New Faces

July 30, 2008

A few weeks ago William Petersen, who has starred as Gil Grissom for the past 8 years, announced that he was leaving CSI. Gil’s final one liner as Crime Scene team leader will be delivered in the tenth episode of the 2009 season. Fair enough, the guy wants a change. He’s been chasing fictional bad guys for the milennium, only taking one break in 2006 to appear in a play. Apparently he is considering going back to theatre between Executive Producing future CSI eps and making the odd guest appearance. The list of rumoured replacements is headlined by Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne and Eric Stoltz (the guy who played Cher’s disfigured son in Mask).

Predictably, fans are outraged, with comments ranging from despair:

NOOOOOOOOOO  I don’t want him to leave!!!! why?????????? 😦 😦 😦 I knew the day would come but I just can’t face it…. GSR-4EVER

To the slightly deluded:

If Grissom did leave the show.it would be llike a James bond movie w/o james Bond. ( I like spy movies).It would not only mark the end of CSI.But the end of an era of great television. gsr4ever13

 

Considering that CSI has survived competition from several new shows and franchising, will changing the lead actor really make a difference?

 

One of the less successful role replacements was on Bewitched, when Dick York’s struggle with a back injury and pain killers caused him to lose the role of Darrin to Dick Sargent.  Growing up watching the repeats, I’d never noticed, but apparently fans at the time did and the series dropped immediately from 12th to 25th most watched show.  Perhaps the fact that the character name didn’t change along with the actor is what upset viewers. 

 

This would suggest that maybe it’s an easier sell when both the actor and the character change.  But I reckon it’s more of a problem if the new actor’s function is the same. It’s hard to say whether the X-Files would have regained ratings if David Duchovny had stayed, but the introduction of Robert Patrick as Scully’s offsider definitely signalled the series’ ensuing death. 

 

In the non-drama world, this same issue will play out in the hotly contested arena of American tonight shows.  On Friday May 29th, 2009, Jay Leno will host his final shift.  The gig will be handed to Conan O’Brien the follwing Monday, after he has patiently waited for the guernsey for more than ten years.  That’s some apprenticeship.  There’s already pressure on Conan to retain Leno’s consistent ratings…so you can only imagine how the guy reading for Petersen’s role must feel.  Maybe, since CSI is not the real world, one of the female characters should be promoted and any new guy will have to earn the respect of his boss and all of those loyal viewers.

A pitch for a new TV show often starts with ‘it’s this meets that’. For example, Project Runway is a Victoria Secret Show meets Idol or Wipeout is It’s A Knockout meets Judge Judy (wait til someone sues for permanent injury and the judge has to ask when they thought it was going wrong). Taking this into account, you can imagine the pitch for the UK’s new show Diet on the Dance Floor. It’s Strictly Come Dancing (Dancing With the Stars) meets The Biggest Loser. Over eight episodes tubby contestants sweat it out in choreographed fashion and dance off against one another each week. Both dance style and weight loss will be considered in deciding who gets sent home. As they progress, the dance routines will get more physically challenging as the outfits will undoubtedly get skimpier.

It’s a bit like your slightly tubby uncle meets a patch of sticky carpet late at night in any suburban pub.

When we first heard about Jerry Springer the Opera it had to be a joke…until the fixture of trashy daytime tv moved from small theatres in England to a sellout season on Broadway. Just like melding Disney characters with ice, it seems that putting narratives we know and love to music is a sure-fire winner.

The latest all-singing, all dancing, strangely juxtaposed sensation being brought to life in the US is Spiderman, the Musical. Out of all the superhero choices, it makes sense to expand on the original catchy theme tune that seamlessly incorporated lyrics like ‘radioactive blood’.

The really big news for everyone, apart from Tobey MGuire and Kirsten Dunst, is that they are holding open auditions for the starring roles. If you, or someone you know, can combine shooting webs from their wrists with a great rock singing voice, then this is the moment they’ve been waiting for. Casting will take place in New York on July 28 (10a-5p) at The Knitting Factory, 74 Leonard Street. The directors are looking for their Peter Parker (male, 16-20s); Mary Jane (female 16-20s); and a mysterious Principal woman (25-35) where the brief is “think Sinead O’Connor with a Middle Eastern/Bulgarian/Greek twist”. Perhaps a lady with a shaved head, an angelic tone and one hit will be Spidey’s on-stage nemesis.

With music and lyrics by Bono and The Edge, the final product promises to be a multi-cultural mix that should attract more than an incy wincy following. I hope someone is filming this…

BBC3 last week launched a new beauty talent search with a twist – BRITAIN’S MISSING TOP MODEL. Eight spunky girls, each with a disability, battle it out to become England’s next top model. The show’s first episode premiered well, delivering 30% above the broadcaster’s average. It certainly appears that having a limb missing doesn’t affect a contestant’s ability to bitch and moan. The first few minutes preview the entire series. Is it empowering to watch imperfect women getting photographed in underwear or nude? Will we be inspired by watching them roll down the catwalk? And how did they find a wheelchair accessible penthouse for the girls to share??

In this article, a US journalist attends an intensive press launch for Big Brother USA, and suggests that locking up the producers could lead to the Next Big Thing…

Nat must be Peachy keen

July 10, 2008

 

 

Joe E. Tata (above) who played Nat, owner of the Peach Pit, for 10 years on the original Beverly Hills 90210 has been attached to the re-incarnated series.  According to IMDB he’s had one guest appearance on TV since 2001, so he must be stoked.  Unfortunately Tori Spelling has pulled out, but Shannen Doherty and Jenni Garth are both rumoured to be moving back to that special zip code.  

Airing between 1990 and 2000, 90210 was one of the first mainstream dramas to tackle controversial topics like AIDS, date rape, drug abuse and teen pregnancy.  In the wake of Gossip Girl and the OC, it’ll be interesting to see how far the stories will have to go this time to capture the audience’s attention. 

 

If this promo is anything to go by, those first few bars of the familiar theme song will have many of us suckered from the get-go.

 

Shortly after the first episode of the US version of K & K wrapped, NBC upped its order from 6 eps to 13. After enjoying both the original British and American versions of The Office, will we be able to embrace this glossier take on the suburban lifestyle?