“Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” is one of those shows people should be watching but apparently aren’t. And the word is that it’s very soon to be canceled by NBC.
That’s a real shame because it’s one of the finer shows I’ve seen in a long time. It’s Aaron Sorkin, so you know the writing and acting are sharp, sharp, sharp. Sorkin has always managed to find new and interesting places in which to stage his human stories — behind the scenes at a cable sports show, behind the scenes in the White House, behind the scenes at a late-night comedy show.
“Sports Night” was a victim of low ratings too, but to the fans who discovered the show during its brief reruns and in the heavenly abode of DVD sales, they ask “and why didn’t we watch this when it was on the air?” Good TV is good TV.
“The West Wing” fared better. It too struggled in the ratings, but when the critics noticed it and noticed it loudly with lots of Emmys, people started watching. And it stayed on the air for seven years. The show was so well done that it was able to survive Sorkin’s departure.
But nowadays, and especially with the money troubles NBC is experiencing, they’d like to kill off as quickly as possible any expensive scripted show that isn’t a massive hit. Well, NBC, you should know better than anyone how many of your own classic shows struggled in the ratings before they became massive hits. I still say “Studio 60” could be one of those shows.
Unfortunately, because the audience is so used to networks pulling the plug quickly on underperforming shows, they don’t want to take the chance on them, especially shows that feature continuing story arcs. “Do we really want to get into the story if they’re just going to cancel it in the middle?”
A TV pundit says that “Studio 60” isn’t resonating with the public because middle America doesn’t care about the lives of rich network executives and rich comedians making a network show. But then again, who would care about the lives of future space travelers? Trek fans sure did. And who would care about the lives of rich oil families? “Dallas” fans sure did. And who would care about the lives of very rich, very well-paid doctors working on the most obscure diseases? “House” fans do. And even on NBC, who would care about the continuing lives of young people discovering they have superpowers? “Heroes” fans sure do seem to be lining up at the TV queue.
So yes, “Studio 60” is probably going to die way too soon. But it didn’t have to.
The one good thing about this is that we got to see Matthew Perry show that he’s a fine actor, and deserves well to break out of the sitcommy “Friends” mode for which we’ve known him for long.
Come to think of it, why would middle America care about the lives of apparently well-off white yuppies in New York living in apartments we’d never be able to afford? Hmmm….