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October 31 2006

Studio 60 on the Chopping Block. Aaron Sorkin's spectacular new drama, starring whedonverse alum Sarah Paulson and Carlos Jacot, is in danger of imminent cancellation. (ETA: this is being denied by NBC. -thanks, katayla)

From Fox News columnist Roger Freidman:

"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."

Another great show condemned before its time. Anyone who's watched it knows Studio 60 is a fantastic show with a great message. Ironically, that message is that television audiences are smarter than networks give them credit, a thesis which the show's ratings have so far soundly refuted.

If anyone out there isn't watching Studio 60 already, now is the time to do it. The show is truly something special, and it will be the biggest television crime since Firefly if this one gets cancelled.

It is a great show. I'm not at all surprised that it is getting cancelled.
well that's what happens when you put it up against What about Brian. Jeez, could nbc be any stupidier? putting it up against a show i've never heard of and know nothing about? i feel like i'm taking crazy pills.

plus, how could you put it up against the greatest actor of our generation, david caruso?

Btw, there was an article on slate about Studio 60 that should be read, concerning the show's being too smart for tv.
I've really been enjoying Studio 60. Alongside Veronica Mars and Kidnapped, it's the best thing currently airing on American broadcast television.
I loved the pilot, liked the next episode, was kinda entertained by the next, and then my reaction moved squarely into annoyance. I think the reason I'm so annoyed is because it prides itself on being "smart." Like, way smarter than it really is. Besides, the Aaron Sorkin (TM) formula grates. Hey, let's make a joke in the beginning of the episode and keep it running throughout, then end on it artificially but wittily. It creates the illusion of continuity and structure until you notice it in every.single.episode the man touches.

I think the show has a lot of potential, though. And I do love Matthew Perry and Sarah Paulson in it. However, I won't cry if it's cancelled.
Ironically, everything in orphea's comment was in the comments page on Sorkin-esque for firefly.
I think the hype killed it. People were so looking forward to it and it wasn't as good as they thought it would be. I've read a lot of comments by bloggers who were switching off cause it just didn't grab their attention.
I like this show, I'll really miss it if it's cancelled. With Heroes, House, my two "S" cartoon shows and Veronica Mars, that's about it.

I'll admit I don't think they have the sketch comedy moments written to best advantage, and some characters are already jumping a bit on my last nerve, but that's always gonna be the case... but Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford are magic, the writing is so much better than most other TV shows combined, and most of the supporting cast -- much of them necessarily underused with such a large roster -- are just right. And the writer's room is a joy -- wish there was more of it.

Oops, I've just described a doomed show, haven't I? I should know better by now.

MATT ALBIE: "... 'Cause if you pointed a camera at two people masturbating it'd be among the least embarassing things on the National Broadcasting System."
There's no question that Studio 60 is in trouble, but I'm not panicking over a Fox News (not exactly Friends of Sorkin) gossip columnist saying "yeah, I heard a guy say it's totally cancelled." I could be wrong, but I think NBC will not dump the show without trying some CPR on its ratings. New time slot, new promo strategy, I dunno.

As far as the show itself, I'm kind of on the opposite side from orphea. The pilot underwhelmed me, I really liked the second episode, and I think now they're really singing. But we all know how big a gap there is between quality and success in TV...
I liked this show. It has some incrediable actors and really witty scenes at times. Other times it does seem to drag. I loved the Jordan character most of all.

I do think that the politics may have been a bit heavy handed, instead of equal and that could have cause some trouble.
I was really looking forward to this show and I have not been disappointed. I thought last week's episode was their best yet. Matthew Perry has shown me depths as an actor that I didn't know he had. I want to see where these people go from week to week - how they change and grow - or not, as the case may be.

I will be very disappointed if the show is cancelled - but not surprised.
Airing after an inspiring show like 'Heroes', the characters in Studio 60 seem, to me, to be self-absorbed, whiny, rich people. The writing is excellent, but I don't care about any of the characters. I wonder if that is one of its problems, (besides 'Josh's' hair color)?
I actually liked Studio 60. And I haven't liked anything in years. Not Lost, not Desparate Housewives, not House, not Veronica Mars. I have never watched the West Wing, not even once, so maybe everything is a little fresher to me.

Agree that none of the actual sketches on the show are the least bit funny, that would help, but I think Mathew Perry is great and I have enjoyed watching these characters in the process of putting on a show. I didn't expect to. The show I expected to like, 20 Good Years was horrendous. Nothing against the actors, I love John Lithgow, but that one can't be cancelled fast enough for me.
I would say the big thing is the pairing.

It just doesn't work with Heroes at ALL. Though I love them both, I've been TiVoing and watching them with a divide between them because the disconnect is just too great. It really needs to be put with something else to show itself.

However, the August Strindberg bit will be treasured in my memory for always.
I think I enjoy Studio 60 because I just like Sorkinese in any form, but I don't think it's the greatest show. Especially since I've just watched 6 seasons of the Larry Sandler show in a row. (Oh dearie me, I have a personality disorder! I need therapeeeeee). I can see where the smugness criticism is coming from, the meta-ness of it all is a little too much. I don't want it to end though, because there's nothing else like it on telly right now.
I have been enjoying Studio 60 very much, and will be very sorry if they cancel it, as it is one of the few shows I'm really enjoying this year. One of the criticisms I see frequently in reviews of the show seems to be that "it's not funny." Well, admittedly a few of the skits leave something to be desired, but those critics seem to be missing the point that this show is meant to be a character-oriented drama rather than a sitcom with the usual stock jokes and stock characters. That's why I like it so much. That, and the fact that it seems to be one of the few dramas on right now that doesn't seem to involve autopsies, which is a pleasant change.
Exactly. It's not a comedy about comedy it's a drama about comedy.

(gotta say though I thought Sarah Paulson's 'Holly Hunter' and the other guy's 'Tom Cruise' from past eps. were pretty funny and the dialogue is usually at least witty if not actually funny)

Loved the pilot, thought it flagged a little by 4 and 5 but then 6 (last week's) was great and brought a lump to my throat at the end, not the 'Hollywood Ten' bit which I thought was very worthy and important but just too schmaltzy for my taste, but when Tom's parents are leaving after his tour and his Dad asks him if he wants any money and he says 'No, i'm OK'. Given the episode's context it was a beautiful little moment which was somehow every father and son relationship encapsulated in a couple of lines of dialogue.

Only issue I had with last week's though was that it came across as a bit desperate while watching which worried me. It was like they were self-consciously saying 'See ? This is why this show, populist television comedy and satire in general are important !' which made me wonder if the show was in trouble ratings wise. Seems like if you have to tell your audience why they should be watching then the chances are they're not.

If it does go i'll be sorry though not surprised.
I think Studio 60 is the best thing on television in years. However, unlike the rest of the crap on these days (Heroes excepted), it isn't derivative, mean-spirited, simplistic or full of boobs, murder or swearing. Therefore it is doomed to fail. I hate people.
I have little reason to trust a Fox news gossip columnist, since they hate Sorkin for West Wing, and would like nothing more than to see him fail; however, it has been little secret that Studio 60 has been bleeding viewers badly- along with Friday Night Lights it is the one other show that everyone predicted would hit big but did not. I would, however, and given the source, predict that Matthew Perry votes republican. :-)
I like the show but I'm not all that surprised it's being close to being canceled.
I loved the pilot, but loved each consecutive ep a little less. Still, I'm surprised they wouldn't give Sorkin a little more time. And yes, here too with the M Perry love, and I loathed him on Friends, so I've been pleasantly surprised.
Ditto. I like the show (though not as much as the early West Wing or *sigh* Sports Night). But, it's not shocking that it hasn't found a wide audience. And, it IS a bit too self-satisfied and preachy. (I can stand one or the other, but not both - Joss, for instance, often manages to strike the balance rather well.)

Was there no new episode this week?
I'm a bleeding heart liberal, but I couldn't stand this show eventually. I loved the pilot. Then with every subsequent week I liked it less and less. Last week was the breaking point. Smug condescending crap. Everything about the show is basically "look how smart I, Aaron Sorkin, am." There was a bit of that in West Wing too, but at least self-importance in that context works. In the end, a comedy sketch show just isn't quite as resonant as global politics.
Don't want to stir the waters too much, but I have to say, I think Studio 60 is not very good. Some fun writing? Sure. Some great acting? Sure. But the show as a whole is hugely flawed. I don't have time to write a full review here, but it boils down to a HUGE problem with self-importance; the show is being written like its the West Wing. But its friggin SNL. When's the last time you gave two shits about the scandals of TV execs or 2nd string writers on SNL? The answer: Never. The politics and scandals behind late-night sketch comedy are not exactly headline news nor do they have much gravitas in general. And yet Studio 60 presents this stuff as if its the West Wing, as if any of this stuff matters in an IMMEDIATE larger way (we're not talking about long term extrapolating stuff about freedom of speech and dissent and whatnot; but rather the idea that if it came out that, GASP, a comedy writer had a drug problem it wouldn't be exactly the same kind of news as if, say, the Chief of Staff had a drug problem...)

The un-funny problem is a big problem too. Its hard to have sympathy for a bunch of comedy writers who are being dismissed as one-note political shills or no-talent hacks, when their comedy comes across as that of one-note political shills or no-talent hacks.

But in the end, it just seems so self-imporatnt/self-laudatory. you can get away with that on the West Wing, cause its the friggin White House. But here it comes across as a bunch of TV/Movie types trying so hard to explain just how politically sophisticated (not very much it turns out) and important (pretty marginalized actually) they are. And I doubt you could find someone further to the left of me on this site, so I'm not complaining about the partisan lines...

There was a recent slate.com review that I thought was pretty close to my own feelings on the subject, I'll see if I can find it.
Well put ajay42. The self-importance IS the biggest problem with the show. It was justified on "The West Wing," and it was absent on "Sports Night" (replaced by a welcome sense of people who cared passionately about what they were doing, while they knew that it was fundamentally entertainment - that's what I had hoped for (and still hope for) in "Studio 60.")
Yeah, it can be smug and condescending at times and I also find that annoying (i'd like to see more of Matt, Danny and Jordan being less sure of their position, less Super-Liberal !) but I don't agree that it's somehow worse because it's 'only' a comedy sketch show.

I think part of Sorkin's point is that things like the stories we tell ourselves and the way we represent our culture are as important as global politics (or should be), that popular television is basically the last battleground for the hearts and minds (more poetical/religious folks might say 'souls') of the populace.

we're not talking about long term extrapolating stuff about freedom of speech and dissent and whatnot

Well, yeah, we are (as with last week's episode which featured the representation of race on TV and the suppression of free speech, obviously talking about now but depicted through the lens of the past). True, the day to day stuff is over-blown cos, as you say, ajay42 who cares about yet another writer/exec/celebrity with a drug problem but I think it's a bit unfair to summarily dismiss the serious points the show's making and then say "See, it's not saying anything important".

And what is it about the curtailment of healthy dissent that seems like a long-term problem i.e. presumably not a current worry, at least in the US (and increasingly over here) ?
The sad thing is it would probably work very well without the smugness, you know, just a drama about people working together in a high-energy/pressure workplace. And then people might like it more, get used to it and the writers(s) could sneak stuff in, instead of beating us over the head with it.
I have to say, I'm a little surprised. I was under the impression that this show was doing well in the ratings department.
Was it 8 million? That's a fuckload of people, if you ask me, but apparently not enough. It doesn't retain the Heroes audience. Duh.

I'm not seeing the fun in Heroes though. I love The Nine, but apparently that's not doing well and about to be cancelled too. Sigh.
I think the hype killed it. People were so looking forward to it and it wasn't as good as they thought it would be. I've read a lot of comments by bloggers who were switching off cause it just didn't grab their attention.

I must admit I don't understand this argument. The hype doesn't change the quality of the show, is it that people would have stuck with it had they had lower expectations to begin with? Is it that the shows intended audience ignored it because it was hyped too much? I've seen networks attacked by fans for not supporting or nurturing or promoting a show but I really don't see what NBC was supposed to do that it didn't here. They re-wrote their fall schedule so Studio 60 wouldn't have to go up against CSI and Grey's Anatomy, they gave the Sorkin artistic control and then invested huge amounts in promotion. The failure of Studio 60 really does seem to lie with the show and not the networks treatment of it. For me Studio 60 encapsulates all the worst aspects of Sorkin's style with next to none of the good sides.

ETA 8 million would be a lot for the WB or should I say the CW, but considering that the lead in show (Heroes) is doing around 14 million and Studio 60 is one of NBCs costliest shows to make 8 million doesn't really cut it.

[ edited by helcat on 2006-10-31 16:33 ]
"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."

The problem is, I DO care. I freakin' love this show.

[ edited by MySerenity on 2006-10-31 16:45 ]
I wanted to love Studio 60, I really did. But end result just felt like a overhyped show, that has yet to live up to that hype.

There's no question about what a great cast they've got. The concept is workable, the network got two shows that delved into the same universe, with different approaches from each of them.

I don't see it really surviving the chopping block. I see NBC considering it for a full season, only to give it a real chance, just like they attempted with Joey, but unless some big change happens I don't believe it will go much beyond that.

I still love the Sorkiness, which include from the way he write his dialogues to his point of view of the world and that's why I'm sticking with it as long as it goes.

But as well as he writes, as wonderful as are the multiple culture references he's capable to fitting in a single sentence, he just can't write the funny, or at least the type of funny that tend to be more common to this type of show. I got no trouble about the seriousness during the production scenes, but the show within the show need to be funny.

I have to say, I'm a little surprised. I was under the impression that this show was doing well in the ratings department.


Not good enough for NBC standards, and for the amount of money they're investing on it. The rating has been dipping from the first showing, while its lead in "Heroes" has been growing. As of last, Studio 60, has been uncapable of holding 50% of "Heroes" audience.

[ edited by Numfar PTB on 2006-10-31 16:49 ]
The sad thing is it would probably work very well without the smugness, you know, just a drama about people working together in a high-energy/pressure workplace.

You know one word I associate with US TV show sets? Smugness.

Also, let's face it, Firefly bumbled along at just under 3 million viewers for 13 episodes. I think it's fair to say 8 million ain't bad, and despite people calling the reaper on this it's actually started to stablise and build a little. But god knows what the networks expectations were.
I liked the show at first. But the sketches aren't funny at all and everything works out at the end of the episode. I have Farmer-Vision--just 5 channels--and I still haven't bothered to watch it in weeks.
As a big longtime Sorkin supporter I really wanted to love it, too. At times its good and it shows promise, but the smugness and schmaltz are problematic (and handled with the finesse of anvils dropping from the sky) as is the fact that the whole show is like Aaron's therapy session. If you know a lot about his career, the "issues" raised by the show come off as tantrum-y retellings of things that have happened to Sorkin personally. Eli Attie is involved in this show and should be allowed to step up as Eli learned how to out-Sorkin Sorkin in the last two seasons of West Wing. As far as cancellation, I believe Sorkin's contract on this stipulates a nice payout if NBC cancels it. Nice enough that NBC is more likely to let it coast to the end of its season (or at least the backlog of prodcued eps up to half-season or however far in they are...). I always get a chuckle out of 8M viewers being unacceptable :)
The writing is excellent, but I don't care about any of the characters.

That's exactly my problem. The writing is sharp and witty, and I appreciate it. But I don't care about the people or their problems. And they don't even have a 'case/monster of the week' to make the episodes more than just a vehicle for smart dialogue. (Not that that's a must, but have one or the other...engaging characters I want to follow, or a one-off story I want to watch)

It's so odd...it's a show that I can enjoy and laugh at consistently, yet I never feel the 'need' to tune in the next week, like I did with Buffy, Angel, or do with BSG. It just didn't click with me.
I don't care about the main characters and Jordan is particularly grating, but if they get the time to flesh out Tom a bit more, that would work for me, he seems cool and I can relate to his parental issues. I hope NBC will let it 'coast to the end of the season', it would be nice if for once a show is allowed to find its feet before the guillotine drops.
If Friday Night Lights did at all better than Studio 60, then I can't see the latter lasting much longer. They're already premiering Medium early which means a schedule reshuffling may be in the works. I personally think FNL is a better match for Heroes - lots of superhero enthusiasts are also football fans. Too bad - I've never watched a Sorkin show before so I had no expectations, and I've been enjoying the lead characters immensely.
Medium(which I am very happy to see back) is going to take the place of Kidnapped. It will air on Wednesdays. They do have Crossing Jordan just waiting to take the place of whichever show between Friday Night Lights and Studio 60 fails. I don't see both being saved.
Aren't they both doing quite badly ratings wise ? Though 'Friday Night Lights' (which I haven't seen) is at least being well reviewed.
Both are doing badly for what was expected. Studio 60 is way more expensive per ep though to do.It will be intresting to see what FNL's did last night in the new timeslot.

I think it also has the same problems as Studio. To much hype, no characters you care about and way to slick to be intresting. It reminds me of Dawson's Creek the way everyone talks and jumps from bed to bed.
It reminds me of Dawson's Creek the way everyone talks and jumps from bed to bed.


That was priceless.
Haven't watched FNL, never saw the original movie, so didn't really care about the show either, as I don't really understand or am intereseted in American football.

But as Troy pointed, both are doing badly. FNL was really well received by critics, but there was no audience reciprocity. While Studio 60 suffered through the already mentioned "overhype".
Dana5140, Matthew played a republican on West Wing, didn't he? Maybe that won fox over.

Like a lot of you, I'm dissapointed by Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

I admit I was expecting a lot: I really adored Sorkins work on the West Wing, and noticed a huge drop in quality when he left, and thought he always sounded very inteligent on the commentary tracks of the WW and in interviews. Later I watched Sports Nights, and after the weak start, I came to love it, and was really made sad by the early ending. After seeing this two great series, and his movies I came to think of Sorkin as smart and very strong writer.

The first six episodes of Studio 60 didn't do anything to me, while the West Wing had already produced four episodes I loved in itís first six.

I read a lot of you think Sorkin treated Studio 60 to much like the West Wing, while a sketch show isn't anywere near the imporant of a presidential administrion.

I think the problem is that the show just is not anywhere near smart enough. The problem is not that Sorkin is saying to many times how smart he is. I think he could do that, if the show actually would be atleast a bit smarter than shows like Smallvile.

On the West Wing, the themes made me think, inspired me. The speeches and the like that were supposed to be brilliant, actually felt inspired, felt smart. When somebody was supposed to be smart, they usually were; Think for example of Ainsley in ''In this White House'' outsmarting Sam. She actually was smart. Also, the characters seamed to have a valid opinions, maybe Aaron was preachy, but he brought his point well argumented and the wrong side also was allowed to make some valid remarks.

On the Sunset Strip the sketches are mostly not that smart.(euphemism) The themes never inspire me. The main joke seams to be everybody is drunk and using drugs, it doensít make for good comedy, and the interesting drama about this, as shown on the West Wing and Sports Night is no where to be seen. People never blow me away with their smartness.

Maybe not all of this is the fault of the writing, I also think none of the actors (well, maybe Thimothy Busfield) ever hit the characters the way Richard Schiff, Rob Lowe, Martin Sheen, Janel Moloney, John Spencer, Allison Janney and Bradley Whiteford immidiatly nailed their characters, nor as the Sports Night cast did mid season 1. Some of them did alright, but they didn't nail the characters.

On the other hand, maybe Studio 60 has a chance to improve. Sports Night started the same way, uninteresting romantic drama, unfitting moral stands (Jeremy about hunting was just lame), but I believed there had to be some of the Sorkin I loved in there, and it intensified a lot during the second half of the first season, fixed all of its problems in a few episodes, and became one of my favourite television shows ever. I want to give Studio 60 that chance too, so I donít want to see it canceled.
Can we just ignore this story, please? It's Fox News being Fox News. First of all, they're claiming anonymous sources, which means the information is as yet unconfirmed. Why assume that the show is definitely cancelled off the back of this single story? These articles only serve to turn public opinion against the show, as a bunch of people think, "Oh, that's it, it's over" before the actual curtain call.

It then goes on to complain about Hollywood yuppies, The West Wing's liberal yuppies, and then concludes by saying that it's the "audience who is going to lose out" because NBC will replace this supposedly terrible show with reality TV.

Take that liberals! Take that Hollywood types! Take that network competitors! Take that confirmed facts and journalist integrity!

It's unsourced, baseless information claimed as fact and used as a jumping off point for an opinion piece.

I love Studio 60. It's not doing great in the ratings, and yes, maybe it will be cancelled. But I refuse to jump the gun based uncredited "inside sources".
But at least it's Fair and Balanced!
Some interesting stuff in this thread so I'll just go down the list.

About the "self-importance". I can understand the show comes off a little "preachy" at times, but I don't think it oversteps its bounds. So far, I haven't seen an episode dedicated to the abortion debate, or iraq, or gay marriage or anything like that. The show is political, but only about its direct subject matter: entertainment. And I think that there really is no better medium than a show about entertainment to make political statements about the state of western culture.

About "the skits aren't funny". Who cares? Its not about the skits, its about the people and how they make a television show. And for that matter, some of the skits I've seen have been funny, or at least better than anything SNL has had in ages. I mean, "Nicolas Cage: Marriage Counsellor"? That was pure genius!

And lets not forget people, it took the West Wing more than a season before it really hit is stride (I consider its peak to be the S2 finale, best thing ever shown on a screen). And after only six eps, I think Studio 60 is well on its way.

But I have to agree, programming it right after heroes was a really big mistake. A better time would have been before ER on thursday, or even the West Wing's old spot on Sunday.
"Your little brother is STANDING IN THE MIDDLE OF AFGHANISTAN!"

That will be all, please continue :)

The 'opposing view' characters just seem too flimsy, and this hurts the show badly for me. The nuance that I'm used to from Sorkin seems to have gone missing. The 'smart' people that populate this world seem less interesting if the people who disagree with them are so one-dimensional. To me its symptomatic of S60's larger issue (to me), the character development has taken backseat to flashiness - and I must be in bizarro world because an NBC exec was quoted as telling Sorkin to lay off the preachiness and develop his characters.
I don't have anything to say that hasn't been said already, but I just wanted to chime in and say that this was one of the shows I most looked forward to seeing this fall. And perhaps my expectations were unreasonably high.

I absolutely love Bradley Whitford, and I like Matthew Perry here, too. (Having never watched Friends, I had little knowledge of his acting abilities. In fact, my longest exposure to him was watching him on the celebrity poker show on Bravo.) Beyond them, I'm not warming up to the characters.

But the real problem is that Sorkin isn't taking us anywhere that we haven't been before. Instead of building upon his own successes, he's turned into a "machine," churning out his characteristic patter, which borders on being a parody of itself, it is so Sorkin-esque. It is brilliant in places, but we are already too familiar with it (is there such a thing as predictably brilliant?). It's just West Wing backstage, without the strength of the ensemble West Wing had. My guess is that Sorkin is having to pull his punches a bit -- this is network TV, after all -- and that may be holding the series down. Or maybe it's just all of the above. And it is woefully "miscast" after Heroes. It is small wonder that there is a drop-off in audience. But I would be sad to see it go. I hope that it is given a little more time to find itself. But the fact that it was not on last night was a very bad sign.
"I consider its peak to be the S2 finale, best thing ever shown on a screen"

Well, I would think The Body....

Just to be OT. :-)
West Wing was fantastic from the first moment, this is a slow dragging, uninspried snoze fest - inspite of a lot of good actors and the odd wakeup scene.
I enjoy the Studio 60, but I will survive if it gets axed. S60 seems like a show better suited for HBO.. then Sorkin could truly explore the true sex, drugs and pathos of an SNL-like weekly show.

In fact, I think Sorkin has done about as much as he can on broadcast TV and will be merely repeating himself from here on out. Unless, he immediately begins negotiating with HBO re: his next project.
And lets not forget people, it took the West Wing more than a season before it really hit is stride

I would tend to agree that WW was best in its second season but its first season wasn't bad. Actually I'd argue that In Excelsis Deo was pretty much perfect. Sadly I've seen nothing in the first six episodes of S60 that makes me care about any of the characters and plenty that's just made me want to shut the show off.

But I have to agree, programming it right after heroes was a really big mistake. A better time would have been before ER on thursday

Putting the show against CSI and Gray's Anatomy would have left it in an even greater ratings hole than it's in now. Of course, then fans could blame its lousy ratings on scheduling.
In related news, Tomorrow's edition of Newsday features an article titled How iTunes Saved 'The Office' which contains the following quote:

iTunes has almost certainly saved other shows, too, or at least given them a lease on life. NBC recently ordered more scripts for "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip." Would that have happened if "Studio" didn't have just the slightest traction on iTunes? (Four episodes placed recently in the iTunes top 50.) Probably not.

So maybe if we all purchase more eps via the iTMS the show could be saved?
now... if you want to talk about Friday Night Lights... man, if that show goes off the air I will be supremely pissed... the closest thing ive ever seen on TV to a show that features true moments of neo-realism. its really poetic, really beautiful and its also simultaneously a classic teen drama and sports-cliche, and the better for it.
I think this does not bold well for Studio 60, according to TV Guide, FNL did fare better in Studio 60's time slot than recent episodes Sorkin's show.
An NBC rep denied this report here.

I hope Studio 60 sticks around. It's my favorite new show.
I absolutely love Studio 60. My only complaint is the preachiness, but it's not really a big complaint because everything else is so well done. I love Sorkin's voice, and yes, even Sorkin's formula. Orphea and I have discussed it, and while I understand her frustration, I actually *like* his familiar structure (sorry H!).

The chemistry between Bradley Whitford and Matt Perry is fantastic, and Sarah Paulson is lovely. Amanda Peet needs to learn how to make a different face, but other than that, I'm invested in every single one of the characters.

Re: the self-importance and the complaint that West Wing intensity can't be transferred to a sketch comedy show, well, I disagree. To those characters, the situation *is* just that intense, and it's nice to see Sorkin refuse to water it down for the sake of not appearing smug.
FNL still lost over 40% of Heroes audience and scored lower then Studio 60 did in that spot despite finding some new audience.Also, all the other shows were repeats. Imagine when they are not. Not looking good for it.

http://www.mediaweek.com/mw/newsletters/proginsider/index.jsp

Studio 60 may be the winner by default.

[ edited by Donna Troy on 2006-10-31 22:11 ]
An NBC rep denied this report here.


Mentally adds Fox News to list of sites that are extremely iffy in terms of news coverage i.e. IMDB, WENN, Contact Music etc.
Re: FNL's ratings, keep in mind factors like last week's MNF football matchup being Giants-Cowboys (a huge rivalry with big markets, and ended being the highest rated cable program ever), while this week MNF had Patriots-Vikings. And Donna Troy also pointed out FNL was up against repeats. Don't get me wrong, I like FNL (a lot), I'm just saying there's a lot of context to consider in the ratings game. I trust (i.e. desperately hope) NBC understands that.
Resolute said:

About "the skits aren't funny". Who cares? Its not about the skits, its about the people and how they make a television show. And for that matter, some of the skits I've seen have been funny, or at least better than anything SNL has had in ages. I mean, "Nicolas Cage: Marriage Counsellor"? That was pure genius!


I don't think there's anything genius about making fun of celebrities. Sometimes it can be funny, but it's nothing new or especially clever. I'm more of a Kids in the Hall fan. They managed to be funny without ever being mean. However, this is all just a matter of taste.

But the skits not being funny (to me) DOES matter. It's like bad acting, it pulls me out of the story. And when a character comments on how funny a skit was I can't help but think, "No it wasn't." So, it does matter to some of us.
Well I'm glad NBC is denying the report, but you can be sure it'll be back in two weeks if they don't do something soon to find Studio 60 an audience. So what can be done?

I've got another idea, but it'll piss some people off: cancel ER and give Studio 60 in its time slot. I mean, NBC has owned the 10 pm thursday for 12 years or something now, I don't think Studio 60 would be the show to lose it. And honestly, after last season's "shocking" finale, I am finally ready to put ER to bed.

(But I still love Parminder Nagra)
ER's doing really well ratings wise. They aren't going to cancel it. They will move Studio 60 and see how well it does. I think it'll get at least a season.
Except ER has some of the best ratings it has had in the last few years. Infact this year it is once agin one of their powerhouses.

Plus all that would do is put it up against Grey's Anatomy and Shark. It can't do anything against the weaker of the CSI's now. Monday or Friday is the only nights I can see them touching. They might try and move it Weds. and move Medium back to her old Monday slot,but then Studo would face CsI. NY and Lost. Not a good fit there either.

One show, FNL or Studio will be gone after sweeps. I also would not put to much in NBC saying anything as many nets back the shows all the way up to the moment the cancel them.

[ edited by Donna Troy on 2006-10-31 23:20 ]
My guess is FNL will be gone after sweeps (though they may give it a chance), while S60 will ride it out for a while but not get renewed.
betwixt, Studio 60 actually employs Mark McKinney (ex Kid in the Hall) as a "story editor". Supposedly, his job is to help write the sketches.

I think the problem with the show within the show is that the audience is not in that mode. We're not tuning in to watch SNL, and expecting that brand of humor. It's just too difficult for (a) the show to switch gears/sensibilities, and (b) the audience to switch gears/sensibilites at the same time. It's a contextual problem. Take the sketches we've seen bits of, flesh them out, and air them as their own show, and they would have a much better chance of being funny than they do shoehorned into the middle of a one-hour drama.

So I think it's an inherent problem Sorkin has worked himself into. For my taste, I wouldn't mind if we just see as little as possible of the sketches. We understand they put on a show, we don't need to see it every week.
I also would not put to much in NBC saying anything as many nets back the shows all the way up to the moment the cancel them.

Absolutely, if NBC really had faith in the show they'd have picked up the back 9 which they so far haven't done. As for moving Studio 60 to another slot, I wouldn't be surprised if they tried at least one other but no way will they touch any of their successful shows so Heroes, ER, and SUV aren't going to move for it for sure.
Wednesday is their only night to move it and it would get slaughtered against Lost and CSI NY. I doubt they will touch L&O on Fridays which has gotten a nice bumb in the ratings since moving there. Nor split up the L&O combo on Tuesdays. Thurday is out of the question. So really it is make or break on Monday.

The two shows are within realtive price ranges, though it may come down to money and dvd rights. FNL is owned by NBC,Studio 60 is owned by Warner Brothers and therefor NBC would not get profit from their dvd sales. FNL is a little cheaper and looks better in the long run price wise for one season. About ten million cheaper. It also has stopped losing fans at it's current Tuesday night slot, while Studio continues to lose people weekly. This monday no matter what NBC says is the big test.

It also seems in tvguide's interview, FNL got the call for back nine scripts, but has yet to be okayed to shoot them. While Studio has only been okay for three additional scripts and no word if they can shoot those yet.

http://www.tvguide.com/News-Views/Interviews-Features/Article/default.aspx?posting={B13E14E9-63F5-4BC4-AB18-607BF546A98B}
I'm too tired to read sixty-something replies now, but I will just say that I love Studio 60, have found precisely nothing wrong with the first six epsidoes, and am very very pleased that it's not (yet) cancelled. After VM, it's my fave show on right now.

And Matthew Perry is God.
Got to go with Ajay42 on this. I'm so blue state (although currently living in Arizona), I practically bleed blue, but am so disappointed with "Studio 60." For all the reasons people have mentioned, plus last week's episode with Tom's strawman ignorant mid-western stereotype parents (so clueless they have never heard Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First"? Yeah, right.) That was painful. The only character I like is Jack, who is presented as a jerk.

Conversely, although the premise led to a lot of procrastination before I finally sat down to watch (I only Tivo-ed because of the critical praise), I am pleasantly surprised about the awesomeness that is "Friday Night Lights." It is set in red-state, small town America, it focuses on football, which I hate, and high school football players and cheerleaders, which, when in high school, I disdained (okay, I sorta still do), many of which are Christian with a capital C--also, not me. But that doesn't matter because the writing is fresh, the dialogue is subtle (it appears naturalistic--which actually takes a lot of work), the camera work is masterful, the plotting is powerful, the situations are poignant, sometimes heartbreaking, and the acting is excellent. The show doesn't stand on a soap box--it just presents a slice of American life and makes me care about these people. Which, in terms of bridging the cultural divide, can't be a bad thing. I don't care about anybody on Studio 60--except for the one scene in the pilot where Cal kept the camera rolling and I hoped he wouldn't be fired for it. That's just not enough.

Please watch Friday Night Lights. It is on or near par with Deadwood, BSG, VM, and Homicide.

[ edited by narnia on 2006-11-01 00:56 ]
A change in scheduling, I could live with that.

Heroes/Studio 60 is a combination I never remotely got.
jam2 said:

betwixt, Studio 60 actually employs Mark McKinney (ex Kid in the Hall) as a "story editor". Supposedly, his job is to help write the sketches.


Haha, I obviously didn't know that. Bruce and Dave were always my favourites. I know Mark was on SNL for awhile, and Studio 60 is obviously using the structure and comedy style of SNL. It's just not for me. Especially when the premise of the show is that these two guys are being brought in to fix the show and the sketches just feel like SNL on autopilot.
To much hype, no characters you care about and way to slick to be intresting. It reminds me of Dawson's Creek the way everyone talks and jumps from bed to bed.


Wow, I couldn't disagree more. As narnia and others have noted, Friday Night Lights is a superb show. Well-written characters who are faced with realistic situations that they deal with believably. And I'm no football fan, either, but it doesn't matter. You will want to cheer this team on. I've cried in almost every episode at least once. It strikes a chord that only Whedon shows and BSG have been able to hit, IMO.
Ditto. If anything, FNL is the anti-Creek. No one on FNL has a Kevin Williamson vocabulary. It would be nice if both FNL and Studio 60 can survive...
I have to say that I'm a FNL fan, too. I didn't watch at first because I expected it to be a soap opera, but some friends said they liked it. I love the camera work and, for me, the strangeness of the small town hyped up over football. And the cast doesn't have one dud in it so far.
Studio 60 is an 'ok' show. It's pretty much exactly what I expect from Aaron Sorkin - it's VERY West Wing-y to me, but not surprisingly since a large part of the permanent cast were on the West Wing at one time or another.

It's one of those shows that I can take or leave. My heart won't be broken if it's cancelled.

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