When does an octagon trump a pentagon? When the octagon is the mysterious Dharma logo from ABC's Lost and the Pentagon is the setting for early TV-season time-slot rival E-Ring. Such was the unfortunate (if unsurprising) fate that befell NBC's new Wednesday-night military drama, which bowed strong but dropped 1.7 million samplers in its second week. Luckily, NBC quickly reappointed E-Ring to the 8 pm/ET hour, where it has reclaimed a full million of those, um, "lost" viewers — especially good news for film-turned-series star Dennis Hopper, who plays Colonel McNulty to Benjamin Bratt's U.S. army major.
"We premiered against Lost, which obviously won [the Best Drama Emmy] last year, so we had a struggle," Hopper recounts for TVGuide.com. "We've [since] dropped to
Benjamin Bratt and Dennis Hopper
With the new fall series E-Ring (airing Wednesdays at 9 pm/ET, beginning Sept. 21), NBC promises a behind-the-scenes look at the global crises and critical decision-making that keep Pentagon intelligence officers on their toes. The drama boasts silver-screen luster not only in Benjamin Bratt (Miss Congeniality, The Great Raid), as U.S Army Major "J.T." Tisnewski, but also in two-time Academy Award nominee Dennis Hopper (of Easy Rider and Blue Velvet fame), who plays Colonel McNulty.
Although largely associated with his many counterculture film characters, Hopper says that, aside from having to "stand a little straighter and get a haircut," stepping into the Colonel's spit-shined shoes was not as difficult as some might think. Stepping away from filmdom
Question: First we had Kiefer Sutherland on 24, then Dominic Monaghan on Lost, and this season we have Dennis Hopper on E-Ring and Geena Davis on Commander in Chief. With box-office sales continuing to plummet, do you think more and more big-name actors/actresses will turn to the small screen instead?
Answer: If they're lucky, and if the show is right for them. Actors would be lucky to find movie roles as rich and rewarding as the best of series TV can offer, especially in this robust age for drama on the networks and, especially, the crème of the cable crop (HBO, FX, maybe Showtime). But there's a risk in this. If a deal is made for a star first, and then a show is built around him or her, the results are usually disastrous. TV is much better at creating stars through shows, as opposed to launching shows around stars ...