Friday, November 11, 2005

Gosh-Darn It

"Arrested Development" is out. (Also "Seventh Heaven," the show that everybody loves to hate but was always more popular than any of the WB's good shows.) We all knew it was coming, but it's a sad little moment.

The internet is already getting filled to the cyber-brim with "Damn Fox" and "I hate Fox" posts, though honestly I'm not sure what Fox could have done to make this show a hit. The default position is usually "If only they'd promoted it more," which begs the question: if lots of promotion can make a show a hit, then why do so many shows, good and bad, bomb after a huge promotional push? My own theory, admittedly not really based on any actual facts, is that at a certain point, promos for a show are more for the benefit of the advertisers -- to reassure them that they're buying time on a show that the network supports -- than for the benefit of the show, which isn't going to magically pick up several million extra viewers if the promos get better.

It'll be interesting to see what kind of show the creator of "Arrested Development," Mitch Hurwitz, does as his next project. I'd bet on it to be a bit more traditional than "Arrested Development" but somewhat similar in tone, and a bigger success. But, again, this isn't based on anything except pure speculation, along with a reading of what showrunners do after creating an acclaimed cult failure. (Example: Denis Leary and Peter Tolan following up the cult flop "The Job" with the similar but somewhat more traditional in format -- and more successful -- "Rescue Me.")

This is also a sad time for the many writers out there working on "Arrested Development" spec scripts, which will soon become useless due to the general taboo against sample scripts for cancelled shows. Though frankly I've never understood why that is; writing a spec for a show that's been off the air for years -- say, "Taxi" or "Dick Van Dyke" -- might be considered a better test of a writer's ability to change his or her style than a spec script for a current show. But that's my third consecutive statement based on absolutely no inside knowledge whatsoever.

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