two episodes are slated to rerun between 8:00 and 9:00 (“Traveling Salesman” and “Oscar’s Return”). However, the shows have been edited together into an hour-long mega-episode, complete with new scenes that actually add new plot elements. Now it’s totally a smart way to give reruns a bit of viewer draw — I will most certainly tune in — but I don’t like the idea. I like having a bit of TV downtime during these rerun periods — gives me a chance to catch up on other shows I’m behind on, gives me a chance to write 9,000-word articles on comics, and gives me a chance to have a semblance of a life. But now NBC has found a way to wrangle me into watching reruns, taking more of my precious time away. Damn you NBC!

Now, before we get to this week’s Pilot Watch 2007, let’s take a video timeout for an absolutely fantastically edited music video of “The Office,” put to a certain Nelly track:

OK, Pilot Watch 2007. Quite frankly, I’m getting tired of Pilot Watch 2007, and can’t wait for all the hubbub to die down. And just to set the record straight, as some past comments suggest there might be some confusion about what all this is — these shows are not guaranteed to be new shows. During pilot season, the networks order single episodes of shows, sign up all the big names to potentially long contracts, etc. When the pilot episodes are turned in, the networks then figure out which ones they want to give episode orders to, and only then is the show really a “new” show (and while word sometimes comes out early, we generally won’t know what the new shows are until the networks make their big upfront presentations, debuting the new fall schedule). Lesson over.

I’ve mentioned the potential “Grey’s Anatomy” spin-off before, and in case there was any doubt, I’m now willing to proclaim it dee-double-oh-em-ee-dee doomed. First, it’s clearly the pilot with the most current hype, and we all know how last year’s big hype pilot worked out (that would be “Studio 60”). Second, I told you a week or two ago that new-show killer Taye Diggs was slated to be in it. Well the final straw comes in the announcement that a second show killer has been added, in the form of Tim Daly. I like both these actors, but in the same show, the series just doesn’t have a bleeding chance. Now there is some other talk about this show, but I’m not going to share it because I am now imposing moratorium on any talk about this spin-off if and until it is formally announced at the upfronts.

As I did last week, I’ll attack the rest of the pilot news in convenient bullet form:

bullett.jpgShowtime loves it some drugs. While it’s already got “Weeds” (which needs to get back with new episodes soon!), it’s now considering adding a drug-related family drama in the form of “Possible Side Effects.” This show would be about pharmaceutical drugs, rather than the ganja or other illegal drugs, and the pilot is being written and exec-produced by Tim Robbins, who may also direct a pilot, if there’s a greenlight.

bullett.jpgHBO is going to have a new show, somewhere down the line, which is currently being developed by Martin Scorsese and Mark Wahlberg. The show will be about the development and rise (and smell?) of Atlantic City, based on the book Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City.

bullett.jpgABC is having problems with its “Life on Mars” pilot, a show being put together by David E. Kelley and based on the BBC series of the same name. They’ve already said it’ll be a mid-season show, if it gets picked up at all, because Kelley is apparently having trouble casting a lead what with so many folks already attached to pilots. While the BBC show is supposed to be great (I still haven’t gotten around to checking it out just yet), after “The Wedding Bells,” I think my love affair with Kelley is officially over. So this blurb gets a big “whatever” from me.

bullett.jpgCBS has hooked Marisa Tomei into “The Rich Inner Life of Penelope Cloud,” a comedy about an author who is having troubles writing the follow-up to her well-received debut. It’s not about doctors or lawyers or cops, so right now that’s good enough for me.

bullett.jpgKal Penn, of Harold and Kumar (I don’t care what he does with his career — he’ll always be “Kal Penn, of Harold and Kumar”) has signed on to ABC’s “The Call,” a comedy about L.A. paramedics. Eh.

bullett.jpgCBS has signed Nikki Cox and Michael Rapaport (who clearly thinks the awful “The War at Home” isn’t long for this world if he’s signing on to new pilots) for its show “Fugly.” The show is about a brother and two twin sisters and something about one of the sisters getting an extreme makeover and then moving to Hollywood to try to capitalize on the makeover. I dunno. The only thing I like about this is the title, and there’s a rumor that the pilot’s name has already been changed to the much more generic “The Stumps of Hollywood,” so it may not even have that going for it.

bullett.jpgDamn it! I had been mildly intrigued by the Hugh Jackman-produced “Viva Laughlin!,” but they’ve just signed D.B. Woodside as the lead and that scares the shit out of me, as his acting on “24” (he’s Wayne Palmer) has been flat and terrible. They’ve also signed Melanie Griffith, and my TV just told me it’ll jump out the window if I make it give form to her plastic face.

bullett.jpgDouble damn it! I talked before about how I was intrigued by ABC’s pilot “Marlowe.” They’ve just signed Adam Goldberg on as a detective who helps the titular private eye, and that hurts me. I loathe Adam Goldberg.

bullett.jpgJeffrey Tambor is giving the ol’ sitcom another try after last fall’s abysmal failure that was “20 Good Years.” He’s signed on to “The Captain,” a CBS comedy about a Hollywood apartment complex, where he’ll play a retired TV writer living in the complex. Hopefully it’s more akin to his good shows, “Arrested Development” and “The Larry Sanders Show,” and not that steaming pile of “20 Good Years.”

bullett.jpgWhile some may know Shannon Lucio from her stint on “The O.C.” (she was the chick dating Ryan who turned out to be Caleb’s daughter), I’ll always remember her from the unintentionally hilarious “Spring Break Shark Attacks.” And now that she’s been cast in the CBS Vampire P.I. show (“Twilight”), hopefully that memory won’t change (the vampire is set to be played Alex O’Laughlin, and Amber Valetta has also been signed onto the show).

bullett.jpgFox has signed Eliza Dushku to a dramedy, “Nurses,” along with Drew Sidora (dunno who he is, and am feeling too lazy to hit the IMDb). The show is a medical drama that’ll apparently have soapy-type storylines, so it’s basically “Grey’s Anatomy” with nurses. Fantastic.

bullett.jpgABC has snatched Oliver Platt for the lead in the Mitch Hurwitz produced “The Thick of It.” I sometimes like Platt, and other times can’t stand him, but I have enough faith in Hurwitz to think we’ll get good Platt out of this, so I’m quite OK with the news.

bullett.jpgAnd lastly, one of my latest crushes, Autumn Reeser (she was Taylor Townsend on “The O.C.”) has signed onto an untitled pilot over on the CW. The show is about a grad student (played by Ryan Devlin, whoever he be), who solves crimes with his buddies. Reeser’s character, a paralegal and daughter of an FBI agent, will be dating Devlin’s character. Come on, Autumn, this was the best gig you could get?

And that’s more than enough for this week. I’ll leave you with this great teaser HBO’s been running for the upcoming end of “The Sopranos.” It revisits some of the deaths that have taken place over the years so, needless to say, consider this a spoiler warning to those of you not all caught up.


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Seth Freilich is Pajiba’s television columnist. He misses Pie-Oh-My most of all.

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I am Gettin' So Hot, I Wanna Take My Pajiba Off

The Daily Trade Round-Up / Seth Freilich

Trade News | March 14, 2007 | Comments ()



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