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July 11, 2007 |

By Seth Freilich | Industry | July 11, 2007 |

I’ve got to interrupt this regularly scheduled Round-Up for a piece of House business. You may have noticed that it sometimes takes a bloody long time for pages to refresh after you leave comments. We’re trying to come up with a good solution to this problem, and one possibility is to paginate our comments — that is, instead of having one page with the entry and every single comment on it, we would break it up so the first page only has 20-or-so comments, with additional pages of comments following. There are obvious pros and cons to each way of doing things, which is why we thought we’d consult our lovely readers, to get your thoughts. Keeping it the way it is now, the pros are that all the comments are on one handy page, and the cons are that you’re stuck with the longish refresh time when you leave a comment. The pros of the possible new way are that, if it works the way we hope, the refresh time will be much less, but the cons are that you have to go through a bunch of pages to read all the comments, and many folks may simply leave comments after reading the first 20, meaning many of your comments will go unread (and this also increases the chance of folks commenting on stuff that someone else has already said). Anyway, that’s the question of the day — please sound off:

How do you want your Pajiba comments?

And with that out of the way, I now turn to ABC — has everyone there lost their freaking minds? I mean, does anyone have a lick of an idea as to what they’re doing? First there was last week’s shocking resurrection of “According to (motherfucking) Jim.” Now, there’s a whole host of new stupidity. First, ABC has decided to air the remaining episodes of “The Nine” this August, in the show’s original Wednesday night at 10 p.m. timeslot. Thirteen episodes were shot, but only seven aired (so for the non-math majors out there, this means there are six more in the can). This decision is bizarre as hell because (a) the show’s been off the air since November, so how many of the remaining fans even care anymore, and (b) the main plot of the show, with all the details of the bank robbery and the whatever-whatever that happened afterwards, was designed to be a full season long, so there won’t be any major resolution at the end of these “new” episodes. The only thing that makes sense is that ABC has just given up, writing off much of August as “we got nothing but scraps” month. Further evidence that this is the case? The network is also randomly planning to air two episodes of “The Knights of Prosperity,” one on August 8 and then another on the following week. At first blush, this seems sure to backfire, serving as a stinging reminder that the network had better comedies in its grasps than the impending (motherfucking) “Cavemen” and “According to (cocksucking) Jim” — but lucky for ABC, nobody is likely to watch the “Knights” airing and, thus, they won’t suffer this stinging reminder.

Third piece of evidence regarding ABC’s apparent incompetence? Even though the show didn’t pull in any decent ratings during its last run of airings, the network has decided to bring back “National Bingo Night.” Seems that the ABC folks are simply over the moon with the fact that more than 3 million play-along cards were downloaded from the ABC website during the show’s last run, and so the Net has decided to do a five-night “Bingo” extravaganza during the week of December 17. Of course, this is the way the network also launched “Deal or No Deal” a few years back, so this could mean weekly “Bingo” come next year. Who’s excited about that? Anyone? Anyone? …Voodoo economics.

The fourth bit of evidence actually looks like evidence to the contrary, at first: ABC has decided to retool (motherfucking) “Cavemen.” However, upon closer inspection, this thing is still a turd, since ABC’s retooling consists of nothing more than recasting one of the characters and changing his name from Jamie to Andy. Oh, and the first episode to air next fall won’t be the pilot (which will air later in the season, if the show makes it that long), but a new episode featuring the backstories of our beloved (motherfucking) cavemen. So, uhrm, yeah — it’s still going to be a show about a bunch of corporate cavemen shills, attempting to address issues of racism and other elements of modern caveman life. Way to change things up, guys!

Of course, this “retooling” doesn’t mean that ABC still has any actual faith in the show, or even in its overall schedule. Last week I told you that the network was still giving some thought to “The Thick of It,” and holding on to its contract options for “Football Wives.” Well the network has extended its cast options on two more previously rejected pilots, further showing its lack of faith in the current schedule. Those shows? “The Middle,” which was supposed to be Ricki Lake’s big comeback as a Middle America woman dealing with her daily trials and tribulations or some crap, and “The Hill,” about a political romance between a senator’s daughter and a congressional staffer, starring Wendie Malick and Michelle Trachtenberg, among others. Both sound better than (motherfucking) “Cavemen” and “According to (shit-eating) Jim,” to be sure, but not by much.

And even when ABC does something right, it still does it wrong. Word has it that Chyler Leigh may become a permanent regular on “Grey’s Anatomy.” The actress, who showed up at the end of last season as Meredith’s half-sister, is already signed for 13 episodes, but it sounds like Shonda Rhimes and company are digging the actress and the character. Now, I say this is doing something right for no other non-piggish reason than Leigh is pure eye candy, which will surely raise the level of, uhrm, my interest in the show. Of course, the downside here is that this surely means even more Meredith/Derek drama and crap, which is certainly the least enjoyable part of the show. So as I say, ABC can’t even get a good thing right.

Now to be fair, ABC isn’t the only network with its head up its ass. Look at NBC, for example, which is in final talks to bring back “The Apprentice” for one — and possibly two — more go-rounds. The expectation is that the network will announce the final details of the still-being-negotiated arrangement next week during its presentation to the Television Critics Association. NBC fired Kevin Reilly and brought in Ben Silverman to pick the network up from its fourth-place ranking and this is his first major step? Maybe NBC should hand over the reins to Pajiba while ABC is giving us control.

Speaking of Kevin Reilly, there may actually be some hope out there in network TV land. Reilly has quickly landed himself a new job over at Fox, where he’ll become the network’s entertainment president (the same role he had at NBC). What’s interesting about this is that his new boss at Fox will be Peter Liguori, and the two of them worked together at FX back in the early Aughts, where they were responsible for putting the station on the cable programming map with shows like “The Shield” and “Nip/Tuck.” And sure, Reilly’s time at NBC was anything but a complete success, but he did obviously have an eye for potential — he got the network its big freshman hit, “Heroes,” and he’s the main reason that both “Friday Night Lights” and “30 Rock” will see second seasons. Now this move won’t mean much this fall, with a schedule Reilly had nothing to do with, but I’m ever-so-cautiously optimistic that this pair may be able to make some positive changes at Fox come this time next year.

Of course, maybe it’s not the networks that all have it wrong. Maybe I’ve simply, and finally, lost it. Because, and I can’t believe I’m about to type these words, the industry news that got me the most excited last week came from … Lifetime. Yes, that Lifetime. The chick channel that this misogynistic pig has never watched before. And yet, I’m intrigued — Lifetime has announced a four-hour two-part miniseries called “The Gathering,” which will air this October. It comes to us from David Eick (“Battlestar Galactica”) and John Shiban (“The X-Files”) and stars Peter Gallagher as a doctor looking for his wife (Kristin Lehmann, most recently of the quickly vanished “Drive”) who has mysteriously gone missing. His search leads him to discover witches in NYC and other dark and creepy things. “The Gathering” will also star Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Peter Fonda among others and, well, I’m absolutely intrigued.

And finally, let’s end with some quick programming notes. Last week I told you that Fox would air the last two episodes of “Drive” this Friday night. Strike that — the network has again pulled the episodes and issued a statement that it has no intention to ever air them (or, in press release language, the episodes “are no longer scheduled to air”). The show’s first four episodes are on “Drive’s” MySpace page, and while there’s no word yet, you figure they’ll add these two to that page at some point. Meanwhile, I forgot to remind y’all that VH1 has started airing the next run of “The World Series of Pop Culture,” which I suspect is up many of your alleys. It’s VH1, so you should have plenty of rerun opportunities to catch up, and you can also check it out online. And lastly, next Monday at 8 pm., NBC will be airing the one-hour special “Victoria Beckham: Coming to America.” You’ll recall this was originally supposed to be a full-blown reality series, but was scaled back to a mere one-hour turd after complications arose during filming. I won’t be watching, so someone will have to fill me in on whether the resulting turd is a big fat floater or several little ploppers.

And we’re going out on a high note, people!

Seth Freilich is Pajiba’s television editor. He makes no apologizes whatsoever for resorting to scatological humor.

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The Trade Round-Up / The TV Whore
July 11, 2007

Industry | July 11, 2007 |

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

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