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Old 05-06-2019, 07:01 PM   #1
barh
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Default How do such bad shows get on TV?

With all the emphasis on how important it is to submit great, great scripts to even have a chance, how do such bad shows get on television?

Three that come to mind are "Man with a Plan," "Scorpion" and "Superior Donuts," but if you gave me an hour I could come up with a hundred.

Joey was on "Friends" and "Episodes," how can he not see that his current show is awful. It can't just be for the money? Not funny, completely predictable, stupid set-ups and "payoffs." Every. Single. Week.

There were shows this bad in every decade I can think of since the 70s, and probably since the 50s.

How does this happen?
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Old 05-06-2019, 09:02 PM   #2
JeffLowell
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Default Re: How do such bad shows get on TV?

This is going to sound shocking, but different people have different tastes?

I love Parks and Rec. It's highest average ratings for a season was its first, when it got 6 million. After that, the highest rated season was 5.1, and it dipped under 4 in its second to last season.

Man With A Plan got 7.4 million first season, 6.78 second.

And to make an obvious point... it sounds like you watch Man With A Plan every week.
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Old 05-06-2019, 09:43 PM   #3
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Default Re: How do such bad shows get on TV?

Jeff is one of the all time top DD people in my eyes. Listen to him. Seems like old times.

Taste is number 1.

But yeah sometimes the people that make TV are just trying to make money. I couldn't believe it either when I first heard. And sometimes actors also just want to make money too. Or maybe they actually think they are putting out the best sitcom each and every week. Don't know...

Funny that Parks and Rec I loved that show except for the first season when they were still finding their way and had that weird a$$hole Jim character and Leslie Knope was more of a dumber Michael Scott --- took them a bit to find her core of capable and smart and dedicated character we love.

So a better question is why aren't shows perfect right away?????

I'm just kidding.
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Old 05-07-2019, 07:02 AM   #4
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Default Re: How do such bad shows get on TV?

I'm with you - the adjustment on Parks and Rec between seasons 1 and 2 was amazing... and to see that the best ratings were for season 1 just makes me shake my head.
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Old 05-07-2019, 07:39 AM   #5
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Default Re: How do such bad shows get on TV?

things can go awry in films and TV shows, but it's not because filmmakers are deliberately trying to make a bad product.

there are a lot of people involved in making films and shows. and with that comes differing tastes and opinions. what one believes is best for a show, another may not.

but i doubt it's because someone woke up today and decided, "i think i'm going to do a piss-poor job today." maybe some are less invested, sure, i'll buy that, but they want to keep their jobs, like anyone else.

i used to hate the place i worked, because the people were downright mean-spirited, but it never stopped me from excelling in my position because i care about the quality of my work.

i think it must be challenging to work with so many people whose opinions can vary greatly. so, props to everyone on a team trying to turn out the best work they can.
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Old 05-07-2019, 07:12 PM   #6
Bono
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Default Re: How do such bad shows get on TV?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffLowell View Post
I'm with you - the adjustment on Parks and Rec between seasons 1 and 2 was amazing... and to see that the best ratings were for season 1 just makes me shake my head.
I'm guessing, the lead in was The Office when Steve was still there and the show was still at the top of it's game... because I feel at one point it got moved to 9pm and The Office was at 8pm and there was a show between the 2 of them and since I don't remember what show it was, I assumed that was the slot that keep changing, so the ratings went down...

But yes, what a great save. Another reason TV shows need time to find their way...
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Old 05-09-2019, 04:54 PM   #7
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Default Re: How do such bad shows get on TV?

Just to add to the Parks & Recreation/Mike Schur discussion...

In this interview with Mike Schur, he discusses the adjustment the writers made after Leslie Knopp was less than well received in season 1. I was surprised by how quickly they reacted because like many people here it felt like it came later.

HTH,
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Old 05-11-2019, 07:40 PM   #8
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Default My Bad Show Theory

Start with a good or maybe just a mildly entertaining storyline or concept.

This gets passed around. Many fingers are stuck into this pie. Notes are given.

Not everyone is satisfied, there are more notes. The man on a spiritual quest morphs into a tormented teenager with gender identity issues.

Bean Counters move the location of the story from Norway to a vacant strip mall in Glendale.

Politically correct talking points are added, now a pinch of whatever is trending and you got a real stinker on your hands.

At this point in the process there are so many egos involved, this bastardized production with so many fathers and mothers gets made and put on the small screen.

Everyone grimly smiles at each other and says, "Yeah, this is going to be GREAT."
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Old 05-15-2019, 02:02 PM   #9
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Default Re: How do such bad shows get on TV?

The two comedies are multi-cams. I've seen "Scorpion" but haven't watched it enough or am sufficiently conversant with hour length shows to offer any decent opinions. One of the issues might have to do with one of the things the WGA is squabbling with the ATA over, packaging.

Man With A Plan
Creators: Jackie Filgo & Jeff Filgo (WME)
Star: Matt LeBlanc (WME)
Pilot Director: James Burrows (WME)

Superior Donuts
3 EP/Showrunners (WME & UTA)
Pilot Director: James Burrows (WME)
4 out of the 5 of regular cast members were either WME or UTA.

I can guarantee that James Burrows isn't the issue. He's the best in the business, but as for everyone else... if you're casting and staffing from a limited pool (one or two agencies) you might not be getting the best for your show. Just by looking at IMDBpro and the trades we can see that "Man With A Plan" is completely packaged by WME. It's also interesting to note that the original pilot had Jenna Fischer in the Liza Snyder role. Fischer is a WME client and almost certainly has a bigger quote than Snyder. Get rid of Fischer, and WME can almost certainly add mid 5-figure to low six figures to their episodic packaging fee, plus a much smaller back-end participation if there's much there at all for Snyder. It's also interesting to note that LeBlanc is a producer on "Man With A Plan" which gives him extra money per episode that is untouched by SAG-Aftra dues and gives him better back-end participation. I can't say that Fischer would have made MWAP better. It might have been a chemistry issue and not a financial issue, but I'm a bit jaded.

The case with "Superior Donuts" is a bit different I think. It was obviously a joint packaging show (like most), but I felt that it was a weak idea for a sitcom based on a pretty good play. The real problem that I saw with it was that it didn't feel organic. The donut shop didn't feel like a donut shop and the characters didn't feel like donut shop customers. Keeping the secondary characters in the shop was really forced, and that hurt the ability of the show to really create a central family.

Another thing I've noticed over the past few years is that many younger sitcom writers (under 35) seem to not like multi-cams. This is probably best suited as a separate thread, but I wanted to toss it out there.
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Old 05-15-2019, 03:08 PM   #10
JeffLowell
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Default Re: How do such bad shows get on TV?

That's not how packaging works, remotely. There's a lot of misinformation floating around from both sides, but briefly:

I've cast multiple pilots, and have never once had my choices limited to people from the agency that holds the package. It's just not even a conversation.

The agency package fee is a fixed percentage of the weekly budget, and it doesn't matter how many clients are on the show, the salary of those clients, etc. If a show has a 2 million dollar budget, they make 60k an episode. An actor making a smaller salary won't "add mid 5-figure to low six figures to their episodic packaging fee"; it won't change it one dime.

Same with the backend. It's also a fixed percentage. The actual dollar payout, if the show syndicates (10% of shows), may be reduced if there are a lot of profit participants... but that's true of everyone who has points on the show.

Packages just mean that the agency provided crucial elements (usually a star and a creator) to the show. Actors, directors and writers who work on the show don't have to pay commission.

Most writers will do better financially working on a show that's packaged. Every writer who isn't the creator will save 10% of their salary. The creator may end up doing slightly worse if the show syndicates, because of the points going to the agency, but that's not always the case. Again, it depends how the deal is set up. The creator will certainly save hundreds of thousands of dollars in commission along the way.
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