Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Book of Life - Part 10

I know it's a formality but I have to enter "People Are Talking".......Wait.....What....Oh right "Truth Be Told" into the Book of Life. It's a formality since the show has already been cut back but:
BUY THE DELI PLATTER AND PAY A SHIVA CALL

Hold on last night it jumped from a 0.6 in adults 18-49 last week to a 0.7 That's a 17% increase week-to-week. Did NBC make a mistake in cutting back the order?

Nah. The mistake NBC made was in not firing whatever moron actually thought that this could be a television show. I have to believe that NBC picked this up for reasons other than thinking that they had a hit on their hands. There are so many reasons why crap like this gets picked up to series. It never ends well but somebody got the money for their summer house or to pay their kids tuition at some private school. NBC hopes that when that person comes up with their next pitch (the one that might work) they remember that NBC wrote them a check. That's the way a lot of this crap gets on the air. Sometimes a development exec is looking for their next job. Sometimes an agent calls in a favor....because, really, NBC would pay a development exec to champion something like this?
There are noble failures. This is not one of them. 
End of rant.
Yisgadal v yiskadash bitches.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Book of Life - Part 9

OK this ones painful but......
 
To review, here are the possible entries for the Freshmen series:
 
BUY THE DELI PLATTER AND PAY A SHIVA CALL (stick a fork in it, it's done)
WILL CELEBRATE THEIR B'NAI MITZVAH (will get to 13 on the air)
SET A PLACE AT THE SEDER TABLE (should finish full the season)
SEE YOU AT NEXT YEAR'S KOL NIDRE SERVICE (there's a second season)

So we now come to CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND. When I screened the pilot I had no idea what to expect and within ten minutes or so I was in WTF mode. But hey this was the CW which gave us one of the best shows on network television....all television...actually in JANE THE VIRGIN so I trusted them and respected that Pedowitz et al knew what to do with this very different, and in some ways off-putting, show. Pairing it up with JTV also sort of made sense although putting it in the 8PM slot as a leadin to JTV was risky (scheduling still matters gang) given that, last season JANE had THE ORIGINALS in front of it.

Well it was down to a 0.2 in the 18-49 demo for its crucial Week Three and JTV was a 0.3 last night. Given that CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND is a gimmick and with a lead who sort of gets more unlikeable with every episode and there's no real adversary here, I just don't know how this show can go on with any potential for growth. I know the CW ordered more scripts but are they willing to bring down a wonderful under watched show to keep this on the air or, at the very least, keep it in this time slot? I don't know what the CW has to replace CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND in the short run but my masked gut tells me

BUY THE DELI PLATTER AND PAY A SHIVA CALL

Sad. I really wanted this show to work but different does not necessarily translate into ratings.





 

Friday, October 23, 2015

WOULDA SHOULDA COULDA…. THE FIVE THAT GOT AWAY


Nowadays, in the world of delayed viewing, more shows are given a chance to succeed than ever before. Several shows on basic and premium cable channels often get a second season pickup even before the first episode airs. I wrote about these five shows in the era when you didn't get much of a chance to prove yourself. Schedulers generally preach patience but they have to deal with nervous executives who think that the next move will increase the performance of the network. Fortunately that is changing. Anyway, here's a post from the late lamented blog where I talk about five shows that might have had a different life with a little more love. Enjoy

Most network shows fail because they simply suck but every network has a handful of shows that, if promoted differently, scheduled better or with a bit of patience and consistency in scheduling might have gone down a different path. As the decade comes to a close I started thinking about some of the shows on FOX that, in my opinion, never had the opportunity to prove that they could have been more than what they became. Without breaking a sweat five came to mind.
THE BERNIE MAC SHOW.... one of the few scripted shows (HOUSE being the other) to really benefit from the AMERICAN IDOL lead in, this show was pushed aside in it's sophomore year for THE OC and never recovered. It was moved to Sunday night and then pulled until after the November Sweep so it never had the chance to premiere with the rest of the Sunday comedies. A real shame. One more year with an AI lead in and this show could have anchored a night of family comedies along with.....
GROUNDED FOR LIFE.... hammocked between THAT 70'S SHOW and TEMPTATION ISLAND, and then part of a Wednesday night comedy block this show was cast aside in season 3 after it was scheduled to lead out of THAT 70'S SHOW and lead into 24. Instead the powers that be opted for 70's repeats in the fall and Grounded never recovered on FOX...an offbeat "indie" family comedy that might have been on the brink of success.
KEEN EDDIE...Mark Valley and Sienna Miller in a smart, cool funny fish out of water cop show set in London was never given a chance to succeed. Kept off the in-season schedule KE wound up being paired up with AMERICAN JUNIORS in the summer....'nuff said...Oh well at least I got a chance to kiss Sienna Miller.
KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL...Bradley Cooper, John Frances Daley, Bonnie Sommerville, John Cho, Frank Langella Errin Hayes and the dude who's now a cop in The Mentalist all together in a smart adult single camera comedy. It should have been saved for mid-season and put behind the Idol results show (it was a very high testing pilot by the way) but instead was sacrificed as the companion to a third season of Arrested Development...so we wound up with two failed series in the Fall.... ugh
STILL LIFE...this one never even had a chance to air...it was the Lovely Bones.... family drama told from the point of view of the son, a murdered police officer. Written by Marti Noxon and Kip Koenig (who wrote an awesome pilot for NBC called CHAOS THEORY) and starring Jensen Ackles and Morena Baccarin (Firefly space hooker, V lizard lady and later HOMELAND) this never found a place on the schedule. There were those at FOX who loved it and begged to put it on in the summer (6 episodes were made) but it was not meant to be.
It's possible that all five shows would never have succeeded but we'll never know.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

COMING TO A NETWORK NEAR YOU

Ok here's a post from my late lamented now returned Blog that I thought you all may enjoy. Before news magazines and reality competition shows networks would rely on movies, both originals and theatricals, to cover large chunks of the schedule. Back in the day acquiring and scheduling theatricals was an important part of the scheduling job so here are some memorable stories. Enjoy.

Last night we aired NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM. Theatricals used to be big events on the broadcast networks. Now they're just filler. I grew up in a world of double (sometimes triple) features. Most Saturdays I would get on the bus to downtown Flushing (for a dime), go to the Century Prospect or RKO Kieths theaters (about 35 cents) to watch a double feature and then have a "slice" and a Coke for 25 cents at Gloria's or Triple Nickel. For whatever reason I was always interested in what movies would play together. There were theaters in all the boroughs of New York that ran triple features and I would comb through the movie listings looking for those theaters, excited to see the combos. I grew up in the Grindhouse era so there were always interesting and weird movies playing. My parents had an 8mm movie projector and I would save my money and buy three minute reels of movies (mostly sci fi or Abbot Costello/3 Stooges) and I would play movie theater owner coming up with double features that I would show to my family. So I guess it was natural to eventually wind up in scheduling (although I still dream of owning a small revival theater) and one thing that I've enjoyed over the years was acquiring and scheduling movies for two broadcast networks. Theatricals used to be a big deal on the networks and were often key elements in sweeps strategies. Through most of my time scheduling NBC all three networks aired movies on Sunday night, and one of my favorite challenges was to figure out what movie (theatrical or made-for) to schedule against the two alternatives. When I was in research, living in Queens, I would walk my dog Bella through my neighborhood on Sunday night and look in windows to see which network movie was being watched. I would report my results to Brandon Tartikoff. He expected me to get arrested one day. Now that this era is coming to an end, I thought I would share some of my favorite stories about scheduling and acquiring theatricals on broadcast television. 

      JURASSIC PARK/SCHINDLER'S LIST.....  While at NBC I worked closely with John (the Godfather) Agoglia to acquire theatricals. John would solicit my opinion on the movies, asking me how I would use them strategically and how many runs of a movie did I think we could air. The deal that I will always remember was for Jurassic Park. We desperately wanted to get it, knowing that it would be a huge weapon in a sweep (it was) and we were willing to over pay, as were the other networks. What sealed the deal for us was that we agreed to include Schindler's List in the buy. We were also willing to accept Steven Spielberg's conditions as to how the movie could air on broadcast television. JP was a big success for us in terms of ratings and profits but we were not sure what to do with Schindler's List. We took a gamble and aired it in a February sweep. We conformed to all the stipulations and our Sales peeps went out looking for a single sponsor for the movie. Of course we went to our parent company GE who passed. Then Ford stepped up. They were so supportive that they did not take advantage of the opportunity to insert a commercial during the intermission. We were all nervous as to whether the movie would get a rating but we were proud to have acquired the movie and to have aired it in a respectful way. We woke up on Monday morning to surprisingly large ratings. I called up my good friend in Sales to thank him for all that he had done to make this happen. He was in a foul mood because he had just got off the phone with Bob Wright, the head of NBC, who, rather than congratulating my friend, wanted to know why we hadn't approached GE about sponsoring the now high rated movie. Being involved in airing Schindler's List on a broadcast network is still one of the most satisfying moments of my career and it also reinforced one of the golden rules of television: No good deed goes unpunished.
KINDERGARTEN COP.....Early in my scheduling career at NBC we bought two movie packages from Universal where all the films bypassed cable and went directly to the network. Both packages featured a few "blockbusters" and then we needed to cherrypick a bunch of movies to round out the buy.  The fun was finding the gems among the rest of the litter....but more on that later. One package included Kindergarten Cop as one of the "A" movies and part of my job was to decide how many times I would air it. We would then spread the cost of the movie over the runs. I think I said that I could run KC six or seven times. It was another home run in a sweep and I ran the sprockets off of it. I started getting angry calls from affiliate GM's who begged me not to run it again but I ignored them and starting making bets with some of the GM's as to what the rating would be for the 6th or 7th run. I made a lot of money on that movie.
TREMORS.....This one was a gem among the runts in the Universal package and Tremors wound up as one of the top 5 movies of the season in 18-49 adults. No one believed the ratings the morning after it aired but those were the days when counter programming really mattered and I put it against two very "female" skewing movies. Another hidden gem was FRIED GREEN TOMATOES which I aired in a May sweep on Mother's Day. This movie was a textbook example of how research can help in scheduling the network. We did concept tests on all our movies (including theatricals) and this one had an amazingly high interest and intent to view score. We also did competitive research putting FGT against potential movies on the other two nets and it did surprisingly well. I took a gamble and put it in a sweep. I got one of my "Don't come in to the office tomorrow if this doesn't work" speeches from Don Ohlmeyer but there was just too much positive research on this movie. FGT popped and we repeated it against the AMA's on a Monday night and I think we beat them. I sent a plate of fried green tomatoes to my counterpart in scheduling at ABC to rub it in.....I used to be a real dick back then (some would say I still am). Speaking of being a dick.
BACKDRAFT was another movie that was part of the Universal package and helped us big time in a sweep. We had three runs (I believe) of the movie and I was down to my final run. Here's how I used it: One day Lindy DeKoven, our head of movies and mini-series, called me to say that FOX had just scheduled an off-night episode of Beverly Hills 90210 right up against the world premiere of a Monday made-for-TV movie which starred 90201 star Tiffani Amber Theissen. Lindy told me that the star and the producers were ballistic and I had to do something. I explained there really wasn't much I could do but to appease her I called Doug Binzak who was doing the scheduling at FOX at the time. I explained the situation and asked him why he wanted to piss off a star on his network. Doug said that there was nothing that he could do about it. I told him that I would need to retaliate because I had a crazed executive on my hands. That summer FOX premiered an original scripted series about firefighters. I put my final run of Backdraft up against it and killed their series. Doug called and asked if we were even.
CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON....The way we generally figured out a license fee for a theatrical was by its box office gross. Back then, a network would generally pay 15% of box office for x number of runs. Sometimes there would be a cap. Several years ago I was out our local art theater and I saw a trailer for Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. We (FOX) were in the process of buying a movie from Sony and they gave us a list of features and asked us to buy one more movie. I told our head of business affairs that I had seen a trailer for Crouching Tiger (it had not come out yet) and it might be worth a shot. I felt it was a sleeper. We threw it into the package. The movie came out and wound up grossing over 120 million dollars. We suddenly had a movie with an outrageous license fee. We were screwed and only aired it once.
THE FUGITIVE...At some point the networks started pre-buying movies i.e. making deals for a movie even before we saw the box office. The first movie we pre-bought at NBC was The Fugitive. After we made the deal we started to panic.  We had paid a large license fee in order to take it off the market. We went out on our own dime and bought the rights to air the final three episodes of the television series and ran them on the week before the movie premiered. Fortunately, The Fugitive opened and we gave Warner Brothers all this free publicity. Pre-buying is a game of chicken between the movie studio and the network. We wanted to pre-buy Godzilla from Sony and made a generous offer. Sony turned it down and said that they were happy to wait until the movie opened. The Saturday morning after Godzilla opened we got the box office faxed to us from another studio and we knew it had bombed. Suddenly Sony claimed that they had accepted our offer. We held them up for more runs for the same price. We also demanded additional runs of A Few Good Men and Men in Black 2 (two movies that we had bought in an earlier package).
RICHIE RICH, BEETHOVEN, JURASSIC PARK, NATIONAL LAMPOON'S XMAS VACATION Our Sales Department loved when we aired theatricals over Thanksgiving weekend and I would have fun putting together packages of movies to air Thursday-Sunday. One year I pitched Vince Manze (our promo guy) the idea of doing promos for the Thanksgiving movies where the children of NBC employees take over the network and demand that we air these four movies. Vince liked the idea and we made it into a big party inviting our co-workers to bring their kids to the Burbank lot for the shoot. My daughter and son were in the promo (my daughter actually had a speaking part). One problem: we had just renovated the executive conference room and we pretty much destroyed it during the shoot. It took the whole weekend to get it looking like new again and I thought for sure I was going to get fired.
So now theatricals are becoming extinct on the broadcast networks. It was fun while it lasted and I had an opportunity to fulfill one of my childhood dreams.


Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Book of Life - Part 8

Time to enter DR. KEN into the book of life. UNDATEABLE LIVE will have to wait another week.

Here are the four possible fates for this lovable family comedy:

BUY THE DELI PLATTER AND PAY A SHIVA CALL (stick a fork in it, it's done)
WILL CELEBRATE THEIR B'NAI MITZVAH (will get to 13 on the air)
SET A PLACE AT THE SEDER TABLE (should finish full the season)
SEE YOU AT NEXT YEAR'S KOL NIDRE SERVICE (there's a second season)

I have to take some responsibility for the success of DR KEN in that Ken Jeong and I had a Twitter war the week that the series premiered. I'm certain that's what put it over the top. It was a really bad pilot but like other diverse shows (EMPIRE, FRESH OFF THE BOAT, BLACKISH) that have succeeded of late I feel part of their success is embracing traditional forms of television series. they are not trying to reinvent the wheel. ABC should continue to rebuild this TGIF night. So my apologies to Dr. Jeong...you win and:

SEE YOU AT NEXT YEAR'S KOL NIDRE SERVICE

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Book of Life - Part 7

Apologies. Been busy and traveling so I inadvertently (honestly) forgot to enter the two new FOX comedies into The Book of Life. Here we go:

Full disclosure. Before I left FOX I advocated pairing GRANDFATHERED and THE GRINDER together on Tuesday night. They both starred established handsome TV dudes. They were both family comedies of sorts and they both had more heart than your typical FOX comedies. They felt broader and truth be told I think their total audience is larger than the comedies FOX had in there last season.

I honestly have no idea where these comedies fell on the promotion/marketing spectrum for FOX and it felt to me (could be wrong) that they were sold more separately rather than as a block...but I could be wrong about that. I have to believe SCREAM QUEENS and EMPIRE were given far more weight.

None of this is an excuse for the fact that neither of these shows are working. The Masked Wife, who is an excellent evaluater of TV shows (far better than me) really liked THE GRINDER and was lukewarm on GRANDFATHERED. She immediately labelled the son a doofus and felt the mom/son relationship was "creepy". By the way there is a long tradition of the FOX doofus in their comedies.  I'll write about it one of these days. Anyway, we sat down and watched the second episodes of both shows and she was out on both of them. Appears that she's not alone.

So what's gonna happen? Well Stamos is making it easy for them to stop GRANDFATHERED after 13 (assuming he's not incarcerated) so GRANDFATHERED                                                              WILL CELEBRATE THEIR B'NAI MITZVAH
but that should be it.

THE GRINDER has been better received and even though the ratings drop from GRANDFATHERED I have a gut feeling that FOX may try to salvage this one so
 SET A PLACE AT THE SEDER TABLE
for THE GRINDER.

Again apologies for the delay in this post.


The Book of Life - Part 6

Today CODE BLACK is entered into the Book of Life and this is an easy one. CBS would love a medical drama to compliment all of their procedurals and this one is as good as any. Ratings held up in the third week and, in term of total viewers, CODE BLACK is winning the time period against two established shows.  Not the most attractive cast and they will need to ramp up the sex but that's all fixable. This is certain to get a back nine and I have a feeling that it's time for CBS to inject some fresh blood into its dramas so:

SEE YOU AT NEXT YEAR'S KOL NIDRE SERVICE

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Book of Life Part 5

Back from my Kansas sports weekend so it's time to enter the two new ABC Sunday shows in the Book of life, To review:

BUY THE DELI PLATTER AND PAY A SHIVA CALL (stick a fork in it, it's done)
WILL CELEBRATE THEIR B'NAI MITZVAH (will get to 13 on the air)
SET A PLACE AT THE SEDER TABLE (should finish full the season)
SEE YOU AT NEXT YEAR'S KOL NIDRE SERVICE (there's a second season)

BLOOD AND OIL
Everything that Empire got right this puppy got all wrong...at least based on the pilot since I had little interest in coming back for more, apparently neither does the audience. They gotta do something quick about this since it's providing no lean-in support for a far more promising show (yes gang scheduling still matters) ergo
BUY THE DELI PLATTER AND PAY A SHIVA CALL

QUANTICO
ABC knows bat shit crazy and this one is bat shit crazy. The classic park your brain at the door show and the perfect show to watch before going back to work on Monday because, you know.....bat shit crazy....right? It will either get a new lead-in or a new time slot real soon because in the case of Quantico
SEE YOU AT NEXT YEAR'S KOL NIDRE SERVICE





 

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Book of Life - Part 4

Today I enter HEROES REBORN and THE PLAYER in The Book of Life. By now you know the possible entries (look at the prior three posts).

HEROES REBORN
After two weeks of OK numbers the show collapsed in week three. This show is terrible. It has been terrible since the awful season finale of season one and has only gotten worse. I should know, I've seen every episode. I finally gave up after last week's atrocity and so did America. It will have its B'nai Mitzvah but after that
BUY THE DELI PLATTER AND PAY A SHIVA CALL

THE PLAYER
This is the other slice of the turd bread that makes up the Black List Sandwich. The ratings speak for themselves. NBC better rethink this Thursday strategy real fast....and yeah I know all about the delayed viewing. If that's how you want to rationalize this zay gazunt. But in the meantime
BUY A DELI PLATTER AND PAY A SHIVA CALL



Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Book of Life - -Part 3

ROSEWOOD had its third airing last night so it's fate is about to be sealed. Here are the four possibilities:

BUY THE DELI PLATTER AND PAY A SHIVA CALL (stick a fork in it, it's done)
WILL CELEBRATE THEIR B'NAI MITZVAH (will get to 13 on the air)
SET A PLACE AT THE SEDER TABLE (should finish full the season)
SEE YOU AT NEXT YEAR'S KOL NIDRE SERVICE (there's a second season)

I take a lot of joy in the relative success of ROSEWOOD. I can't be certain but, if I were to bet, this puppy had the lowest promotional priority of of the four new FOX Fall series. It's also cynical, in my opinion, to assume that it's success is a result of being tied to an EMPIRE lead-out because.....well you know. ROSEWOOD follows the tried and true "she's a / he's a" formula for a successful procedural. One is in law enforcement and the other has a super power (skill) and together they solve shit with a dollop of sexual tension. It's BONES, CASTLE, ELEMENTARY and, yes, it was SLEEPY HOLLOW until FOX wanted it to be something more because, you see, FOX has an institutional aversion to shows like ROSEWOOD. BONES overcame this aversion and has lasted 11 years. You need a few of these shows and ROSEWOOD fits the bill.
With BONES possibly ending its run this year ROSEWOOD could be a fine replacement. I would suggest the show buy tickets for next year's Kol Nidre service but A) I don't believe there is a place for it on the schedule right now once American Idol returns and B) My gut is FOX will wait to see what else it has before picking it up for another season.
I believe they will give ROSEWOOD a back nine (or some variation on that) and find a place for it (possibly with BONES) to see how it plays away from EMPIRE so.......

SET A PLACE AT THE SEDER TABLE

ZAY GEZUNT 






Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Book of Life - Part 2

Today three more shows are entered in the Book of Life. They have all aired three episodes so it's time. To review here are the possible entries in the ledger:

BUY THE DELI PLATTER AND PAY A SHIVA CALL (stick a fork in it, it's done)
WILL CELEBRATE THEIR B'NAI MITZVAH (will get to 13 on the air)
SET A PLACE AT THE SEDER TABLE (should finish full the season)
SEE YOU AT NEXT YEAR'S KOL NIDRE SERVICE (there's a second season)

Let's start with

THE MUPPETS
This has to be a disappointment to ABC. Two weeks of declines and it is now performing at levels below the excellent group of ABC family comedies. FRESH OFF THE BOAT improved on THE MUPPETS' lead-in.
So what happened? I think this is a textbook case of TV's obsession with itself. With all the possibilities for a Muppets reimagining ABC goes to the world of a late night talk show? Uh "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" "30 Rock" and dozens of failed pilots attempting to crack this world.
Nobody really cares about late night except when there is a transition at the desk and that lasts a few weeks. So the show is not for kids and not really for adults.
Look ABC isn't going to pull the show and I think they were only planning on 13 so, unless there's a re-re imagining the best I can go is
WILL CELEBRATE THEIR B'NAI MITZVAH

LIMITLESS
This show has held up really well and, like PERSON OF INTEREST, CBS has managed to insert a believable sci-fi element into their bread and butter procedural format. With the alphabetized franchises starting to show a bit of wear this show has come along at the right time. Given the concept this may be a show that CBS can franchise down the road. It's basically someone puts something in their body which helps them solves crimes. Look for LIMITLESS:ENEMA in the not too distant future.                                                                                                                                                              SEE YOU AT NEXT YEAR'S KOL NIDRE SERVICE

SCREAM QUEENS
This one is interesting. Hear me out.
FOX put a shit ton of money into marketing this puppy....probably #1 priority other than bringing back EMPIRE. It stumbled right out of the gate and it's audience is very very narrow. It's down to a 1.1 A18-49 rating in its third week.
But.....
FOX is obsessed with Ryan Murphy so no way this show is going to get pulled. It's 13 and out so it will get to its B'nai Mitzvah. In the Book of Life I'm putting it down as
SEE YOU AT NEXT YEAR'S KOL NIDRE SERVICE
WTF?
FOX is going to draw a line in the sand with this show. They will convince all and themselves that it is a home run with millennials (other shows probably get higher ratings with this group) and that it is the poster child for aggregated viewing (many shows will add more audience) and that this is the future of how to evaluate a show. Also because it is an anthology, they can regroup with Mr. Murphy and figure out a way ala AMERICAN HORROR STORY to possibly broaden it out next cycle.
With AMERICAN IDOL going away and no reality competition show for the Fall I'm putting my money on SCREAM QUEENS coming back in some evolved state with another shit ton of money to support it.

Until tomorrow ZAY GEZUNT


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The TV Book of Life Part 1

God has bigger fish to fry so, as an elder in the TV game, I have been asked to enter the new shows in The Book of Life. We are in the Yom Kippur of the TV season where we are getting ratings on the third week of several new series. Yeah there's all this delayed viewing bullshit and the other ways to spin these numbers but, trust me, the TV execs who make these decisions know.
Of course there are other variables that go into these decisions and I will factor those in as well.

The new shows will be entered in four different pages of The Book of Life:
BUY THE DELI PLATTER AND PAY A SHIVA CALL (stick a fork in it, it's done)
WILL CELEBRATE THEIR B'NAI MITZVAH (will get to 13 on the air)
SET A PLACE AT THE SEDER TABLE (should finish full the season)
SEE YOU AT NEXT YEAR'S KOL NIDRE SERVICE (there's a second season)

Today I enter three shows in The Book of Life. This is a heavy responsibility.

MINORITY REPORT (FOX)
Some shows wind up on a schedule for all the wrong reasons. That's Minority Report. When a network makes a big deal of getting a show like this it's destined to get on the schedule in spite of all the evidence shouting at you to move on. FOX keeps going down this path over and over and over again and virtually every time suffers the same consequence. I wish I could say they have learned their lesson but there's more coming down the pike.
BUY THE DELI PLATTER AND PAY A SHIVA CALL

LIFE IN PIECES (CBS)
CBS is the king of the "my shit doesn't stink" approach to their schedule and this show fits into that category. Ratings OK (who says lead-ins don't matter)  and the network is desperately trying to get a single camera show to work on their multi-cam schedule so....
SET A PLACE AT THE SEDER TABLE

BLINDSPOT
Again lead-ins matter and imitation is the greatest form of Television. At some point this show may turn into an eye-roller but for now it's up to NBC to figure out how not to fuck it up.                      SEE YOU AT NEXT YEAR'S KOL NIDRE SERVICE

I'm closing the book until tomorrow when I enter the fate of The Muppets and Scream Queens

Zay Gezunt



Thursday, October 1, 2015

HAPPY 100TH BONES....nya nya nya nya nya


BONES returns for its 11th season tonight. Here was my love letter to the show after its first 100 episodes. Here's to a great season. 

HAPPY 100TH BONES....nya nya nya nya nya
Tomorrow I'm going over to the set of BONES to celebrate their 100th episode. I love this show and all that it stands for. BONES has quietly lived on the FOX schedule for five seasons and, with the exception on a few weeks behind American Idol, has occupied an 8pm time slot on Tuesday, Wednesday and now Thursday. So unlike most shows which beg for a lead in, BONES has had to self start through most of its career. Hart Hanson has never complained. He and Stephen Nathan just crank out little gems week after week. Every year when FOX announces a mid-season schedule it seems BONES is destined to move to Friday night and each year it never happens....it's just too good to move over there. Last Fall (2008) we were finally going to move BONES over to Friday when I had an epiphany: Let's move BONES to Thursday at 8, a time period where FOX had one failure after another, I felt it could go into the time period and put us second in 18-49 viewers behind Survivor....needless to say there was quite a bit of skepticism in my shop. I thought it would take a few weeks for BONES to move into second place but it happened immediately. We decided to leave it on Thursday for the start of the 2009 season and pair it up with Fringe. FOX hasn't had a night like this in.....well.....forever. This is a home run for our Sales department....two quality scripted shows on Thursday night....the most valuable night on television. Then a funny thing happened.....Flash Forward.....and that brings us to the lesson in all this......you see BONES isn't "cool"....Flash Forward is "cool" and since "cool" beats not "cool" in the minds of most television critics and many network executives.....BONES was royally fucked.....because how can it possibly survive in the face of Flash Forward? I mean com'on.....really?....BONES v Flash Forward. Well, guess what, after a few weeks Bones started to out rate Flash Forward which is now on hiatus until March (will anyone really remember what was even going on with that show) and the combo of BONES/FRINGE is starting to show signs of coming together as a viable night....FRINGE is starting to creep up on CSI, and BONES has been surging to some of its best ratings ever. I love not "cool" shows. CBS does a lot of them and they do pretty darn well. BONES is a text book example....it's smart, funny and populated by offbeat characters who you want to hang out with each week. That's anathema to a lot of television critics and, honestly to many network programmers as well. So congrats to Hart, Stephen...and props to my pal Josh. Stay uncool my friends.