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Thread: 'Studio 60’ Cancellation Iminent

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    'Studio 60’ Cancellation Iminent

    'Studio 60’ Cancellation Iminent

    Sunday, October 29, 2006

    By Roger Friedman

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    'Studio 60' Concellation | Standing Ovation for 'Bobby' | Regis Is King, as Usual

    Studio 60’ Cancellation Iminent

    Here we go: despite receiving an order for three more episodes on Friday, the Aaron Sorkin NBC drama “Studio 60 on Sunset Strip” is about to be put out of its misery.

    Cast members are already confiding in friends that the end is near. It’s likely NBC will pull the plug shortly I am told by insiders.

    Last week, Studio 60 had 7.7 million viewers. Compare that with competing "CSI: Miami," with 17.5 million. That gap cannot be closed.

    But ‘Studio 60’ has trouble internally at NBC, forget its intramural rivals. According to ratings stats, the “Saturday Night Live” behind the scenes soap opera loses almost half the viewers delivered to it a few minutes earlier by another new show, “Heroes,” which has become a surprise cult hit.

    On Monday, ‘Heroes’ had 14.3 million viewers. The substantial drop off with 'Studio 60' is probably the last nail in its coffin. The order of the three extra episodes is considered by insiders to be a contractual move, and not one based on faith that they will ever be made or aired. The all important demo situation didn’t help: 'Heroes' had 15 percent of viewers aged 18-49. Studio 60 had 8 percent. The notion that 'Studio 60' is a big draw for NBC among desirables is, sadly, blown on those stats.

    Sorkin and friends will argue that NBC has done something wrong, or that the audience isn’t smart enough. Alas, in this case, neither is true. 'Studio 60'—as I wrote on August 7th after viewing the pilot—is just a bad show. There’s nothing wrong with the acting, directing, or dialogue writing. But the premise is faulty. No one cares whether a bunch of over caffeinated, well off yuppies, some with expensive drug habits, put on a weekly comedy sketch show from Los Angeles.

    Even worse: no one cares whether or not the people from the Bartlett White House puts on a comedy show. That’s what 'Studio 60' is, essentially: the "West Wing" annual talent show. There’s so much earnestness involved in this endeavour, you start to think that nuclear war will be declared if the 'Studio 60' staff doesn’t air some joke—usually one we don’t hear anyway. The whole thing just feels weighted down and frankly, not entertaining.

    There is one winner to come out of 'Studio 60,' however: Matthew Perry. In this show he’s proven himself to be a star on his own separate from "Friends." His comedic timing and ability to ad lib, toss off lines, and give restrained physical reactions is what keeps 'Studio 60' even remotely interesting. We can only be hopeful that someone comes up with a great new show for him quickly—but a comedy that’s funny, not a drama that isn’t.

    NBC will probably fill the lost 'Studio 60' timeslot with 'Deal-No Deal: The Next Generation,' or some such thing. So the losers here will be the audience, which is about to be pummelled by more reality and game shows. It’s too bad because around the dial there are good new dramas. Despite its heavy “thirtysomething” feel, “Brothers and Sisters” is worth keeping if only for Sally Field, Ron Rifkin and Rachel Griffiths. (But there a mistake was made, too: killing off patriarch Tom Skerritt in the first episode.)

    Oh well: I hope Regis is warming up the holiday edition of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire." We’re ready!

    (Story continues below)

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    Standing Ovation For 'Bobby'

    Emilio Estevez’s terrific movie, "Bobby," got a standing ovation last night at its premiere sponsored by the Times of London for the London Film Festival.

    Estevez looked mildly shocked on stage as a full Odeon theatre, with guests including likely future prime minister of England Gordon Brown, honored him for his work on this outstanding film.

    "Bobby," as I told you some weeks ago, is a Robert Altman-like story of many different characters at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on June 4, 1968, as Kennedy makes his way there to celebrate winning the California primary.

    Last night, a few of the cast members including Christian Slater, Joy Bryant, Svetlana Metkina and Freddy Rodriguez (of "Six Feet Under" fame) came with Estevez and his new fiancée to accept the kudos.

    The screening — and following swellicious party at Claridge’s — was such a hot ticket that Estevez’s other guests included Oscar-winning directors Anthony Minghella and Hugh Hudson; actors Jason Isaacs, Eric Bana, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers as well as Americans Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins, who came over from shooting “Fred Claus” nearby with Judi Dench, Vince Vaughn and Kevin Spacey.

    The screening was also such a success that later at Claridge’s, Slater showed off a previously unknown talent: he performed with the 12-piece swing band that the Times had hired, credibly crooning Frank Sinatra’s hits like "Come Fly with Me" and "Luck Be a Lady Tonight." Who knew Slater could give such a credible show? Maybe a Broadway musical is in his future.

    But it was Emilio’s night, and he was a bit overwhelmed. The eldest son of Martin Sheen (and brother, yes, of Charlie Sheen) has been absent from Hollywood for 10 years after a wild ride as part of the Brat Pack with Demi Moore and Rob Lowe and as star of the "Mighty Ducks" movies for Disney. The latter, however, was what did him in.

    “I made a deal with the devil,” Emilio told me. “Disney wanted me to do another 'Mighty Ducks' movie. I wanted to direct a film called 'The War at Home.' Disney said they would put it out. So I made the 'Mighty Ducks' and they opened it on 2,000 screens. Then I made 'The War at Home,' with Kathy Bates and my dad. Disney opened it on four screens and it died. It just about killed me. I quit the business. I said, that’s it.”

    It’s nothing new about Disney, of course. The much-praised small drama should never have been released by them. It made $35,000 and disappeared without a trace.

    Estevez — who’d been briefly married to Paula Abdul and had seen the ups and downs of Hollywood from all sides — packed up his tent.

    Luckily, he didn’t go away forever. "Bobby" springs from the stories of the people who were shot by Sirhan Sirhan in the Ambassador kitchen when he assassinated Kennedy. It’s kind of a brilliant idea, since no one remembers that there was collateral damage that day (none of the people died, but they were badly wounded).

    Estevez combined several of the characters, and invented others in the hotel. The result he says, is “that we could have called the movie 'Ordinary People' if that title didn’t already exist. The movie is about those people.”

    "Bobby" is filled with cameos by famous actors, many of whom are Estevez’s friends. They are not the usual Oscar-worthy crowd — no Denches or Blanchetts, although Anthony Hopkins and Harry Belafonte have some wonderful scenes together as the former doorman and security guard of the hotel now facing retirement (watch Hopkins’ wordless reaction when he’s told Kennedy has been shot. It’s perfect).

    But the movie, strangely enough, soars with more unlikely types. Sharon Stone as the hotel beautician is a revelation, and will likely gain a Best Supporting Actress nomination.

    If Moore were in the movie longer, she’d be there too. But her performance, however brief, as Stone’s customer, is the best work she’s ever done.

    On the male side, Jacob Vargas, Laurence Fishburne and Rodriguez — who may also get an Oscar nod — are wonderful as kitchen workers.

    William H. Macy, Slater and young Shia LaBeouf — who’s also the star of the current "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints" — are memorably good.

    Estevez’s next stop with "Bobby" is the American Film Institute on Nov. 1, where the movie gets it’s Los Angeles premiere.

    But paparazzi be warned — Charlie Sheen is not coming.

    “He says he has to memorize his lines for 'Two and A Half Men,'” Emilio says, rolling his eyes.

    Regis Is King, As Usual

    The big news is that our pal Regis Philbin is going to be the honorary Grand Marshall of the annual Hollywood Parade on Nov. 26. The reason — and this is shock — is that Regis has turned 75 and the parade is that age, too.

    Regis is 75? He looks and acts a generation younger! Mazel tov …

    Meanwhile, Dr. McChokey, aka Isaiah Washington, infamously of "Grey’s Anatomy," will appear as well. If he can get Patrick Dempsey and T.R. Knight to join him, that will a trickier maneuver than any of the surgeries he performs on the show …

    Sting and Trudie Styler are hosting a screening and dinner Nov. 6 for the aforementioned “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints” in New York. The honorees will be stars Chazz Palminteri and Dianne Wiest, each of whom is the subject of awards buzz. Expect Robert DeNiro to put in an appearance at Florence Gould Hall. He gave Chazz his start with "A Bronx Tale" …

    Tickets are still available for a delicious music industry event on Monday night. Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy Foundation has every big chef in town coming to cook and shmooze and raise money for this vital charity that supports children with autism, among other things. Expect many "Sopranos," and a variety of celebs. Call Sunny Ralfini at (917) 544-0799 for more information.
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  3. #2
    S is for Sweet Donder's Avatar
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    Re: 'Studio 60’ Cancellation Iminent

    I'm disappointed to hear about Studio 60. I know I'm in the VAST minority here, but I started out watching Heroes and Studio 60 and now I'm only watching Studio 60. I realize I must have bad taste.

    I'll admit I started watching it because I'm a Matthew Perry fan. Hopefully the writer is right and he'll turn up again soon.

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    Pre-tty, pre-tty good!! MWM's Avatar
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    Re: 'Studio 60’ Cancellation Iminent

    What's funny is there was a major bidding war from the networks for this show and NBC paid a lot for it. NBC will lose a boatload of money. I watched the first couple of episodes and didn't think it would last. the characters were all too cliche and the show had a bit of an anti-Christian tone to it, which automatically eliminates a large portion of the population from being viewers. It was just missing something that made it not compelling. It had potential, but it didn't deliver.
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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: 'Studio 60’ Cancellation Iminent

    I thought it was a decent show, but it was just too self-aware. That works when you are doing a show on the US Presidency -- we want those sort of hyper intelligent obsessive people running the county. But when you put that cast on a studio in LA, it just comes across as self-indulgent, self-important, and arrogant.
    Last edited by RedsManRick; 10-29-2006 at 10:55 AM.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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    The Lineups stink. KronoRed's Avatar
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    Re: 'Studio 60’ Cancellation Iminent

    Wow, could this writer pat himself on the back a little more about a show he hated being canned?
    Go Gators!

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    "Let's Roll" TeamBoone's Avatar
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    Re: 'Studio 60’ Cancellation Iminent

    I must admit I didn't care for the first episode. It was just way way too "busy" and hard to follow. I always give a show a second chance though and maybe even a third if I feel the second episode is better than the first. I did it with this show and Friday Night Lights, whose first show I didn't just dislike, but hated!

    Both have improved tremendously... if other people did the same, perhaps some shows with pretty lousey pilots would survive.

    Studio 60 has an excellent cast, with the possible exception of Amanda Peet. I normally really like her work, but in this show I feel like she's just going through the motions and doesn't put much effort into her character.

    And I don't get the anti-Christian thing... I don't see that at all.
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    The Lineups stink. KronoRed's Avatar
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    Re: 'Studio 60’ Cancellation Iminent

    As a Christian I really didn't see it, they were attacking the far right fringe who I can't stand either.

    I guess it could be anti-Christian that Harriet is an AWFUL character, but I blame the actress just as much as the writing on that one.
    Go Gators!

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    Pre-tty, pre-tty good!! MWM's Avatar
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    Re: 'Studio 60’ Cancellation Iminent

    Amanda Peet is one of the reasons I tuned in. I really like her. But she was an awful choice for the part. And I'm not a Christian myself, but I perceived a slight anti-Christian tone in the first two episodes. The story line centered around a skit called "Crazy Christians" and their right to put it on the air. And there was a couple of lines by Matthew Perry to the christian female character I thought were digs at religious folks. It was simply my conjecture that a lot of mainstream Christians probably tuned out after that if they were watching. Again, purely speculation. And Krono, I'm not so sure that the masses of Christians would appreciate their faith being poked at like that, even if they're going after the far right. Again, I could be wrong because I'm not of the faith myself, but it's such a polarizing topic these days that it wouldn't surprise me if some folks would rather just not have to listen to Hollywood make light of their faith.
    Grape works as a soda. Sort of as a gum. I wonder why it doesn't work as a pie. Grape pie? There's no grape pie. - Larry David

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    Re: 'Studio 60’ Cancellation Imminent

    I love Studio 60! The only problem I have with it is that the show within the show isn't as funny as it needs to be. But, I don't think it deserves the ax.

    But, I've just about had it with network television, so maybe that's why I like Studio 60.

    I loved the West Wing, but that was the only showed I watched on TV with any regularity in the past few years. And, this year, the two shows I've gotten into are evidently both going to be cancelled. I think Kidnapped and Studio 60 are the best new shows this year and evidently neither is going to be around for long.

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    Re: 'Studio 60’ Cancellation Iminent

    Quote Originally Posted by MWM View Post
    Amanda Peet is one of the reasons I tuned in. I really like her. But she was an awful choice for the part. And I'm not a Christian myself, but I perceived a slight anti-Christian tone in the first two episodes. The story line centered around a skit called "Crazy Christians" and their right to put it on the air. And there was a couple of lines by Matthew Perry to the christian female character I thought were digs at religious folks. It was simply my conjecture that a lot of mainstream Christians probably tuned out after that if they were watching. Again, purely speculation. And Krono, I'm not so sure that the masses of Christians would appreciate their faith being poked at like that, even if they're going after the far right. Again, I could be wrong because I'm not of the faith myself, but it's such a polarizing topic these days that it wouldn't surprise me if some folks would rather just not have to listen to Hollywood make light of their faith.
    Oh I'm sure a lot of people just turned it off when the topic came up, to me it didn't matter, I'm secure in my faith not to give a crap what a writer says about it, all in the view point.

    Later episodes didn't really touch the subject, except for Harriet seeming to say "I'm a Christian" for no reason at all sometimes, that annoyed me more then anything.
    Go Gators!

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    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: 'Studio 60’ Cancellation Iminent

    I saw the first 3 episodes and it was a good show but not as great as the hype surrounding it. I think the difference between Studio 60 (and Sports Night, perhaps) and The West Wing is that on TWW, these people were rnning the country and doing something important. We wanted them to do well. The behind the scenes working of a late night comedy show (or a sports highlight show) isn't that important. Nobody cares if they fail cause if they do, they will just put on a show the next week - or day.

    It seems that these days, some shows aren't cancelled cause they are bad. They are cancelled because they don't get the ratings out the gate. I can't blame NBC too much. They hyped the show to the stars and it was expensive. If it paid for itself, great. If not, then it gets cancelled. I'd still rather watch a mediocre Studio 60 over a reality show any day of the week.

    I also thought it was a little tough on Christians but I think it was somewhat balanced out by having a person on the show that was a Christian and who was not a stereotype. I think that writer was a little too gleeful about the cancellation. It wasn't exactly TWW puts on a talent show. Only Brad Whitford was a regular in both casts.
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    Re: 'Studio 60’ Cancellation Iminent

    Studio 60 was an excercise in joylessness -- a uber-heavy drama about comedy that wasn't funny. It's Sorkin's self-indulgent and overblown "Use Your Illusion" I, II and III.
    "I prefer books and movies where the conflict isn't of the extreme cannibal apocalypse variety I guess." Redsfaithful

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    RZ Chamber of Commerce Unassisted's Avatar
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    Re: 'Studio 60’ Cancellation Iminent

    Mrs. U thinks that "Studio 60" would have worked better as a half-hour show, since there's no more than 22 minutes of good stuff in each episode.

    I like "Studio 60" OK, and I haven't grown to dislike it. Last week's episode should have hit home for those of us who grew up in Ohio, as Tom Jeter showed his stick-in-the-mud parents from Columbus around the studio. On another board I read, some people from the midwest were offended by the portrayal of the parents. I was more touched by that storyline than offended.

    I would have bet that "30 Rock" would be cancelled first. I felt it was more self-indulgent.

    I'm starting to wonder if I'm a jinx this TV season. I was enjoying "Smith" and "Kidnapped" until they met their cancellation fates.

    The new show I have grown to dislike is "The Nine." I swore off watching that show after last week's yawnfest. Now that I don't like it, it will probably gather more Emmy nominations than any other show and be picked up for a full-season this week.

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    I hate the Cubs LoganBuck's Avatar
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    Re: 'Studio 60’ Cancellation Iminent

    I wrote off S60 very quickly. I hated the pilot, and the second episode was not any better. The characters were self centered freaks, and I didn't much care for the anti-Christian jabs. I can take a little, hey I still watch Nip/Tuck, but the comments on S60 didn't seem to benefit the characters as much as take a swing at the masses. I chose to watch other shows, no biggie. I have never seen a new episode of Law & Order.
    Hugs, smiling, and interactive Twitter accounts, don't mean winning baseball. Until this community understands that we are cursed to relive the madness.

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    Re: 'Studio 60’ Cancellation Iminent

    I absolutely enjoyed Studio 60. Frankly I didn't see it as uber heavy. The writer of the article seems to have an issue with the television industry and his ike for it seems to be his basis why it was a bad show. Regardless of the writing, acting, etc. Seems kind of a goofy reason to me but hey... I think that this was good television, I enjoy the subject matter and I think that it is a shame that they are pulling the plug instead of trying a new slot first. Oh well.


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