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April 25, 2007 |

By Seth Freilich | Industry | April 25, 2007 |

Where to begin? Where. To. Begin? With so many different things going on in the TV world right now, I have just so many things to choose from. But … wait. What’s that? Pirates? Well, yeah, of course I’m going to start with freaking pirates!

So on May 31, at 8 p.m. (which is the seventh anniversary of the original debut of “Survivor” back in 2000), CBS will be premiering Mark Burnett’s latest attempt at a water-cooler reality competition. Filmed in the Caribbean last month, “Pirate Master” features eight dudes and eight gals living on a pirate ship, dressed in period costumes, eating gruel, and competing against each other. And, of course, there will be a weekly ouster after the holding of “Pirate’s Court” (while the press release didn’t say anything about this, I suspect Vegas has turned off bets on “walk the plank” being this show’s “the tribe has spoken”). Now I don’t know if this thing will be any good, but I am a bit of a whore for competitive reality shows. More importantly, of course — pirates, son! Who don’t love some pirates? I’ll certainly tune in to see if this show has the potential of offering us some light summer entertainment.

Speaking of CBS, the network has joined Fox in shelving a show because of last week’s Virginia Tech tragedy. Tonight’s scheduled new episode of “Criminal Minds” revolves around a serial killer targeting women on a college campus. So, uhm, yeah — CBS was a bit nervous and decided to go with a rerun instead. No word on if and/or when this episode will air, but I think it’s safe to assume that it’ll get a summer airing, once the VT incident has left the country’s collective conscious, as just about everything seems to do after a month or two.

Meanwhile, some television shows would love nothing more than to hit the big 400-episode milestones. “Law & Order” is one such show. This is that show’s story. Chung-chung! … Sorry, I’m a bit punch-drunk right now. Anyway, NBC and “L&O” creator Dick Wolf are still holding discussions about whether this show (and its “Criminal Intent” sibling) will make a return next season, which “L&O” must do to hit the 400 marker (“SVU,” meanwhile, has already been picked up in light of relatively solid ratings and the many well-deserved accolades thrown towards Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay). Unsurprisingly, the talks are focused primarily on money, with both shows costing a good hunk more than NBC is making back on them. I would guess that we will see “L&O” come back for a run at 400, although the budget will surely be smaller — I don’t know if that means there will be casting changes, but those of you still watching can let me know.

Another show currently sitting on NBC’s bubble is “Scrubs.” As you may recall, when it was on the bubble last year there was all sorts of speculation that ABC would pick up the show if NBC didn’t. That same speculation started creeping up again, but this time the show’s creator (Bill Lawrence) has confirmed that ABC is intent on airing a seventh and final season of “Scrubs” if NBC isn’t interested. Which makes sense since, you may recall, the show is produced by ABC Television Studio, so the network could take in more profits from the show than NBC does (since NBC is forced to send some of its money ABC’s way). And this also makes sense in light of the whopping $350,000/episode contract ABC Television gave Zach Braff for a potential seventh season. Now I will say that, for me, this season has been one of the show’s weakest, and I feel like it blew its wad in season five and is now on the decline. That being said, I still wouldn’t complain about one more season, particularly if it lands on ABC, which is in desperate need of any good sitcom (and Lawrence also says his suspicion is that “Scrubs” will, in fact, land at ABC, unless NBC is pretty much un-infatuated with all of its new pilots).

Now, I’ve got some good news, bad news for you. Good news — there has actually been word of those two “Deadwood” movies we were promised after the show’s untimely demise. Bad news — there really is no actual news about the flicks. Word is that they won’t air until sometime in 2009, at the earliest, since they aren’t even likely to be filmed before late next year. In a comment on his MySpace page earlier this month, W. Earl Brown (the wonderfully brutish Dan Dority) said that there was “still no word on the ‘Deadwood’ movies” and that he had not yet been approached about a contract. And he later told the Chicago Tribune that, to his knowledge, none of the cast had signed contracts for the films, although the HBO big-wigs are “committed” to the films. As for David Milch, the show’s creator (who is also busy with his premiering-in-June “John from Cincinnati”), he claims that he’s working on the scripts and that “if I’m given strength and time, we’re definitely going to do” those “Deadwood” flicks. Which certainly isn’t all that promising. So, uhm, I guess we’ll all just keep holding our breath and hoping for the best.

And speaking of quagmires and holding our breath, I don’t know what the hell is going on with “Veronica Mars.” Last week I told you that I wasn’t personally putting much faith in that widespread internet rumor, stemming from USA Today, that “Veronica” was definitely dead. Well, later in the week, Enrico Colantoni (Veronica’s pappy) gave an interview where he said that these rumors were, in fact, unsubstantiated: “No one knows anything. But I love how people think they know.” Colantoni went on to say that the CW execs weren’t thrilled with what they saw of the proposed FBI-revamp of the show (he said they shot 10 pages for the execs and that their response to seeing this footage was: “That’s not our show.”). However, he also said that the execs loved this season’s finale, and he summed the whole situation up thusly: “You know how it works. They’ve got six new pilots. And if some of those tank, or if ‘Gilmore Girls’ doesn’t come back, then of course they’re going to want us back.”

And that would be the end of the story for now, except that it’s not. After that interview came out, show creator Rob Thomas gave an interview to say that, despite Colantoni’s statement, the CW execs had not actually seen the FBI presentation yet (they are slated to hear both season four pitches on May 2) and that he had absolutely no idea what Colantoni was talking about (a CW exec also confirmed that they hadn’t been given the new pitches yet). However, Thomas did agree with Colantoni’s comment that the CW loved this season’s finale. So I don’t know what the hell is going on over there, but this “he said, she said” turmoil just feels like a death knell, don’t it? At least we should know for sure in less than a month.

One last story for you — Comedy Central has given the greenlight to a new pilot, “Michael Ian Black Doesn’t Understand.” As our sharpest readers might guess, the show will star Michael Ian Black. He’ll provide comments on various pop-culture topics, and the show will also include sketches, scripted bits, and field segments/videos. So it basically sounds like his version of the VH1 “I Love the Blah-Blah’s” shows, along with a healthy blend of “The Daily Show” and whatever the hell David Spade’s Comedy Central show is called. Black is pretty damn funny in the right setting (which was not 2005’s rightfully short-lived “Stella”), so I’ll root for him for now, but I can’t say I’m terribly excited by the show’s premise. (However, I’m sure that our boy Dustin is quite pleased with this, because Black was on “Ed” and, inexplicably, Dustin continues to love anything even remotely related to that show.)

I’ll leave you with two tidbits. First, I unabashedly have a bit of a man-crush on Anthony Bourdain. So I found his recent diatribe against “The Food Network Awards” quite hilarious. From anal sex with the San Diego Chicken to Emeril taking a shit on another man’s desk, the column covers the gamut from bitching to scathing, and is worth a quick read. Second, this is a solid clip from tomorrow night’s episode of “The Office” (called “Product Recall”) which I share with you, just because:

Seth “the Orangutan” Freilich is Pajiba’s television columnist. He would
totally be a pirate if he could be, and those who think Ninjas beat Pirates can suck a nut.

Pajiba Shivers Me Timbers...

The Daily Trade Round-Up / Seth Freilich

Industry | April 25, 2007 |

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

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