Friday, May 22, 2009
Write-In Campain For "Samantha Who?"
ABC has added ten new shows to its 2009-2010 schedule. That's a lot of new shows, and it's giving the network the leeway to cancel popular shows based on a profit and loss margin, instead of the old-fashioned way of letting a show gain a following, then making back any loss after a few years when enough shows allow for syndication. NBC's "Chuck" was given a second chance after a massive Internet campaign to save the show. But the show was asked to cut hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs per episode. It will survive another year, but will the viewer notice any change in quality? Now there are two shows that have been canceled that are starting Internet campaigns to save them: "My Name is Earl" and "Samantha Who?." Is it too late to save these shows? Probably...But there are now rumors that TBS, which has been syndicating "My Name is Earl," is interested in making new episodes, and several other networks are interested as well. The difference between the two shows is that "My Name is Earl" has been on for four seasons, and has crossed the 100-episode threshold for syndication, whereas "Samantha Who?" lasted just two seasons, and the second season was interrupted by an unusual scheduling pattern. ABC originally scheduled the show following "Dancing With the Stars." It was the #1 new comedy in its first season. Then the network abruptly pulled it from the schedule, and after many false starts (the show was scheduled, then preempted numerous times), it was buried after the abysmal "In the Motherhood." In fact, there are reportedly seven unaired episodes of "Samantha Who?" left, and because of the high production costs, there is speculation that the network will unload the remaining episodes on an unsuspecting public sometime in the summer. If this is the case, what will happen if the audience finds the show and it picks up in the ratings? Most likely it won't matter, because "Samantha Who?" wasn't cancelled because of low ratings. It was cancelled because it was too expensive to produce. Ironically, ABC is one of the networks reportedly interested in picking up "My Name is Earl." The network picked up "Scrubs" last year from NBC and is reportedly interested in "The New Adventures of Old Christine" should CBS cancel it (its status still remains uncertain, although it looks like CBS will come to its senses and pick it up). Which brings us back to "Samantha Who?" The fact is, advertising dollars have shrunk and it was simply too expensive to make. "My Name is Earl" is already recouping its investment in syndication, and "The New Adventure of Old Christine" is filmed in the multi-camera format in front of a live audience, which is much cheaper than the one-camera filming of "Samantha Who?." So even if there is a groundswell of support for the write-in campaign for "Samantha Who?," would anybody really care? Let's hope. In other news, NBC has cast Patti Blagojevich in the new reality show "I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here." Her husband, disgraced Illinois governor Rod Blogojovich, had to drop out of the show because a federal judge wouldn't let him leave the country while he faces felony corruption charges. So now Mrs. Blagojevich joins ex-"American Idol" reject Sanjaya, and other people who look vaguely familiar, in the jungles of Costa Rica. With entertainment like this, who needs actors?