Sunday, January 20, 2008

Oscars - Will The Show Go On?

With Academy Award nominations set to be announced Tuesday, it's becoming an interesting game of chicken between the WGA and the Academy.

The WGA has yet to grant a waiver to allow the show to go on with writers working on the program and nominees to cross picket lines in order to receive their statuettes.

Producers for the Oscars have said the show will go on regardless of whether they get the waiver or not, but seeing what a fiasco the Golden Globes were when it was boycotted last week, it's hard to imagine what the producers could do to fill air time successfully.

But the WGA is in a tight spot as well. Though most polls indicate the public is on the side of the WGA, the guild could lose a lot of public goodwill if the ceremony is boycotted or cancelled. The Oscars are typically the second-most watched TV event each year, behind only the Super Bowl.

On the other hand, if the WGA wants to deliver a swift kick to the groin of the AMPTP, the group negotiating on behalf of the studios, deep-sixing the Oscars would be a giant blow. It would be crushing to Disney/ABC to lose all of those ratings and ad revenue, and all of the studios would suffer since they wouldn't be able to use the bump of an Oscar nomination in their marketing schemes.

There are flickers of hope around Hollywood that the recent AMTMP deal with the Directors Guild of America might provide a spark between the studios and the WGA, but it's important to note that the DGA conceded a lot of points that the WGA is striking over in the first place, so the DGA deal hardly provides much of a framework for the WGA to use.

In the end, like the strike itself, no one is going to be the winner in this fight: not the writers and actors, who lose out on a career-making night; not the studios, who lose millions in revenue; and not the public, which loses its traditional night to celebrate the motion picture industry.

R.I.P. SUZANNE PLESHETTE: The actress, who died over the weekend, would have turned 71 on Jan. 31. Pleshette, a veteran performer for both films and television, was the linchpin of the one of the single greatest moments in the history of TV when she reprised her role in 1990 from "The Bob Newhart Show" for the brilliantly conceived series finale of "Newhart," Bob Newhart's second TV series. No TV series before or since has ever touched that twist of an ending (which probably wouldn't have been possible in today's era of Internet spoilers).

MONDAY'S BEST BETS: "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" (Fox, 9 p.m.) suffered a big dropoff in ratings from its pilot to the second episode, but here's hoping viewers give it another chance. It follows a new "Prison Break."

"Medium" (NBC, 10 p.m.) follows reality game show hits "American Gladiators" and "Deal Or No Deal." While I'm personally glad that "AG" has returned to the air, the Hulk Hogan/Laila Ali interviews are coming off as insipid. And the play-by-play voiceover guy makes me long for the days of Mike Adamle and Larry Csonka. But some of the new games are cool and the Eliminator has been pretty interesting, plus I like all of the pools the competitors keep getting dunked into.

ABC follows its newest "Dance War" (ABC, 8 p.m.) with new episodes of "Notes From The Underbelly" and "October Road."

Tonight marks the return of the very popular teen series, "Wildfire" (ABC Family, 9 p.m.), following an all-new "Kyle XY."

If you missed AMC's much-anticipated pilot for "Breaking Bad," you can catch it again tonight at 10 p.m.


zodin2008 said...

Sorry, but while I do feel strongly that writer's should get paid for downloads, I have zero sympathy left. They have long crossed the line and been unyielding. Many of the WGA members have come out against their leadership...since you have people like Patric Verrone acting like Don Fehr.

The upside of the writer's ruining mine and millions of others' TV seasons, is I rejoined Netflix and have discovered the greatness of "The Wire" and "Undeclared" among other shows.

Soon, I will be trying out current shows like "Brothers and Sisters" and other past shows like "Rome", "Deadwood" and "Freaks & Geeks".

I have also now watched every single Presidential debate and the crap being flown between the Obama and Clinton camps is far more entertaining than most of what's currently on TV.

"Breaking Bad", as I said in the belated Friday post, was fantastic and Bryan Cranston will clearly warrant some Best lead Actor in a Drama consideration at the next round of awards. Fantastic show - AMC is now 2 for 2.

To think that 1 year ago, I joked that if I had "a la carte" Cable, AMC would not have been a channel to keep. But with "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad" (and assuming there are future seasons with this horrifying, endless, writer's strike) AMC would be a MUST keep.

In fact, I used to judge FX as the 'Gold standard' for non pay Cable series Television....but frankly, w/ "The Shield" entering its final season (and this show has never ever skipped a beat - pitch perfect from start to finish) and "Rescue Me" coming off a terrible year (and no, despite Phillip's false assertions, the last few episodes did not bring the show only put a band-aid on a gaping wound) AMC has clearly passed FX.

The other shows on FX? "Damages", insanely boring and unwatchable and Glenn Close to hateable a lead character to get behind (plus Rose Byrne is just an atrociously bad actress); "Nip/Tuck" is something I have always found unwatchable; "The Riches" was so truly rancid, my wife & I turned it off through episode #3...and specifially because of Minnie Driver is the worst acting performance I have ever seen in my lifetime.

Just my 2 cents but AMC over FX now.

Phillip Ramati said...

I also enjoyed Breaking Bad a lot.

As for the strike, the WGA again extended overtures to the AMTMP on Tuesday, so the ball is in the studios' court - as it has been since Christmas.