Question: After the embarrassing debacle of Viva Laughlin, I figured network TV wouldn't ever touch musical dramas ever again. Then Ryan Murphy surprised the naysayers with the out-of-the-box success of Glee. Then came along my personal favorite Smash last winter, and the also-great Nashville this fall. Now I read a couple months ago that Fox was trying to revise Fame. My question is this: Have you ever known of a time when so many music-based shows have been on TV? Is it because of the success of American Idol, The Voice and The X Factor? And do you think there is room on TV for possibly four musicals, or will they cannibalize each other for viewers? I've noticed Glee has been down in the ratings, and for a year-four show targeted at the fickle teen market, is this expected? Have you heard any buzz on Smash? I thought Season 1 was great, but I did notice the weak links too, which seem to have been corrected. I hope Season 2 really gets grittier and goes more behind-the-scenes a la West Wing instead of the soapy melodrama of S1. Thoughts? — Sean
Real Housewives of New York City
Bravo recently announced that it will add a fifth night of original programming, so it's developing a slew of new original series, including another Real Housewives franchise and a scripted dramedy about male prostitutes. Read our snap judgments on the lineup and then tell us in the comments section which series have the potential to be your newest guilty pleasure.
Million Dollar Decorators
What It Is: High-end interior decorators in L.A. work with the multi-million-dollar budgets of their wealthy clientele.
Snap Judgment: We love shows about the hubris of the rich, but is this the financial climate for a show about squandering money?
Tune-In, DVR or Pass: DVR
Madchen Amick by Tony Barson/WireImage.com
Get those claws out Gossip Girl Upper East Siders, because there's a new cougar in town! OK, she's not quite a full-fledged cougar age wise, but Madchen Amick has just been cast as a May-December love interest for Nate aka Blair's high school-aged ex. EW reports that Amick, who played a casino wife on the "blink-and-you-missed-it" Viva Laughlin, will play Catherine Mason when Gossip Girl returns to the CW on Sept. 1.What do you think of a cougar crashing the Gossip gang? Erin FoxRelated Gossip Invades the Hamptons Use Our Online Video Guide to Watch More Gossip Girl
Question: What's the latest on Kevin and Jason on Brothers & Sisters? I'm hearing some disturbing rumors about who Kevin chooses, and it's not Jason. Don't tell me we wished death on Viva Laughlin for nothing!
Answer: Regardless of how the Scotty/Kevin/Jason triangle plays out, you did not wish death on Viva Laughlin for nothing. Believe me, the world is a much better place without that crappy show in it. Having said that, and without giving too much away, I can tell you that Kevin's initial choice isn't necessarily his ultimate choice.
Question: While we all know what a calamitous effect the current strike will have on the fall newcomers, what effect (if any) will it have on new midseason shows? Have they been given enough lead time to remain intact, or will they disappear altogether from the schedule, done in by a lack of new scripts?
Answer: Depends on the show. Those that have been in production since late summer/early fall will probably have banked enough episodes to at least get their customary tryouts. The good news for these shows is that if the strike keeps going, the networks may just let them ride it out even if the ratings aren't up to snuff because of the need for original programming. You'd have to be a complete stinker like Viva Laughlin to be yanked off the air after only two or three episodes in this environment ...
Question: Does it seem like the networks this fall are nursing their new shows a little better than in the past few seasons? I know Viva Laughlin was canceled quickly (oh, well!), but the networks have picked up Gossip Girl, Private Practice, The Big Bang Theory, Back to You and Pushing Daisies for full-season orders. None of these are ratings blockbusters, but they have pretty decent followings and good buzz. Do you think the suits are trying something new as ratings, in general, have been down, or do you think that because there have been no major breakthroughs this season, they're being forced to nurse their new shows?
Answer: This is a fair observation. I was actually expecting a few more shows to be canceled by now. But given the generally depressed numbers for even hit shows this fall, it makes sense for the networks to let things continue to shake out for a bit as they try to analyze the potential for the new batch of shows, many of which have fallen far below expectations (in
Kristin Chenoweth, Pushing Daisies
Question: Recently I overhead a coworker saying how awful they thought Pushing Daisies was. I, of course, interjected that I love it, while sadly consigning myself to the fact that this is going to be a love-it-or-hate-it show (and that chatter may unfortunately turn away viewers who would potentially enjoy it). Perhaps I'm a child at heart, but I can't help but cherish Chuck's enthusiasm, the whimsical effects, the expressions Chi McBride uses and storyline twists such as sword-fighting with an Asian confederate's descendant. I then decided to try out Viva Laughlin, despite the warnings of you and other critics. I thought if nothing else, it could be a guilty pleasure, "so bad it's good." I was wrong. It was mind-numbingly awful, with no pleasure of any kind. My biggest fear, though, is that this will discourage networks from taking chances on musical shows in the future. Though I don't think there will ever be a musical on the level of CSI or Desperate Housewives in popularity, I do ...
Question: Now that Viva Laughlin has been canceled, when can we expect the lovely Eric Winter to return to Brothers & Sisters?
Answer: Barring something catastrophic happening, like, say, a writers strike, my guess is Rev. Jason will be back in time for February sweeps. To read exec producer Greg Berlanti's thoughts on the matter, click here.
Eric Winter and Matthew Rhys by Scott Garfield/ABC
How do I love thee, cancellation of Viva Laughlin? Let me count the ways
.1) It means there's one less mind-numbingly awful TV show clogging up the airwaves.2) It hastens the return of TV's best reality series, The Amazing Race.3) It frees up Eric Winter to return to Brothers & Sisters as Kevin's minister boyfriend.Regarding that last one, although there's no official deal in place for Winter to reprise his role as Rev. Jason McCallister, his speedy return is a foregone conclusion. And if you don't believe me, believe B&S bossman Greg Berlanti: "Obviously, we wanted Eric's show to succeed, but we would be psyched to have him back," says Berlanti. "While I can't say what will happen to [Kevin and Jason] romantically, we would love to have Eric back as soon as possible. He's a great actor, and he and Matthew are wonderful together. And there's also the fact that he's McCallister's brother, which we always wanted to explore further."Barring a writers' strike, I predict Kev...
Lloyd Owen in Viva Laughlin by Robert Voets/CBS
Since almost no one watched the second and final episode of CBS misbegotten quasi-musical mess Viva Laughlin, let me share with you a headline that appeared at the start of Sundays episode: Viva Craps Out. I kid you not. (The headline was referring to the fictional casino, not the show. But really. Did they already know this was coming?)And then there was this bit of dialogue, as casino owner Ripley Holden (Lloyd Owen) surveys his customer-free casino (prophetic, that) and asks his mousy accountant, How long can we hold out? The answer: A week, tops.Viva Laughlin didnt even last a week. Episode 1 crashed and burned Thursday with a plum CSI lead-in, and Episode 2 (which was of even considerably worse quality than the pilot) caused nary a ripple Sunday night. With the ever-fatal combo of lousy ratings and blistering reviews, CBS made the only logical move and canned it. After a CSI repeat this Sunday, The Amazing Race will return o...