Yesterday we reported that Cheryl Cole had been replaced by the Pussycat Dolls’ Nicole Scherzinger as a judge on FOX’s upcoming singing competition show, The X Factor. Everything in the piece itself was accurate however our headline, “The X Factor: Cheryl Cole OUT! Simon Cowell Says ‘Too British Sounding.’ Pussycat Dolls’ Nicole Scherzinger IN!,” was not. Simon Cowell had nothing to do with Cole’s departure and did not suggest that her accent was too thick for American audiences and in fact it’s been reported that he fought desperately to save her.
The Hollywood Reporteris citing sources who claim that the decision was a decision by the network itself and the accent issue was theirs alone. Prior reports implied that it was show producers that had the issue with her accent and were responsible for the decision to replace her. Since Simon Cowell is the main producer of this show, we assumed that these were his sentiments and that this was his decision. This obviously was a mistake.
We have also issued the retraction made the correction on the original piece.
We reported two weeks ago that Paula Abdul had signed on as a judge alongside her former American Idol co-judge, Simon Cowell on his highly anticipated singing competition show, The X Factor, along with Cheryl Cole and L.A. Reid. TMZ is reporting that Cheryl Cole, who was a judge on the U.K. version of the show, has been replaced by the Pussycat Dolls’ Nicole Scherzinger citing concerns over American audiences having difficulty understanding her because of her thick British accent and a lack of chemistry with Abdul. Producers now want Cole to return to the U.K. version of the show but sources say that she is so angry about how the situation was handled that she may sever ties with the franchise entirely. We doubt it. We wouldn’t even know who she was if not for this so she needs all of the exposure she can get.
We look at this two ways: first how bad could her accent possibly be? If American audiences can sit through Ewan MacGregor’s Scottish brogue in Trainspotting:
… then we can certainly handle this:
Now of course, the best part of the clip above is that if you listen closely, she pauses in the middle of that to squeak out a little fart. G’head… go back and play it again, we’ll wait.
See, we told you.
Now aside from the obvious issues of farting on the air and how that probably isn’t something that will be embraced by American audiences (except us), the ultimate irony here is that Simon Cowell is concerned that American audiences aren’t going to be able to understand My-Fair-Lady/the-rain-in-Spain-falls-mainly-on-the-plain up there but he doesn’t have any concerns about two or three nights per week of this in primetime:
Steve Jones: Limey Stud
Obviously, though, if the other issue was chemistry with Abdul, it was simply a no-brainer that Cole would be the expendable judge. Scherzinger was originally cast to co-host the show with Steve Jones but now with the move, he’ll be doing it alone. Don’t feel bad folks, we don’t know who he is either however, apparently he’s quite popular in the U.K. and in order to get this gig he had to initially promise not to nail his fellow co-stars and no, we aren’t kidding. Just for that alone he gets our endorsement. But seriously, how hard can it be? Seacrest has been doing it for a decade and he hosts a daily radio show and that dopey show on E!
EDITOR’S NOTE – RETRACTION: Our headline, “The X Factor: Cheryl Cole OUT! Simon Cowell Says ‘Too British Sounding.’ Pussycat Dolls’ Nicole Scherzinger IN!,” was not correct. Cowell had nothing to do with Cole’s departure and did not suggest that her accent was too thick for American audiences and in fact it’s been reported that he fought desperately to save her.
The Hollywood Reporter is citing sources who claim that the decision was a decision by the network itself and the accent issue was theirs alone. Prior reports implied that it was show producers that had the issue with her accent and were responsible for the decision to replace her. Cowell is the main producer of this show, we assumed that these were his sentiments and that this was his decision. This obviously was a mistake.
Alcatraz,from J.J. Abrams‘ Bad Robot Prods. and Warner Bros. TV. The crime drama revolving around Alcatraz and the team investigating the mysterious reappearance of its 1960s inhabitants in the present stars Lost‘s Jorge Garcia. The drama gained early buzz and a fan in Fox’s Peter Rice, according to sources, though some questioned whether the net had room for another mystery drama with Abrams’ Fringe already on the schedule.
The Finder, a Bones spinoff from sister studio 20th TV. The drama, which centers on a military-trained “finder” (Geoff Stults) who helps locate lost items or persons in the Florida Keys, recently rolled out to solid ratings as a back-door pilot. The project won high marks internally, particularly by those who wanted to find a way to continue the recently renewed Bones franchise once the long-running — and thus pricey — original ends.
The New Girl, a Zooey Deschanel comedy from 20th, will appear on Fox’s fall schedule. The single-camera series, which is believed to be a Kevin Reilly favorite, centers on a quirky female teacher who becomes roommates with three guys: a man-child, a player and a cynic.
I Hate My Teenage Daughter, a Jaime Pressly/Katie Finneran comedy from Warner Bros., is a go. The multicamera laugher centers on two women who have daughters like the girls who once picked on them in high school.
Deadline is reporting that the Ethan Hawke spy-thriller vehicle Exit Strategyis still in play for mid-season and may being held off for retooling.
Described as a high octane procedural, Exit Strategy centers on a team of 5 experts associated with the CIA who are deployed when a CIA operation goes bad to extract the ones involved before it’s too late. Hawke will play the team leader, the architect of exit strategy who also empathizes with the people they extract and would rather die than let them get hurt. Each episode will tackle a different crisis in a different country. Exit Strategy is envisioned as a potential successor to Fox’s signature drama 24. Like 24, the action in Exit Strategy will also unfold in real-time. And like 24’s Kiefer Sutherland, Hawke would segue from the feature world to take on the lead in Exit Strategy, his first series. Kurtzman, Orci and KOPP’s Heather Kadin are executive producing the project, with Guggenheim co-executive producing.
Folks, don’t forget that the major network up-front advertising events begin TOMORROW, Monday, May 16th and go on through Thursday. This is the week that we will find out the fates of all this season’s shows that haven’t already been decided and we’ll also find out what new shows will be on the schedules for the 2011 – 2012 season. You can find out the schedules for all of the events, here.
As we reported here, FOX canceled the remainder of its scripted programming from the 2010 – 2011 season that wasn’t already canceled or renewed as of May 11th, including the Cristian Slater comedy, Breaking In. Well, apparently FOX is reconsidering that decision. According to Nellie Andreeva over at Deadline:
Fox is in discussions with Breaking In producer Sony Pictures TV about possible ways to bring the show back next season, though no decision is expected to be made until after the upfronts next week.
As we noted, out of all the shows to be canceled after the House pick-up, we were most surprised that BI was cancelled because it has been pretty successful for FOX with its American Idol lead-in. If FOX does change their mind, it would please us to no end because as great as both Human Target and The Chicago Code were (Lie To Me was a pretty mediocre and vanilla procedural), BI is not only a great show, but its numbers actually should qualify for it for renewal. To us, that’s equity.
In related news, FOX has also moved BI‘s season finale from its Wednesday night AI lead-out position on the schedule, to Tuesday night at 9:30, following Raising Hope. The naysayers will say that BI wasn’t doomed before the move, it certainly will be by losing its powerhouse, lead-in. We disagree for two reasons. The first being that BI is much more appropriately scheduled after a another comedy than it is post-Idol. The fact is that audiences are more likely to just leave a channel on after a thirty minute show that begins at the top of the hour and watch the lead-out if for no other reason than it’s easier to do and chances are the other networks are running one-hour shows opposite them. Changing channels at the bottom of the hour would more than likely cause the viewer to go into a show that’s already 30 minutes into it on another network.
More importantly, regardless of how BI performs during its season finale, the show is canceled at this point anyway so you can’t get any worse than canceled and taking that a step further any negotiations that FOX is engaged that may possibly change that status will not hinge on one episode and it’s kind of silly to think that it will.
For what it’s worth, though, this may all just be a bunch of smoke and mirrors so don’t get too excited if it turns out that the unconfirmed reports regarding the aforementioned negotiations are nothing more than wishful thinking. Still, though, this does give us hope and it would seem to make more sense that it was true than not.
Folks, don’t forget that the major network up-front media events are next week beginning on Monday, May 16th. This is the day that we will find out the fates of all this season’s shows that haven’t already been decided and we’ll also find out what new shows will be on the schedules for the 2011 – 2012 season. You can find out the schedules for all of the events, here.
The New York Daily News has reported that Universal Media Studios the has come to terms with FOX Broadcasting over the price for the show and cast salaries. Well, to be more accurate NYD reported that NBCUniversal had come to terms with FOX Broadcasting, which is completely inaccurate. Look, Mainstream Lazy-Press, stop calling it NBCUniversal because it sounds cool. It’s NOT NBCUniversal. It used to be NBCUniversal Television Studios and NBCUniversal Television Group is the parent company but that’s not who makes the decisions for UMS. This is the equivalent of calling 20th Century Fox Television Studios, FOX Entertainment Group.
Rant over… moving along.
With the deal finally getting sealed for House, we’re not surprised about the cancellations. We predicted that House wasn’t going to be picked up because of all the deadlines that had gone by, the fact that Universal Media Studios (fka NBCUniversal Television Studio) and FOX could not come to terms on licensing fees and actors salaries and the fact that UMS really wanted this money and would have been glad to take it from NBC who is not only desperate for a scripted drama hit, but it also just had $200 million more dumped into its budget for programming by Comcast. So based on this and the fact that FOX has a lot of question marks this Fall for scripted-drama, we speculated that the loss of House would set off a tidal wave of changes in FOX’s programming decisions, including the ones we mentioned in the beginning of this piece.
So, yes, we failed, but consider the fact that all of those predictions were predicated on House going to NBC. Regardless of the outcome, there’s certainly no denying the fact that the fate of House on FOX was the key factor in their recent programming decisions so the importance of House for FOX cannot be overstated. It’s no coincidence that the day the announcement is made about House that FOX also announces that they are canceling five scripted shows (not surprisingly, Traffic Light was also canceled) and picking up a whole bunch of new pilots (story, here).
That being said, we were very surprised about the cancellation of Breaking In for a couple of reasons. First, it’s a great show, and it has a strong cast (with the Christian Slater as the lead), put up decent numbers, had great exposure as the lead-out for American Idol and had a lot of potential. We don’t understand their logic of not giving it a chance to run a complete season next Fall. The show couldn’t have been particularly expensive to produce and it certainly wasn’t losing money. Was the problem really that it wasn’t retaining enough of AI‘s audience as the lead-out? How much were they expecting, really? It’s not entirely the same audience.
Folks, don’t forget that the major network up-front media events are on Monday, May 16th. This is the day that we will find out the fates of all this season’s shows that haven’t already been decided and we’ll also find out what new shows will be on the schedules for the 2011 – 2012 season. You can find out the schedules for all of the events, here.
If you’re anything like us, you freely admit that the only reason you turned into American Idol for as long as you did was because of Simon Cowell and it wasn’t just for how brutal he was to the first round contestants. Despite Cowell’s dry and sometimes cruel wit, he was generally the only one on that panel who could relay any particular insight to the audience regarding the music industry itself and at the end of the day you had more faith in his opinion than anyone else on the judge’s panel. This is not take anything away from the other judges and guest judges that have graced AI over the years, but Cowell truly brought a sense of balance to the Force and if you’ve watched recently, even if you are still a fan, you can’t help but to admit that it’s become kind of a disjointed mess since his departure. Honestly, does anyone take Steven Tyler seriously at all?
Now if you’re still being honest, even if you hate to admit it, Paula Abdul certainly had her place on that panel and even when she left it was like we lost a part of the family. Between her obnoxious over-the-top praising, soft-peddling, sometimes inebriated commentary and the banter between her and Cowell, it made for good television. So when we heard a couple of months ago from the T-Shirt himself that he would love to get Paula back on his new talent show, The X-Factor, and that he was actively courting her, we were excited about the prospect of two-thirds of the old team getting back together albeit skeptical at the possibility because, let’s be honest, how often do these situations pan out? But then again… this is Simon “King Midas” Cowell we’re talking about, as well.
So without further adieu it gives us great pleasure to announce that Paula Abdul has indeed signed on as a judge on TXF along with Cowell, Cheryl Cole, and Antonio “L.A.” Reid. This is not only going to be great fun for fans but this is very good for FOX broadcasting as it will increase the advertising value of this show even more than we already had expected.
Why should we care about that? It’s simple: the more money TXF makes, the more money FOX has to justify keeping lower rated, critically acclaimed scripted programming and it also acts as great lead-ins for the scripted shows as well, putting more eyes on them. You like your shows like Lie To Me, Human Target, Breaking In and The Chicago Code? Then, even if you don’t have any interest in reality show talent competitions you need to be rooting for TXF to make as much money as possible.
JOINS CHERYL COLE, ANTONIO “L.A.” REID AND SIMON COWELL
ON “The X Factor” JUDGES PANEL
Auditions Continue in Dallas on Thursday, May 26
Singers and Vocal Groups Age 12 and Over Eligible to Audition
For Chance to Win a $5 Million Syco/Sony Music Recording Contract
America’s sweetheart, world-renowned choreographer and pop icon Paula Abdul will join Cheryl Cole, Antonio “L.A.” Reid and Simon Cowell as a judge on The X Factor, the highly anticipated singing competition series debuting this fall on FOX. Abdul, who sat alongside Cowell for eight seasons as a judge on American Idol, has worldwide album sales exceeding 50 million records, two No. 1 albums, six No. 1 singles, a Grammy Award, seven MTV Awards, two Emmy Awards, two People’s Choice Awards and two Kids’ Choice Awards. Abdul will join Cole, Cowell, and Reid as they travel to The X Factor audition cities searching for the next global superstar or breakout music group.
“This show would never have been the same without Paula and I can’t believe I am saying this – I have missed her a lot, and I am thrilled she’s on the show,” said Simon Cowell.
“I am excited beyond words to be a part of The X Factor. I couldn’t be happier to bring my love for cultivating talent and performance to such a wildly anticipated show,” said Paula Abdul. “I’m looking forward to being back with the FOX/FremantleMedia family and know that it will be an extraordinary journey — we’re going to have a blast. I’m also delighted and grateful to be sitting next to Simon again…but you might want to check back with me in a week or two!”
“Paula is not only the lovely, nurturing person that America fell in love with, but she’s also one of the fiercest competitors I’ve ever seen — which makes her a perfect fit to judge The X Factor,” said Mike Darnell, President of Alternative Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company. “Paula and Simon have undeniable chemistry, and together with L.A. Reid and Cheryl Cole, I think we’ve put together an incredibly entertaining judges’ panel.”
“I’m thrilled to be working with Paula again,” says executive producer Cecile Frot-Coutaz. “A consummate entertainer in her own right, she has an extraordinary talent and generosity for nurturing performers — and her chemistry with Simon Cowell is like no other. I especially look forward to seeing her signature sensibilities in action during our mentoring rounds!”
Auditions continue in Dallas, TX, on Thursday, May 26.
The X Factor is searching for undiscovered talent 12 years old or over – both solo artists and vocal groups – who are willing to brave the panel for a chance to win a $5 million recording contract with Syco/Sony Music. Interested solo artists and vocal groups should sign up now for audition information at www.fox.com/theXfactor or call toll-free 855-345-5678.
In a departure from other singing competition series, the first time contestants audition for The X Factor judges, they will do so in front of an audience of thousands – raising the stakes and increasing the pressure to impress not only the judges, but also a potential legion of fans. This will be the ultimate test to prove they have the vocal ability, charisma and stage presence that it takes to win an unprecedented $5 million recording contract with Syco/Sony Music.
As previously announced, Pepsi will serve as an official sponsor of The X Factor. The comprehensive sponsorship includes an extensive, multi-platform off-air marketing partnership; weekly in-show integrations and placements; and an immersive content experience online.
The X Factor is produced by Syco Television and FremantleMedia North America. Simon Cowell, Rob Wade and Siobhan Greene are executive producers for Syco Television. Cecile Frot-Coutaz, Richard Holloway and Andrew Llinares serve as executive producers for FremantleMedia North America.
About Paula Abdul
Paula Abdul is one of the most-recognized pop singers and choreographers in film, television, video, stage and live tours. Her celebrated work in choreography includes Emmy-winning contributions to “The Tracey Ullman Show” and Emmy-nominated choreography for the Academy Awards, as well as Abdul’s own performance on “The American Music Awards.” Other triumphs include her award-winning work with Janet Jackson, which garnered two MTV Video Awards; and working with such music legends as Aretha Franklin, George Michael, Luther Vandross, INXS, Heart and Prince. Abdul’s favorite memory is dancing alongside her idol, Gene Kelly, in a celebrated and acclaimed commercial campaign. Abdul’s choreography contributions in feature films include the Academy Award-winning “American Beauty,” working with Cuba Gooding Jr. on his Academy Award-winning performance in “Jerry Maguire” and transforming Val Kilmer into Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone’s “The Doors.” Abdul’s music career encompasses worldwide album sales exceeding 50 million records, two No. 1 albums, six No. 1 singles, a Grammy Award, seven MTV Awards, two Emmy Awards, two People’s Choice Awards and two Kids’ Choice Awards. She has also been honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and inducted into Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Hall of Fame. Abdul served as a judge alongside Simon Cowell for eight seasons on the hit series American Idol. An acclaimed jewelry designer, Abdul introduced her Paula Abdul Jewelry Collection on QVC to record-breaking sales. The collection consists of charms, pendants, earrings and bracelets in a mix of textures and metals, adorned with meaningful phrases. Abdul, who got her first break as a Los Angeles Laker Girl, continues to honor her roots by running dance and cheerleading camps, competitions and scholarship programs throughout the country.
About “The X Factor”
Since its debut in 2004, “The X Factor” has remained the U.K.’s #1 program for the last seven years, peaking with an audience of 21 million with 65% audience share for its 2010 finale. The format swiftly broke similar records around the world, where local versions have consistently rated #1 in 15 territories, with a worldwide audience now well over 100 million. In Denmark, it has ranked #1 for the last four years, peaking with an 80% share of the audience. In Colombia, it has consistently ranked #1 with a 75% share of the audience. Additionally, “The X Factor” consistently delivers a 50% to 65% share of the viewing audiences in Greece, Hungary, Netherlands, France and Italy – with the highest percentage of these shares in A15-34. In some markets, “The X Factor” has increased the channel average demographic by up to 250%. The series has received numerous honors worldwide, including three BAFTA awards, numerous NTA awards and the coveted Rose d’Or. In the U.K., an unprecedented 1.5 million iTunes downloads were made from “The X Factor” contestant performances in 2010. Globally, more than 100 million records have been sold by artists launched through the series, including over 90 #1 singles and albums and 150 Top Ten records.
About Sony Music Entertainment
Sony Music Entertainment is a global recorded music company with a current roster that includes a broad array of both local artists and international superstars. The company boasts a vast catalog that comprises some of the most important recordings in history. It is home to premier record labels representing music from every genre, including American Recordings, Arista Nashville, Arista Records, Battery Records, Beach Street Records, BNA Records, Columbia Nashville, Columbia Records, Day 1, Epic Records, Essential Records, Flicker Records, J Records, Jive Records, LaFace Records, Legacy Recordings, MASTERWORKS, Polo Grounds, RCA Records, RCA Nashville, RCA Red Seal, RCA Victor, Reunion Records, Roc Nation, Sony Classical, Sony Music Latin, Star Time International, Verity Gospel Music Group, and Volcano Entertainment. Sony Music Entertainment is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America.
About Syco/Simon Cowell
Syco, with offices in London and Los Angeles, is a global music, television and film production joint venture between Simon Cowell and Sony Music Entertainment. Syco Television owns and produces the BAFTA Award-winning “The X Factor,” which has topped the charts around the world. Syco Television is also the owner of the “Got Talent” television format. Versions of both “The X Factor” and “Got Talent” are co-produced by Syco, and are shown in more than 70 countries and have won multiple awards including national television awards and BAFTAs. The X Factor launches in America on FOX in Fall 2011 with Cowell as a judge. Syco is also the record label home for such diverse international recording stars as Leona Lewis and Il Divo. Cowell has worked with artists selling more than 200 million albums and delivering more than 180 No. 1 records. Britain’s Got Talent in 2009 launched the global singing career of Susan Boyle. Her debut Syco album sold over 8 million units in six weeks, making it the world’s biggest-selling album of 2009 and the fastest-selling album in history and a total of 20 million records to date. In 2009, Cowell was named No. 1 in Hollywood Reporter’s Top 50 Most Powerful in Reality TV and Entertainment Weekly’s Top Entertainer of the Year. In 2010 Simon Cowell was awarded Variety International’s Humanitarian Award for his extensive charitable work, The Rose d’Or Golden Jubilee Award and BAFTA’s Special Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the entertainment industry and development of new talent. He also appeared on Time Magazine’s list of Most Influential People in the World and was awarded the International Emmy Founders Award.
About FremantleMedia North America
FremantleMedia North America (FMNA) is the U.S. production division of global media giant FremantleMedia. Based in Burbank, California, FMNA produces entertaining and innovative programs for network, cable, syndicated and online platforms, including the Emmy-nominated musical/reality phenomenon American Idol (FOX), “America’s Got Talent” (NBC), “What Chilli Wants” (VH1), “Hole In The Wall” (Cartoon Network), “Jump City: Seattle” (G4), “Let’s Make A Deal” (CBS), “Family Feud” (syn), “The Price Is Right” (CBS) and the much-anticipated The X Factor in Fall 2011.
Hi, folks. Thanks for coming back for part two of this very special feature on FOX where Blossom ponders losing her virginity, yet again. No, no, no, obviously we’re going to talk about FOX’s recent surprising schedule moves and what we think is going on over there. Yesterday, of course, we reported on the renewal of Bob’s Burgers for a second season and left our readers with a cliffhanger as to the significance of this renewal for the network as a whole and why we are actually pleased about the renewal despite that we don’t like the show. So now it’s time to explain why and we’ll bring you back to when we fist heard about FOX moving Fringe to Friday nights.
It Took Five Years For "The Show About Nothing" to Become a Hit.
As noted by our two pieces on Fringe‘s move to Friday (here and here) we’ve been very critical of FOX’s history of jumping ship on shows (especially new shows) that have had a run of, not even horrible, but average to mediocre ratings. Seriously, c’mon, FOX… Seinfeld wasn’t immediately a hit. It wasn’t even in the top 30 for its first three seasons and in its fourth season it was #25.
Fringe... Cooler Than You and Back in Fall 2011 For Season 4.
Anyway, in these pieces, we also expressed our skepticism with FOX’s stated commitment in the past to fan-favorite shows and of course this directly related to their campaign in January expressing the same commitment to Fringe. But, then, a few weeks ago, Virginia found out that there is indeed a Santa Claus and the announcement was made that Fringe not only had been renewed for a fourth season, but it was given a full season order… in March. We speculated as to why this occurred as EVERYONE, including us, assumed that after the ratings decline, the move to Friday and of course, FOX’s history, this show was destined for Cancellationville.
And of course, there is American Dad, a show that FOX execs have not historically supported and have been trying to replace for years and it got renewed for a seventh season… in February, again with a full season order of 22 episodes, no less.
Yes, Indeed... NBC May Be Very Happy, Very Soon.
When we heard the announcement about Fringe, we speculated as to the many reasons it may have been spared cancellation but came to the conclusion that we really didn’t care, we were just happy that the show was saved. But now, we’re hearing that FOX is on the verge of losing House, as well.
The network remains in last-minute negotiations with Universal Media Studios, which owns the series, in hopes of signing a new deal for an eighth season. The two sides are far apart in determining the percentage each will pay for the show’s costs.
UMS, owned by NBCUniversal, has given Fox an extension on the window of negotiation exclusivity. That ends Friday. If the two sides can’t come to an agreement, UMS will offer the show to competing networks including, of course, the Peacock, which would likely be more than happy to take the series away from Fox.
So thanks to all of these developments, we’ve been dragged into the speculation game and we’re guessing that there are several issues at play here:
This Never Happened
First, FOX has some serious issues with original scripted program scheduling coming this Fall and this is just based on what we know. Four new shows from 2010 – 2011 have already been canceled (Running Wilde, The Good Guys, Sons of Tuscon and Lone Star) and Traffic Light is certain to be canceled by May 16th. So, that’s five down right there (and chances for The Chicago Code being renewed for a second season seem to be getting slimmer by the day) and Human Target and Lie To Me are more likely to be cancelled than not. Add to that the fact that as of this posting FOX hasn’t been able to come to a deal to keep the perennial hits Bones and (as earlier noted) House (the deadline for a deal for House was last Friday), the network faces potentially being down nine scripted programs from 2010 – 2011 (Even though we are still trying to forget about Sons of Tuscon as if it never existed, and of course we aren’t counting 24 which was at the end of its run).
"Holy sh*t! How the f**k are we still on the air???"
And here’s the thing about House: Universal may not come to a deal intentionally and may just turn House over to NBC who is desperate for a strong scripted drama, or strong scripted anything at this point. Whereas FOX axed four of their new shows (with a fifth coming for sure), NBC has axed five of their new shows with at least a sixth certain to be on the way out the door (Sorry, but as much as The Event has improved by following what we suggested it needed to do, it was too little, too late…so, adiós!). Let’s also not forget Chuck, which is on its way out the door as well. It’s so bad at NBC that less-than-positive performers such as Law & Order: Los Angelesand Harry’s Laware almost guaranteed to be renewed because, well, frankly, theyz gots nothin’ else and they certainly don’t have American Idol or Simon Cowell’s new series, The X-Factor, that is destined to be a ratings juggernaut, so at the end of the day, NBC is in way worse shape than FOX. So, here’s our bold prediction: House will be on NBC come Fall 2011 and a deal with Bones (in desperation) will be made and it will return to FOX.
"Oh look. We're still on FOX."
But the effects of losing House on FOX will be devastating and even if they keep Bones, that show has seen a sharp decline in ratings over the past two season which means there will be only one truly strong live-action veteran scripted show and that would be Glee. Can FOX really be comfortable going into the new Fall season with the The Animation Domination Block, Glee, The X-Factor and American Idol being the only programming that is guaranteed to be stable? We don’t think they possibly could be satisfied with that situation.
So taking this a step further, based on what we know for sure about the Fall schedule and the three shows that were renewed – not only unexpectedly but early, as well – (Fringe, American Dad and now Bob’s Burgers), here’s what we think is going on and it crossed our minds when we first heard about Fringe‘s renewal: FOX is not just uncomfortable with the new scripted programing they have ordered for Fall 2011, they’re downright nervous and they expected to have had more success with their new shows from 2010 – 2011. They also certainly didn’t expect the possibility of looking at Fall 2011 with no House and to a lesser extent no Bones.
Terra Nova: Allegedly to debut in Fall 2011... Hmmmm.
This brings us to the Stephen Spielberg and Amblin Entertainment produced, epic Sci-Fi series, Terra Nova, which as we noted when we reported Fringe‘s renewal, has been delayed yet again and is set to debut in Fall 2011. There are some serious issues with Terra Nova that we think FOX is starting to get as concerned about as we are. First, the delays are insane and we are not confident at all that it will debut in the Fall as promised. Second, Terra Nova may be the most expensive show in history with the first two episodes alone costing $16 million and whereas the average episode of scripted drama costs $2.5 million, Terra Nova per episode cost will come in at $4 million and the show is rife with rumors of cost overruns although the producers deny this.
Terra Nova: This Is NOT a Sci-Fi Show And That Is Not A Time Portal!
Centers on the Shannons, an ordinary family from 2149 when the planet is dying who are transported back 85 million years to prehistoric Earth where they join Terra Nova, a colony of humans with a second chance to build a civilization.
Still Not a Sci-Fi Show.
No, there’s absolutely nothing Sci-Fi about that premise at all. It’s just like Little House on the Prairie… but with time travel… and dinosaurs… and automatic weapons… with lasers.
So, if we go with the premise that FOX isn’t really sure whether or not Terra Nova is going to actually debut on the Fall 2011 schedule as planned and it finally occurred to them that this kind of Sci-Fi is highly questionable for network television and of course there’s the issue of the costs involved, we can come to only one conclusion: FOX is worried that they aren’t going to have much going on this Fall, Monday through Friday, other than Glee and The X-Factor and they’ve decided that keeping some of these shows that have established, stabilized audiences even though they’ve seen ratings drops, may be their only option. For goodness’ sake, and we cannot stress this enough, they saved three shows that everyone expected to be canceled, and again, this is FOX we’re talking about.
We alluded to this theory yesterday, in part one, our commentary on the Bob’s Burgers renewal:
We think FOX is starting to realize that it may be better for them to deal with the devil that they know as opposed to the one they don’t…
FOXs Money Printing Presses That May Keep Your Favorite Shows On The Air
So, that’s where we think all of this is going and in our opinion, this is nothing but a positive turn of events. FOX has lived very well over the past decade with their scripted programming, reality program and sports. If new show, “A” didn’t work out as well or as quickly as they had hoped, they’d just dump it and replace it with new show “B” and if that didn’t work out they’d replace it with show “C” and so on and they’d usually find gold eventually. But let’s be honest about this; the crop of decent scripted shows out there over the past couple of years on ALL of the networks has been thin to say the least. So considering the lack of quality, sustainable shows, all the losses in shows that they’ve had in the past year, the possible losses of their perennial hits to other networks, and a questionable Fall 2011 lineup, it appears that FOX execs have been forced to put on the big boy pants and change their strategy so that they have something that’s at least slightly stable in their lineup, and will actually work to build up those shows by subsidizing them with their juggernauts, particularly American Idol and The X-Factor.
If Only It Had Debuted In Fall 2009!
Now, although FOX may not be particularly happy about taking this approach (because of course, everyone likes the quick and easy buck), all of these developments and this new approach is nothing but positive for viewers and fans of the many quality scripted programs that FOX does have to offer, but probably wouldn’t have been given an opportunity like this if this was, oh, say, two or three years ago. Heck, we suspect that if Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles were in its second season in 2011 instead of in 2009, it already would have been renewed for a third season by now.
And this is EXACTLY why we are so happy about Bob’s Burgers being picked up for a second season (as much as we dislike it) because it’s show number four that was not only renewed by FOX but picked up early when no one expected it to be. This in turn gives up hope for the remaining three likely to be canceled shows, Lie to Me, Human Target and The Chicago Code. We can almost guarantee that FOX will not cancel all three of these shows, in fact, they may only cancel one of them but we are going to go with the premise, based on everything we’ve laid out over the past two days that they will keep at least one of them and we think it will be a toss-up between Lie to Me and Human Target.
... Or This?
Don’t get us wrong, we love The Chicago Codeand we don’t particularly like the clichéd and predictable Lie to Me but we have to be objective about this. If FOX or any other network is going to pick up an underperforming show to keep for another season, they are going to pick one that has an established audience for at least a couple of seasons over a mid-season replacement that hasn’t been able to find any stability with their audience. The fact that The Chicago Code is a serial doesn’t help its chances of gaining a stable audience a season later, either. Now, obviously, Bob’s Burgers doesn’t have a multiple-season established audience BUT it did have the highest ratings of any new show premiere of the season and its audience numbers, though not great, have stabilized and it does have very strong lead-ins and lead-outs with The Simpsons and Family Guy, respectively, whereas The Chicago Code dos not.
So there you have it. Our wild speculation on why the big change in strategy at FOX. You can take it for what it’s worth, and call us crazy but do the research for yourself and see if you come to any other conclusions because we’d love to hear your take. Remember folks, May 16th is the big day for FOX. That’s when we find out who’s going and who’s staying.
THE CHICAGO CODE, the compelling new police drama from critically acclaimed creator Shawn Ryan (“The Shield”), follows the Windy City’s most powerful and respected cops as they navigate the city’s underbelly to fight crime and expose corruption within Chicago’s notorious political machine.
Set and shot on location in Chicago, THE CHICAGO CODE is a fast-paced series centered on JAREK WYSOCKI (Jason Clarke), a local legend and a larger-than-life veteran of the Chicago Police Department who wields considerable power thanks to his relationship with TERESA COLVIN (Jennifer Beals), his ex-partner and the city’s first female superintendent, now in charge of a 10,000-member police force. While Teresa diplomatically governs amidst the complicated landscape of Chicago politics, Jarek works the streets on a crusade to clean up corruption and crime and avenge his brother’s murder. Along the way, they will stop at nothing to bring down their powerful adversaries, including ALDERMAN RONIN GIBBONS (Delroy Lindo), a building-magnate-turned-politician who has ruled his ward with a velvet glove for over two decades.
Joining Jarek on the street is CALEB EVERS (Matt Lauria), an eager young detective trying desperately to prove himself. Also in Jarek’s charge is his niece, VONDA WYSOCKI (Devin Kelley), a rookie beat cop whose father – Jarek’s brother – was killed in the line of duty when she was young. Jarek keeps close tabs on her and is less than thrilled with the risk-taking ways of her cocky hotshot partner, ISAAC JOINER (Todd Williams). Also in the mix is low-life LIAM HENNESSEY (Billy Lush), an Irish thug who blends in with the gritty world of local crime. – FOX
8 out of 10
So here we are asking ourselves again, why, oh why, do the best scripted dramas always wind up on FOX? They are only going to canceled when FOX inevitably pisses their pants after a couple of episodes. The Chicago Code is eerily similar to Lone Starin that it’s a serialized, well-written, well-casted and well-acted dramatic series… that probably won’t last a single season because FOX has no patience for shows like this. For the sake of this review, though, let’s pretend that FOX won’t cancel it before the end of the first season.
The Chicago Code is everything it claims to be and perhaps a bit more. Jason Clarke (Brotherhood) is brilliantly cast as the down-to-earth, old-school detective who is used to thinking unconventionally and using unorthodox methods in order to effectively do his job. Beals, is his former partner and newly appointed Police Superintendant who has recruited him to help her to clean up the corruption in Chicago. If you think you’ve seen this before, you have. This is almost the exact same scenario as in Brian De Palma’s 1987 classic The Untouchables when Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) recruits Jim Malone (Sean Connery) to help him take down the corrupt politicians, corrupt police department and Al Capone.
Watch this scene to understand The Chicago Code:
… and THAT’S The Chicago Code. There is no sugar-coating it. This is a modern-day telling of a classic story of crime and corruption and Shawn Ryan (The Shield, The Unit) is not even being subtle with his homage to The Untouchables. Good for him because he’s a brilliant writer and he’s smart enough to know that if you are going to use someone else’s source material for inspiration, use only the good stuff. What made HBO’s Deadwood so good was the fact that it was Shakespeare set in the Old West. It’s no different with any good drama and The Chicago Code excels in exploiting its predecessor.
Ryan’s no slouch, either, when it comes to stories about corruption having been the creator of F/X’s hit The Shield which lasted for six seasons which revolved around a group of corrupt detectives in the L.A.P.D. And like The Shield, The Chicago Code does something that we absolutely love and we praised it before in our review of A & E’s The Glades; it uses the city itself as not just a backdrop, but as a living, breathing character. One gets the feeling that they know Chicago as well as the residents do by watching The Chicago Code and that is a key factor that makes the show compelling and worth investing in for audiences. It’s also beautifully shot and is a visual pleasure to enjoy in high-definition. Unfortunately, though, as previously noted, we don’t think the show has much of a chance at survival.
To be fair to FOX, and as much as we rip on them, there is a big problem with The Chicago Code that has nothing to do with bad management at FOX: it’s a serial. Serialized television has no place in major network schedules any more. It just doesn’t play with this generation of viewers who are inundated with 300 plus channels of cable television, the Internet, and reality television. This generation of television viewers expects everything to be immediate with their entertainment and they simply have no patience for a story that doesn’t effectively conclude itself at the end of the hour. This isn’t a criticism, this is just a fact and if you’re wondering when the end of serialized drama on network television officially occurred, it was May 24, 2010, which is the day of the series finale of 24 and the day after the series finale of Lost. It’s getting more and more difficult to put any effort in writing reviews for serialized drama on network television because we are kind of at the “what’s the point?” stage as we expect every serialized drama on network television to be canceled no later than the end of its first season.
Now, that being said, we believe that FOX has made the same mistake with this show that they did with Lone Star and that is airing it on FOX instead of F/X. F/X has been consistently able to support to serialized dramas and The Chicago Code would be a perfect fit there.
Of course, we certainly hope that we are dead-wrong about the lifespan of The Chicago Code on FOX but the numbers were only OK for the premiere (2.4 rating for 18-49) and the tendency for serialized shows is to lose audience after the premiere, not pick them up. So we’ll keep our fingers crossed but we aren’t very optimistic about any long-term success for this show.
The newest addition to the Law & Order brand, “Law & Order: Los Angeles” fuses classic ripped-from-the-headlines storytelling with the distinctive backdrop of LA – delving into the unique attitudes, cultures and crimes of the West Coast.
The drama follows Detectives Rex Winters (Skeet Ulrich, “Jericho”) and Tomas “TJ” Jarusalski (Corey Stoll, “Midnight in Paris”) as they pursue cases through the diverse City of Angels. As members of the Los Angeles Police Department’s elite Robbery Homicide Division, Winters is a straight-shooting ex-Marine with a clear-cut worldview as stubborn as he is, while TJ, who grew up the son of an Oscar-winning Polish cinematographer, knows too well the dark underside that is behind-the-scenes Hollywood.
Deputy District Attorney Morales (Alfred Molina, “En Education,” “The Da Vinci Code,” “Spiderman 2″) is a sarcastic realist who believes moral righteousness is great in theory, but ineffective in a street fight. Though he knows how to manipulate both his public image and the behind-the-scenes politics, he’s still a killer in the courtroom who lives to see justice served. – NBC
Shawn: Hi, my name’s Shawn and I’m a recovering Law & Order fan. You see, one day about four years ago, I decided that the entire franchise, which I had been watching faithfully since 1990, had turned to utter crap (and that includes SVU which people still think is good for some reason). The formula was stale and the “ripped from the headlines” garbage became a convenient crutch that was about as exciting as your local theater group practicing their ad-libbing skills by randomly choosing topics from a hat (which of course, is a common theme in television production lately. see: Running Wilde in the Tuesday Preview.). Unfortunately, it took about a decade too long for this show to be cancelled. What I can’t seem to figure out is why the arrogant Dick Wolf thinks that simply taking the brand of crap that is Law & Order and moving it from one side to the country to another is actually going to produce a better product.
And before you say to yourself, “Well, this could be different,” I’m going to have to stop you right there because, no, it’s not going to be different. Do you know how I know? There are two obvious reasons. First, take a look at the first sentence of the show description by NBC:
“Law & Order: Los Angeles” fuses classic ripped-from-the-headlines storytelling with the distinctive backdrop of LA – delving into the unique attitudes, cultures and crimes of the West Coast.”
The first thing that they mention as a selling point is what made the show suck to begin with (the “ripped from the headlines” crap). It’s the reason that people stopped watching… period, you unoriginal nit-wits at Dick Wolf Productions.
The second reason that stands out is the simple fact that NBC doesn’t have a single trailer of this new series out that shows a single scene from the show. What are they hiding? After all, this cast is amazing. Skeet Ulrich, Alfred Molina and Academy Award nominated Terrence Howard star in this and NBC isn’t highlighting any of them in the promotions for this new “hit” series? It makes absolutely no sense, unless of course, they know the moment that they show five seconds of this show in a trailer, audiences are going to sing in unison, “I thought they cancelled this stupid show.”
Here’s my theory: NBC owes Dick Wolf a lot for twenty seasons of L & O, twelve seasons of SVU and amazingly, nine seasons of CI (whatever network it’s on now). That’s 41 seasons of television. To put that in perspective, that’s 50% more than all five series of the entire Star Trek franchise. So, Dick Wolf says, “You’re doing another ‘Law and Order’ series whether you like it or not and you’re going to do it in L.A., because that’s where I live now.” NBC’s response was, “How high did you say you want us to jump, Mr. Wolf?” and voila, L & O: L.A. is born. NBC knows it’s going to be crap but in order to keep it semi-profitable, they sunk a lot of money into casting and even I have to say that was a brilliant move on their part because as much as I have no interest in anything L & O, even I’m considering watching the pilot just for the cast. So, in principle, no, I would not recommend this but for curiosity’s sake I probably will watch the pilot and only make it halfway through because I’ll be so disgusted.
The Review (See above):
3 out of 10
This will be the shortest review of the season. Do you know why? It’s simple: everything I predicted in the preview was exactly spot-on. This show is nothing more than the original Law & Order that just got cancelled after 20 seasons except for the fact that it’s set in L.A.
What’s really disappointing is how poor the performances are from this all-star cast. It’s to the point where it’s embarrassing. I really want to chalk this up to poor writing, but I don’t know if I can. This whole show is just awful and no one is getting a free pass.
The only reason it’s getting three stars is because it’s not as bad as Outlaw. I expect it to be canceled by the end of the season.
Watch full epsiodes of Law & Order: Los Angeles, here.