Yesterday we reported that Cheryl Cole had been replaced by the Pussycat Dolls’ Nicole Scherzinger as a judge on FOX’s upcoming singing competition show, The X Factor.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 TMZ is reporting that Cheryl Cole, who was a judge on the U.K. version of the show, has been replaced by the Pussycat Dolls’ Nicole Scherzinger citing concerns over American audiences having difficulty understanding her because of her thick British accent and a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.
The Hollywood Reporteris reporting that ABC went mad-crazy on Friday dumping seven shows including five freshman shows, renewing two and picking up a whopping twelve new scripted shows, all in advance of tomorrow’s upfront advertising event where they’ll announce their schedule for the 2011 – 2012 season.
V: The phrase “no surprise here” is really a running theme with all of these canceled shows on ABC but never is it more appropriate than for V. V was phenomenal in its first season but by the third episode of the second season, it had become one of the most ridiculous and embarrassing SciFi shows ever produced. Fans will of course blame ABC for how they scheduled, this is nonsense. The show turned and we’ve actually been working on a remedial course that will published i na couple of weeks for folks who don’t understand why V was so damned ridiculous. We’re not saying that we’re happy about its departure, but we sure as Hell understand why it was canceled and make no doubt about it, it deserved to be canceled.
Detroit 1-8-7: This is a very sad, albeit necessary cancellation. D-187 was one of the best police procedurals in recent memory and we were sure it was going to be terrible. It’s unfortunate that it couldn’t find an audience. Again, the writing for this show was on the wall since November 2010.
No Ordinary Family: *sigh* What’s unfortunate about this cancellation is how much potential this series had and how it completely fell off the rails. The show became less about superheroes and more about this dysfunctional family and wore thin very quickly. Not to mention, Jim Powell (Michael Chiklis) is the probably the most emasculated male lead character in the history of television.
Off the Map: We got through twenty minutes of the pilot, to turn it off. Terrible writing, terrible acting and just complete and utter tripe. It’s nothing but typical recycled procedural crap. Good-bye, you won’t be missed. We hated this show so much, we couldn’t bring ourselves to do a review on it. Fortunately, Off the Map is off the map.
Mr. Sunshine: We actually forced ourselves to sit through two episodes of this mess. This was a very poor rip-off if 30 Rock was one of the worst shows we’ve seen this season. It was nothing ut really bad recycled jokes, recycled characters and recycled plotlines. Good Riddance. Maybe it will be another decade before we’ll have to be subjected to Matthew Perry again. What? We can’t be the only ones who thinks Friends is one of the worst pieces of crap shows ever made.
Better With You: We made it through three episodes and the last two minutes of every episode that wound up on our DVR recordings of Modern Family. This may be one of the worst shows ever made next to $#*! My Dad Says. There was nothing funny about this and it abused every sitcom cliché from the last 50 years of television and it made us angry that the producers had such a low opinion of their audience.
Brothers and Sisters: We have no problem with this show and in fact we’ve never watched it but we understand that it had a loyal following (Little Sister ‘Tastic was a big fan). The problem was that viewership had been steadily declining and once you get past the fifth season, if the ratings aren’t there to justify higher ad-revenues it’s impossible to keep a show because at this point the production costs (including cast salaried) increase dramatically.
Body of Proof: We don’t understand the appeal of this show, but then again we don’t understand the appeal of all safe procedurals. This show really particularly stupid, with dopey and recycled premises and really bad dialogue. But, alas, what do we know as audiences seem to love it.
Happy Endings: We have to be honest, we haven’t had time to watch this show but it does look very funny and it does have strong critical buzz surrounding it so we’re looking forward to watching it over the summer and reviewing it. Part of the reason we didn’t put it to the front of our schedule is that based on the ratings, we weren’t expecting it to be renewed. Good for them!
Picked Up(We’ll be providing our assessments of the new shows shortly after the schedule announcement is made on Tuesday):
Charlie’s Angels: A modern take on the 1970s series starring Annie Ilonzeh (Melrose Place), Minka Kelly (Friday Night Lights, Parenthood) and Rachael Taylor (Grey’s Anatomy) as Charlie’s (Robert Wagner) new Angels. The Miami-set drama, from Sony Pictures Television, is written by Smallville duo Alfred Gough and Miles Millar and produced by Nancy Juvonen (Whip It), Leonard Goldberg (the Charlie’s Angels features) and Drew Barrymore, who appeared in the big-screen reboot. Marcos Siega (The Vampire Diaries) directed the pilot.
Last Man Standing: The project centers on the former Home Improvement star, who is fighting for his manhood in a world increasingly dominated by women. Nancy Travis (So I Married an Axe Murderer) co-stars in the multicamera comedy from 20th Television. Jack Burditt (30 Rock) penned the pilot, with Marty Adelstein (Prison Break), Becky Clements and Shawn Levy (Date Night) on board as producers. Insiders believe the mutlicam Allen vehicle, which has had “lock” status for weeks, will launch a second ABC comedy block, likely on Tuesdays (Improvement‘s old stomping ground).
Pan Am: From Sony, the sexy soap set in the 1960s focuses on stewardesses and pilots, some of whom live double lives as spies. Christina Ricci stars in her first series regular role in the drama written and produced by Jack Orman (ER). Also producing are Sid Ganis, Nancy Hult Ganis and Thomas Schlamme (The West Wing), who helmed the pilot.
Apartment 23: The a single-camera comedy from 20th TV centers on a Midwestern girl (Dreama Walker,The Good Wife) whose big-city dreams are dashed after her first week in New York, where she finds herself living with her worst nightmare (Krysten Ritter, Breaking Bad). James Van Der Beek (Dawson’s Creek) co-stars as himself in his first series comedy role. Nahnatchka Khan (American Dad) and Dave Hemingson (Traffic Light) penned the pilot and will produce along with Jeffrey Morton (Traffic Light). Jason Winer (Modern Family) helmed the pilot.
Good Christian Belles (formerly Good Christian Bitches): The soap revolves around a former high school “mean girl” (Leslie Bibb, Popular) who returns home to Dallas after her marriage ends in scandal. The series, from ABC Studios, also stars Kristin Chenoweth (Glee) and Annie Potts (Designing Women). Robert Harling(Laws of Attraction), who penned the pilot, produces alongside Darren Star (Sex and the City) and Aaron Kaplan. Alan Poul (Six Feet Under) directed the pilot. The series is based on the book by Kim Gatlin.
Revenge: The Count of Monte Cristo-inspired soap from Mike Kelley (Swingtown), centers on a woman (Emily VanCamp, Brothers and Sisters) who moves to the Hamptons. The ABC Studios pilot, which was directed by Phillip Noyce, counts Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey as executive producers.
Once Upon a Time: A fantasy drama that revolves around a woman (Jennifer Morrison, How I Met Your Mother) who, after a boy who claims to be her son shows up, is drawn into a town where fairy tales might be real. Ginnifer Goodwin (Big Love) co-stars as Snow White in a cast that also includes Robert Carlyle (Stargate Universe) and Josh Dallas (Thor) as Prince Charming.Lost’s Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz penned the pilot and will produce alongside Steve Pearlman (V) and Mark Mylod (Shameless), who directed the pilot from ABC’s sister studio.
Scandal (formerly Damage Control): The drama revolves around the life and work of a professional fixer (Kerry Washington) and her staff. Lost’s Henry Ian Cusick co-stars as her right-hand man and Tony Goldwyn plays the president. It is based on the career of crisis management consultant Judy Smith, who serves alongside producers including Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice) and Betsy Beers (Grey’s Anatomy). From ABC Studios, the pilot was directed by Paul McGuigan (Lucky Number Slevin).
The River: A stylized project that follows a crew through the Amazon in search of a missing adventurer. Eloise Mumford (Lone Star) stars in the ABC Studios drama written by Michael Green (Kings) and Michael R. Perry (Persons Unknown). Executive producers include Oren Peliand Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity), Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey (United States of Tara), Zack Estrin (No Ordinary Family) and Steven Schneider (Paranormal Activity). Jaume Collet-Serra directed the pilot, which was shot in Puerto Rico.
Work It: The cross-dressing comedy from Warner Bros. TV and Andrew Reich and Ted Cohen(Friends), revolves around two out-of-work car salesmen (Amaury Nolasco, Ben Koldyke) who dress as women in order to get jobs as pharmaceutical reps. Beth McCarthy Miller directed the pilot.
Suburgatory: The project stars Jane Levy as a New Yorker who moves to a cookie-cutter community and discovers that the suburbs is more frightening than any horror movie she’s seen. Jeremy Sisto (Law & Order), Alan Tudyk (Firefly) and Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm) co-star. The single-camera comedy from Warner Bros. TV was written by Emily Kapnek (Hung, Parks and Recreation), with the pilot directed by Mike Fresco (Raising Hope, Better Off Ted).
Man Up: The single-camera comedy from ABC Studios and Chris Moynihan (Coupling) is a look at what it takes to survive as a modern man, as told through the eyes of three best friends and the women in their lives.
Outsourced is one of the most disappointing shows this season but it’s not because it’s a bad show. It’s cute and it’s clever but it’s a sitcom trying to be funny and it’s really not. We pointed out in our review that the problem is that the novelty of the culture clashes and funny accents only works for about ten minutes, yet Outsourced is an entire series that revolves around those gimmicks… If we’re going to watch a sitcom, we want it to be funny. Outsourced unfortunately is not. It’s currently leaning toward “the-more-likely-to-be-renewed-than-not” category but we doubt audiences are going to continue to tolerate it until May.
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.
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… 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.
Unfortunately, since its premiere, the audience numbers have dropped steadily and the show is on life-support at this point and it’s completely unnecessary… The truth is that the long hiatus (new episodes will not air until March 7, 2011) may be the final nail in the coffin for The Event…
In related news, the awful David E. Kelley, Boston Legal-clone Harry’s Law has been renewed by NBC and just when we thought NBC had ZERO standards remaining they did smartly pass-on Kelley’s reboot adaptation of the comic book classic that no one ever reads, Wonder Woman. Tracie Thoms, who would have played Diana Prince’s best friend Etta, had this to say about the news via Twitter:
I am very sad that NBC passed on Wonder Woman. But that just goes to show you: There is no such thing as a “sure thing” in this biz.
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.
As terrific as Lights Out was, the boxing backdrop in and of itself simply was too niche to appeal to any kind of general audience. First, boxing has never been that popular of a sport in the U.S., but in the last two decades the sport has seen a serious decline in interest by the public. As we noted, boxing really was incidental to the show. The show was really about an ordinary man who, in his prime, had fame and money due to his particular talent, was losing everything and at this point would do ANYTHING to protect his family, even if that meant risking his own personal health, violating his own ethics and morals and even breaking the law.
The problem was that F/X sold this show as a boxing show when there were only two fights during the whole season. It was very gritty and compelling but unfortunately due to F/X’s decision to emphasize the boxing element before the show ever aired, audiences never really wanted to find out. Now, we aren’t necessarily slamming F/X for the marketing decision, though, as it’s kind of difficult for us to envision a way to market this show downplaying the boxing aspect and making it more attractive to a broader audience at the same time. Maybe “Lights Out” wasn’t the best title for the show, perhaps?
C’est la vie, though. TV shows come and go and it’s really difficult for us to get too attached to a show considering how fickle audiences are and how quickly even the best shows seem to leave us. The upside is that Season One of Lights Out played out like a 13 episode miniseries, even in the finale, leaving unanswered questions that frankly didn’t need a second season to be expanded on (even though it would have been nice). They could simply be left to the viewer’s imagination to figure it out for themselves, and that, folks, is a mark of great storytelling.
Possibly Up at the 9 Count For One More Round?
As Spock said, “There are always… possibilities.” No sooner did F/X make the announcement of the cancellation of Lights Out did DirecTV issue feelers to its followers on Twitter regarding interest in possibly picking it up:
FX cancels “Lights Out,” what’s your reaction?
And they aren’t the only ones. In an interview he did for The Hollywood Reporter, Executive Producer Warren Leight explains that although he’s not optimistic about the chances of the show being picked up by another network, they have been pitching it and Showtime’s name in particular had come up.
People express “maybe” kind of interest. I would love to believe it when it happens. My sense is it’s unlikely Showtime would pick up a show that had been on basic cable.
Not so fast there, Mr. Leight. We think everyone who watched this show probably agrees that it was better suited for premium cable than basic cable to begin with (again, we noted this as well in our original review) and there’s also the fact that Showtime has a history of broadcasting programming that was rejected by non-premium television (see: The Reagansin 2003).
As an aside, we highly recommend reading the full interview with THR that we linked to earlier. Leight gives many insights into the show and the state of television today and confirms a lot of our original contentions about the show that we restated above.