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velvet goldmine

If Sorkin does stumble upon this blog -- keep your eyes peeled for a huffy new poster called "Benjamin" -- his head will probably already reeling from the equally strong opinions who have opposite takes. There's a huge groundswell of hate, for example, for poor Amanda Peet, while Sarah Paulson gets praise for her warmth and her non-hysterical Christianity.

I hope if Benjamin is still lurking among the muumuu wearers, he's not too bummed out by all the imaginary recasting, the "but network executives wouldn't really do such and such!" and the debate about whether the show-within-the-show is funny. After all, if we're all this overinvested in Studio 60 minutiae, it would be pretty hard to argue that Sorkin's "failed" this time around.


I have to disagree with the idea of Amanda Peet taking over the Harriet role. I have no problem with replacing an established character with a different actor mid-stream, I do have a problem replacing that character with an actor already established as another character on the same show.

While Peet would have more spark with Perry, I also think she's physically wrong for someone who's basically supposed to be Kristin Chenoweth. I'd prefer to see, say, Nicole Sullivan who played the relentless perky (with the pathos bubbling just below the surface)patient Jill Tracy on "Scrubs" in the role. She's looks right, has the right personality, and she's funny.


I stopped watching Deadwood half way through its second season. It was nowhere near as good as its first season.

Looks like Studio 60's ratings are so bad, it will soon be cancelled anyway. It's a bad show, don't try any heroic efforts to save it.

It's for the best, really.

mac macgillicuddy

Speaking for myself, as one Peanuts character often noted while standing in line, "I don't even know what's going on."

Frank Weaver

Your scenario (Harriet to do a movie for four weeks, then just unexplained comes back to replace Amanda Peet/Jordan) is very doable. It would derive collateral humor along the way, from some non-Sorkinesque angles, and likely add "funny" in that way your post leads me to believe network-TV doesnt like. Cable-funny. Certain cable-funny.

(Would it mean "Studio60" is now the movie Harriet was away doing?)

After blog-reading (yours, Ken Levine's, to mention but two) on Studio60, I have the opinion that Sorkin, after the phenomenon of West Wing just couldn't remove himself far enough from West Wing culture to embrace Studio60 culture. He started up, but didnt know what it was still. Thats normal isn't it? Only when Studio60 was then seen on TV and started to operate could he possibly see this isnt West Wing, and get a sense of the West Wing profile fading away to reveal the contours of Studio60.

I also think that's what all the comments everywhere verify - the show is operating and Studio60 is made through being part of entertainment culture (not that fake blog thing which was such a false step by the p.r.) part of the culture of blogs, commentary, gossip, youtube clippings, speculations, etc. That means as well, it isn't West Wing, and so needs to also get the way its audience is different in their involvement if it wants to be as special.

And as you suggest, in this embryonic phase, changes can be made early to define the contours better and the audience wouldn't mind.

I wonder such great TV writers didnt consider format, why stay so religously to the West Wing script model. Instead of just borrowing West Wing heirarchies, camera movements and strategies, it should have been to play with the format itself because that is the center of the program - 1) the play within the play 2) the edge that came with introducing doing "live" + satiric comedy on TV.

The idea alone in the hands of network publicists, would have made for good p.r., and it would have allowed the authors the chance to do what you said you see, a four episode pilot. Then they hustle, regroup, and three months later, rethink/reshoot scenes after episode 4, shift harriet to president and reboot!

Because if the show is about television it means its about the shows specific audience - and todays audiences - it would be assumed they are able to get this is something being shaped after a pilot movie. In a way, that is the whole TAG anyway: shaping a new program from an old one.

The only rule would have to be not to change certain main figures, the key partnership of - what else, the author and producer.

As a sidenote - I also remember TV repertory shows, as well the other approach: the solid character actor like Paul Lynde appearing in brief roles in so many different shows each year, essentially playing "Paul Lynde". That also worked. I doubt audiences believe tv delivers any reality. At its best, it scripts realism. And as it was really always "Paul Lynde" that was enough to work.

velvet goldmine

Frank, I don't mean to pick on you, since you're just the latest LM commenter to do this, but what is up with all you people having opinions on this show that you haven't watched?

It's not that I don't place stock in the general opinion of a reviewer whom I respect, but AT MOST I might be nudged into seeing or avoiding something. I wouldn't decide I was an authority on whether the creator had succeeded or failed.

(Actually, for some reason I read the words "interesting failure" and almost break my neck running to see it. I don't know why, but grand, epic successes bore me, whereas noble misses win my heart.)

Frank Weaver

Hm? Well, its no problem at all - but I do watch Studio 60 - all 3 episodes so far. I think I may have seen the pilot before some ; ) Must have been a misunderstanding. I even got them as avis eventually for repeats.

Ben Jones

I caught the season premier of Law & Order Prime. Milena Govich's character is an improvement on Fontana. No disrespect to Dennis Farina. I think he knew he was stuck with a dud character, and that's why he only stuck around for two years. The new D.A. didn't really make much of an impression on me.

Tzxi was another great show that was able to use cast changes to its advantage. I mean, replacing bland naif John with the Reverend Jim was a no-brainer. And Carol Kane more than made up for Jeff Conaway leaving.

velvet goldmine

Frank, sorry to have misread your third graph. I understand what you are saying now, I think: you watched the episodes and then did some reading to try to help you put your finger on what bugged you? I've certainly done that, for everything from the State of the Union address to things that are so fluffy I wouldn't admit to it here!

Frank Weaver

Oh that's the point - yes, I read the blogs after watching. I think that's the idea. The variety of thoughts on Sorkin's new program and all that.

Jonathan Korman

I'm a little suprised that our host, talking about examples of TV reparatory companies, didn't bring up Star Trek, which frequently brought the same actors back again and again. Rotating them through the different species helps.

In fact, now that I think about it, there's sort of a reparatory company of actors who do televised SF in general, which is one of the charms of the genre.

Bitter Scribe

Speaking of character substitution, remember when Dennis Franz first appeared on "Hill Street Blues" as a corrupt cop who ended up eating his gun, then popped up the following season (I think) as an entirely new character?

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