A Fall Rerun.

 

With the Emmys over and the fall TV season getting into full swing here’s a repeat of something I wrote a few years ago. Nothing’s changed.


 

Summer is almost here, which means the major television networks are currently working on their fall schedules. What follows is a memo regarding new shows that one network is planning to air. How it fell into my hands is another story.

To: Scheduling Dept.
Re: Fall 2013 schedule

This network has consistently been fourth out of four among the networks in most markets, and fifth in a few, coming behind PBS. The programming heads have determined that major changes are needed for the Fall 2013 schedule. In developing new shows we’ve tried to aim for innovation, to create shows that are new, exciting, and different to appeal to the vital 18-35 demographic while also staying within established parameters so as not to alienate other demographic groups. The key is being innovative with what works. Please produce a schedule with slots for these shows we’ve developed for the coming season:

Eye See You (30mins, Reality): This is from the producers of Burn, Baby, Burn, our popular reality program in which families competed against each other in the Sierra Pelona Mountains while having to escape being burned by a giant magnifying glass. Eye See You is an exciting new reality program in which diverse contestants from all walks of life will have to perform emergency surgery. They will be provided some training prior to competing, but the real twist is they have to do it blindfolded!

Suck It (60mins, Drama): Aloysius Bernard isn’t just a vampire: he’s also a cop who’s been fighting crime as a member of the Atlantic City police force since the Civil War. Now he’s got a new partner, a tough girl rookie who grew up on the streets fighting the undead. Together they’ll have to work out their differences to solve crimes. Will she have to hide the crucifix her late grandmother gave her? Will he be able to restrain himself when she gets a paper cut? Things take an even stranger turn when these two very different cops find they may have feelings for each other.

For Richard Or Poorer (60mins, Drama): After trying and failing to save the life of a homeless man on his street recently-divorced doctor Richard Poor decides to fight hospital policy, and budget cuts, to provide medical care to the disadvantaged. It’s a heavy job, but he knows someone has to do it. With the help of his fellow doctors he just might find a way. Meanwhile he’s got to juggle a budding romance with a nurse and the faithful companionship of his pet iguana.

Too Old For This Bleep (30mins, Comedy): Five friends and veterans of the Tulsa, Oklahoma police force have been looking forward to retirement. But when a clerical error wipes out their pension funds they find themselves unable to leave the force, and training a group of unruly rookies to solve crimes. It’s a clash of generations as the old guys try to keep the kids in line while also finding out that you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Cut Ups (60mins, Dramedy): Life is tough for University of Ohio med school student Alannah Hayes. Her loans have been cut, and she’s struggling to make ends meet. On top of that an uncle she only just met has just passed away and left her his Toledo comedy club. She has to sell it as quickly as possible…or does she? With her fellow students she’ll be taking gross anatomy by day and telling gross-out jokes by night, and just trying to get by in Frogtown.

Finally, while the network executives are pleased that the exciting and innovative mid-season filler, Is That You Mo Dean? (60mins, Drama), about an HIV-positive man making peace with his past and looking for love in a small Iowa town, has already been nominated for six Emmys, three Critics’ Choice Awards, a Writers’ Guild Award, a Peabody Award, two Golden Globe Awards, and even a BAFTA. Having been featured in TV Guide as “the best show you’re not watching” it is being cancelled after its third episode due to lack of viewer interest. This will leave the Tuesday night, 9PM slot free. This decision is NOT final. Executives are considering re-working the series and making the main character a retired doctor who now spends his time helping the police solve crimes.

11 Comments

  1. kdcol

    I felt like I was reading material for the Showtime series Episodes while reading this. Good stuff. (you should give Episodes a gander if you haven’t already) 🙂

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Episodes sounds like a riot. I don’t have Showtime–that’s probably a good thing since I watch too much TV as it is–but it looks like I can get it through Netflix. Thanks!

      Reply
  2. Ann Koplow

    Haven’t all these shows aired and been cancelled since you first wrote this?

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      There’s so much on TV now I’m pretty sure they have, and the worst part is I didn’t get credit. Or money. Given a choice between being given credit for these ideas and being paid for them I would have taken being paid.

      Reply
  3. Margot

    These shows are sure to bump up the status of the network. I’d love to watch an episode of Burn Baby, Burn. It sounds fantastic.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Now I’m going to have to pitch that idea to a network. Maybe I should pitch all of them. In retrospect that’s why this piece really didn’t work: it was supposed to be satire but all these premises are completely believable. In fact given TV now it’s pretty much a given that no matter how crazy the idea it’s believable. At least once a season I see something that makes me say, “I thought they couldn’t sink any lower…”

      Reply
      1. Margot

        The lower and crazier the better. It’s scary how many people watch reality TV and shows with ridiculous plots. I honestly can see some of your ideas being made into actual shows. That’s why this post is so funny and clever. Meanwhile, the real gems get cancelled due to low viewership.

        There is a reality show on now called Dating Naked, which my daughter watches religiously. It takes place on some gorgeous tropical island, and there is one main male and one main female. They bring new people to the island and meet up naked with the two main people for a date. The dates consist of snorkeling—or some other ocean related fun, walks, picnics, and other outdoors activities they can do naked. And then they all live together in the same house, hang out naked, get drunk, make each other jealous, etc. At the end of each episode the main 2 people have to choose one out of three potential mates to stay on, and then in the next episode they bring in more people to date. I have no idea how it ends. My daughter watches it with her California cousins by propping the iPad in front of the TV so that they can watch together and comment. It makes for one very awkward half hour in my living room each week!

        Reply
        1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

          I tried watching Dating Naked once just out of curiosity (not so much prurient interest). It seemed like an intriguing idea to introduce two people to each other that way, but when they brought in others I realized it was all about creating unnecessary drama. The benefit for the participants, I guess, isn’t that they’ll see someone they’re dating naked but that they know they’re dating someone who’ll willingly get naked on camera.

          Reply
  4. Gina W.

    I’m with Margot– I’d watch Burn Baby, Burn as well as the blindfolded surgery show. This probably speaks volumes about our characters. Let’s fix popcorn and have a viewing party!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I say let’s fix popcorn and have a viewing party of whatever’s on. Okay, I do think we should be more selective than that. Occasionally my wife will come in and look at what’s on TV and will say to me, “You will watch anything.” Not really, though. She just doesn’t appreciate Spongebob.

      Reply
      1. Margot

        Too bad you don’t have kids to blame it on. I always enjoyed watching SpongeBob with my kids and kinda miss it now that they’ve outgrown it.

        Reply

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