Smith

2006, TV Show

News

In Focus: For The Mentalist's Simon Baker, Good Looks Plus Hard Work Equals Success

Simon Baker

Go ahead and stare at Simon Baker. Gawk at his curly golden locks and his winning smile. He doesn't mind, really.

"It doesn't bother me because I know time is ticking," the 41-year-old Baker tells TVGuide.com. "I've been doing this for almost 20 years, and I'm able to see myself age on film. Eventually I know what I'm going to become — I've seen my father."

When Bruno Heller was looking to cast a leading man to play the role of Patrick Jane in The Mentalist, he was won over by Baker's looks as well. But he quickly learned there was much more beneath the surface. "What Jane does is get in people's physical space and inside their heads, and in order to do that, you have to be someone that people want to be close to, whether they know it or not," Heller says. "It needed a very magnetic personality playing the part.

Look back at Simon Baker's most memorable roles

"Simon has a physical and mental grace. He's always switched on — he's always alert, always alive," Heller continues. "If you watch him working on a stage, he's never just going through the lines. He's always looking for the extra grace notes. It's actually a much tougher job. Very few actors can do the hard physical work that must be done on a show like this."

But back in the late 1980s, when Baker first began acting in commercials in his native Australia, he laughed at the idea of considering acting a form of labor... read more

DirecTV Has Eyes for The Nine and Other Snubbed Series

The Nine

If you're a Tim Daly fan, or if you love Leverage in part because it seems vaguely familiar, there are good times ahead.

DirecTV has inked a deal to broadcast the short-lived TV series Eyes, Smith and The Nine — unaired episodes and all.

A Ray Liotta-fronted drama about an all-star ensemble of master thieves, Smith served up just three episodes during its original CBS run. But starting April 8, DirecTV's 101 Network will unspool all seven produced episodes, airing ... read more

Why did NBC move The Office ...

Question: Why did NBC move The Office so it now conflicts with Grey's Anatomy? I guess putting Scrubs after it might give that show the break it deserves. And now they put Cane opposite Boston Legal. I don't have TiVo, so I guess I have to dust off my VHS. Do they really want to weed out good (old) shows or jeopardize new ones? On another topic, what happened to Shark? Answer: The move of The Office has nothing to do with giving Scrubs a break. This is Scrubs' final season, and nothing's going to make it a breakout hit. Actually, none of NBC's comedies on Thursday are runaway hits. The move probably has to do with giving 30 Rock a more protected slot at 8:30 pm/ET, between My Name Is Earl and The Office. The fact is that some good NBC comedy is going to have to go up against Grey's Anatomy and CSI, and The Office is arguably better suited, thematically and content-wise, for the later time period. And Cane vs. Boston Legal? CBS had to put something there, having basically vamped with ... read more

So I watched the remaining ...

Question: So I watched the remaining filmed episodes of Smith on the Internet, and I remained as interested and entertained as I had been by the episodes that actually aired on TV before CBS yanked it. But then I read the synopses of the episodes that were not filmed. [SPOILER ALERT] According to the synopses, Simon Baker and Jonny Lee Miller's characters (two of my main reasons for watching) were to go out Butch Cassidy-Sundance Kid style in a shootout in Episode 10. By the end of the season, Shohreh Aghdashloo's character kills Franky G.'s character's girlfriend, only to be killed by him as revenge. He then manages to escape with his son to start a new life, as does Amy Smart's character after killing her innocent friend and leaving her in the desert to be identified as Amy (by pouring acid over the girl's face and hands to prevent identification). Finally, Ray Liotta's character turns himself in to save Virginia Madsen's character from arrest, in exchange for her immunity for trying ... read more

Perhaps you can explain ...

Question: Perhaps you can explain something to me. CBS canceled Smith because, while it started out strong enough, it lost viewers every week thereafter. But NBC renews Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip even though, like Smith, it started out strong but has bled viewers with each subsequent episode. Huh? The situations were identical, yet the results were very different. What's up with that? Answer: Apples and oranges, my friend. You can compare the ratings situations, but the shows are not at all alike. And the networks that each show airs (aired) on are in such different places. Smith was a departure for CBS (being about the bad guys instead of the good guys), and it aires in one of the network's few troubled time periods. (I'm not sure 3 LBS is going to fare much better as its replacement.) Several execs have gone on record saying that, given where they saw that show heading creatively, they didn't believe it had a chance to reverse the sliding ratings trend. In other words, they gave up ... read more

Studio 60, Smith Find Different Salvations

Not long after TVGuide.com reported on the full-season pickup for ABC's Men in Trees (which will now air after Grey's Anatomy), the Ausiello Report scooped similar good news for fans of NBC's Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Mike has more here.... Ray Liotta's Smith, meanwhile, is still dead, done, finito, fork-impaled, but CBS.com is streaming four never-broadcast episodes on its Innertube broadband channel, starting today. Also, a synopsis of how the producers planned to resolve the serialized drama's first season will be posted on the series' site at CBS.com. read more

Mid-season Comings and Goings

Because I get questions about it every single week, I figured I'd weigh in on the CW's announcement this week that the former WB Friday sitcom Reba (once a bright spot on that dim night) is finally coming back on air. But very much on the margins. And there's a reason for that.November is becoming an unexpectedly busy month for series and season premieres: ABC's Day Break is filling in for Lost, CBS' 3 LBS is replacing Smith on Tuesdays, and ABC's wedding-day sitcom Big Day and NBC's long-awaited return of Scrubs (as part of a new Thursday two-hour comedy block) will both bow the week after Thanksgiving.And now Reba joins the party. But you'll have to make an effort to find her. The CW has scheduled the show for Sundays, in the unenviable slot of 7-8 pm/ET. On the first night back, Nov. 19, two new episodes will air back-to-back. After that, starting Nov. 26, an "encore" Reba will air in front of a "fresh" episode (as they used to be called on the WB). If it looks like the CW is bur... read more

This fall season, more than ...

Question: This fall season, more than any other in recent memory, the viewing public has disappointed me in the shows it is choosing to watch, or rather not watch. NBC in particular has seen most of its fall slate go practically unnoticed. Friday Night Lights, Kidnapped and Studio 60 are arguably the three best new shows of this year, and yet no one is watching. I keep reading about Studio 60's "quality" of audience (yupsters who buy things), but at what point does quantity begin to matter? And while I appreciate that NBC will at least let Kidnapped finish its story arc (which can't be said for CBS' underrated Smith), why is the network so quick to cut the cord on this promising show? 24 wasn't a blockbuster initially, but has grown with time. Viewers were initially afraid of the serial quality of the show, but that has become less of a problem, and just now, in its fifth (and best) year it won an Emmy. I think Kidnapped would follow a similar trajectory, given the chance. This may be ... read more

Ratings: Friday Night Alive

A few Tuesday-night ratings rumblings:— ABC's Depositioning Dancing with the Stars juggernaut lured another million to the Tuesday dance floor, leading the night with 21.08 mil. — Versus last week, an additional 300,000 turned out for Friday Night Lights (6.6 mil). I'm actually hearing full-season pickup buzz. Stay tuned....— Surging 500,000 shrunken heads, Help Me Help You came within 0.04 of besting Law & Order: CI during the 8:30 half hour.— Veronica Mars, down 300,000 last week, reclaimed most of that loss this time around (3.22 mil).— A repeat of Criminal Minds (10.33 mil) further validated CBS' decision to snuff Smith, which was drawing almost two million fewer viewers in the 10 pm slot.UPDATE: Friday Night Lights fans, the Ausiello Report has some big news about the show's immediate future. Mind you, this is likely the "announcement" that I heard was en route. read more

What's up with CBS ditching ...

Question: What's up with CBS ditching Smith so quickly? I hardly watch anything on CBS thanks to their overabundance of crime shows, but Smith really interested me, and I was curious to see where they would take it. I thought the ratings were OK for a new serialized show. (Wasn't it doing about as well as Boston Legal in that time slot?) Do you think maybe CBS didn't like the creative direction of the episodes we haven't seen yet? Answer: You're onto something. The surprisingly fast fade of Smith is partly due to ratings that slipped each week (the trend wasn't positive), and partly due to Smith airing on a terrifically successful network that doesn't have as much patience for underperformers as others we might name (NBC, Fox, the CW). But when the ax falls this quickly, you also have to assume that the network execs know where the show is going and see little room for improvement, creatively and in the ratings. That was the explanation when ABC yanked Emily's Reasons Why Not after jus ... read more

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Premiered: September 19, 2006, on CBS
Rating: None
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Premise: A criminal mastermind seeks to pull a couple of high-stakes heists before retiring, but the FBI is determined to bring down the thief and his crew.

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Maggie Smith at the BBC (The Merchant of Venice / The Millionairess / Bed Among the Lentils / Suddenly, Last Summer)
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