October 31, 2006


Another One Bites the Dust (BRENDAN BERNHARD, October 31, 2006, NY Sun)

Sunday's headline at FoxNews.com consisted of three words and a number: "‘STUDIO 60' CANCELLATION IMINENT."

The third word, as you'll have noticed, was misspelled. If it came to the attention of "Studio 60" writer, Aaron Sorkin — the sort of man, as P.G. Wodehouse might have written, who can spot a typo at 40 paces — you have to assume he got a small, sour chuckle out of it. [...]

"Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" (to give its full title), NBC's show about putting on a "Saturday Night Live"-style TV show, has been preceded in its maiden season on Monday nights by "Heroes," which starts at 9 p.m. "Heroes" is about a group of people with superhuman powers trying to prevent a nuclear holocaust, and I suspect it's the kind of program that makes Mr.

Sorkin feel quite ill. It's also the hit of the fall season, attracting 14.3 million viewers on its last outing, many of them young, limber, and eager to buy things. But when "Studio 60" comes on, they flee, leaving NBC with 7.7 million.

If you've been watching "Studio 60," just imagine how Jack Rudolph, the reptilian network chairman played by Steven Weber, would react to those numbers.

No one's been watching--that's the point.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 31, 2006 7:48 AM

We watched SNL last Saturday for the first time in at least 20 years because we wanted to see if Hugh Laurie would make the requisite anti-war/anti-Bush rant. Lucky for him, he only made a complete fool of himself and hugely disappointed the studio audience by coyly swallowing the incriminating words.

His Dr. House makes me laugh every week and for that I am prepared to forgive much, but Laurie was on the razor's edge of rejection by his performance.

We'll give him another chance when Fox resumes their regular programming tonight.

As for Sorkin's latest, wouldn't dream of watching it.

Posted by: erp at October 31, 2006 9:15 AM

I am a TV executive and have really enjoyed 2 shows about the inner workings of TV: the Dick Van Dyke Show (which I saw in re-runs as a kid) and Larry Sanders. So, I decided to give Studio 60 a try. I not only didn't enjoy watching a show about my job, it was almost bad enough to make me re-think my career....

Posted by: Foos at October 31, 2006 9:44 AM

Sorkin's great dialogue made the West Wing (a show about important things) compelling.

It's hard to imagine why anyone thought great dialogue and a show about unimportant things would be the recipe for ratings (unless you were following hte Seinfeld model, but even then, that was just to showcase Seinfeld's comic genius, not the process of coming up with the "genius").

Posted by: kevin whited at October 31, 2006 10:33 AM

Might this be called an example of "Write What You Know Syndrome?" Authors seem to produce a disproportionate number of books in which the main character is an author; there are an awful lot of movies about moviemaking; now Aaron Sorkin makes a TV show about Aaron Sorkin making a TV show.

Posted by: Mike Morley at October 31, 2006 11:41 AM


Hard to believe a bunch of tv guys thought a show about tv guys would be fascinating? You think a roomful of bloggers wouldn't greenlight "Blog 60"

Posted by: oj at October 31, 2006 12:03 PM

One of the funniest movies ever was about a comedy show, "My Favorite Year." http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0084370/ I don't know why Richard Benjamin who directed the picture didn't become a bigger success. He's quite brilliant.

His TV show, Quark, about a garbage scow in space still makes me laugh when I think of some of the scenes. One of the crew, a Ficus Benjamina (pun intended I imagine), named Ficus got all the best laugh lines.

Posted by: erp at October 31, 2006 1:01 PM

I dunno Kevin, I remember tuning into one episode of WestWing to see what the hype was about and being appalled by the writing. It wasn't just the stale liberal views the characters all seemed to articulate, it's that it was all so . . . ernest. Yeck.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at October 31, 2006 1:17 PM


I thought Hugh Laurie's "protest song" was hilarious,... the only funny part of the show that night.

Are you saying that you've heard him sing the song before with different lyrics?

Posted by: James Haney at October 31, 2006 2:28 PM

No one will ever forgive him for Quark.

Posted by: oj at October 31, 2006 2:32 PM

James, No. I never heard him sing anything at all. I had no idea it was done on purpose or that it was supposed to be funny because the audience wasn't laughing.

In fact, the only other time I've seen Laurie away from his House role, he was wearing a big black curly wig in the Leonardo Di Caprio version of "The Man in the Iron Mask."

I had to check the credits before my roomie would believe it was Laurie so ridiculous did he look.

oj. Why can no one forgive Benjamin for "Quark"?

Posted by: erp at October 31, 2006 2:59 PM

Quark was an oasis of brilliance in America's Darkest Decade (the 1970s).

Posted by: Mike Morley at October 31, 2006 3:41 PM

Laurie played some great characters in the Blackadder series and shone as Bertie Wooster with Stephen Fry as Jeeves.

Posted by: Pepys at October 31, 2006 3:52 PM

"My Favorite Year" is a wonderful movie.

Wasn't Richard Benjamin also in "When Things Were Rotten"? I liked it, but Mel Brooks and TV didn't mix.

Posted by: jim hamlen at October 31, 2006 4:18 PM

and "Goodbye Columbus" -- first time I had heard the "return to planet Earth" line.

Posted by: erp at October 31, 2006 4:37 PM