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Alias Picked Up For Another Season

Old 02-27-03, 10:21 AM
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Alias Picked Up For Another Season

The article from zap2it.com

LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) - ABC acknowledges that much of its success in February sweeps, which end Wednesday night, is due to unscripted programming like "The Bachelorette" and the "20/20" special about Michael Jackson.

Still, scripted comedies and dramas are "the bread and butter of what we have here, and really our greatest pride and joy," ABC Chairman Lloyd Braun says.

In a demonstration of that pride, Braun and ABC Entertainment President Susan Lyne announced Wednesday (Feb. 26) that the network has picked up "Alias" and all six of its Tuesday and Wednesday comedies for next season.

ABC has also ordered another season of "America's Funniest Home Videos" and a fourth edition of "The Bachelor"; the network picked up "NYPD Blue" for another year earlier in the season.

"That's 10 shows on our schedule next year, and that will form the foundation of our continuing rebuilding process," Braun says.

ABC has improved its performance among both total viewers and the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 group this season. And while lately the numbers have been driven by reality shows and sweeps stunts, Braun and Lyne believe that long-term success will be built on scripted shows.

The six comedies -- "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter," "According to Jim," "Life with Bonnie," "Less than Perfect," "My Wife and Kids" and "George Lopez" -- have delivered decent, if not spectacular, ratings and have allowed ABC to regain a foothold on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, where it had traditionally been strong. The network is also pleased that "Alias" has received a ratings bounce since its post-Super Bowl episode, drawing about a million viewers a week over its season average.

The network will continue to try out new reality series on Thursday nights for the rest of the season in an effort "to see if anything else pops" the way "The Bachelor" did last spring. "Until we come up with that big monster show that we can put in to compete on Thursday, [reality shows will] allow us to show up on that night," Braun says.

The Thursday-night hole was created by the failure of "Dinotopia" and "Push, Nevada" in the fall. Lyne says that because the network was so focused on re-establishing itself in the 8 p.m. hour, it was left wanting for dramas that could work later in the evening.

"Our drama development this year is much more targeted at nine o'clock and especially 10 o'clock, where I think we really need to develop the next generation of great ABC dramas," Lyne says.
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Old 02-27-03, 10:38 AM
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Could it be? Is the Rat learning from its mistakes?

Picking up Alias is great, but I'm more impressed that they're keeping all the sit-coms. They have a great comedy line-up, and it's good to see some faith in it.

As for developing the "next generation of great ABC dramas," they could all go home early if they hadn't screwed up Philly and Once & Again. The next generation of great ABC dramas was in the palm of their hands, and they pissed it away.

Still, it's a start.

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Old 02-27-03, 11:15 AM
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Originally posted by das Monkey
As for developing the "next generation of great ABC dramas," they could all go home early if they hadn't screwed up Philly and Once & Again. The next generation of great ABC dramas was in the palm of their hands, and they pissed it away.
I am starting to wonder if Philly's downfall may have been caused by Kim Delany's actions outside of the show. Namely her drinking problem. After her quick departure from CSI: Miami I think it may be her fault.

But I highly agree with Once and Again. I loved that show and it killed me when they cancelled it.
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Old 02-27-03, 11:18 AM
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Another season of my favorite (non-Simpsons) show.
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Old 02-27-03, 11:28 AM
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While I have no inside information on this situation, it seemed that the CSI: Miami problem was more with character chemistry, and she really didn't fit too well on the show. As for Philly, I think the problem is the same as what they did to Once & Again: it was impossible to follow when the show was on. Sometimes it was 9pm; other times it was 10pm. They'd skip a week here and there and even disappeared for a month while The Court came in and stunk up the joint. Then the final episodes were buried after May sweeps.

If Delaney had problems outside of the show, I don't really see how that affected her performance, because Philly got progressively better as the season went along, and by the end, I thought it was one of the best shows on the air. Maybe there's more to the story, but from the looks of it, I think they just mishandled the show and lost the chance to build a very solid audience.

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Old 02-27-03, 11:36 AM
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I loved Philly, but I totally lost my taste for Delaney after the drunk driving charge.
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Old 02-27-03, 12:56 PM
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Originally posted by das Monkey
While I have no inside information on this situation, it seemed that the CSI: Miami problem was more with character chemistry, and she really didn't fit too well on the show. As for Philly, I think the problem is the same as what they did to Once & Again: it was impossible to follow when the show was on. Sometimes it was 9pm; other times it was 10pm. They'd skip a week here and there and even disappeared for a month while The Court came in and stunk up the joint. Then the final episodes were buried after May sweeps.

If Delaney had problems outside of the show, I don't really see how that affected her performance, because Philly got progressively better as the season went along, and by the end, I thought it was one of the best shows on the air. Maybe there's more to the story, but from the looks of it, I think they just mishandled the show and lost the chance to build a very solid audience.

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Regarding Once and Again;

While I agree ABC moved it way too much, the show (the few times I did see it ) was a bit much on the introspective , touchy feeling over dramatization of relationships. This is one show ABC tried to make work, they tried same week reairs on Lifetime and initially heavy promotion. The show never caught on with viewers as a top ranked show.

For me the producing team is hit or miss: MSCL was great , it captured the angst one goes through as a teenager. Thirtysomething was way too whiny. I am guessing that is why their shows are marginal successes at best- they strike a cord to a specific group that can relate to the drama.

The show did last 63 episodes ( 3 seasons ).
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Old 02-27-03, 01:10 PM
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7 timeslots on 4 different nights in fewer than 3 seasons? Whether you enjoyed the show or not, no audience can follow that.

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Old 02-27-03, 01:24 PM
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Originally posted by das Monkey
Philly got progressively better as the season went along, and by the end, I thought it was one of the best shows on the air. I think they just mishandled the show and lost the chance to build a very solid audience.
I actually blame Bochco for the failing of this show. IMHO, he did with the pilot what he's doing almost all the time now - going for the big ratings grabber/shock value promo stuff - by putting pointless nudity or sex or some David Kelleyesque bizarreness into the episode(s).

I think people tuned in to Philly early on, hoping to see what it should have been - another gritty, well written, realistic story of this woman and the system, but what they got were a bunch of misogynistic hooter jokes, bra shots, and sexual stuff.

Several episodes in, the show seem to hit its stride when it went away from that crap and became all about the stories. It was truly great but by then it was too late.

I think Bochco has done the same thing with NYPDB. Its cast now looks like something from Fox, and though the writing still (sometimes) shows its old greatness, it is just hard to take it seriously when the characters all look like they do, and everyone tunes in to see who's gonna git nakid!
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Old 02-27-03, 01:36 PM
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But does the fault for that lie with Bochco or ABC? I would imagine it's some of both. I can just as easily see ABC demanding the show be "sexed up" early on to get initial viewers.

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Old 02-27-03, 02:13 PM
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Originally posted by das Monkey
But does the fault for that lie with Bochco or ABC? I would imagine it's some of both. I can just as easily see ABC demanding the show be "sexed up" early on to get initial viewers.
Maybe, but it goes back to the old question: when do you say no? I will always respect Ed and Marshall and David Chase (as well as a few others) because they have never caved to a network or studio request. They will simply not do something if it can't be done right.

Bochco used to be this way, as was DEK, but they both have become a pair of used-to-be's who now try way too hard to please folks.

imho.
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Old 02-27-03, 02:52 PM
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I'll agree with you on DEK ... not sure I'm ready to write Bochco off just yet. I see a lot of signs of what you're talking about, but even with Blue, while there are many pretty faces, I think the writing has returned. It went through a bad stretch for a while, but these last two seasons have been excellent IMO. And to be fair, Blue has never suffered from a lack of pretty faces from the men or women. Hell, as much as I like the current crop, it's hard to top Sharon Lawrence or Kim Delaney, not to mention Gail O'Grady, or Paige Turco, or Andrea Thompson, and plenty others. The men's side is little different. I assume women go crazy over Smits or Turturro.

I guess I'm still on Bochco's side ... for now ... but I do understand what you're saying.

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Old 02-27-03, 08:51 PM
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ABC did good on giving Alias a third season....despite the low ratings, they had too. Jennifer Garner seems to have a fan base which is growing beyond the audience of the show and the show is praised pretty much universally by the critics.

However, if the show can't pick up audience net year, if it stays at the same plateau, I can easily see ABC pulling the plug.
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Old 02-27-03, 09:12 PM
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Yeah, considering all the buzz over Garner and the show, it would really be a bad idea to drop it now. Even if the ratings are not what they want them to be (perhaps unrealistic goals considering the competition), the momentum for Alias is way too strong not to hang with for at least another season. I really give ABC credit for backing this series. In recent years they've notoriously bailed on some of the best shows I've ever seen, but they've definitely bent over backwards for Alias. It's a great show, and I hope ABC's faith pays off for both the fans and the network. If Alias can keep gaining viewers and building on its momentum, it might open the door a bit for other critically acclaimed shows that don't immediately catch a huge audience.

The next step, which they should have freakin' done last year like 24 and The Shield, is to get the DVDs out there. The Super Bowl switcheroo helps, but people still have a fear that they've missed too much to catch on. A guy at work is obsessed with Garner but refuses to watch Alias until he can see it from the beginning. From the release schedule, they'll still be a season behind, but a well-publicized marathon on ABC Family in conjunction with the DVD release could give the necessary boost to push it over the top.

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Old 02-28-03, 12:29 AM
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I'd like to see them move to a different night and use a show like the Bachelor as a lead in. American Idol is giving 24 a huge boost in the ratings and that's a show that would seem to be a lot harder to jump into then Alias.
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