Archive for April, 2010
Is it just me – or is Brothers and Sisters somewhat of the boil this season?
ABC’s Sunday night melodrama is drawing to the end of it’s fourth season and the franchise is already feeling as drained as a show with many more years under its belt. Compared to its lead in, Desperate Housewives, which still bristles with energy after 6 years on the air, Brothers is like a puffing and wheezing family member on their last legs. And it’s clear viewers are feeling the same way – with the show down almost two million viewers from its season one peak (the show now regularly hits 7 or 8 million, but used to attract well over 10 million)
Which is a real shame as at its peak the series is terrific TV. Sure Brothers and Sisters can be cheesy, corny and dripping in sentimentality – but for me the show has always been the TV equivalent of comfort food. No matter what’s going on in the world, the Walker family always stood together, living their comfortable upper middle class lives, with Sally Field’s Nora constantly on hand to cook up a family dinner or spare a bed in her spotless, impeccably designed home.
But this More >
Yesterday I received an email from a complete stranger who was looking to partner up on some potential show ideas. I’d never met or heard of the guy before but his email proudly touted his credentials as creator of a recent ABC series (in a spirit of fairness I won’t mention his or the show’s name) and stated that he had hundreds of show ideas ready to pitch that were going to make anyone who worked with him rich.
Now as you know from my Pitch Imperfect piece – comments like these always raise a red flag for me. But I did a quick check and sure enough he didn’t have a credit on the show, received no mention at all on the Wikipedia show page and didn’t have a single credit to his name on IMDB. In short – he’s another credit-grabber in an industry overflowing with them. It’s one of my pet peeves!
The credit that most infuriates me is the lofty title of Executive Producer. For perhaps obvious reasons it’s the credit everyone aspires too (you don’t see many people puffing up their Assistant Producer credits) and there’s something a little bit wooly about the title anyway. A show only More >
As a TV producer working in the US I’m always meeting with talent, often for a potential docu-soap or reality series. Personal trainers, rodeo riders, chefs and psychics – you come across all different types of people and professions in TV. Most people are friendly and at the very least potentially interested in taking part in a show. But after working in the industry for over 15 years I can say one thing with absolute certainty – persuading people to take part in a TV series is undoubtedly harder now then when I first started out.
Now there are probably a hundred reasons why this is the case. TV has definitely lost some of its glamour and with so many channels and so many shows airing, being on TV isn’t the amazing, one in a million experience it once was. People are definitely skeptical – and in an era of car crash TV who can blame them!
In just a few short weeks one of the best drama series on TV will be no more. Yep, there’ll be no more Chloe. No more CTU. No more moles and double crosses. And no more ticking clocks. Time will finally have run out on Jack Bauer.
Now to say that I’m a fan of 24 is an understatement. I really, truly believe the show has been one of the best drama series to ever hit our screens. In my all-time list of favorite shows 24 is easily Top 10 and clearly I’m not alone. Even though 24 has slumped a little in viewership this season the ratings are still strong (generally 9 million per episode) and the series has sustained widespread international appeal. Plus creatively the show is still at the top of its game.
Earlier this week Hollywood Blogger Nikki Finke announced that the CW was searching for a couple of UK reality shows to air as part of their summer schedule. See Nikki Finke’s article
It’s an interesting idea and certainly makes sound financial sense – importing a UK show would be a LOT cheaper than producing an original series (especially since all network series seem to carry a BS tax whereby normal costs have to be artificially inflated!). Plus at this stage of the game what have The CW got to lose? The network has had a tough year – with Melrose Place a costly bomb, The Beautiful Life cancelled after just two episodes, Life Unexpected doing borderline business and ill advised docu-soaps High Society and Fly Girls dying a slow death. To be fair Vampire Diaries has been a (relative) smash and Top Model continues to strut its stuff – but with a long summer season ahead, desperate times call for desperate measures.
Now Brit Reality is something I know a LOT about, having got in at the ground floor when the genre first took off in 2000. I was an Associate Producer on the first Big Brother (dealing with all manner of behind the scenes drama including family More >
Why Flash Forward Went Backwards…
It was billed as the TV event of the year. ABC spent s small fortune on the pilot and millions more on an extensive ad campaign. It was destined to be the new Lost, a critical and commercial favorite that would run for season upon season. And yet…
And yet Flash Forward is now officially a disaster. From a premiere episode that attracted 12.4 million viewers, last Thursday the show slumped to less than 5 million and a puny 1.4 share. Which means two key things: there’s now absolutely no chance of a second season and, most crucially, viewers didn’t like what they saw. But where exactly did Flash Forward go wrong – and what lessons can be learned for future series… Here’s the Remote Patrolled take…
8 Ways To Fix American Idol – Fast
It’s no secret that American Idol is a broken record this year – pretty much every website and magazine out there is saying the same thing. This season’s crop of contestants are singularly failing to impress – with one clear exception – while Simon just comes across as bored and irritated, Ryan is going slightly mad and everything from the set, the eliminations, song choices and pre-performance packages are feeling tired.
Now with Simon Cowell nearing his final show, competition nipping at Idol’s heels (to be beaten by Dancing With The Stars – oh the shame!) and Cowell’s own X Factor launching in the fall of 2011, the time to take action is imminent.
As an Executive Producer I’ve worked on a lot of competition shows over the years including two music reality series – the BBC’s Fame Academy (American Idol meets Big Brother) and Fuse’s Redemption Song (Idol x The Bad Girls Club), which I also created.
So here’s 8 ways I’d shake up Idol before Season 10 auditions kick off in the summer.
Okay confession time!
NCIS is currently the number one scripted show in America. And I’ve never watched a single moment of it. Not a second.
I’ve watched CSI – but I’ve never caught CSI: Miami or NYC (though I’ve certainly seen those endlessly replayed clips of David Curuso dramatically removing his sunglasses). I’ve never sat through an entire episode of Dancing With The Stars, or watched a Medium, Ghost Whisperer or Greys Anatomy, let alone a Private Practice or Good Wife. And these are just the tip of the iceberg. I’m ashamed!
Sadly, there are tones of critically acclaimed shows out there that I haven’t caught. The Wire passed me by. Ditto The Sopranos. I’ve never seen Dexter, Nurse Jackie or Big Love. And all those cult sci-fi classics like Battlestar Galactica – never seen ‘em.
Why Jersey Shore Deserves Reality Respect
It’s loud, obnoxious and un-PC. But for me Jersey Shore is one of the best things to happen to reality TV in a long, long time. Yep you got that – America’s most controversial twenty-somethings are out of control and out of their minds – and I love it!
Less than a year ago we were all blissfully unaware of the likes of The Situation, J Woww and Snooki. Fist pumping sounded like something from a triple XXX movie. And the Jersey shoreline seemed like a really nice place to go to for a summer break. But not anymore!
For MTV Jersey Shore has been nothing short of network salvation. It’s amazing how just one show can turn around the fortunes of a whole channel – but MTV is displaying a definite swagger now – and most crucially a clear direction. Shaken by the large staff layoffs of 2008 and a series of underperforming shows, MTV seemed creatively uncertain for a while there. On the one hand there was the glossiness of The Hills and The City – vapid teen fantasies of the rich and shameless, sharing primetime space with the gritty and bleak 16 and Pregnant and True Life strand. The net More >
Last week I watched the latest episode of Modern Family (the episode where Phil and Jay coach Manny’s basketball team) and a sudden thought struck me. Am I laughing with gay couple, Cameron and Mitchell, or laughing at them? In a nutshell, is the freshest comedy show on TV starting to play into a few age-old gay stereotypes? Maybe…
Now before I kick off I’ll say that overall I really like Modern Family. While most TV comedies barely make me smile, Family has at least 3 big laughs per episode. From a production point of view it’s very well written, skillfully juggles its multiple storylines – it amazes me how each character is so well defined and gets equal screen time, and the cast are pure pros (it’s hard to pick a favorite but if pushed I’d have to opt for Sofia Vergara’s Gloria who’s pretty much non-stop hilarious. Manny’s a close second though!)
But over the last couple of episodes I’ve found myself growing a little uncomfortable while watching Cameron and Mitchell in action. This week uptight Mitchell found himself up for an amazing job after recently quitting his position at a local law firm. Emotional Cameron accompanied him to the interview, at the More >