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The Death of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

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Network television programming executives must loathe smart, engaged viewers like me.

It’s cool. I despise them, too. Believe me, I’m no player hater. I’m just an irritable, college-educated guy who understands TV execs have a thankless job – one where demographics and tea leaf readings portend what shows will be picked up for every new season, where they will go in the schedule, and how best to gratify both audiences and advertisers alike.  

For all involved, it’s a recipe for acid reflux meds at best and antidepressants at worst.

Yet knowing all of these factors, one can’t help but think that lowest common denominator results are aimed at the people who need help deciding which laundry detergent will get their shirts white enough… not at people who truly love to suspend their disbelief to be entertained, as they say.

So what’s got a viewer like me so hot? A bastard stepchild ensemble dramedy called Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, which, it appears, has finally gotten the axe at NBC that’s been threatened it for months now. I’m sure the "networkies" have got some old Fear Factor reruns to plug in there somewh… er, well, it seems it’s already been replaced by a midseason toss-off called The Black Donnellys. Sorry? The what who? 

Everyone from Entertainment Weekly to Salon and Entertainment Tonight has been sounding the Studio 60 death knell recently. A bigger question raised from this rabble should be, "What happened to the gutsy network that took a chance on Sorkin’s rapid-fire political drama The West Wing and oddball comedies like Seinfeld and even the vapid Night Court?" Teams in last place aren’t known for guts, I suppose. Getting by, maybe… but you almost never see the 40-yard pass out of them. 

Described as too “inside” and “self-important,” this great Aaron Sorkin vehicle never really had a chance, mainly because it was too smart for its time slot. The perpetually fourth-place-and-panicky NBC wussed out of anchoring their “Must See TV” Thursday revival with it. Instead, the show withered on the Monday night vine… home to football, 24 and Deal Or No Deal. Everyone knows that Monday night is a place where hard-working Joes and Janes get a reprieve from the return to the work week. They don't want clever. They just want their cold MGD or Miller Lite, chips, and idiot box to mentally check out with.

NBC so obviously feared Studio 60 would get destroyed by CBS's CSI and ABC's Grey's Anatomy, that execs there decided a reactionary move to Monday nights at 10 PM might just save the show… before they had really tried it elsewhere. Instead of focusing on the show’s star power – Sorkin and the all-star lineup of Bradley Whitford, ten-year Friend Matthew Perry, Amanda Peet, Timothy Busfield, Steven Weber – they quivered in fear and settled on a “prevent defense.” How else does this show not sell?

A note to NBC execs: you’re not playing for a first round draft pick.  

Like Sorkin’s Sports Night before it, Studio 60 had a great ensemble cast. It was smart, insightful, funny, sophisticated — with great dialogue and complex character development that takes time to absorb. And, perhaps most importantly, it focused on the friendships, inner workings, ethics, and intuitions that television entertainment folk face every day, even as they attempt to produce first-rate programming under steady network bombardment and criticism.

Okay, I digress. Maybe that does make the context and storyline a bit too “inside.” But, like Sports Night, it made for fairly compelling viewing. No wonder it stiffed. 

Truth be told, I thought Studio 60 had a better chance than Sports Night when actress and Golden Globe nominee Sarah Paulson was nominated for her role as Harriet Hayes. The air of legitimacy from a Globes win would have carried the show at least another year, giving the Studio 60 writing crew a chance for all of these great stories and subplots they've started in the show to develop. But she was passed over. 

Seeing former American Idol finalist Jennifer Hudson winning a Globe was a far better read on network television’s (and, more importantly, Hollywood's) barometric pressure these days.

Outside of the success of Heroes and the one-trick pony known as The Office, NBC has decided to commit to the same mindless self-indulgent entertainment – with occasional, pseudo-intellectual decoupages – that the other networks have. 

It's called "Throw 'em a bone," which is better than "Let them eat cake." But not much.

This same plague killed NBC’s smart, small town romantic dramedy Ed, starring perpetual comedic bridesmaid and Love Monkey star Tom Cavanaugh. First, NBC hastily messed with the story to jump start ratings, then moved the show to another time slot, and finally wrapped up the show with more reckless abandon than a Britney Spears binge weekend in LA.

At least in death, Studio 60 can say it predicted its own demise both inside and outside of the script. It will be able to keep its dignity and integrity in that regard. NBC, however, has truly lost the plot. Or, to finalize the football metaphor, fumbled again.

As for Sorkin and his work? Both are too smart to waste on a network that thinks more highly of Identity, 1 Vs. 100, The Apprentice, My Name is Earl, and one more insufferable Dateline NBC episode – where pervert predators are caught on tape attempting to solicit Internet chatroom decoys. Note to Sorkin: start shopping Studio 60 to Showtime or HBO. It’s got a better chance on cable anyway.

Just like me.

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About Peter Chakerian

  • http://blogcritics.org/video Lisa McKay

    Congratulations! This article has been selected for syndication to Advance.net, which is affiliated with newspapers around the United States.

  • sal m

    great piece and a great commentary on the state of a dying network…

  • Diane Kristine

    Before you get dismissive, you might want to read up on The Black Donnellys. It isn’t exactly an obscure little show or a “toss off” – it’s from the producers/writers of Crash, Paul Haggis and Bobby Moresco, and it’s a thinking person’s show too. It’s not likely to grab big ratings, either, but is more deserving of a shot than Studio 60 of late. I loved Studio 60 when it started, but it withered on the creative vine long before NBC gave up on its continually plummeting ratings. Smart viewers found the show. Smart viewers fled the show. A smart network is cutting their losses.

  • Kate

    Not sure people have figured out it’s still not canceled. Hate to break it to the media outlets but the death knell hasn’t happened yet. It’s still alive–no cancellation by NBC. The reason there’s no return date is they’re not sure how The Black Donnellys will do and if it does well they’ll move Studio 60, if it does badly, Studio 60 gets its slot back. It’s still on hiatus. I mean that with no irony whatsoever. They don’t know what night to bring it back on. (And I’ve seen some of The Black Donnellys–definitely a pass)

  • Pat

    I am a huge West Wing fan (the first 4 seasons) and I have to say that Studio 60 deserved it’s fate.

    Besides the pilot, Studio 60 was a terrible show. The characters were spoiled-rich Hollywood brats. The story lines were trite. The writing was too self-important.

    Good riddance.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    I was a huge fan of Sports Night and enjoyed West Wing until Sorkin left, but Studio 60 was boring. I barely made it out of the first episode and wasn’t compelled to come back.

    It was too inside and I know the business. The characters weren’t interesting, the writing was too full of itself, especially considering how obvious the messages were, the comedy sketches weren’t funny, and it was all too familiar from having been done better on his previous shows. Plus, Sorkin seems to fail to realize that TV is a visual medium and it gets rather boring watching people talk.

    This show would have gotten killed on Thursdays. Where was the audience going to come from? It couldn’t keep its audience which left in small chunks each week. When you attend the show’s funeral, don’t be surprised by the low turnout.

    NBC is taking a chance with Friday Night Lights. It’s the best show no one is watching from what I hear. And can we please stop with the reality show snobbery. You are certainly entitled to not like them, but they are very successful financially and considering NBC is a business, that matters a great deal.

  • http://sterfish.blogspot.com Sterfish

    Diane Kristine hit it right on the nose. I really wanted to like Studio 60 and I tried to like Studio 60 but it disappointed again and again. Even though there is little else on at the same time, I gave up on it.

    While I have to give it credit for trying, this show will be known as a spectacular failure by many. Those who think otherwise will likely be rewarded with a nice DVD set and tell the rest of us what a “hidden gem” it was.

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    Heroes also gave it a nice lead-in.

    -Glen

  • http://oakhaus.blogspot.com Bill Sherman

    I watched Studio 60 throughout its run to date, even though the show repeatedly disappointed me. Sorkin has historically said that writing good romantic dialog is a weak spot for him, yet here he gave himself a series where two of the biggest plotlines were romances. Too, like many viewers, I never felt like I was shown what made Sarah Paulson’s Harriet such an important part of the setting’s sketch comedy show. Dolphin voices? Please.

    That noted, when he was on – and he was several times an ep – Sorkin’s facility with motormouthed screwball comedy talk kept me coming back for more . . .

  • http://draven99.blogspot.com Chris Beaumont

    I love Studio 60, and hope that it comes back.
    I also Agree that FNL uis fantastic, too.

  • http://tvandfilmguy.blogspot.com/ TV and Film Guy

    What a lot of other people have said (most notably DK) is correct: 1) Studio 60 has not yet been cancelled (though the odds aren’t good) and 2) The Black Donnellys is in no way a “toss off,” it has been much and boasts a really good creative team.

    I’d also like to add that protecting Studio 60 by not sending it up against Grey’s AND CSI was probably one of the best things NBC has done for a show in recent years.

    Not only that, but NBC stuck with the lackluster ratings of Ed for almost 4 full seasons. There’s no way that said show can be considered as “wrapped up the show with more reckless abandon than a Britney Spears binge weekend in LA.”

    Am I disappointed that Studio 60 didn’t garner the ratings I, personally, felt it deserved? Yes. But NBC did give it a big push and the benefit of the doubt. It was promoed, ballyhooed, and touted, viewers didn’t follow. Good shows don’t necessarily mean good ratings.

  • Marie

    Sigh. Where is a thinking TV watcher supposed to go? Every time one of the networks launches a well-written show that restores my hope we won’t be treated like dummies forever, it gets canceled.

    The only ones benefiting from the dumbing down of network programming are network execs and shareholders (if those reality TV shows are really as profitable as they claim).

    At least I’ve got my DVR recordings of The Daily Show and the Colbert Report to watch every night.

  • http://stephenconnolly.wordpress.com/ Stephen Connolly

    I wanted Studio 60 to succeed too but it was doomed by its own self-importance. Aaron Sorkin’s a smart guy, granted, but the problem is he thinks everyone else is stupid.

  • dee

    Judging by what’s on network television these days, some would say Sorkin’s right to think so.

    I think the author is right. The show is done. It’s all over but the crying.

  • http://draven99.blogspot.com Chris Beaumont

    If only we could get Charlie Jade in the States. I keep hearing how great it is, and how all of the US nets have deemed it “too smart” to air here….

  • http://kanrei.blogspot.com Brad Schader

    In today’s television environment shows like Seinfeld and Cheers would have died as well. Both those shows were not watched during their first seasons yet changed sitcoms forever. They are too quick to cancel and never let shows get their voice anymore. How can you cancel a show after one or two showings? With the amount of stations out there today it will take most people a few weeks to even know what is on, then a few more weeks to decide on a show. There should atleast be a one season run of any new show. They wonder why network television is dying yet they cancel any show that everyone does not watch.

  • http://tvandfilmguy.blogspot.com TV and Film Guy

    Everyone is such a big fan of saying Cheers and Seinfeld wouldn’t have survived in today’s climate, whereas a show like The Office didn’t garner good ratings in its first season but NBC brought it back anyway.

  • http://dracutweblog.blogspot.com Mary K. Williams

    I’d hate to see Studio 60 leave. I was disapointed when Sports Night got the axe, I absolutely loved that show.

  • http://kanrei.blogspot.com Brad Schader

    TV&FG,
    I wish I knew what keeps the Office on the air. I think they sold their souls or something.

  • Yvonne

    My favorite show. Great show. I downloaded “O Holy Night” from the Christmas show and played it repeatedly for many days, with my heart in my throat. Whoever was responsible for bringing those New Orleans musicians on is a genius. Love all the characters. Love that the dialogue shoots at me so fast I miss some of it. Especially love Bradley, Matthew, Amanda, Sarah…can’t keep quality in the media anymore. Cannot do it. Thanks to whoever for the precious few moments you gave me of this superb show.

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    I like Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. So far I’ve not missed an episode. But I disagree with just about everything else in this article.

    As it happens, I also love 24. And My Name Is Earl, which is absolutely hilarious (that may be why NBC thinks so highly of it). It’s not said, per se, but the suggestion is that people who like those shows are mutually exclusive from people who like Studio 60. That’s pretentious hogwash.

    As for the rest:

    What happened to the gutsy network that took a chance on Sorkin’s rapid-fire political drama The West Wing and oddball comedies like Seinfeld and even the vapid Night Court?

    Two of those, The West Wing and Night Court, were immediate hits. Seinfeld was kept because while it had a tiny audience early on, it was a critical smash. By contrast, Studio 60 is a flop, its audience dwindles by the week, and it’s a critical punching bag.

    The perpetually fourth-place-and-panicky NBC wussed out of anchoring their “Must See TV” Thursday revival with it….

    NBC so obviously feared Studio 60 would get destroyed by CBS’s CSI and ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy…

    Which, indeed, it would have been. Putting a new, unproven show on against the Number One show on TV (Grey’s) and the flagship of the most profitable franchise on TV (CSI)? That wouldn’t have been gutsy. That would have been moronic.

    It was smart, insightful, funny, sophisticated

    Well, it was smart and sophisticated. Occasionally insightful. Rarely funny.

    Truth be told, I thought Studio 60 had a better chance than Sports Night when actress and Golden Globe nominee Sarah Paulson was nominated for her role as Harriet Hayes. The air of legitimacy from a Globes win would have carried the show at least another year, giving the Studio 60 writing crew a chance for all of these great stories and subplots they’ve started in the show to develop. But she was passed over.

    You vastly overrated the power of the Golden Globes to influence television ratings. Past “Best Actress in a Drama” winners include Geena Davis for Commander in Chief, Claire Danes for My So-Called Life, and Regina Taylor for I’ll Fly Away.

    Seeing former American Idol finalist Jennifer Hudson winning a Globe was a far better read on network television’s (and, more importantly, Hollywood’s) barometric pressure these days.

    Another implication here: that Jennifer Hudson won the Globe because of her association with American Idol. You seem (again, seem – correct me if I’m wrong) to categorically dismiss the possibility that she deserved the award – which she did. How does giving someone an award they deserve correlate with the likely cancellation of Studio 60?

    This same plague killed NBC’s smart, small town romantic dramedy Ed, starring perpetual comedic bridesmaid and Love Monkey star Tom Cavanaugh. First, NBC hastily messed with the story to jump start ratings, then moved the show to another time slot

    First, as has already been pointed out, Ed hung on for FOUR SEASONS. If after four seasons the show was still not a ratings success, NBC canceled it because it had no other choice. It frankly lasted longer than any other show, no matter how smart, would last without ratings that earned the stay of execution.

    Second, you’ve spent a great dea of time here complaining that NBC put it in a bad time slot; the logical conclusion one would draw is that you thought they should change the time slot. Then you castigate the same network for changing another show’s time slot! Geez, no matter what NBC does, you will hate it!

    Oy.

  • Dynamo of Eternia

    QUOTE:
    “In today’s television environment shows like Seinfeld and Cheers would have died as well. Both those shows were not watched during their first seasons yet changed sitcoms forever. They are too quick to cancel and never let shows get their voice anymore. How can you cancel a show after one or two showings? With the amount of stations out there today it will take most people a few weeks to even know what is on, then a few more weeks to decide on a show. There should atleast be a one season run of any new show. They wonder why network television is dying yet they cancel any show that everyone does not watch.”

    I do not deny that you have a point, but keep in mind, it’s not like Studio 60 only ran for two episodes.

    NBC promoted the hell out of it when it was first starting. From what I recall from a few months back, there was probably more commericals running for Studio 60 than there was for almost any other brand new show that they had starting last fall (and even more than some of their ongoing/returning shows).

    While 10pm/9pm central on a Monday (or any time on Monday’s in general) isn’t the greatest time slot of all, it wasn’t necessarily a mark of death either. Plus, with the huge popularity of Heroes (which in many ways is a pretty smart show, IMO), there has been a solid, highly rated show airing right before Studio 60, giving it a solid lead in, and people still left or just didn’t tune in.

    I watched Studio 60 pretty consistently last year. My wife just didn’t like the show at all. I liked it, I felt it had potential, but in some way or another it just failed to miss the mark.

    Since it started up again a few weeks ago, I have recorded all of the newer episodes, but have yet to watch them. I think there’s a part of me that wants to like the show and doesn’t want to let it go, but then there’s another part that saying it isn’t that good, don’t bother watching it.

    I think in many ways it was smartly written, but that’s as far as it went. Somehow that smart writing didn’t translate as well on screen. It was a great concept on paper, but that’s about it.

    I admit that these days shows are often canceled way too prematurely and sometimes networks don’t give them a fair shake to gain an audience.

    But there are still some occasions (as rare as they may be), where networks do all that they can to make a show work. Fox did that with the critically acclaimed but low TV rated Arrested Development (a show which I love and proudly own on DVD). And I think NBC did that with Studio 60 as well. They promoted the hell out of it. They didn’t give it the axe after only a few episodes.

    Sure, maybe they could have tried a different time slot, but as a whole the network isn’t getting tons of ratings and Heroes is one of it’s few big hits right now, so what else could they have put it with that would have given it any better of a lead in?

    Would Seinfeld surivive today? Who knows. I mean, actually it had a very small initial season, much like The Office did, and that show is still running.

    Cheers? It’s hard to say. From what I understand (and I was very young when this happened, so I don’t remember from direct experience), the ratings were poor during the actual first season, but the reruns the following summer is when people started to pay attention. And these days shows that would do that badly probably wouldn’t get many reruns, so I could see that one not panning out.

    TV is just a very different beast these days. In some ways for the better, in some ways for the worse.

    But, I think NBC did more than enough to try and make Studio 60 a success, and it just didn’t pan out. I can’t think of what more they could have done. NBC has enough problems that they don’t need to add to them by keeping a show on the air that most people don’t watch just to satisfy a small handful who do.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    How exactly did Cheers “change sitcoms forever”?

    First, I’ve heard that claimed.

  • jf

    I loved Studio 60. You are right, I hope it is pitched to cable.

  • dee

    Cheers changed sitcoms? Nah. M*A*S*H changed sitcoms, Cheers merely heightened and perpetuated sitcoms at the height of that era’s proclivity for them.

  • http://tvandfilmguy.blogspot.com TV and Film Guy

    Dee, no way did Cheers start at “the height of that era’s proclivity for” sitcoms. Cheers started two years before The Cosby Show, and at a time when everyone was proclaiming the sitcom dead.

    And, Brad, for what it’s worth, I think The Office is hysterical.

  • dee

    I said that Cheers “merely heightened and perpetuated sitcoms at the height of that era’s proclivity for them,” meaning that the show enhanced what was already happening at the time, e.g. in that era, people were already gaga for sitcoms… all Cheers did was push the public’s hunger for sitcoms up even more… read the quote again.

  • Jeneanne

    I will greatly miss “Studio 60″ and Matthew Perry whose talent needs to be used.

  • http://dotcrawl.wordpress.com Matt

    I don’t think we can blame NBC for this one. The network gave Studio 60 much more of a shot than it really deserved. I think we all hoped this show would be good, but it just wasn’t and I think it was beyond the point where it would ever get better.

    As far as I know, though, NBC hasn’t canceled Friday Night Lights yet, so all is not lost.

  • http://www.iamcorrect.com Lono

    I loved the show too, and hope it returns in the spring. Sadly, I am not optimistic about it’s future. Network TV has about as much future as free radio… which is why you listen to your iPods and satellite radio. Even for free, their content totally sucks ass.

    After they canceled Arrested Development, I knew that network TV and I did out last tango. Now, I mostly feed off of Discovery & Comedy Central.

    I really liked the comment about ‘not playing for a rookie’ and to consider what could be a long term investment. As for you folks who say it is “too inside”… WTF? I guess you are all doctors and lawyers than because that is ALL that is left on the television landscape. I don’t care about doctors in love or cops in love or lawyers in love.

    Frankly, I don’t much care for everyone on Studio 60 falling in love either. Does anyone make network TV for guys?

  • http://tvandfilmguy.blogspot.com TV and Film Guy

    Dee, you should read my statement again. Prior to The Cosby Show appearing in 1984 the sitcom had been declared dead. No one was watching them. Cheers appeared in 1982, 2 years prior to The Cosby Show. When Cheers appeared people were, in no way gaga for them.

  • thawtful

    The show has not been canceled. If you’re a fan of the show surely you know that having a leading title like that only hurts the show, not helps it.

  • http://moviehawk.net Jeff Martin

    I love Sorkin, and I love Studio 60, but it got very consistently preachy and the romantic storylines are iffy. I hope it continues on, though, because I think it is finally starting to find a groove.

  • http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/Save-NBC-Studio-60 Suncho

    Thanks for this article! Studio 60 is the best show on TV. The only reason people think it’s bad is because NBC’s promotion of the show is bringing in the wrong audience. Of course those people don’t like it! It’s not The West Wing and it’s not supposed to be.

    Save Studio 60, Save the World!

  • jiap

    I don’t follow ratings at all. I have never watched a show because everyone else was watching it. What I do know is that Studio 60 is the smartest show on TV right now and probably why it doesn’t draw a huge audience. Not that I think people are stupid, but this is a time where “Reality” TV seems to rule.

    I think that if another Network such as HBO that embraces this type of creativity (Entourage, Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Curb Your Enthusiasm) were to have picked this up originally it would have thrived for years because of how smart it is.

  • http://www.tvfodder.com/studio_60 Gina

    I’m still in denial, but I have the feeling the end is nigh, which is breaking my heart. I hope and wish the show will find life on cable, but I don’t get any of the channels that would carry it.

    It had been promoted really well at the beginning, but it seems like once it came back in January, you mainly got the toss off “Oh, yeah, after Heroes, check out Studio 60 if it isn’t too inconvenient.” And then on Monday night you’d get the “Salivate over a game show. Then slobber over Heroes. Studio 60 is on too.” I know, they gave the show more of a chance than many shows got this season, and more than it might have gotten otherwise. But it’s never going to be enough for me. I love this program, and I’m going to miss it.

  • Mitch B.

    I have watched and enjoyed every ep of Sudio 60.
    Same thing for the West Wing, even thru some of their troubled times. But I thought the final season on WW was great focusing on the
    new campaign trail. That’s how good WW was. I cannot stand politics but I loved the show.

    I tried to watch Sports Night, but couldn’t. THAT was a show about nothing…and I have WORKED at a sports TV station. Whehter or not
    is was realisitic wasn’t a factor. I felt it was a boring show with no discernible plots.

    People have stated that the skits on Studio 60 weren’t funny. Well that’s not the point of the show. It’s about the behind the scenes workings of a skit comedy show. And the writing is just about as snappy and funny as WW was. I hope it stays on thr air.

  • Matt

    I think Heroes as a lead in didnt work becuase they appeal to different audiences, most people I know that watched studio 60 switched over from fox’s 24

  • methuselah

    I’d enjoy Studio 60 more if I could hear the actors clearly and follow the dialogue easily, but as it is I have to rewind frequently and ride the volume control. Part of the problem is the infernal Dolby sound system they put in every TV and theater system nowadays (the better for the advertisers to shock you awake by cranking it up 10 db.), but a big problem is the tendency of modern actors to mumble their lines. I suppose both of these hinderances will be defended as Artistic Triumphs (as so many annoying deficiencies are) but they drive me away.

  • Ogechi

    I watched the first 3 episodes of Studio 60. I liked Perry, Whitford, Peet, Busfield,and Weber. I LOVED Judd Hirsch (too bad he didn’t come back) I did not like Paulsen or Hughley because they were not-believeable as comedians. The show had smart dialogue, but it seemed so contrived and out of place. And it only seemed to get worse after that. I think NBC gave this show ample opportunity to succeed, it failed on its own. I caught an episode last week and couldn’t bring myself to watch the whole thing because it wasn’t as funny or as good as the first episode.

    And your reasoning (which essentially boils down to the idea) that more dumb people watch tv on Monday nights? I guess there’s no such thing as smart people with tivos.

    My conclusion about this program is the viewing audience decreased because the quality of the program decreased and the audience became increasingly aware of how they do not relate to these characters or their problems.

  • carolyngdelia

    The husband and I are old. We are not dead yet and the brain works quite well thank you. But here we are channel surfing Hoping for just a nice bright intellegent show like Studio 60, we get hooked, enjoy it, can’t wait til next episode and walla……gone. NBC use to be my favorite place to find something good……..not any more

  • Steve

    Studio 60 is doing poorly because it’s a bad show. The humor isn’t smart in any real way, it’s smart in a smarmy pseudo-intellectual New Yorker cartoon kind of way. The obscure references don’t actually make you laugh, they just give you a smug sense of pleasure from “getting it.” The characters all talk in the same voice (Sorkin’s) so they all have the same sense of humor and are unique in no way. They go on rants about politics, religion, race, and so on. These rants are never original thoughts, they simply offer Sorkin the opportunity to get on a soap box and bore the Hell out of us.

  • Christina

    I love Studio 60. There’s enough reality TV out there for the mouth breathers. The show IS funny if you just pay attention! Hence the many comments that this is the show for thinking people.

    It doesn’t “bore the Hell out of US”. In my opinion, it’s the only show on NBC primetime that is worth watching.

  • JJ

    ….Yes, now that Studio 60 is gone, I don’t know where I’ll go for my gratuitious Christian bashing. –And it had so much promise with its first Bush-bash coming a minute or so into the first episode. –I was a loving fan of ‘Sports Night;’ hated when it disappeared; didn’t watch West Wing until probably season 2 when I saw one episode and said to myself–“gee whiz, the character drawing and dialogue ‘smartness’ reminds me of ‘Sports Night’ ” and looked it up to find Sorkin was behind both. –One or two episodes of West Wing and I just couldn’t stand the continual covert political messaging/ manipulation and character assasination against the Right (imo, and insult and condescension to the audience–as again in the case of “Studio 60″.)

    I wonder how much forward leaning, posiitve audience (new Sorkin piece, not the White House, so maybe sans politics, maybe) was lost in the first two or three episodes when the political messaging turned out to be somehow organic to Sorkin and Schlamme. –For my part, I won’t waste time even sampling the next Sorkin effort–not worth the time, since political rhetoric seems to be his hard-wired muse, not interesting, involving, characters, storyline, and dialogue.

  • Brian

    My two cents and I am posting this anywhere I find this discussion. Sorry if you’re tired of seeing it. Who knows, maybe some of the decision makers actually track public opininon. Here’s mine. So typical, assemble a talented cast, hire writers who can wrap humor, depth and relevance together to present three dimensional characters intelligently, give it half a season to become the next big thing and when it doesn’t spread like a Santa Ana wildfire, replace it with anything that will appeal to the lowest common denominator. As if there could not be a worse show in NBC’s lineup to make room for a new action series with such positive story lines and characters for the youth of America to glorify and emulate. We all realize that this is a corporate bottom line decision but how low will you sink before you have absolutely no self respect left for it to hit home that you have a responsibility to provide a modicum of intelligent thought provoking programming with the abundance of dreck you broadcast day and night. If you need evidence of your contribution to the illiteracy of the American populace, surf the net for blogs and comments on pop culture if you haven’t already done so. There are people in this country who can’t even put together an intelligible sentence and yet have the time to gossip on line about any pop icon that pushes their buttons but can’t find the time to learn how to speak or write intelligibly. Well, I know this isn’t going to make any difference but at least we have a forum in which to vent our frustration.

  • Mr Misanthrope

    Arghh! I loved many episodes of this show (though a few were too sugary sweet.) I knew that a show that makes unacknowledged references to Broadcast News had no chance. But I didn’t know it had gotten the axe already.
    I like to think I’m one of the smart people that the network doesn’t know exists (or doesn’t care.) I do take issue with some of your examples of the bad though. My Name Is Earl is a very good show. It isn’t afraid to wallow in its White Trashiness because that is the joke. Plus, it has a heart of gold. As a diehard fan of Gervais’ The Office, I was wary of the American version (can you say Coupling?) but I think Steve Carrell and Rainn Wilson take it to a good level here.

  • Michael

    This show was unbelievable. It had everything a show needed. I looked forward to it every Monday, the storyline was perfect and the characters were also. The way it was shot and the mood throughout the show was simply amazing. How could they cancel this show? Too good for network television I guess.

  • CaptOveur

    I will mourn this show, and begrudge the network for sabotaging it. I agree with Mr. Chakerian that the time slots chosen and unwillingness to put it up against some other somewhat intellectual shows hurt a lot, but the other thing that a lot of networks are doing is showing a few new episodes, then suspending it for a few months: “Lost returns in 12 weeks with 10 all new episodes and no repeats.” By the time it comes back on, I’ve forgotten what’s happening, and the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ effect makes me care less about the characters than I did a few weeks prior. As much as I loved the show, after a few weeks, I didn’t care if I missed it. It seems as a network they should cowboy up and commit to letting it build a following.