Canceled:MadTV,Knight Rider,Samantha,Earl Kyle XY. Not Canceled:Scrubs,Ted,Chuck,Kath & Kim. Weird Status:Reaper, The Game, Futurama

The 2009 TV season was just all over the place. So many shows were coming and going that it was a little hard to keep track. I think the dust has settled and we can finally start taking stock and make some definitive statements about the status of a lot of these shows.

A very long time ago I wrote about Mad TV probably needing to go. It was a tough call on my part; I love comedy, people of diverse backgrounds were getting seen, the show taped 2 blocks from my LA apartment. So I wanted to be loyal but it just suffered from weak writing. Weekly comedy is hard. Hell, COMEDY is hard, but those folks had access to top resources and just weren’t willing to get out there and find a stronger comedic voice. So as much as people have maligned SNL they just do better. The final episode and season finale of SNL, ironically, chose a lot of similar topics.

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Man, a long time ago I also wrote about Knight Rider’s first episode and I had high hopes. But they fell into the young white guy is the hero of every scene formula and that’s all she wrote. Another cable show that got a little press The Beast and Nip/Tuck are gone too.

Kyle XY, well, I also wrote about this show just being too good and the network not knowing what to do. Hour long fantasy/sci fi shows have very loyal fans. And they’re a lot of them. But networks get INTO these deals and every single time they are surprised when they’re not making enough money on these hour long shows after 2 seasons and then start talking cancellation. Every time. Look at Battlestar that show is technically gone, but Caprica is on the horizon now because the networks have fans flooding them show interest. The fans TRIED with Kyle but SO FAR the networks aren’t listening.

But don’t believe everything. Case in point. They killed Family Guy and voila. It came back. They killed Scrubs and voila it came back. And this brings us to the strange new trend of Network Hoping. Networks with weak programming blocks are picking dropped shows. ABC took Scrubs. And CW just dropped The Game and now BET is pretty much locked in on finalizing a deal. FOX let Futurama go years ago. But did you know they’ve been making Futurama movies? Yeah, three of them. And fans like me have been collecting them. So now Comedy Central is renewing the show. I wouldn’t be totally surprised if a network like Lifetime picked up the recently canceled Samantha Who. It looked like something like that MIGHT happen for Reaper. But, poor Reaper, it’s gone for good now. It was SOOO good and at first CW just canceled it. Then there was this mailing in socks campaign by the fans. So they renewed the show but gave it a delayed renewal last YEAR and now it’s pretty much dead. I figure if the network can’t find another hit this summer they’ll bring it back. And if they bring it back I will update this article. But some cast members are already booked on new shows. But again; fantasy shows so rarely are giant hits like Heroes and that’s the only way they can make it.

Now a sad situation is My Name is Earl fiasco. As you may or may not know Chuck was canceled, but due to fans like me who made videos, the show got renewed at the last minute. The Earl group tried a similar tactic on Twitter, but it didn’t work out. Sad. Good show and I’m surprised because half hour comedies are cheap-for the most part. Earl was kinda filmic (not set in and around a living room like Rosanne or Family Matters) so it probably cost a little more to make.

Speaking of surprises. I PREDICTED the cancellation of Better Off Ted. But guess what? It’s staying on the air! I reasoned that the show was actually TOO funny and good for ABC, but what I forgot about was one of the stars being involved with Ellen and a network not wanting to ruffle feathers of a money maker. Totally forgot about that. It’s similar to the reason that Kath and Kim is still on the air-but they finally killed it! As awful as that show is, because Molly Shannon has a history with NBC they’re letting it live. The EXACT same reason they’re keeping Amy Poehler’s awful show Parks. Love Amy but man what a horrible premise for a show. Not the workplace but Amy playing one character. A dumb one too. Who the hell thought that was the way to go? Ah well, TV…

Pushing Daisies, Christian Slater, MadTV Cancelled. Kath & Kim Still on the Air!

So last night the countdown started for Slater’s new show My Own Worst Enemy. It’s only going to get one season. Now a few weeks ago I wrote about how much I liked the show and conversely did NOT like another NBC show, Kath and Kim. I predicted K & K would not be back year, but so far that show has not been cancelled. In fact, that show as actually racked up all kinds of guest stars. They’re lining up to do the show! I also found out it’s an Australian import/remake, and that explains a LOT about why it makes no sense to me. I mean I loved Mad Max but I’m not the biggest fan of Yahoo Serious. But; ready to have your mind blown? NBC has ordered more episodes of the show despite the fact that this American version HAS been cancelled in Austria. Go f–king figure.

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Last year around this time I also wrote about how I thought it was probably about time MadTV got killed, and so the news of that has also come to pass. It’s nearing the end of its run, but I think they’ve had about 14 years and that’s a big deal-but that seems to be the FOX does business; if they don’t kill off a show that’s great way too early it’ll stay on forever. But I don’t know? I’m taking a kind of perverse pleasure in the news about MadTV. I had a reaction like “ha! It got cancelled!” And an ironic twist I also got left by another woman, no not the one who left me that I mentioned repeated around this blog, AND not the one from out of town who left me-and we hadn’t even met face to face! No this was an entirely new women that didn’t want my company-and I get the feeling she was sitting around saying “ha! He got cancelled!”

But MadTV has made, I think, a significant contribution to the world of sketch comedy. Many, many memorable characters and lots of laughs. Not to mention the number of people who’ve gone through their doors to bigger and better things. A great job. Speaking of comedy, Amy Poehlor is supposed to be getting her own show. She’s the lady from Upright Citizens Brigade, who got on Saturday Night Live and become the Weekend Update person. Now she’s got a show that includes Quincy Jones daughter (She’s was “Jim’s” girlfriend for a minute on the Office. More trivia? Quincy also produced MadTV. More? OK, Amy is married to the guy that played JOB on the great cancelled FOX show Arrested Development).

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But let’s get back to the bad news. Pushing up Daisies has been cancelled. I know! It’s one of the few good shows and they’re killing it. People are not happy, so why are they doing it? It makes no sense right? Brian Fuller, who gave us the great Dead Like Me, is the creator of the show and he was on the first season of Heroes, so he’ll be going back to that show. And that’s good news. But the bad news is they just fired great comic book writer Jeph Loeb. By why are they killing good hour long shows. It’s the money. Hour long shows are expensive to make and if they only generate the audience and income of a half hour show they get killed. I’ve had to take a sort of philosophical approach to loosing good TV. In England they run shows for a much shorter period of time and a lot of the shows I love from there are only one or two seasons, so I learned to just accept this. The good news is that with digital format we can relive shows we liked a lot easier.

Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down on MadTV?

Tonight was the 300th episode of MADtv. So is that a milestone, or a prelude to the end? I gotta tell you MADtv has gotten strange. I once heard a an expression that goes, “a bulb burns brightest before it burns out.” Or maybe it was about stars (celestial not Hollywood). At any rate as somebody who has actually watched the show from the beginning all the way through tonight I have to say I think I’m done.

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The show has always been compared to Saturday Night Live, but that’s only because it airs on Saturday nights. In no other way does it compare. It is a very different kind of humor, and as far as I can tell the shows creation comes from an entirely different place; we all know the history of SNL. Lorne was the driving force of SNL, and Quincy Jones was the producer of MADtv-and at this point Quincy is probably more proud of the fact that his daughter is on the Office.

To me, MADtv came out of very strange moment in history. For a while FOX was a new and struggling network, and in those days they realized that appealing to minority groups (meaning Black) viewers were a more realistic demographic than trying to go after the 3 major network’s viewers. Why try to poach Seinfeld or Friends fans? Just go after the underserved Black viewers. And they were VERY successful with that. In Living Color, and Living Single made FOX a lot of money. Enough money to eventually dump the color format. And MADtv is from that era of programming.

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Originally this year I thought Mad wasn’t coming back. Their season got off to a very late start. And the first thing you notice is the format change. They’ve moved the show to some sort of club and essentially become a “clips show.” They go to clips after a humorous presentation, which they did in the past also, but now it feels less like it’s live. At least before you had the illusion that it was live. But Mr. Show is Mr. Show and this ain’t Mr. Show. Bob and Dave had that format and it worked for them. There is also a group in LA called the Ministry of Unknown Science that does a pretty good live version, but I’m not feeling it from Mad.

They’ve added a couple of new “ethnic” cast members. Where in the past they would go Black for color (except for Bobby Lee, of course), this year they went to the Spanish speaking community. And as usual, I feel the performers are actually stronger than the writing. But my feeling is the show won’t be back next year, despite the changes. In fact, it almost looks like the changes were a last ditch effort. Your thoughts?