The readership for Always Be Watching is primarily Australian (but a big hello to the growing US and European readership), so it seems redundant to focus too much on the announcement yesterday that Australia’s public broadcaster the ABC will lose 250 staff from across its TV/Radio/Online divisions in an effort to meet its diminished budget. I assume anyone reading this knows all about the news.
One of the things I hadn’t heard yesterday was that part of the restructure will restrict all new TV commissions (outside of news and children’s TV) to the 6-9:30pm timeslots. I found that noteworthy if only because a big part of the announcement focused on using digital platforms as a focus going forward. Seems strange to focus on linear timeslot restrictions…
“Prioritising digital services will necessitate changes to the ways in which we allocate our declining budget and deliver programs. We will focus on commissioning for first-run content across a reduced schedule of 42 weeks, with no first-run commissions from 9.30pm on broadcast.
“Similarly, our content investment will be moved increasingly towards on-demand rights. As part of this transition, iview will become the home of much of our comedy content, while the ABC Comedy channel will be repurposed into a broader destination for multiple genres, such as the arts.”
Consider the alternate reality world in which Steve Carell didn’t play Michael Scott in The Office. Apparently the role was originally offered to Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti. Both turned it down.
Other people on the list of potential Michael Scotts:
David Arquette, Jason Lee, Dave Foley, Dan Castellaneta, Thomas Lennon, Horatio Sanz, Ben Falcone, Owen Wilson, David Koechner, Hank Azaria, Rick Moranis, Kevin Nealon, Dan Aykroyd, Jon Favreau, Eugene Levy, Christopher Guest, Jason Segal, Andy Richter, Jeff Garlin, Cedric the Entertainer, Richard Kind, Matthew Broderick, William H. Macy, Paul F. Tompkins, Stanley Tucci, Steve Buscemi, Gary Cole, Stephen Colbert, and John C. Reilly.
30 Rock isn’t the only show pulling episodes that featured characters in blackface. Creator Bill Lawrence has commented on Twitter that episodes of Scrubs are being pulled also.
Instead of seeing episodes pulled, I’d be more interested in seeing contextual material added to each episode as is being done with Gone With The Wind.
A TV series based on The Phantom of The Opera is in the works from French production company Gaumont. The series will be based on the original book by Gaston Leroux and not the lavish Broadway musical.
The AV Club has a really great article that looks at the slap fight between Sam and Diane midway through the first season of Cheers. It’s the scene that completely disrupted and rebuilt the foundation of will they/won’t they relationships on television.
This deliberate tension might be rendered slightly obvious and blunted when the characters are thrust into the same cycle for years, as television is wont to do, but the core idea still had purchase when it wasn’t exactly clear if Sam and Diane were doomed. Their mating dance of fighting instead of f**king (or both when they actually were f**king) was pitched perfectly between excitement and unease, which went a long way to ensuring that any time Danson and Long were on screen together it was a can’t-miss proposition.