Friday, 14 May 2010

Hollywood Babble On & On #510: Canned & Canceled

Welcome to the show folks...


Word has come down the pipeline that NBC has passed on the remake of The Rockford Files with Dermot Mulroney in the title role.

Personally, while I thought it was a bad idea, a really terrible idea, I had bet that NBC would have gone for it because it was the sort of bad idea that networks love.

It was a remake of a show that had been custom tailored to the persona and style of a specific actor, namely James Garner. A remake that was guaranteed to turn off fans of the original and people who hadn't really watched the original, writing it off as "just another remake."

The ironic thing is, if they had made a new character with a similar premise: low rent private eye, surrounded by eccentric friends and relatives, working complex cases in a laid back style, they probably could have sold it. The Mentalist is living proof that an even more old fashioned mystery show can be a modern hit. But putting the name
Rockford on the project was probably what killed it. The name just carried too much weight for a pilot to carry.


The word is that the Fox Network is going to drop the axe on their Saturday night late night Wanda Sykes Show. Despite its relatively big opening, the ratings just wouldn't hold on, and it ended up doing worse than its predecessor
Mad TV.

So why did the show fail? Two reasons:

1. APPEAL: The show and its host Wanda Sykes were based on appealing to their media colleagues, not the general audience. Coming across as shrill, self-righteous, and smug. Her background and strength was as a stand-up comedian and sitcom supporting player, and her attempt to become a network version of Bill Maher just didn't work.

Critics defended her and her show because she shared the same prejudices as them, but the audience, at first attracted by curiosity, were driven away by the severe lack of charm.

2. HYPOCRISY: Wanda Sykes loves to present herself as a "fearless" comedian, one willing to speak "truth to power," cross dangerous lines, and all that usual stuff. Yet at last year's White House Correspondent's dinner, which is traditionally a roast of the sitting President, all she did was lob a few softballs at the current president, and took shots at the previous president.

With that performance she told audiences that there are lines she wouldn't cross, and pretty weak lines at that. How can anyone be judged as a "fearless" and "edgy" political comedian when there are powerful politicians right in front of them, and they publicly refuse to take the shot given to them. No one expects a comedian to be objective or unbiased, but there is a duty a comedian has to their audience in respect to their image.

You can't go around saying that you will go after any sacred cow because you're a rebel that's mad, bad, and dangerous to know, and then publicly go vegan to curry favor with the people in power. That makes the audience express their power, by staying away.

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