I just read an article in Variety that Steve Carrell has sold an unscripted show, called “Slide Show” to Fox. Carrell partnered with Shine Entertainment. Shine may ring a bell because it’s founder is Elizabeth Murdoch, daughter of Fox Chairman Rupert Murdoch. Shine is also the former home of wide eyed vinyl salesman cum Ivy League idiot Ben Silverman who, along with idiot savant Jeff Zucker, all but ankled NBC.
For those of you who know me and are saying “Geez, Keith, Silverman and Zucker are gone and have been, why not give it a rest?” Well, it’s simple, I can’t. Those two idiots took what was, almost from its inception, a blue chip media company and smeared feces all over it, then jammed our faces into it and screamed “LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO!”. How they still have jobs in this industry is beyond my scope of reason. If it were up to me they’d be brought to the Hague and charged with crimes against humanity.
Anyway, so the Carrell show is called “Slide Show” and the show has a proven track record in Europe, as does Shine (let’s call a spade a spade, Shine is NOT a production company. They are a content re-purposing agent). If you are curious about the premise, you can look it up.
Here is my problem with this thing:
One, I like Steve Carrell. I happen to think he is truly one of the more talented actors working and I enjoy most of his work (although I dislike “The Office” – also a Shine import). How involved will he be other than lending his name? I dunno. Hopefully, he’ll just slap his name on it.
Two, I don’t give a shit about the content, unscripted television lowers the creative and intellectual bar for our society. That is not to say there isn’t a place for it. I firmly believe there is but maybe networks can stop trying to saturate their schedules with unscripted tripe. It’s embarrassing.
Three, this is a celebrity based unscripted show. Didn’t whatever that Jane Lynch show on NBC prove that no one cares about this genre? If you put Robert DeNiro’s name on a celebrity unscripted game show, maybe I’ll give a shit..until then…no.
Ya know, it just dawned on me that maybe this is all on me and it’s my bad for thinking about television creatively and as “artistic” and that maybe I should just lube up, bend over and accept that television is all about celebrity now and has very little artistic merit. NO, I can’t do that and neither should you. There is room for quality and room for shite.
Four, Fox head Kevin Riley has a record of being a true television man, he’s the guy who greenlit “30 Rock”, “The Office” and “Community”, among others (he was also the guy Jeff Zucker fired and replaced with perpetually moronic Ben Silverman). Since Riley has been at Fox, he’s done well and it irks me that a guy of this caliber would opt into this sort of dreck.
Five, I get it. Unscripted shows are ass cheap to produce. If they fail, no harm no foul, if they succeed, BOO YA, cash money. I get that. Producers can avoid paying some union rates because of how the shows are classified. But worse than that is it’s a deliberate and organized campaign to produce inexpensive programming so everyone can continue to be suckle the corporate teat, feed their seven figure salaries and stuff the noses and wallets of the retards on Wall Street. It’s transparent to anyone with an IQ over 35.
Again, I am not saying there isn’t a place for these shows but how about striving to find some balance?
Ultimately, despite my ranting and raving about quality television there will always be ONE show people jam in my face “Oh yea, Keith…what about “Breaking Bad”, that was a great show.” It was and is a great show, but it is ONE show. I could list ten scripted dramas on network and cable that suck. One great show doesn’t wipe those away.
I still like Steve Carrell, how can you not like a guy who did this and maybe I am wrong about this show…but I doubt it.
Speaking of which…
Back in May, I wrote a post about some of NBC’s upcoming programming. Here’s an update:
Million Second Quiz – Unscripted and stupid. I watched a little bit of this show and had no idea what the hell was going on. Apparently, no one else did either. It seems to have silently disappeared. Don’t look for it to return.
The Michael J. Fox Show – Scripted Comedy. I have yet to watch it. I’ve heard from others the Parkinson’s stuff gets old pretty quickly and it lacks any other jokes, which is what I suspected. It’s a shame because more than any other television actor, we want Michael J. Fox to succeed. I suspect they will continue to work on this show and find better writers. It’s not going anywhere (mainly because they ordered a full season.)
About a Boy – Scripted Comedy. Maybe its a mid-season replacement?
Sean Saves the World – Scripted Comedy. No he doesn’t. As I predicted, it’s failing and it’s unlikely to be picked up.
The Family Guide – Scripted Comedy. MIA, maybe its a mid-season replacement? Can’t help that Parker Posey dropped out just as it was ordered to series. My guess is that this will quietly be forgotten about.
Undateable – Scripted Comedy. My review was “unwatchable” and maybe NBC determined it was “unairable”? If it makes it to air, it will fail.
Ironside – Scripted Drama. Too much, too busy, too much history attached to it…it’s failing, like I thought it would.
Blacklist – Scripted Drama. Success, as I thought. Ordered to series. Look for NBC to screw it up somehow, so enjoy the quality of the show while it lasts.
Dracula – Scripted Drama. Given the prime time pole position of Friday nights at 10p. NBC must be contractually obligated to air this hackneyed re-boot. It doesn’t help that it went from a “series” to a “mini-series” order.
Believe – Scritped Drama. From JJ Abrams & Alfonso Cuaron. With Cuaron’s “Gravity” riding high and JJ Abrams in pre-production for the new “Star Wars” movie, you’d think NBC would be trying to capitalize on that by kicking this show into high gear. Air one episode to tease the audience. I know you have it.
In any event, MIA.
Welcome to the Family – Scripted Comedy. It will fail.
The Night Shift – Scripted Drama. It will fail.
Chicago PD – Scripted Drama. I have to be honest, I don’t know if this is on the air or not.
Crisis – Scripted Drama. It will fail.
How does this track record compare to other networks? I’d say it is about the norm. One hit, a couple of fillers but mostly all failures with the rest held in reserve. All four networks are experts at how this is done, so NBC’s experience here is, sadly, the norm. However, if you read the trades you would think NBC is DOMINATING the season. They have football and “The Voice” so they are indeed doing well.
What amazes me is that I can sit and look at simply the premise of these scripted and unscripted shows and determine what will succeed or fail. I’m not a genius, I just happened to have seen a lot of television, read a few books and have a grasp of story structure and what works and what doesn’t. I don’t have a crystal ball, just a modicum of taste and respect for the viewers. So, I have three questions for all the networks:
1. How on earth can I have pretty good accuracy and you are the “professionals” and you have horrible accuracy? (sub-question, how do you rationalize your salaries?)
2. If this is what you brought to air, exactly what on earth did you pass on?
3. Why can’t you let creative people create and trust in the creative process?
In any other industry, this level of “success” would be inexcusable, so why do we continue to tolerate it here?
Only in Hollywood can you so consistently fail and keep your job. Hell, Jeff Zucker is proof positive that you can actually be REWARDED for being such an epic fuck up.
As viewers, we should demand better programming from our networks.