Cultural News Bytes (June 4th) – On the Lot Format Shift, Spurned Pilots Find New Life

‘On The Lot’ Cuts Back

If you turn on FOX tonight looking for a new one-hour installment of ‘On the Lot’, you’ll be disappointed. Thanks to extremely poor ratings, the series will be cut back to a single hour-long segment each week to air at 8pm on Tuesdays. Reruns of House, FOX’s only real rerunnable series, will air on Mondays for the foreseeable future ahead of returning reality series ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ (Debuting tonight at 9pm).

There is no official word on how Burnett and Co. are going to turn a results show into both a presentation and a result show, but magically it will happen. Personally, I think they should ditch the audience vote altogether and have the judges make the decisions based on screenings of the films. It would make a hell of a lot more sense, and get a lot better filmmakers in the process. We’ll find out tomorrow night, regardless, when ‘On the Lot’ returns to see if it can make a go of it.

ABC, FOX Pilots Find New Life

While Upfront season is long over, it appears that, according to The Hollywood Reporter, the drama is just beginning for two high-profile pilots from the creative teams behind two cult-favourites: Arrested Development’s Mitch Hurwitz and Battlestar Galactica’s David Eick.

Hurwitz is behind “The Thick of It”, a pilot about a congressman dealing with his new surroundings that is based on a British sitcom. The pilot found no traction at ABC, who went with Cavemen instead (Ugh), but it is apparently seeing life in both fans of Hurwitz’ work and fans of British comedy adaptations. Showtime, fans of Hurwitz ever since they attempted to acquire Arrested Development for a 4th season, want to work with him and even bid on the pilot before ABC nabbed it. NBC, meanwhile, is in the running since new boss Ben Silverman was responsible for The Office (US) and is therefore seeing a strong future for a similar adaptation. HBO is apparently also considering it.

Personally, I would prefer Showtime over NBC, mainly because I don’t like Silverman’s direction. He’s made his career off of taking international hits and adapting them to American television. Which is great for Ugly Betty, or for The Office, but it’s not a foolproof formula. For every The Office there’s a Coupling, and I want to make sure Silverman keeps this in mind before going crazy with it. Thus, Showtime would be a great spot for this pilot to land. Plus, Christopher Guest directed the pilot, and it features much of his usual comedy crew, so I can’t help but be excited to see the results.

The other pilot, meanwhile, is FOX’s ‘Them’. In recent chats with the media regarding Battlestar Galactica, Eick revealed that FOX is considering keeping the project afloat and looking at it for midseason. While this might sound great, this drama about a sleeper cell of alien beings within American society needs to look at how FOX handled the similar midseason launch of Drive. Even if it is picked up, it has a rocky road ahead of it.

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Filed under ABC, FOX, House, On The Lot, Reality TV, Television, Upfronts

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