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November 14, 2007 |

By Seth Freilich | Industry | November 14, 2007 |

In week two of The Strike, it comes as little surprise that most of the TV news is strike related. For example, even though “24” isn’t on the air yet, Fox got some big headlines when it announced late last week that the strike was putting the show’s start date into the foggy realm of the unknown. This is because Fox wants to be able to air the full season uninterrupted, as originally planned (and as it’s done the last few seasons), and a prolonged strike would make that rather difficult. So the network has indefinitely postponed the seventh season premiere until things get resolved. Which means we may not see a new season of “24” for some time. And I’m rather OK with that.

But you know, this has me thinking — the writers could totally use Jack Bauer right about now, you know? He could shoot some studio execs in the knees to get them to bend their positions a little, get these negotiations moving forward again. Although the SF Chronicle’s Tim Goodman has an absolutely brilliant idea, which I simply must share. In talking about the fact that the cast members of “Grey’s Anatomy” had joined the picket lines in support of the writers, in full scrubs, garb Goodman said:

We’d like to see Ian McShane walking the line in support — dressed as his “Deadwood” character and using the “-sucker” line as much as he did on the now-defunct series. Now that’s the kind of righteous bile we like. Can you imagine McShane on the picket line shouting, “Tell your God to ready for blood!” That might cut the strike by a month at least.

Now I would pay good money to see that shit!

While Fox quickly decided to put “24” on hold, ABC is showing an unwillingness to do the same with “Lost.” The show was slated for an uninterrupted 16 episode run starting in February, but there are currently only eight hours in the can, with the eighth episode ending on a minor cliffhanger. The show’s producers, who are walking the picket line, have said they’d like ABC to hold off airing the batch of episodes, fearing that a short run followed by a long hiatus could garner the type of backlash the early part of last season did. But ABC seems set on airing the episodes regardless, likely because of February sweeps and its desperate need for any help it can get. In fact, the guy in charge of Fox scheduling said, regarding “24,” that “it would be a disservice to the show and to the audience to run eight episodes and just go, ‘Okay, let’s stop the clock.’” Which is, of course, exactly what ABC is now talking about doing with “Lost.” (Speaking of “Lost,” ABC has decided to start posting the previously cellular-only mobisodes on its website — you can find the first unexciting installment here.)

Meanwhile, “Pushing Daisies” and “Men in Trees” are both joining “Heroes” in getting potential early season finales ready. For “Daisies,” the ninth episode (which was the last pre-strike episode to be written) was reworked a little to act as a finale in the event of a long strike. The same is true for “Trees” although, because the network has been sitting on a bunch of unaired episodes, the “early” finale wouldn’t come until the 19th episode, which is almost a full season anyways. Meanwhile, “Scrubs” has no such finale (series, not season) in the works — while NBC pushed writer/creator Bill Lawrence to quickly cobble together a potential series finale, he told the network to fuck off. If the strike kills the chances of a finale ever airing, Lawrence is already contemplating a DVD release, so us fans may get to eventually see the series finale Lawrence has in mind, which is a nice comfort.

Now I’ve given TV Guide’s Michael Ausiello a lot of shit around these parts because he’s an egotistical douchenozzle. And he is. But he does this shit full time, so he’s got better resources and more time on his hands than I do, so credit where credit is due — he’s put together a very handy list of most current shows, outlining how many episodes they have left to burn. Most fall within the three-to-eight episode range, so unless there are a lot of reruns in the works, it looks like many of the shows won’t even make it to late January, as folks had previously been speculating, and new episodes will start vanishing just after you’ve finished digesting your turkey and stuffing.

Turning back to Fox, in addition to putting the brakes on “24,” the network has also firmed up the start dates for its midseason shows: “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” will get a two night premiere on January 13 and 14, “New Amsterdam” drops on February 22, and “Canterbury’s Law” joins us on April 11. I’m intrigued by the first two, and couldn’t care less about the third because it is yet. another. law show. Fox also has a new comedy from the Farrelly Brothers, “Unhitched,” which I’ve honest-to-goodness never heard of before. It will premiere in March and while I don’t know anything about, the attachment of the Farrelly Brothers is enough for me to tune out — the Farrellys lost what little goodwill they had from me long, long ago. Lastly, the potentially troubled “The Return of Jezebel James” will be premiering on March 7, so all you Amy Sherman-Palladino and Parker Posey fans can get your excitement on.

Now last week, many of the comments to my round-up bitched about the relative suckfest that “Heroes” has been this season. Well the show’s creator, Tim Kring, is sorry. He’s very, very sorry. Last Wednesday, Entertainment Weekly published what amounts to an official apology from Kring for much of this season’s crap (it also appeared in last weekend’s edition of the magazine). He apologized for the slow pacing, the early lack of important stakes, the introduction of new characters in ways that feel unattached to show’s main threads (but what about the new characters sucking balls, Kring?), for the terrible love stories between Claire and the flying lad and between Hiro and his Japanese princess gal, and for keeping Hiro in Japan too long (and I’m actually OK with that one, since the modern times payoff makes that story slightly more interesting, retroactively). Now I’m not inclined to think the show will get much better anyway, but it’s still nice to see someone behind a show readily fess up to mistakes made. Of course, it may not matter much anyway, as the December 3 episodes of “Heroes” has, as I alluded to above and has been much publicized, been cut to act as a potential season finale in light of the strike. So next month may be the end of this miserable season, meaning we’ll have to wait all the way until at least September and Season Three to get our “Heroes” bitch back on.

Lastly, while Fox is yanking “24” for now, it’s sibling FX has announced that there will be more “Damages,” two more 13-episode seasons, in fact. Glenn Close, Tate Donovan and Rose Byrne are all signed for season two, though there’s no word on whether Teddy Danson will be showing up. Despite appearances to the contrary, folks in charge said they could bring him back if everyone wants to go that direction and I, for one, hope they do bring him back, as his performance was by far the best thing about the show’s first season.

And while there may be no new “24” airings on the horizon, the folks over at College Humor have unearthed Fox’s original pilot for the show, set in 1994, so here’s a little Jack Bauer for you on this Wednesday a.m.:

Seth Freilich is Pajiba’s television editor. He wonders why ‘94 CTU didn’t have a private BBS. That way, they could’ve played Trade Wars during their downtime. Man alive was that the best game ever or what? Where my fellow nerds at?

On Strike, Shut It Down, Pajiba Is a Union Town!

The Daily Trade Round-Up / The TV Whore
Nov. 14, 2007

Industry | November 14, 2007 |

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

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