Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Tonight's Tube

Tonight, Fox continues to roll out its new fall schedule with Head Cases, a buddy comedy starring Chris O'Donnell and Adam Goldberg as mentally unbalanced attorneys.

Sounds redundant to me.

Static from The Geek-In-Chief: One and Done?

Fox has teed up two high-concept new dramas this fall. One, Prison Break, plots an attempted jailbreak over an entire season, seemingly complete with twists and turns. The other, Reunion, is a soapy potboiler that relives the lives of a group of six friends over the last 20 years- neatly covering one year per episode.

Both show examples of how networks are trying to break through and change their image to be more like cable's top risk-takers, like HBO and FX. Sure, they can't compete in the nudity and profanity departments- neither of which, by the way, are necessary to make great television- but both concepts are preferable alternatives to another lame procedural drama (of course, FOX is doing that too- see Bones).

Here's my question: what happens if these shows are actually hits? How does a network renew them for a second season? They have finite concepts and story arcs. Sure, anything's possible, but will we still be interested if Prison Break's attempted escape drags on over three or four seasons? And if the escape does happen by the close of season one, what gimmick could they possibly use to make an interesting sophomore slate?

And Reunion is essentially a tarted up murder-mystery. When everything is wrapped up after 20 episodes, how do you believably squeeze out a second season? In Entertainment Weekly, producers say they'd take the lives of a couple of the principles, add a few others, and cover how their lives intersected in the last 20 years. Hmm... could work, but it sounds like a stretch. Of course, unless Fox shifts it from its deadly Thursday 9pm timeslot, Reunion won't need to worry about renewal.

Still, business matters aside, which are usually all that matters to TV networks, Fox deserves kudos for taking such creative chances with these two shows. I'm sure they welcome their success, and figure they'll worry about the future when- and if- they have to.

Now, That'll Make Me Watch Joey- NOT

NBC's fascination with John Larroquette continues.

He'll guest star in two episodes of the little-watched Joey this fall.

We guess Richard Moll was unavailable.

It's Not Such a Good Thing

Damn those high expectations.

The premiere of the syndicated Martha got off to a modest start Monday, gathering a respectable but unspectacular 2.4 household rating/8 share. You'd think a show which revealed the secret to folding t-shirts would have done better, no?

It did improve on it's year-ago time period average, which is important to syndicators looking to paint a bad story with a pretty brush, but means squat to you and I.

Still, Martha whipped the debuts of two other shows: The Tyra Banks Show and Judge Alex.


MTV Networks will launch its first high-definition channel in January.

And it looks like it's going to even show music! Imagine that!

MHD will be a mix of programming from MTV, VH1 and CMT. Original programming also will be created, including music video countdown shows, artist interviews and concert events.

Rock and roll!