Friday, March 16, 2007

R.I.P. Veronica Mars?

It's entirely possible that we will see the last of the lovely and talented Ms. Mars this May when the CW broadcasts the final five episodes of the season.

E!'s Kristin Veitch, who is normally a pretty reliable source about such things, is reporting the network won't renew the critically acclaimed but ratings-challenged show for a fourth season.

You can read Kristin's blog here.

The irony is that "Veronica Mars" creator Rob Thomas just said what his plans were for a possible season four: He was going to skip ahead four years and have Veronica in her rookie year at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va. You can read that story in The Hollywood Reporter.

"VM" has been one of those shows that has a small, but loyal, cult following. It's been considered the heir apparent to "Buffy, The Vampire Slayer" in that it shows a teen girl as the heroine of the piece.

Though I never enjoyed "VM" quite as much as "Buffy" - I felt the supporting cast was never developed enough, and the season-long mysteries that defined the show were either too easy or too dense - those are quibbles with what is always an entertaining series.

With "Gilmore Girls" possibly in its last season (several of the stars' contracts are up at the end of the year, and the ratings have gone down since the show moved from the WB to the CW), the network faces a real programming dilemma for that night.

Or maybe it doesn't. With solidly rated dramas ("House," "Law & Order," "NCIS," et. al.) occupying those 8-10 p.m. timeslots on other networks, perhaps the CW feels it can't compete in the ratings. They may look at shows like "Pussycat Dolls" as more cost-effective solutions - good for the CW, bad for the rest of us.

If the CW is looking to morph its brand yet again by ending two of its better dramas, it could have a trickle-down effect on other shows. For example, "Supernatural" has been a very solid cult show on Thursdays, despite having competition from two of TV's ratings behemoths in "Grey's Anatomy" and "CSI." Nothing the CW will put in that timeslot will ever get big ratings, but "Supernatural" has been a good companion piece for "Smallville" the last two years.

Earlier this month, reports were coming out that the CW was 60-40 in favor of renewing "Supernatural," but if they are going to kill off "VM," nothing is safe.

Nothing is set in stone, however. If you are a fan of these shows, I encourage you to write the network or go to its Web site and e-mail them. If enough people show their support, it's possible to save some of these shows.

FRIDAY'S BEST BETS: A pretty quiet night unless you are a college basketball fan. (Wasn't it great to see Duke lose last night?) The NCAA tournament continues all day today, including prime-time action tonight beginning at 7 p.m. on CBS.

Fox has the lone new episode of a drama tonight, with "The Wedding Bells" at 9 p.m.

Everything else is reruns except for NBC's game shows, "1 vs. 100" and "Identity" beginning at 8 p.m.

WEEKEND'S BEST BETS: A couple of great series are winding down Sunday night. The penultimate episode of "Rome" (HBO, 9 p.m.) hits the air, in what has been a solid season (but could have been better if they hadn't tried to shove so much stuff into it.)

"Battlestar Galactica" (Sci-Fi, 10 p.m.) continues with the trial of Baltar.

Also, "The Amazing Race" (CBS, 8 p.m.) just got a lot more interesting with the shocking elimination of reality uber-stars Rob and Amber.

Plus, March Madness continues all through the weekend.

Finally, for Macon-area viewers, Georgia Public Television will air the Cherry Blossom Festival parade live on Sunday, beginning at 3 p.m. In addition, ABC is sending a crew down here to film stuff on the festival for an upcoming edition of "Good Morning America."


Anonymous said...

I heard that this season was the last for Rome. Is that true? I just started watching this show this season, and fell in love with it. But if it is true, go figure, that always happens to me. I get real interested in a show then it ends.

Phillip Ramati said...

Sadly, it is true. Despite its critical acclaim, Rome was one of the most expensive shows on TV to produce, and BBC and HBO decided it was more money than it was worth. You should check out Season 1 on DVD if you haven't seen it already.

Zodin2008 said...

By the way, "Veronica Mars" is anoither show a 1000X smarter and more entertaining then "American Idol". And yet America ignores.

Once again, proving FOX right...5th Graders are in fact smarter.

Please CW, bring back "Mars" and "Supernatural". As for "Gilmore Girls"? Who cares. Let it end already...I am tired of hearing about this wildly overrated schlock.

Phillip Ramati said...

Watching "VM" and "AI" don't have to be mutually exclusive. Again, apples and oranges.

I believe that losing "Gilmore Girls" would hurt "VM" coming back, because the two are natural companion shows as the CW tries to build its brand on Tuesday nights. With the GG lead-in, the CW execs may not feel there's a point to bringing back VM, especially if they go for a completely different themed show in the 8 p.m. hour.