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Analytics Killed A New Show From David Cross And Bob Odenkirk

By Andrew Sanford | TV | April 29, 2024 |

By Andrew Sanford | TV | April 29, 2024 |


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Bob Odenkirk and David Cross have been working together for decades. Their work has ranged from niche to mainstream. Their sketch show (aptly titled Mr. Show With Bob And David) was a cult smash. It received a Netflix revival in 2015. Each comedian has also had successful careers apart. Odenkirk became a prestige TV star, and Cross was a part of one of the greatest sitcoms of all time, Arrested Development. The two have heat, so anyone would be lucky to have their next show, or so you’d think.

2022 saw a bidding war over a new show called Guru Nation. The limited series was about two rival cult gurus, played by Odenkirk and Cross. Paramount+ won the rights to make the show, and all seemed to be moving forward until the damn computers got involved.

Cross appeared on Andrew Santino’s Whiskey Ginger podcast in March. During their talk, Cross revealed what happened to the show. “We went with Paramount+, and we wrote up the first four episodes and then a really specific, extensive bible for the last four — all of which we had pitched, like, ‘Here’s the story, here are the characters, and here’s how it would work,’” Cross told the host. “And then they said no, which was weird because it was what we pitched.”

This is not the first instance of a show getting killed by the dreaded algorithm. Yes, marketing departments have killed many projects in the past, but as Cross puts it, this is “an ugly reminder” that “they have all the f***ing power!” Cross points out, “If the marketing department doesn’t have the imagination to take a preexisting idea and figure out […] how to sell it, then they can say no.”

Thanks to a department of people with no imagination, we won’t be given a new show by two creative powerhouses with fantastic chemistry. It’s a real shame. Decisions like this will only increase as marketing departments are slowly but surely replaced by one lonely human sitting among a sea of SEO-powered servers.