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*He is not a secret agent. Not at all.




The problem with the entertainment industry is that they won't even do what is good for them unless forced to by disastrous circumstances.

They treated VCRs like it was the 28th coming of the anti-Christ, and now they have a very lucrative home video market. They still fear the internet more than they harness it. Now it takes a fucking writer's strike for the development cycle system to finally go bye-bye.
"One good thing that might come out of a strike ... it would give us an excuse to shake things up," Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly said in October.
You don't need a fucking excuse. You do it or you get static. Both definitions.

This whole development season/pilot season/staffing season system of doing things seems almost designed to make sure that nothing can ever be quite as good as it could be without it costing at least five times more than it should.

Everybody winds up competing for the same money, the same talent, the same slots and this total network/studio adherence to fall as being the time when you launch 75-90% of everything all but guarantees that whatever you have that might be good is squeezed out by what is safe or what can stand out in the ridiculous crush of new series. How many good series have we lost because in the massive onslaught of a fall season, it couldn't find a slot and got micromanaged into oblivion trying to compete. Firefly.

Then you've got the midseason to look forward to. A scant few new series and holdovers maybe. Then, the summer...until, it seems, this last year when only the cable nets got on things with Burn Notice and Mad Men, was a barren wasteland.
This past summer, about a dozen scripted series premiered on ad-supported cable. Seven of them -- TNT's "Grace," FX's "Damages," USA's "Notice" and "The Starter Wives," Lifetime's "Army Wives," TBS' "The Bill Engvall Show" and AMC's "Mad Men" -- were picked up for a second season.
Reality shows seem to pop up continuously, but scripted series? What? It's not development season! Don't care? know, real people? The ones that the Nielsen boxes represent? They watch TV all year. Why only give them new stuff in cycles?

Also, this may have a calming affect on the ridiculousness of pilots that has developed lately, where they're costing ten million dollars and wind up being not terribly representative of what the series would be like.
Reserved in the past for rare cases like Dick Wolf's "Law & Order" spinoffs, NBC has applied the straight-to-series approach to three scripted projects this year, the hot Tom Fontana drama "The Philanthropist" and two dramas the network picked up at a reduced license fee -- the anthology series "Fear Itself" and action-adventure "Robinson Crusoe."
It stands to reason that the same network that started jumping to series order over the questionable pilot system would be the first to bring up the abolishment of upfronts, but again...why does it take the possible scuttling of a development season to do something they they've been wanting to not do anyway.


And as a writer, I would find the lack of a "staffing season" would make things less blerg.

Picture of Eliza is just because I like her. What, you think I'm going to put up a picture of Ben Silverman or something? Geez.
©2024 Michael Patrick Sullivan
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