Saturday, February 4, 2012

Maybe It's for the Best

As anyone who has ever watched TV knows, lots of shows don’t last very long. Loads get canceled only a few episodes in, getting next to no time to find an audience Others are just plain dead on arrival. It seems sometimes like shows that are complete crapfests get to live on ad nauseum despite their utter lack of value, while quality programs hang on by a thread until they’re finally taken out behind the shed.

I work at a CBS affiliate, and at the beginning of every summer, we receive pilot episodes of all the new fall shows. They’re almost never a finished product. For example, music from Inception was used for the Person of Interest pilot, and William Shatner’s son on [Bleep] My Dad Says was decidedly cuter before his part got recast. It has become something of a sport to try and guess which shows will survive. My track record isn’t that great, although I’ve learned that if I enjoy a show, that typically means it’s marked for death.

Another random fringe benefit of working here is that, after shows have run their course, sometimes I can get my hands on the show posters that hang in our lobby. (I’m still bitter that the Three Rivers poster - featuring the absolutely edible Alex O’Loughlin - was scooped up by someone else.) Two such posters hang proudly in my office featuring the casts of The Class and Out of Practice. I loved both of these shows, and that’s probably why neither of them lasted a whole season.

It’s probably a good thing they got canceled, because otherwise members of both casts might have missed out on later successes. Both shows had cast members who went on to star on the ABC hit Modern Family—Ty Burrell played a womanizing plastic surgeon on Out of Practice and Jesse Tyler Ferguson played perpetual underachiever Richie Velch on The Class. Andrea Anders (The Class) went on to crack my shit up on Better Off Ted (another show that got canceled far too soon), and Jon Bernthal (The Class) is busy these days running from zombies on The Walking Dead. I don’t even want to think about Out of Practice’s Christopher Gorham missing his chance to play the titular character’s adorkable love interest on Ugly Betty.

So the next time your favorite show gets the axe, don’t let it get you down. Think of it as a natural step in the actor catch-and-release program.

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