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February 28, 2007 |

By Seth Freilich | Industry | February 28, 2007 |

As anyone who’s read my recent posts can attest, I’ve been a bit crusty and negative lately. But I’m happy to say that I can at least start this roundup out with a bit more shine and cheer than usual, more like a box full of cute little puppies than a box full of dead little puppies.

For you see, Monday’s so-called fast national ratings are in and “The Black Donnellys” dropped like a fart, losing 30 percent of its “Heroes” lead-in (and this was coming off of one of the best episode of “Heroes” yet). The only reason this isn’t the best news ever is because of the fact that, of the people who did stick around for Paul Haggis’ latest crapfest, about 30 percent of them bailed by 10:30. That’s the best news ever.

Meanwhile, last week I told you about the possible “Grey’s Anatomy” spin-off featuring Kate Walsh’s Dr. Addison Sheppard. Well, we’ve got a little more info now — seems that they’ll have a two-hour special episode of “Grey’s” (currently set to be called “My Favorite Mistake”), which will essentially serve as a launching point for the spin-off (the trades are calling it a backdoor pilot, but I refuse to call it that as “backdoor” still holds another meaning in my eighth-grade juvenile mind). The good news here is that the episode will also feature Taye Diggs in an as-yet unidentified role. I love me some Taye Diggs, and one assumes he would move to the new show as well. The bad news, at least for those rooting for the spin-off, is that Diggs is a bit of new-show-poison (ABC’s “Daybreak” was gone in a blink, and “Kevin Hill,” back when there was still a UPN, didn’t fare much better).

But between now and the very special May episode of “Grey’s,” ABC will be killing some time in a very interesting and bizarre way — the network has announced that the yanked-and-presumed-dead “Six Degrees” is actually coming back with new episodes starting March 23. Granted, it’s gonna be on Fridays at 9 p.m., so they’re obviously not expecting much, but it’s a surprise that they even bothered to keep the awful show alive. The only thing I can figure is that they feel guilty about the fact that Bridget Moynahan is about to be bringing up baby sans pappy, whilst Tom Brady gallivants around with models, and ABC is trying to help the working single mom. So good on ABC for that!

And now, ladies and gents, let’s turn back to Pilot Watch 2007, which is still going full steam. The best news out there has to do with a pilot I’ve already told you about — “The Thick of It,” being brought to us by Mitchell Hurwitz. It’s now been announced that the pilot for this BBC remake will be directed by none other than Christopher Guest, and the combination of Hurwitz and Guest has me absolutely giddy. Meanwhile, ABC has also ordered a new drama, “Marlowe,” which will be a modern-day retelling of Raymond Chandler’s hard-boiled P.I. If it’s done right, this could be a really solid show. It could also go cornball/cheesefest real quick-like. And one worries that it may go that second route considering they’ve cast Amanda Righetti as a dancer who works for Marlowe. You may recall that her last network show was the unintentional laughapalooza that was “Reunion.” But I’ll remain cautiously optimistic about “Marlowe” anyway.

I’m less optimistic about ABC’s many other pilots. See, it was a busy week for ABC. First, they locked Alyssa Milano (droooooooooooool) into a pilot. Sadly, Tony Danza’s TV daughter has signed onto a terrible-sounding show — the unnamed drama is about a lawyer and new mother (Milano) who moves back to her hometown of Savannah, Georgia, and presumably gets embroiled in lots of drama with her mom (who’s set to be played by Mary Steenburgen). Then there’s “Women’s Murder Club,” a show about four lady friends who solve murders, and “Judy’s Got a Gun,” about a single mom who is a suburban police detective. And if those aren’t your cup of tea, there’s always “Pushing Daises,” about a dude (Lee Pace) who can revive the dead by touching them. Chi McBride has also been cast (as a P.I. who works with Pace’s dead-raiser), as has Kristin Chenoweth (as a love interest). I’m absolutely bored by all these shows already. And I’m doubly bored by ABC’s untitled show about CEOs, which is slated to star Michael Vartan ( I’m OK with this), Dylan McDermott (I’m less than thrilled about this), and Christopher Titus (I’m entirely un-thrilled about this).

Let’s turn away from ABC and the networks for a moment and head over to HBO, which has found a lead for Alan Ball’s new show. The unnamed series is about vampires who live among humans instead of hunting them (thanks to some crafty synthetic blood) and is based on a series of novels by Charlaine Harris. I gotta say that I love the idea, because I love me some vampires, and Ball pretty much gets a free look from me anyway because of “Six Feet Under,” but it’s definitely a cool sign that they’ve locked in Anna Paquin as the lead. Paquin will play a human waitress who gets involved with a vamp, and while I don’t have the type of crush on her that some at Pajiba do (cough Dustin cough), I’m enough of a fan of her work that I think this is totally a solid move forward for the show.

Back at the networks, CBS has picked up two new comedies. There’s “Atlanta,” a single-camera show about a guy and gal who meet at a wedding and then keep stumbling into each other (presumably in and around Atlanta). It’s written by (but not, apparently, starring) Paul Reiser, who was last funny around 1987. And then CBS has an unnamed sitcom coming from the creators of “Will & Grace,” and I have to admit, I don’t know where they come up with their ideas. The writing pair, one of whom is gay and one of whom is straight, are working on a comedy about a pair of writing partners, one of whom is gay and one of whom is straight. Genius.

OK, let’s wind up the Pilot Watch for this week, yeah? Over at Fox, there’s the comedy “Two Families,” about a guy who has — you guessed it — two families. While they don’t know about each other, at first, the secret eventually comes out and shenanigans ensue. Beau Bridges has signed on as the lead, which is a good sign in my book. And the show certainly sounds better than Fox’s other recent pilot, “The Apostles.” Which is … another … goddamn … cop show … this time focusing on the LAPD. There have been a fuck-ton of cops and lawyers this pilot season — what about all the doctors, people? They need TV shows too! Lastly, over on the also-ran CW, Josh Schwartz’s new pilot “Gossip Girl” has some leads now — Blake Lively and Leighton Meester. I don’t know who either of them are (and I’m too lazy to hit up the IMDb right now), but I can tell you that the show will be an hour-long drama about an anonymous blogger (the Gossip Girl) who writes about the Paris Hilton-types in NYC. Interesting idea, and if Schwartz goes with the type of fun humor he employed in the first and fourth seasons of “The O.C.,” this could end up being not half bad. But it is the CW, so let’s just wait and see.

And lastly, NBC is sticking to its guns to do more reality TV, having won the bidding war for a reality show about Victoria Beckham (to the tune of a £10 million price tag!). The show will purportedly follow the former Spice Girl as she moves to the States, and while her hubby will of course be in the show, he won’t be involved to the same level as Vic. NBC says they intend for the show to be light-hearted, focusing on the funny. I can’t wait to see how fun and light-hearted the plastic Beckhams’ lives are. Can’t wait.

OK, let’s end on an up note. First, for the geeks out there (among which I proudly count myself), the “Numb3rs” blog is a fun little site that discuses some of the math used on the show (I told you this is for geeks). For example, one entry explains the trick math behind why, when there are more than 23 people in a room, it’s more likely than not that two people share the same birthday (I remember my 11th grade calc teacher going through this, and sumbitch if another dude didn’t have the same birthday as me).

And last but certainly not least, God bless Showtime. They’ve got a new show premiering on March 22 at 10:30 p.m., a TV version of the NPR favorite “This American Life.” Early word is that it’s going to be very good, and the trailer has me quite pleased with anticipation — it looks just as odd and quirky and fun as the radio show. Judge for yourself:


Seth Freilich is Pajiba’s television columnist. He really hopes for a time when vampires and humans can live together peacefully — he’s tired of having to keep a closet full of sharpened stakes.

This American Pajiba

The Daily Trade Round-Up / Seth Freilich

Industry | February 28, 2007 |

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

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