Monday, 25 August 2008

Hollywood Babble On & On #155: Everything Old (& Cancelled) Is New Again

It's pilot pickup season, and ABC has announced some of the new shows on its upcoming fall slate.

Of course the word new, is a tad inaccurate.

You see one of the shows on ABC's fall schedule is called
Cupid, a cutesy-poo romantic comedy series about a guy who thinks he's the ancient love god Cupid, and just might be, but without the little wings and the heart-tipped arrows made famous on so many crappy Valentine's Day cards.

Now if that premise seems familiar in the back of the reptilian part of your brain, well, you're not crazy, because it is familiar.

You see, about 10 years ago, the same writers and the same network made the
exact same show, starring Entourage's Jeremy Piven, hyped the crap out of it, landed some good reviews, and then cancelled it about halfway through its first and only season.

Now this could be a whole new strategy in network programming. Since the remakes of old hits usually sink into oblivion faster than you can say "Bionic Woman" ABC is giving failed shows of the past a new lease on life, hoping against hope that this time will be different.

It probably won't.

But I suspect that there's more to ABC's stratagem than meets the eye.

You see Hollywood, network TV especially, lives in absolute, abject terror of any and all new ideas. Present them with something no one has seen before, and they'll leap up on a chair, screaming, like someone who saw a mouse in an old cartoon.

And here's why:

New ideas, especially successful ones, bring in new people. These new people could have more new ideas, which bring in even more new people, and before you know it, being the nephew of the CEO's cardiologist and surviving as an assistant for more than 6 months might not qualify you for a network Vice Presidency anymore.

New ideas must be crushed.

Also, ABC is also under the watchful eye of foreign TV producers and their lawyers over a memo outlining how to rip off premises from foreign shows. That means that any new show that bears even the slightest scintilla of a resemblance to anything they've done will result in lawsuits galore.

They need a premise that they already own, that even if it resembles something down in another country, they can fight off the foreign litigation hordes with the original. They also need a show that was more or less forgotten, and less likely to get fans griping on internet forums about how "the original was better."

Hence the resuscitation of Cupid.

I'm waiting for the revival of My Mother The Car, as a police drama.

Now that would be a hit!


  1. Let's have an encore of "Manimal".

  2. Don't diss "Manimal!"

    That show was for the ages.

    Just not for any viewers. ;)

  3. Just seen a rerun of a DIAGNOSIS MURDER, the one with a female exec killed by a pilot. Cannell (praise his name till the end of times!) was in it.

    I told my wife things have not changed since this parody. And it seems I was right. There was a joke about a "Young Barnaby Jones Chronicles"!