CNN Article: Can this fading TV show be saved? (Lost, Studio 60, Friday Night Lights)

Discussion in 'Now Playing - TV Show Talk' started by drew2k, Feb 28, 2007.

  1. jsmeeker

    jsmeeker Notable Member TCF Club

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    oh.. I see. I din't realize we were using actual ratings success as the differentiating factor. I don't remember what West Wing's rating were in it's first season. I didn't even start watching until sometime in the second.
     
  2. drew2k

    drew2k Drew != Drawn

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    To bring it full circle, this all goes back to my opening comments and question:
    I seriously don't understand why Studio 60 isn't succeeding. It has a great cast, smart writing, great production values, a great lead-in (Heroes) ... but it's not hitting with the public. It can't be JUST because it's a behind the scenes look at a late night comedy, but I can't say why it's not a hit.
     
  3. jsmeeker

    jsmeeker Notable Member TCF Club

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    Lots of good shows don't get good ratings.

    FNL isn't getting them. American Dreams didn't get them either.
     
  4. madscientist

    madscientist Deregistered Snoozer

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    Absolutely. In fact, in at least half the shows there isn't a single minute of a football game in the entire show. In those shows the only football is a short scene or two at practice, and the scene usually has the coach or someone facing a problem while the players run drills unobtrusively in the background.

    In fact, I think we've seen almost as much quad rugby as we've seen football game footage!

    If you didn't watch this because you didn't want to watch football, then you're really missing out on great TV because of an incorrect assumption.
     
  5. astrohip

    astrohip Well-Known Raconteur TCF Club

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    It's been mentioned above, but worth repeating. Yes, LOST's numbers are down big time, but don't forget, it was the #1 show for a while. And even with losing 5-6 million viewers, it is still a top-rated show. Top ten for the highly regarded young male demographic, and top twenty overall. These are ratings most shows would kill for. The ratings are also down for several other "must see TV" type shows (24, CSI), but there is no talk of cancellation. Why? Because even though the numbers are down from stratospheric levels, they are still flying high.

    You do not kill a show because its ratings have dropped, you kill it because not enough people watch to make selling ads profitable. LOST is nowhere near that. Regardless of what it costs per episode.

    If a hitter has a .330 season, you don't cut him when he only hits .300. You may pay him less, or move him around the lineup, or trade him, but he still plays. For someone.

    The show will run at least another year, maybe two, depending on the story arc the creators want to take pursue.
     
  6. Magnolia88

    Magnolia88 She likes cheese.

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    Yes! I HATE football -- HATE IT!!-- but FNL is NOT about football.

    It just uses the football team as a backdrop for the stories about people and life in a small town. It's an intelligent, well-written drama and it's about the kinds of people that you don't see on TV much these days. (How many shows are set in small towns lately? Everwood was canceled, so I think FNL may be it.)

    Sports Night had the same problem -- people used to tell me, "I don't watch it because I'm not interested in sports." But SN wasn't about sports, it was about people. People who are interested in sports and work at a tv show about sports, but SN really didn't have much to do with sports, despite its name.
     
  7. TIVOSciolist

    TIVOSciolist Bye to High Society

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    Imagine the uproar if the show were to be cancelled after three or four seasons without coming to a final resolution.
     
  8. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

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    I still haven't watched FNL, but that's the same reaction I had to Sports Night.
    I hate(*) sports, but Sports Night was great (of course, another Sorkin show), because it wasn't really about sports.

    (*) Ok, I guess mostly I mean weekly pro sports. I'm addicted to some Olympics events, I've seen a bunch of Little League World Series-es, and the Ironman Triathlon shows for the past few years. Also, I wouldn't want to get rid of ESPN nor Fox Sports net, but 99% because of their poker shows (and the other 1% to other "weird" things like food challenge shows and juggling competition coverage).
     
  9. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

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    It is "The West Wing", except being about the President (or the President's staff), it's about the staff that runs a TV show.

    I'm not trying to make everything so vague and high level that it could describe anything.. I really mean it, because it's got that great Sorkin writing.. That's why I really like this show. I think most people that don't like West Wing would like this, and I don't see how most people who liked West Wing wouldn't like this.. you've got at least one of the same actors, plus the Matthew Perry fans..
     
  10. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

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  11. DevdogAZ

    DevdogAZ Give 'em Hell, Devils

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    I think it was clearly planned all along, as they've been trying to shove that uninterensting relationship (Matt/Harriet) down our throats the entire season, but I think it has been made more of a focus than they originally planned, and I wouldn't be surprised if the Danny/Jordan thing was added on the fly.
     
  12. hearth

    hearth New Member

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    I can give you one suggestion, because it is the reason that my wife (first) and I later dropped the show. We are Christian republicans, and I consider myself very thick skinned about both of those areas (to show you how much, Boston Legal and the West Wing are two of my favorite shows, and they have been guilty of slamming both religious and conservatives). I am not afraid to hear (and occasionally agree with, especially about the Iraq situation) opinions and views contrary to my own. However, the constant bashing of especially Christians, but also conservatives, really grew tired after the fifth or sixth week in a row. Sorkin obviously wanted a platform to push his agenda, but he needs to realize that at least 20-30% of his audience don't want to be called ignorant or evil for their choice of beliefs.

    When you take a show that doesn't have a winning "hook" to begin with, and then push away a large percentage of those who do choose to sample the program, I can't see much hope for a turnaround...

    Don
     
  13. murgatroyd

    murgatroyd Don't stop believin'

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    Your comments, and many others on this forum, make me wonder what alternate universe is broadcasting this show Studio 60 which I am watching. It is clearly not the same show everyone else is watching.

    Case in point: after the episode "The Wrap Party" there was talk here (or at least fears that) Sorkin was 'calling Midwesterners stupid' because of the portrayal of Tom Jeter's parents, whom we see when they visit Tom at the theatre. The situation was a familiar one to any of us who have had life experiences (e.g. going to college) which the rest of our family does not have or share.

    I watched two actors give very strong, sympathetic portrayals of two people who simply had difficulty relating to their son -- and it was clear in the context of the episode that a great deal of the difficulty was Tom's fault, because he has issues.

    Long-time watchers of The West Wing ought to have figured out by now that Harriet Hayes is the character who has to struggle with being the slightly-odd fish in the pond; like her counterparts Ainsley Hayes and Joe Quincy, she has a calling for the work being done, just like everyone else on the staff. Yet her beliefs set her apart, just as her work sets her apart from others who share her beliefs.

    Except this time, instead of being relegated to the steam pipe trunk distribution venue like Joe and Ainsley, she's smack in the middle of things, the star of the show-within-the-show.

    And you say this show is anti-Christian? The whole show, all the time? The show where the cast meets together before their live broadcasts to pray before they go on? If the cast really had a problem with Harriet's beliefs, why would they do that?

    Sure, a lot of the characters (or maybe it's just that uber-loudmouth, Matt Albie) may mouth off about Christians and conservatives, but so what? Everybody keeps saying that "Sorkin is saying this, Sorkin has an agenda, Sorkin is bashing these people" etc. ad nauseam.

    Is there some kind of rule in modern TV which says that a guy writing a TV show must have all his characters be mouthpieces for what he really thinks? Is he not allowed to have his characters say stuff that he himself may find offensive and obnoxious? Did I not get the memo?

    Or are TV watchers nowadays so clueless about what writers do, that if they channel-flip to TV Land and see All in the Family, they think Norman Lear believes all the stuff that Archie Bunker says?

    Jan
     
  14. DevdogAZ

    DevdogAZ Give 'em Hell, Devils

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    As a religious conservative, the only thing that has bothered me is that Harriet is the least likeable character on the show, IMO. I can't stand her for some reason. I don't find her attractive, I don't like her attitude, and the fact that she's supposed to be the one representing traditional American values is just silly.
     
  15. hearth

    hearth New Member

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    Hope you feel better. I did not say that it was all anti-Christian, all the time. If I cared enough about this show or "winning" this argument, I would try to go back in my memory for all the times I felt that religious people were put in a nice, big box labeled "idiot". However, I don't care about this argument or this show (anymore). When it premiered, I was excited about the show because of Sorkin, Perry, and Whitford. Over the process of 4 months (my last show was the Christmas episode), I was slowly turned off.

    The person that I quoted in my original post asked why people were not watching or stopped watching. I was merely pointing out one possible explanation (my own). My opinion is not open to debate. I could take your post and try to rip apart your opinion, but I just don't care...
     
  16. murgatroyd

    murgatroyd Don't stop believin'

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    I don't mean to diss you or hearth. But I am baffled as to why some people take it all so personally.

    Harriet's not supposed to be representing you and your values. She's just supposed to be a person. A flawed person, because perfect people don't have conflict in their lives and without conflict, you have no story.

    There are certainly lots of things to not like about Harriet and to not like about Matt, or any other character on the show. But there are times when they are likeable. They are a mix of both likeable and not-likeable things, just like real people often are.

    There are some people in real life whom I dislike across the board, but if Harriet Hayes was a real person, she would not be one of them. Exasperating, yes, but she's also funny and talented, and honorable -- her argument with Luke about the scene in the movie proves that.

    If she were my co-worker, I would probably love her AND hate her, but I would definitely respect her.

    Jan
     
  17. MegaHertz67

    MegaHertz67 Registered Smart Ass

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    What's the saying about the dangers of discussing religion, sex, or politics in mixed company?

    Discussion about these topics always gets testy. Discussions on message boards seem to eventually get personal for some reason. So a message board discussion about a show that is rooted in discussion about politics, sex and religion...whew. Gasoline...meet match.

    Back to the show. I love Lost and would consider myself a fan. I have enjoyed both of Sorkin's previous shows, and have probably given S60 the benefit of the doubt because I have faith (watch that word) that it will get better. I have never watched FNL, and have been told by friends that I am missing out. I chose not to watch FNL because I had too many hour dramas being Tivo'd and I didn't have the time to devote to another.

    As far as S60 goes, I think that Sorkin was using the religion thing to create a buzz right at the open of the series. If it had been one episode and on to other topics, Hearth and others might have given it more of a chance. But if you beat up and insult people's beliefs for 4 or 5 straight shows, then that becomes what the show is all about. It's a shame because Sorkin has handled this much more deftly in the past.

    In the last season of West Wing, the handling of the candidates was interesting and showed both sides to have ideological flaws that prevented them from coming to a shared middle ground. The Democrats were not always right or fair, and the Republicans were not always the bad guys. (In fact I read that until John Spencer died, the plotline had the Republicans winning the election.)

    I hope S60 continues and gets renewed. I think it was starting to go to interesting places that didn't necessarily center around religion or politics. Just good old sex, drugs and alcohol like any other workplace.
     
  18. hearth

    hearth New Member

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    That's the thing, Jan. I don't take it personally. If I did, there is no way that Boston Legal or West Wing would ever be two of my favorite shows. But it did detract from my enjoyment of the show. Over time, I found myself watching the show later and later in the week, until the point came where I had 3 shows saved up, and no burning desire to watch them. That was when I realized that it was time to delete the season pass.

    My whole point to posting all of this in the first place was just to point out that there might be more reasons why the show is slipping away towards cancellation then the ones that had been mentioned so far.

    Don
     
  19. DevdogAZ

    DevdogAZ Give 'em Hell, Devils

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    Oh, I'm not taking anything personally. I love the show and wish it would continue for years. I was simply pointing out that as a conservative and a Christian (but not a Christian Conservative), I don't find any of the characterizations of religion offensive in the least. It's just the typical stuff that comes out of Hollywood and if one can't have a thick skin about it, one needs to go live in a cave.

    I was merely pointing out that the only thing I really don't like about the show is Harriet's character and the way her relationship with Matt has been crammed down our throats. As a Christian, you would think I would identify and sympathize with her, but I just can't stand her. It has nothing to do with flaws or imperfections. It's just the way the character has been portrayed from the beginning as a whiny wench.
     
  20. sonnik

    sonnik Innovations.

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    Exactly. They were marketing it at the wrong crowd. It was never meant to be a hip and trendy comedy, as NBC initially marketed it.

    Simply put, they were hoping for a younger afluent audience, when they should be targeting the older afluent audience with promotion for the show.

    I'm in my early 30s, and I like it - but then again I'm a SNL history buff. That's probably the only reason I watch it. I like watching it and realizing that Mark McKinney is essentially playing James Downey (someone McKinney worked for while he was on SNL), from what I've read about behind the scenes stuff.

    But I don't see the Heroes lead-in crowd getting glued to it. Maybe if they paired it up with a show like "Las Vegas" or something. Even in a world of DVRs, strategic scheduling still has its place.
     

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