More Sitcoms at 10!

Straight links today, let’s hit it:

more sitcoms at 10 pm? sure, why not.

more sitcoms at 10 pm? sure, why not.

The news here isn’t that The Whole Truth is once again disappearing from the ABC schedule. We all knew that was happening, Wade Phillips was a better bet to make it to 2011. What is interesting is that ABC announced Monday it will be filling the 10 p.m. slot with reruns of Modern Family and Cougar Town, a move that hinted ABC was ready to copy off NBC’s test and start putting original sitcoms on at 10 p.m. as well. Now ABC has announced that it will follow NBC’s lead and air at least one original sitcom at 10 p.m.starting in April. In theory, NBC’s schedule is better. It’s moving an established show (30 Rock) to 10 p.m., which ABC is trying to put a new show there (Matthew Perry show Mr. Sunshine). Because the change is so radical within the TV landscape, you almost need to physically force viewers to adjust their schedules and remember that there are sitcoms on at 10 p.m. 30 Rock has fans that will remember — Mr. Sunshine doesn’t. ABC may have been copying NBC, but it looks like NBC might have realized it and covered up their paper for the last 10 minutes of the class or something. Just in case anyone is asking why now to do this kind of thing, networks always want to develop sitcoms because they’re worth more in syndication money. The relative absence of more than like four or five classic-type sitcoms has made Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David two very, very rich men because Seinfeld still is the most valuable syndication sitcom out there. So the more sitcoms you can develop, the more money you stand to make five years down the road when they go into syndication.

Walking Dead was far and away the best new show of the TV season. It was scary, suspenseful, well-acted and no other new network or basic cable show came near it (if you’re reading intently, that means I can’t judge Boardwalk Empire because I still haven’t seen it). But how much of it is because there just isn’t anything else very watchable? Were we so desperate for the 2010-11 season to give us something good that because the pilot episode of Walking Dead was so phenomenal — and it was incredible, without dispute — that we immediately fell in love with it and overlooked the plodding, heavy-handed nature of the remaining five episodes because we already were engrossed in its mythology? Even one of the CSI spin-offs would look good if you compared it to the questionable crop of new shows this year. Walking Dead’s finale registered only a shade better than OK, and didn’t even start to approach the intensity of the premiere. Looks like I wasn’t the only one that saw flaws either. FINALE GRADE: B. SEASON GRADE: A-.

don't get worried when you don't see walkign dead left off the best drama series nominations in july

don't get worried when you don't see walking dead left off the best drama series nominations in july

We won’t see Walking Dead until next fall for a new season, but we should see it in the summer for Emmy nominations. There’s a twist — it might not be going up against your favorite shows for best drama. Because it was only a six-episode season, Walking Dead presumably will qualify in the miniseries category — just like the underrated FX series Thief did a couple years ago. I have no idea if those rules still exist that way, but it seems like a lock AMC would insert it in the miniseries category. That way it avoids favorites like Dexter, Big Love, True Blood and even better for AMC, avoids its other two signature series, Mad Men and Breaking Bad. Mad Men has won the last three statues, and other networks might say, “Screw it, we’re not afraid of Don Draper!” But AMC has the luxury of saying, “We know it’s the best show on TV, why would we even think of going against it when we don’t have to?”

I’ve been chastised by more than one person because I don’t watch Breaking Bad. It got lost in a sea of other stuff I watch when it came out and I never caught up. Now’s the chance for me and everyone else that missed out from the start to catch up on Breaking Bad when AMC airs the first three seasons over the next three months late-night. If you’ve seen the previews for it, I’m pretty sure it’s the first time I’ve ever heard a TV network say, “If you can’t stay up for it, be sure to set your DVR.” Are we witnessing TV history with that, kinda like when I watched the pilot of Glee and said, “This will be a smash hit.” Can anyone else recall that kind of ad campaign? I’m hoping it’s OnDemand. I’ll try to catch up if it is.

Not much mystery with the dumping of Terriers. When you can’t get a million people to watch a show that probably costs a couple million per episode, you’re not going to survive. the show never clicked with anyone other than critics, who seemed to love it. For me it was too formulaic and didn’t seem to be based in any kind of reality or logic. This world of Terriers was drawn up to be an Anywhere USA that just happened to be on a beach, but it sure didn’t come off that way. Just another blight on FX’s lousy year. People blamed everything from the overall idea of the show to its name, but I liked the name because it reminds me of one of my favorite Kids in the Hall songs. Maybe next year FX will come up with a show called Daves I Know.

Your daily dose of end-of-year movie awards — the National Board of Review, the Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association and the British Independent Film Awards. Really, if I wanted to, I could fill this blog every day for the next month with these types of awards. The NBR is a good one because it also releases its top 10 of the year, a good guide on what you need to see before the year ends. I’ll be listing them for the next couple weeks, but there probably won’t be much commentary. I’ll break that rule right off the bat next Tuesday when the Golden Globe nominations come out. It’s becoming pretty clear what movies you need to see before the Oscars in February, and Inception, Social Network, Black Swan, Winter’s Bone, King’s Speech and The Fighter should be at the top of every one’s list.

And just in case you get through all the major ones and want to realllllly get into some indies and foreign movies, you’re covered here. I’ve only even heard of about six or seven of these movies, but can tell you if you’re making a best of 2010 list, two on this list won’t qualify. Humpday and Food Inc. were both released in 2009. They were both on my list of movies to see last year, but I never got around to it. So I don’t know how many of the others I never even heard of are from 2009 too.

raking in the ad money

raking in the ad money

TV geeks, you need to love this. Not like it, love it — a look at what 30 seconds of advertising costs for every show on network TV. This is more important that ratings because it’s how these shows are getting funded. If your favorite show is on one of the four major networks and it’s only charging half of what an established show like The Office or NCIS is charging, then that show is probably in pretty bad shape. From the looks of it, you’d think that just about every NBC show is on the brink of cancellation (most are). Law and Order SVU on NBC, one of the network’s highest-rated shows, only charges about $95,000 for 30 seconds. No current show on ABC, CBS or Fox charges less than $100,000. TV people at NBCU must go in to work everyday thinking they’ll be fired. Someone should open a bar across from the studio, they could retire in three years.

It took my wife and I a good three months to watch the first four seasons of 24 on DVD before finally catching up with the show by the fifth season in 2006. And that was with a lot of marathon viewings that ended with daylight breaking outside. So just imagine how hard it is to watch every episode in marathon viewing. You’re talking eight seasons, 24 episodes each, about 48 minutes per episode. That’s 153 hours of straight TV watching, of about six-and-a-half days. Almost seven freakin’ days of only watching 24 and doing nothing else! God bless lazy people who have nothing to do. And yes, I’m extremely jealous, and yes, if I would have known about this in advance, I might have tried to figure out some way to get there and watch it. I might have had to leave when they pulled Lou Diamond Phillips out of cryogenic freezing to show up for the marathon as a “cast member.” Of all the people they could have gotten, they got him? In the time it took me to say “Hey that’s Lou Diamond Phillips!” he became yet another 24 casualty. Good to know he’s the guy pushing 24 now.

I’m not bothering with Grammy nominations. They bore me. The Glee pilot aired in May 2009 when the cast did Don’t Stop Believin’, and it snags a 2010 Grammy nomination. In a related note, Martin Scorcese is trying to get The Departed into 2010 Oscar consideration.

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