Monday, November 19, 2007

All TV: When writers and characters go missing

Today's column is a mostly strike-related mailbag -- including the news that the writers and companies will be going back to the negotiating table a week from today -- plus people wondering why "Chuck" got rid of Harry Tang and "The Unit" got rid of Hector.

12 comments:

BigTed said...

If networks can't rerun their own shows because they've been sold into syndication, why doesn't some enterprising exec negotiate a deal to put on programming from BBC America if the strike continues? They have some great shows that most Americans have never seen (say, "Torchwood," "Jekyll," the original "Office," the original "Coupling," "Life on Mars," even trash like "Hotel Babylon" and "Footballers Wives"...). A lot of American shows are acted by Brits these days anyway -- I think at this point we could stand to hear them using their original accents. And the fact that some of these programs were only produced for one or two seasons wouldn't matter, because they'd just need to last until the strike ends.

jim treacher said...

Harry Tang had the potential to be a great comic foil. It's a shame.

Matt said...

A lot of that BBC America stuff would probably have Standards and Practices problems in the U.S., even with the edited for BBC America versions, at least before 10. Also, given that there are remakes pending of Life on Mars and Footballers Wives, the US rights-holders will be problematic.

Also, was it wrong that my response to Leno's "I can't be funny without my writers" was "You're funny with them? News to me."

dez said...

But...but...DEXTER's on Showtime and has limited seasons spread far apart! Surely they could have accommodated C.S. Lee's schedule? Rat bastards!

Was Jay Leno ever funny, even when he was writing his own jokes? :-D

I notice some shows are going into repeats this week. Is that just for the holidays, Alan, or are some shows already out of eps (besides "The Office," I mean)?

Dark Tyler said...

I just have to point out that--

There have, by the way, been conflicting media reports, with Variety reporting that the late-night big guns are already in talks to come back, sans writers

Then it must be true!

Seriously though, how is Variety ever going to come back from this disaster? How is anyone who is anyone ever going to take it seriously ever again?

PamelaJaye said...

people watch the late shows for the jokes?
I only watch talk shows when someone I want to see is on (since I have a lot of favorite shows, that's frequently enough) and even then, I fast forward thru the previous and later segments and only watch the person I want to see (and then I cut the rest off, and throw it away - i love my DVR - and thanks to my brother for adding another hard drive to it this weekend!)

Bobman said...

I only watch talk shows when someone I want to see is on (since I have a lot of favorite shows, that's frequently enough) and even then, I fast forward thru the previous and later segments and only watch the person I want to see (and then I cut the rest off, and throw it away - i love my DVR)

Ha! I'm glad I'm not the only one - I do the same thing. Every Sunday night I go through the week's late night talk show offerings, and record any intriguing guests. Back in college I would watch Conan every night, but really, unless you're a stoner or insomniac, the same schtick gets tired night after night. Who has the time?

J said...

Would anyone really want to watch an entire hour of actors plugging their latest movie and telling rehearsed anecdotes?

If talk shows were actually talk shows, I would. It's unfortunate that the talk segments have been processed into plugathons that get buttressed by bits.

Of the men manning the late night slots only Letterman is capable of carrying on an actual conversation with a guest (if he's interested enough to do so). Ferguson does okay. But Leno spends all his time either sucking up or making dirty jokes, and Conan is too insecure to do anything but rush through his blue cards.

It's been a pleasure watching Leno fall into third place, these past couple weeks.

jim treacher said...

Yeah, I can't watch any of the late-night shows anymore without being able to skip stuff on the DVR. I actually felt bad for the people who saw that stage version of SNL the other night, because they couldn't fast-forward through, say, Horatio Sanz.

Inigo said...

Try and get a hold of a copy of an episode of Parkinson. Three guests, one musical guest. The entire hour but for the musical guest's performance is given over to conversation with the guests. No monologue, no top tens, no joking with the band. You usually learn a lot about the person behind the image.

Anthony Foglia said...

Re: Talk shows
This is America where there is no room for a light, yet deep interview show. There's either quick, bland plugging on the late-night and daytime talk shows, or there's excess formality and fawning as on "Inside the Actor's Studio" and "Charlie Rose." We need Bob Costas to get a show again.

Re: BBC shows
There were rumors before the strike began that NBC might replace reruns of the American "Office" with the BBC's version. I don't know if anything solid has happened with that. ("Coupling" is probably too old and the American version was too much of a flop for them to try again.)

Toby said...

Thanks for the very informative article, Alan. And so much for my brilliant idea of resurrecting old pilots from the last few years to air in showcases, as they used to do to burn them off to recoup some of the costs.....