Thursday, October 19, 2006

Why not all US TV execs are ruthless people

There's an interesting piece in Hollywood trade paper Variety today, detailing the different fates of two TV dramas. CBS has decided to pull the plug on a new show before a single episode of it was screened. Waterfront was slated to begin appearing early in the new year. But CBS has decided to ditch the show, made by Warner Brothers TV, citing a lack of gaps in the network's own schedule. Four episodes and a pilot had already been shot, featuring Joe Pantoliano as the mayor of Providence in the state of Rhode Island. According to Variety, CBS executives weren't totally happ with the show's direction and decided to nix the project. Imagine how much money that decision has written off, how many hopes and dreams it crushed.

Meanwhile rival network NBC has ordered nine more scripts for its massively acclaimed drama Friday Night Lights. The show features life in a Texas town where everyone's hope and dreams depend upon the high school football team. If that sounds familiar, it was developed from a hit film of the same name that starred Billy Bob Thornton, which adapted a non-fiction book about a real team. Friday Night Lights has been getting a ton of love from critics and online commentators, but isn't finding much of an audience thus far. So, all credit to NBC for sticking with the show. Besides the extra scripts order, the network is also road-testing the show in another timeslot, to try and build the audience. I hope they succeed, because Friday Night Lights is a cracking series.


Good Dog said...

Didn't FOX do that with Manchester Prep some years back? Film a bunch of episodes and then not screen any.

Which is strange because FOX usually broadcast at least a couple of episodes before they knock a show on the head.

Of course there's all the money the networks shell out for pilots that don't make the cut as well. Maybe the write the costs off as R&D.

Whereupon over here, they make it, we watch it, good or bad.

Piers said...

"Imagine how much money that decision has written off, how many hopes and dreams it crushed."

Imagine how much more money would have been written off, and how many more hopes and dreams would have been crushed, if they'd gone to series and nobody watched.