The Future And Present Of Television

A couple of TV-related links of interest:

– James Poniewozik argued last year that Jay Leno in prime time was the future of TV. Maybe he was right; as he notes today, NBC has mostly replaced Leno with another batch of el-cheapo shows, including their critically-loathed but now-renewed The Marriage Ref. So while Leno didn’t pan out, the basic idea remains: find shows that are cheaper than filmed fiction shows, but not exactly the same as reality competition shows. I’d also add that this batch of pickups is another demonstration of how trapped NBC is in nostalgia for its ’90s golden period: picking up cheap shows produced by Jerry Seinfeld (Marriage Ref) and Lisa Kudrow (Who Do You Think You Are?) is nostalgia on a par with 30 Rock‘s many references to successful NBC shows of the past.

Dan For Mayor is developing into a very strong, charming comedy (Hiccups has been much more uneven so far); Diane Kristine Wild, the tireless leader of TV-Eh.com, has an interview with Fred Ewanuick and his producers. Charm is not something you see a great deal of on half-hour comedy these days, so building a show around Ewanuick, who just comes off as very sweet and likeable no matter what his character says or does, seems to have been a very good idea. There are a lot of characters on TV comedy who are not too smart, but most of them are targets of a certain amount of audience and creator contempt, like Phil on Modern Family, or they’re second bananas, like Ewanuick’s character on Corner Gas. So if things continue to go well, Dan could give the public what it hasn’t gotten in a while: a basically non-abrasive comic lead.

– Shout! Factory has learned its lesson from the much-panned season 1 set of Rhoda (which was made mostly from syndication prints). The season 2 set includes uncut episodes. This almost makes up for the fact that the season 2 arrangement of the theme song — which I never much liked anyway — is one of the most annoying in television history.


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