Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Top Ten Goofs

Everybody comes up with their own list of stupid that's done in and around Hollywood, but one of our fine trade papers (via Reuters, via the New York Times, etc.) compiled a few errors that caught my attention.


Axed TV shows usually stay dead, yet two titles canceled by former Fox chief Sandy Grushow in 2002 refused to go quietly. One was Seth MacFarlane's "Family Guy," which was moved around the schedule and even put opposite top-rated hits "Survivor" and "Friends" before getting yanked. After the show's repeats got strong ratings on Adult Swim and netted big DVD sales, the comedy made its way back to broadcast in 2005. "Family Guy" is now Fox's second-highest-rated scripted series and has produced a successful spinoff ("The Cleveland Show") ...

Fox is the only network to hit big with prime time animation. (Others have tried, but only Fox has succeeded.)

I could never understand why the network canceled FG in the first place. It had a loyal fan base, it was doing okay considering how it got kicked around from time slot to time slot, but it was still drop-kicked out the door. As a Fox exec told me years ago: "Thank God for the millions of DVDs that flew off the shelves. If not for that, the show never would have come back."

But bad decisions get made all the time, by everybody. Fox is also the company that put The Blind Side into turn-around, and now the $29 million production is making buckets of money for Warner Bros.

But the newspapers don't think it's just Hollywood companies that are stupid. In the interests of being fair and balanced, here is the articles Top Pick for dumbness:


Has there ever been a longer 14 weeks? The 2007-08 walkout was a largely avoidable mutually destructive act that occurred at exactly the wrong time. In addition to almost wiping out an entire pilot season, the strike sent shows into repeats, driving a ratings crash that broadcasters have not been able to recover from thanks to increased DVR use and viewers fleeing to cable. In the end, writers outmaneuvered the studios, but few felt as if they actually won.

Some writers maintain that the DGA, after the dust had settled, got a better deal than the WGA. And since then, development deals have evaporated, writing staffs have shrunk, so who really outmaneuvered who?

Little did we know at the time, back during that winter of 2007-2008, but the job action began almost the same moment the American economy nosed into recession. Was the strike, in the end, a net plus? The only thing I know with certainty is that TAG-repped artists working on prime-time, WGA shows took it on the chin when hundreds of them were laid off during the strike.

It was not pretty.


Anonymous said...

#2. SAG and AFTRA's failure to keep their dirty laundry private, thereby making the rest of us suffer for their bullshit, and all of this after suffering through the WGA's bullshit!

Labor embarrassments, all of them.

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