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August 8, 2007 |

By Seth Freilich | Industry | August 8, 2007 |

Do I have to say it? Really?


… Sigh … OK.

“Rosie v. The Donald, take 12!”

In the latest news about the upcoming celebrity edition of “The Apprentice,” word last week was that the producers had offered Rosie O’Donnell up to two million smackeroos to be on the show but that she turned them down, saying that there wasn’t enough money in the world to get her on the show. Cupcakes, maybe; but money, no. This is, of course, great news, and the only way it would be better is if the Donald somehow got involved (behind the scenes only!) with “Nip/Tuck” and my beloved “Friday Night Lights” so that next year my television could be entirely Rosie Free. And you know Trump, so you know he couldn’t keep his mouth shut when this story got out; he was of course quick to follow with his own statement that no, there never was any such offer to Rosie. Although his statement was carefully worded to say that he hadn’t made such an offer, which suggests that Burnett and company might have done the offering. In any event, Trump went on to say that he would actually be keen to have her on the show just so he could “fire her fat ass” in the first episode. Class act, him. And Trump also claims, in the way that only he can, that “everybody has been calling me and driving me crazy because they want to be on the show.” Of course, I wonder how he’ll spin things when the eventually announced list of C- and D-listers appearing on the show falls well short of the type of celebs suggested by “everybody has been calling me.”

Whatever. In more interesting news about a show that people actually enjoy, “Weeds” returns to Showtime next Monday (you can catch my review tomorrow, in fact). The show’s creator, Jenji Kohan, was recently asked about the fact that the new season’s first few episodes have been illegally available online for weeks now and, God bless her, she has a quite practical point of view:

Revenue aside, I don’t expect to get rich on “Weeds.” I’m excited it’s out there. Showtime is great, but it does have a limited audience.

In fact, Kohan said that if she “had [her] druthers, the whole [season] would be available right now.” What’s interesting here is the difference in responses to leaked content from a pay station and from a network. Here, Showtime isn’t directly concerned with advertising revenue, since the only ads it runs are its own, folks aren’t likely to cancel their subscriptions based on a few leaked episodes, and since the whole season wasn’t leaked (though it will surely be available online after the episodes have all aired), this leak also won’t chip away at DVD sales — so there’s little financial downside for Showtime. And there’s actually a lot of upside because if those leaks lead to more word-of-mouth and positive early reviews, there might be an increase in subscribers. The networks, meanwhile, are up in arms over the fact that so many of their pilots have been leaked online, and it’s easy to see why. Sure, the early leak of something good has a similarly positive result for them — folks will still likely tune in to the premiere, and the positive buzz and word-of-mouth surely helps the show and its ad revenue in the long term. But the crap-to-goodness ratio is way higher for the networks compared to the pay stations, so odds are that most of the leaked shows suck, and early word about their suckage means far fewer people will tune in and that, of course, eats away at the bottom line. Of course, pay station or network — at the end of the day, all these leaks are of course illegal. But I’m just saying that it makes sense why the networks are pissed to the nines about their leaks, while Showtime hasn’t really said a word (and in fact, not only have the first four episodes of “Weeds” been leaked, but so has the premiere episode of “Californication” and the first two episodes of “Dexter,” so Showtime certainly has plenty to get its panties in a bunch about, were it so inclined).

But ever-so-bloody slowly, the networks are learning how to embrace forms of new advertising. For example, one of the few pilots to receive any early buzz has been ABC’s “Pushing Daisies” (about the private investigator who can bring folks back from the dead, for a limited time, and uses this trick to help solve cases). In an attempt to increase the buzz, the Alphabet network is planning a public sneak peak next week. So for those California Pajiba folk out there, you can hit up the Hollywood Forever Cemetery next Thursday (August 16) at 8 p.m., where you’ll not only get to see the first episode in audience with the cast and producers, but you might even get one of the “limited number of special treats.”

And speaking of ABC, last week I told you that Rob Thomas bailed on the midseason show “Miss/Guided” over the ever ubiquitous “creative differences.” I figured this meant we wouldn’t see him on TV this fall and it turns out I was wrong, as he’s now going to be a consulting producer for “Big Shots.” This makes sense insofar as two former “Veronica Mars” producers are exec producers of the show. But it doesn’t make sense insofar as early word is that the show isn’t very good. About four male friends who are powerful business types, “Big Shots” stars Joshua Malina and Michael Vartan (who I like), Dylan McDermott (who I’m indifferent to), and Christopher Titus (who’s capital-B bad in my book). I hadn’t planned on checking this show out, but now I guess I’ll have to, although you gotta’ figure that any impact Thomas has on the show won’t be felt for the first couple episodes anyway. And if those early episodes suck as much as early word has it that the pilot sucks, we may never get to see what impact Thomas has on the show anyway.

Meanwhile, the wheels of the network busses never stop going round and round, and pilots are already starting to get picked up left-and-right for next year. The biggest news has been about Fox’s purchase of “The Oaks,” as it was apparently the subject of a heated bidding war between Fox and CBS. Folks are also making a big deal out of the fact that this is the first project Kevin Reilly is putting under his belt as the new entertainment president over at Fox. The show is a drama apparently focusing on three or four families who all live in the same house at different time periods between the 60s and the present. But hold on to your hats — it’s a house with some paranormal crap, which means that previous owners appear to later owners as ghosts or some shit. Sounds a touch like The Lake House to me, which is not certainly not a good thing.

And speaking of FX, it also has a new pilot in its hands, this one being produced by Peter Berg (who brought us “Friday Night Lights”). The untitled show is about two cops who go undercover in the Russian mob, only one cop has to track down the other when he goes missing. Can’t say I’m terribly excited by this, but if FX ends up giving it an episode order, I’ll surely try it out anyway (and for those who have asked about FX’s most recent new show — yes, I’ve been watching “Damages” but no, I’m not terribly impressed with it).

CBS carries on the trend of shitty development greenlights with a two-fer. First, there’s an untitled show from Mark Gordon, a “Grey’s Anatomy” exec producer. And it’s … yet … another … medical drama, this time focusing on a psychiatric neurologist. What-the-fuck-ever. Second, the network has greenlit “Worst Week,” another Americanized retread of something from the other side of the pond. The UK show is about a couple getting ready for their wedding and dealing with the hassles of their in-laws, with each season focusing on one week in their pre-nuptial life. Sounds a touch like Meet the Parents to me, which is certainly not a good thing.

The final pilot of the week, greenlit by NBC, was “Backywards & Bulletts.” Featuring Jessalyn Gilsgin and Matthew St. Patrick, among others, it’s apparently about a suburb where the neighborhood watch and the cops are a bit at odds with each other. I’m not sure what this means, but if we’re talking borderline (or even full-blown) suburban warfare, I’m totally onboard. But if it’s just another wacky dramedy, then it’s some more of the what-the-fuck-ever.

And we’ll end things on a positive note, with a trio of videos for your Wednesday morning entertainment — two promos for the new season of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” (!!) and a great clip of our four favorite Colorado boys helping out at a concert with the opening of one of the greatest tracks to ever come out of Canada:

Seth Freilich is Pajiba’s television editor. He, too, is a modern day warrior, mean mean stride.

In a Story about Trump and Rosie, the Only Loser is Pajiba

The Daily Trade Round-Up / The TV Whore
Aug. 8, 2007

Industry | August 8, 2007 |

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


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