Buffy's Got a New Show, but Tim Robbins Doesn't
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First up, Sarah Michelle Gellar has an HBO sitcom in the works. "The Wonderful Maladys" stars Gellar, Molly Parker, and Nate Corddry as three siblings who lost their parents at a young age. The single-camera comedy revolves around their dysfunctional lives. That doesn't give me a lot to work with, but it's good to see Corddry get some more work -- he was one of the few highlights of "The United States of Tara," the Diablo Cody scripted Showtime comedy that never really went anywhere or got very interesting, although it's already been signed for a second season.
Elsewhere, Lake Bell -- the homeless man's Sandra Bullock -- has been added to the cast of HBO's "How to Make It in America." That show also stars Bryan Greenburg ("October Road," "Unscripted") and Victor Rasuk (Stop-Loss, "ER") as twenty-somethings husting in New York City to achieve the American dream. Man, that's a cardboard logline. It's good to see the pay-cable networks taking a lot of risks with high-concept shows. Yeesh.
Also, Ed Quinn ("Eureka") has been added as a recurring character on the second season of "True Blood." Man, that show is bad. But damn, it's hard not to watch.
What else: Showtime recently ordered four pilots, including one from Matthew Perry, an "L Word" spin-off, and a pharmaceutical pilot written by and starring Tim Robbins. After seeing the pilots, Showtime turned down all four down, which is especially significant because the Tim Robbins' pilot, "Possible Side Effects" tested incredibly well with audiences. The reasoning behind its rejection, some argue, is because it takes a scathing look at pharmaceutical companies, and big pharma pays for many of the bills for Showtime's parent company, CBS. So, instead, we get another season of "United States of Tara" and "Confessions of a Call Girl." If it weren't for "Dexter," I'd long-ago canceled my subscription to Showtime (and since "Big Love" ended its run, I still can't figure out why I still have HBO).
Finally, in ratings news: For those of you who dug the Thursday night makeover over on NBC last Thursday, there's good news. First off, the Benjamin McKenzie cop show, "Southland" performed incredibly strong in its debut last Thursday, winning its time-slot with nearly 10 million viewers (a strange time-slot to give it, however, since Jay Leno will be occupying it next year). Amy Poehler's new show, "Parks and Recreation" also performed modestly well. It didn't fare as well as "The Office" episodes it was sandwiched between, but it did nearly match the ratings for that night's episode of "30 Rock." Hopefully, it'll do well enough going forward to keep "Kath and Kim" from returning to that spot next year.
We'll have reviews of both "Southland" and "Parks and Recreation" later this week.