Thursday, January 19

Jeep Pizza. (FOX Sucks.)

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When FOX decided to cancel King Of The Hill after 10 great seasons, I was upset, yet I understood the business behind it. When they decided to pull the plug on That 70's Show after 4 great seasons and 3 terrible ones, I again understood completely. Even now that Arrested Development is biting the dust after 3 of the greatest seasons in TV comedy history, we only have ourselves to blame.

But now I see that Malcolm In The Middle will air its final episode this season, and I'm left to wonder if FOX is purposely trying to become the worst network on television.

Malcolm, like King and Futurama, became the latest casualty of the "Football Death Slot," essentially pre-empting and cutting their new episodes in favor of bonus football programming and postgame analysis. This happens to a new show each year; causing viewership and ratings to taper off into oblivion. Instead of doing something about it, the network merely casts these shows aside, as football draws better ratings than sitcoms.

American Idol can't run forever. Prison Break, 24 and House are doing great, but three dramas does not a good network make. Even the rumor that Futurama will return can't save FOX now; they have axed their varsity squad. What they're left with are third-rate comedies, horrid reality programming, Cops and the 17-year-old Simpsons. Good jorb, Rupert.

I give FOX credit for taking chances with groundbreaking shows. However, other networks are catching on, and FOX is starting to look washed up amongst the heavier hitters. What was once an edgy and hip network is looking long in the tooth and cranky, throwing cats at you from their front porch.

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Malcolm In The Middle was once the highest rated comedy on FOX. It raked in 15 million viewers a week, which is huge for FOX comedy standards (AD rakes in about 2 mil. at the most). For 7 seasons, Malcolm never waivered, giving fans a brilliant episode every single week. It surpassed the Simpsons in wackiness and writing, yet remained completely believable and charming. Instead of praising the countless Emmy wins and incredible strength of show, FOX took them for granted and tossed them around the lineup like a Jeep Pizza (reliable, yet tossable and tasty). Malcolm is essentially one of the most underrated comedies of all time.

The FOX Sunday night lineup ruled a few years ago. Futurama, King, Simpsons, Malcolm, Family Guy and Arrested were all shuffled around for 2 good years. Since then, every show but one has been cancelled, with Family Guy coming back for no reason other than money.

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This Malcolm news angers me more than the February 10th Series Finale of Arrested Development. Shows like that are doomed from the start, as they will never attract a big enough following on national TV. Malcolm would fit right in on any network, and has one of the best casts on the small screen.

So, here's my proposal to NBC: Turn your 'Must-See Thursday' night lineup into what FOX used to have; good, funny shows. Call it, 'Must-See, No Laugh Track Thursday Night, Sponsored By Ford:'

7:00-7:30 - Scrubs
7:30-8:00 - Malcolm In The Middle (Sign them to a 1-year deal. The kids are getting too old, but at least give them a chance to go out in style.)
8:00-8:30 - My Name Is Earl
8:30-9:00 - The Office
9:00-9:30 - Arrested Development
9:30-10:00 - New Episodes of Seinfeld (Force the cast to perform at gunpoint; no laugh track.)

I'm only half-kidding about this. Enough ranting, here's the FOX story, straight from Yahoo:

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Fox brings back "Idol" as curtain falls on sitcoms

Fox television, roaring back to prime time with mega-hit "American Idol" on Tuesday, said it was likely to scrap Emmy-winning ratings dud "Arrested Development" even as other networks made bids to pick up the comedy.

The News Corp.-owned network also said it was formally bringing down the curtain on two veteran comedies, "That '70s Show" and "Malcolm in the Middle," both of which will get their series finales in May.

Speaking hours before the premiere of a fifth edition of "American Idol," the No. 1 U.S. TV show last season, Fox Entertainment President Peter Liguori voiced disappointment that "Arrested Development" was headed for the chopping block.

"It's highly unlikely the show is coming back, but no definitive final answer has been made on that," Liguori told a gathering of TV critics in Pasadena. "It's regrettable we couldn't find an audience that the show deserves."

A spokesman for the network's sister studio, 20th Century Fox Television, which produces the show, said two other networks -- ABC and Showtime -- had approached producers with bids to carry the series next year.

"We are currently considering the offers on the table," the spokesman, Chris Alexander, told Reuters.
Added Liguori: "It ('Arrested Development') is a studio property, and there is interest at other networks. It's the studio's right and (the executive producer's) right to put that up to bid."

He suggested that "Arrested Development" might be an especially good fit for premium cable channel Showtime, where the comedy's current average audience of just over 4 million viewers would rank it as a major hit.

"From a numbers standpoint, if Showtime were able to migrate the numbers 'Arrested' gets on Fox to Showtime, that would be by far its No. 1 show," he said.

The quirky comedy about a dysfunctional family has been a critical favorite since its launch in 2003, but has continued to flounder in ratings. A two-hour season finale, which is expected to be the show's swan song, is slated to air February 10.

As for "That '70s Show," Liguori said Fox is in talks with original stars Ashton Kutcher and Topher Grace to bring them back to the May 18 series finale. "Malcolm in the Middle" will air its final episode on May 14 after seven seasons on Fox.

Fox, which has been lagging in the prime-time ratings so far this season behind its three larger network rivals -- CBS, ABC and NBC -- is expected to enjoy a big boost with Tuesday's return of "American Idol."

The program was the most-watched show on U.S. television last season, averaging more than 27 million viewers for its Tuesday night broadcasts and leading ratings among viewers aged 18 to 49, the group most prized by advertisers.

Done and done. Talk TV in the comments section. LOST FRIDAY blows your mind tomorrow.

Comments:
I got screwed over by a basketball game last night. I went out to dinner with a friend, and we were back at my place talking waiting for Lost to come on. I looked down at my watch and noticed it was 5 min. past, which is no big deal of course because I'm Tivo'ing it. So I turned on my TV to see a Arkansas Razorbacks basketball game at halftime. It's not a national broadcast, so I know they're not airing Lost later. So I had to stop the recording so I could switch to the other ABC affiliate, which was on the commercial break after the first segment of Lost. So I missed the whole deal with Michael locking Locke and Jack in the gun closet. That's all I'll say about Lost till tomorrow.

If NBC billed Thursday night as No-Laff-Track night, that would be amazing.
 
'Must-See, No Laugh Track Thursday Night, Sponsored By Ford' would rule. I'm going to write them a letter. Maybe we can just pool a few hundred million together and start our own network.

Woah, The CDP Network. I'd watch all day. Expect a post about this sometime next week.

I know you already looked this up, but here's what you missed last night:

The episode starts with a Jack flashback, concerning his willingness to operate on that old guy. He wakes up in the hatch and looks for Locke. He finds Locke on the floor, reeling.

Michael corners the two of them and puts them in the locked room, threatening to shoot the computer and saying that it was his right to hunt for his son alone.

Jack tells him that they can all go together, but Michael insists he go alone. He says that he knows things about the computer that they do not, and storms off in a huff. (Cut to title screen.)

That's also all I will say about Lost until tomorrow.
 
While I don't really watch TV, I know that these shows being canceled are (or at least were) quality shows. It doesn't really make any sense, but apparently that's the trend. And I know you kids don't care about Family Guy, but Fox had to have learned something from that. It was completely dead for five years and they brought it back because the fans wanted more and the DVD sales were outrageous. Sounds like they're not going to have the chance with Arrested Development, though. I'm sure someone will pick it up.

That's all I'm saying about Lost until tomorrow.
 
Arrested Development has a strong DVD-buying following, so the money's there. However, AD is an expensive show to produce because of the nature of it. There's tons of locations and characters, so it needs to bring in more money than a normal sitcom, which it is not.

The return of Family Guy might spell the return of Futurama, so that's always nice. I haven't been watching Family Guy since the return, but I hear that it's not doing to well. Either way, there's nothing like dollar signs to convice a network to revive a cult show.

The only other time I've ever seen that happen was the case with Mystery Science Theater 3000, which was calcelled by Comedy Central, only to be renewed by Sci-Fi for 3 more years. Of course, MST3K is the greatest TV show of all time, so it makes sense.

That's all I'll say about Lost until tomorrow.
 
The newer Family Guy episodes are kind of hit and miss. But there's at least a few jokes in every episode that you'll laugh out loud about. Not that you're going to watch it or anything.

Is there any truth in the Futurama rumour? That would be cool. That show was always really good.

But who am I kidding. I'm probably not going to watch it if it comes back on. TV is such a waste. I'll wait 'til it's out on DVD.
 
TV or DVD, it's still time spent in front of the television, dude. There's no shame in it, provided you're not putting off important things, like a wedding, or vital operation or something.

The Futurama thing is a possibility; just like the Arrested Development/Showtime/ABC rumor. You never know.
 
TV and DVD are essentially the same, yes. But there's a ton of crap on TV that I don't want to watch. Plus I only get one channel. Rabbit ears = crap.
 
There's always something on TV I want to watch. Well, not really. Earl and the Office are on tonight, though, so I'm set.

I also have to catch up on some things I TiVo'ed this week and didn't watch (2 episodes of Supernatural and a couple others). I'll be 'oot of the house tonight, so they'll have to wait until the weekend.
 
Then again, I don't keep up with TV schedules, so I don't even know what's on ever. Plus I don't care. I have more fun when I'm not watching TV. I'd rather play Scrabble.
 
If you watched Lost while you played Scrabble, your mind would be blown. It would be a triple-word-score sensory overload.

That's all I'm saying about Scrabble until tomorrow.
 
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje alone could net you about 500 points.
 
After watching good shows come and go you can't help but feel bummed. I soon realized that every show should be allowed to die a natural death. I hate when networks cancel something because it didn't meet their projected point percentage in the first few airings or veiwership declined slightly and that might indicate a downward trend. They don't take into account the shuffling time slots or order of episodes. (remember Johnny Zero? That had potential, but was doomed from the start.)
Then I thought about what made good shows great. It was the writing! Man how many people work on these sitcoms or dramas to make them so watchable every week. Look at one of the greatest shows ever: Seinfeld. He called it quits while the show was in its prime. Of course I thought it was in its prime. It may have been ready to go down that slippery slope that a lot of shows go down when they've peaked. Point is that show died a natural death. It ended on its own terms and no others.
Stephen King was once asked why he likes books and not television. he said "books have a beginning, a middle, and an end. TV shows have a beginning, a middle, middle, middle, middle."
I think that's why reality tv is such a favorite of the people. On some level they know that it will have a conclusion. ON a smaller scale, law and detective shows do the same thing within the hour.

Of course all the above can't possibly apply to Arrested Developement. They are OBVIOUSLY not ready to let the Bluth story go yet.
 
looks like its time to bring back the Tracy Ullman Show
 
The concept of letting shows die a natural death is great in theory, but networks are far too quick to throw in the towel when the numbers start dropping. However, I don't see the harm in giving certain shows some leeway so they can actually write an ending to the series; kill it on their own terms, so to speak.

ABC cancelled Night Stalker after the first half of a 2-part episode. That's the definition of torture for fans of that show, like myself. We'll never know how it ends.

Very rarely do TV shows get to write the story they want to write; due to ratings immunity and steady popularity. Jerry Seinfeld turned down FIVE MILLION DOLLARS an episode for another season of his show; mainly because they already did what they wanted to do with it.

I really hope Lost gets this chance, and I honestly think it will.

Yeah, get Tracy Ullman on the horn, because FOX has nothing left. Better call up Mulder and Scully while we're at it.

It should be noted that this very post (along with my Fall TV Preview) got me a letter written from someone in Public Relations at Anchor Bay productions.

More on that later; maybe I'll actually get that CDP Network I was thinking about.
 
I wonder if anyone has ever pitched a show that would have the number of seasons planned from the start. Like if someone had a great idea, but could really only reasonably carry a good story for a season or two. I think you'd get a lot more creative and original programming if you didn't have to think in terms of trying to milk it for seven years. Of course, I'm sure every studio suit knows it's more expensive trying to build a new audience than to maintain and grow an audience for an existing show. They're already doing the former 95% of the time anyway, though.

What's all this Anchor Bay nonsense? That's the last I'll talk about Anchor Bay until the next time.
 
It is a good idea to make shows that only last until the story has been told. It seems like there have been shows like that, but I don't think they're ever pitched that way.

I really hope that Lost gets this chance, and gets out while the getting is good. No need to do 10 mediocre seasons when 5 amazing ones will do.

I don't really know what's up with Anchor Bay, but I'll let everyone know once they contact me back. In all honesty, I think they just want me to use my page as a street-team style advert for their programs.

That's the last I'll talk about etc.
 
Hey Great Blog. As much as Family guy used to rock in the first few seasons, it is getting down every season with same stale comedy and jokes. IMO Souht Park and SImpsons are also going down the hill.

Anyway for those who can not download Family guy from torrents and are looking for all Seasons of Family guy, they can download it from here -

http://www.mwolk.com/tv-shows/family-guy-season-1
http://www.mwolk.com/tv-shows/family-guy-season-2
http://www.mwolk.com/tv-shows/family-guy-season-3
http://www.mwolk.com/tv-shows/family-guy-season-4
http://www.mwolk.com/tv-shows/family-guy-season-5

Hope this helps others.
Cheers
 

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