January 9, 2008 | Comments ()

By Seth Freilich | Trade News | January 9, 2008 |


For those who follow the schedules closely, Fox rejiggered its own a bit last week. The biggest change is probably the fact that upcoming newbie “New Amsterdam” was bounced from a February premiere to a March premiere (March 10). Might seem like a bad sign, except that its new home is Monday nights, whereas it used to be buried on Friday nights. Plus, the week before its premiere, Fox is going to air two “sneak previews” after that week’s episodes of “American Idol,” which suggests that Fox is actually putting a little faith in the show (or is at least willing to give it an honest chance). Meanwhile, Amy Sherman-Palladino’s “The Return of Jezebel James,” starring Parker Posey, has long been rumored to be troubled, and even though it’s also getting a post-“American Idol” preview, Fox has shuttled it over to the Friday graveyard (official premiere being March 14). So one might hypothesize that it’s a show not long for the world.

Meanwhile, the CW is taking advantage of the WGA strike and lack of new episodes to “experiment” with its current schedule a bit. In early February, the network will be moving all of its Monday night comedies to Sunday night because, as an exec put it, the “Sunday night schedule has not been setting the world on fire.” …As opposed to the rest of the CW’s schedule, which I understand was eventually ruled the cause of the relatively recent Malibu fires. Anyway, “Gossip Girl” (a show I bailed on but which is beloved enough by many of the Eloquents that I might give it another shot) is moving from its Wednesday home to Mondays at 8 p.m. (starting on January 28), largely in an attempt to avoid the “American Idol” wrecking ball. It’ll be followed by that goddamn “Pussycat Dolls” nightmare. And while “Reaper” will return to its Tuesday night home on January 15, it’ll find a new home at 9 p.m. on Thursdays, starting February 28. The CW says this move is to get away from “House,” and to see if the show can match up a little better with “Smallville.”

And CBS is going through with one of the rumors discussed of late; namely, it’s going to be airing the first season of “Dexter.” The show will start running Sunday, February 17, at 10 p.m. As I said at the time the rumor first came out, this is a relatively solid plan on CBS’ part. “Dexter” is surely a show worthy of more widespread distribution. There’s little sex or violence to trim out, so the only minor editing hurdle will be the language, and the only major editing hurdle will be the timing (trying to trim 50-60 minutes down to 42-44 minutes). I suspect they can do it while leaving the relative tone and impact of the show intact. Are you better off watching “Dexter” on Showtime or DVD? Mos def. But for those without the means, and just for the added exposure this will give Michael C. Hall’s outstanding performance, I salute the decision. NBC, I’ll plead one more time — give the upcoming run of “Top Chef” the network love it deserves (and Jesus Christ, you can put it right where the disappointingly atrocious “American Gladiators” is currently squatting and dropping deuces).

And yes, it’s now confirmed that the fourth season of “Top Chef,” filmed in Chicago, is just around the corner — it’ll begin its Wednesday nights run starting in late March. Meanwhile, “Survivor” also has a new run around the corner, and CBS has announced the cast for the upcoming quasi-all-stars season. This season will feature two teams of 10, one made of superfans, the other made of all-stars. Whatever with the 10 superfans, but I’m relatively happy with the selected all-stars, accepting the fact that they only drew from the last batch of seasons. A good assortment of a touch of eye candy (Amanda, Parvati and the my-heterosexuality-can-comfortably-admit-he’s-delectable James), a few truly likable types (Yau-Man, gravedigging James, again, and Ozzy), a few that should be fun to root against (primarily Ami and Eliza) and the absolutely detestable Jonny Fairplay (while I’ve been flipped off by many people in my life, I think I’m most proud of having been flipped off by this asshat). Now I realize the “Survivor” folks think this whole setup is an original spin on the all-star concept, but we know better — MTV’s “Real World/Road Rules Challenges,” always an innovator, did this a few seasons back.

Wait, what’s that? Did I mention the “Challenge?” Sure as hell did! And I’m not even kidding about my level of excitement over the fact that a new “Real World/Road Rules Challenge” starts in a mere two weeks!! Yessir, at 10 p.m. on January 23, you have absolutely no reason to be tuning anywhere else but to MTV for the “Gauntlet III.” I’m not sure I can even explain how much fun this show is. In fact, despite the strike decimating the television landscape, there are still quite a few things I’m psyched about this winter/spring, but I may just be the most excited about this empty-calories show. Fuck guilty pleasures — this show is pure pleasure (especially now that “I beat bitches” Coral is back on the scene).

While not quite as intellectually stimulating as “the Challenge,” it’s also really great news that Bill Maher and his “Real Time” will be returning to HBO this Friday night. Unlike some other folks, I don’t mind his monologues or New Rules segment, although I whole-heartedly agree that the meat of his show is the panel. So I’m pretty OK that the “Real Time” is now going to be almost all panels and interviews, since he won’t have himself or anyone else to write the opening and closing bits (I say “almost” because he’s apparently going to do some in-the-audience improving to kick the show off … meh). With the primaries in full steam for the next couple of weeks, Maher’s return is truly welcome.

Last week, I waxed quasi-poetic about the glory that is HBO’s “The Wire.” Well if you’re a fan and are looking for some good timesucks, I’ve got two interesting and quite different pieces for you. First, over at “The Believer,” Nick Hornby has a great interview with “The Wire” creator David Simon. And then, you can read an even longer, more interesting (in my mind) piece by one of my favorite journalist-types, Mark Bowden. In “The Angriest Man in Television,” Simon doesn’t come off in quite the same light as he does in most of the other reverent pieces I’ve seen on him over the years, and it presents an interesting dichotomy to the Hornby piece. (And just as I was uploading this column and washing my hands of it, I stumbled upon this letter from Simon, written in response to a roundtable discussion going on at Slate, and while he makes some interesting and valid points — particularly towards the end when he brings up Ed Burns — I also think it’s disingenuous to suggest that one must always view art in its own domain, without reading the creator’s intent and motivation into it.)

And lastly, I just gotta say — whatever with the upcoming The Dark Knight flick. This is the Batman movie I want to see:

And you know what, with apologies to Dustin, fuck Dave Letterman with his fancy-pants writers. This time-filling shit is ten times better (I hope to god NBC doesn’t pull it from YouTube before you get a chance to watch and enjoy):


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Seth Freilich is Pajiba’s television editor. He’s actually quite happy that he won’t have to watch the Golden Globes this Sunday after watching the football playoffs. Means he can get right into “The Amazing Race” and “The Wire.” Good riddance, Hollywood Foreign Press Association! And for the record, it just so happens that Blue Moon of Kentucky is his favorite Elvis tune.

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Sunday Bloody Pajiba

The Daily Trade Round-Up / The TV Whore
Jan. 9, 2008

Trade News | January 9, 2008 | Comments ()



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