Studio 60 & 30 Rock

I am continually digging myself into a hole. Before I called in all the favors owed me (and gave away a few of my future children), and now I owe everyone. On the upside, I’ve seen 30 Rock and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, which almost makes up for it.

I don’t care what NBC says, avoiding any discussion of quality, longevity, the audience’s interest level, acting, writing, etc., etc., I can’t avoid the stark fact that these two shows should not be airing on the same network. They just shouldn’t, it’s not right. My pure speculation is that both were in development, the Aaron Sorkin/Thomas Schlamme one was clearly better and worth a spot in the fall lineup, but NBC didn’t want to upset Lorne Michaels and Tina Fey (heaven knows why) and so agreed to air that show as well.

Don’t get me wrong, the Fey one is funny, and I appreciate the fact that they take shots at NBC and corporate parent GE (something which the Sorkin one does not do as directly), and Alec Baldwin is really very good in his role, it’s just not as well written, well acted, well directed, well conceived, or well executed as Studio 60. The absolute funniest thing about 30 Rock is that the deal Tina Fey’s character makes with Alec Baldwin’s at the end of the episode secures a spot for herself and Rachel Dratch’s character on The Girlie Show (the variety show 30 Rock is about), however in real life Dratch has just been demoted to a recurring role appearing as several different characters. It’s too bad Fey didn’t make the right deal with Kevin Reilly to protect Dratch herself.

As for Studio 60…it’s funny, it’s serious, and it’s really good. It’s not great, but it’s really good. The moments at the end of each act of the show are really well executed. Going into virtually every commercial break something truly compelling or outstanding occurred, something that absolutely made you want to see what would happen when the show came back.

If you are a faithful reader you will know that Studio 60 was scheduled to be on my fall watch list and 30 Rock was not. After having seen 30 Rock, I may decide to add it to schedule, I’m going to have to give Jericho a chance to develop and see what happens. I also may end up TiVoing one and watching the other live (something I’d prefer not to do, but I may have to).

Okay, I still maintain that it’s not a bad thing, but I’m addicted to television; I can’t wait for the new season to begin.

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8 replies

  1. NBC has never had any problems with ticking Lorne Michaels off in the past. They cancelled the Tracy Morgan Show after half-a-season and never bothered to air Thick & Thin last season. Actually, Michaels’ track record as a primetime show creator stinks.But I think they like Tina Fey and having Alec Baldwin on the network is probably good for business as well.Oh and Jericho stinks…-Daniel

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  2. i feel like they’re pushing studio 60 pretty hard…even releasing the pilot episodes available on netflix…that’s smart.–RC of strangeculture.blogspot.com

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  3. CBS insists though that Jericho is the “most compelling new show of the fall season” (they just said it on a promo during the PGA Championship), might they be over-hyping it?As for the Tracy Morgan show, it was awful, 30 Rock is a far better program. I might think Lorne Michaels was thrilled that they even bothered to air a couple of episodes of that mid-season replacement.As for Studio 60…NBC is absolutely pushing it hard. And, it’s a good program. I think that they see bringing Sorkin & Schlamme back as a return to the “quality television” they put out a half-dozen years ago. Releasing shows through methods other than over-the-air is increasing (NBC tried with Conviction, allowing free downloads with itunes before the first episode aired). Other networks do it as well. It’s a fascinating way to try and drive business to the network, I think the jury is still out as to whether or not it works, but it does garner publicity.

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  4. I’ll say it again: “Jericho” stinks. However “Smith,” which CBS is also pushing really hard during the golf tournament, is decent, or at least it has a phenomenal cast that you want to watch.NBC actually has a lot of quality programming this fall. The trick is going to be making viewers tune in to “Friday Night Lights” (the best of the bunch), “Heroes” and “Studio 60.” In a perfect world, viewers would tune in to those shows and NBC would have cornerstone programming for several years to come…As for alternate distribution methods, if I’ve learned anything from “Snakes on a Plane,” it’s that the Internet is a hoax…-Daniel

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  5. Looking forward to <>Studio 60<> here as well. Sorkin and Schlamme are (I hate to admit it) geniuses. NBC should unashamedly be pushing it. Great blog.

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  6. Thanks for the comment & thanks for reading. Why do you hate to admit that Sorkin & Schlamme are geniuses? Isn’t it moderately comforting to know that not all TV is created by putting 100 monkeys in a room with 100 typewriters?

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  7. For years a good friend kept nagging me to watch <>The West Wing<>. For years I wouldn’t believe her when she said it was some of the best writing on TV (I double degreed in Film & Video Studies major/Journalsim major undergrad) thinking I knew better. I finally started watching old eps this past year and hated to admit that she was right…they really <>are<> geniuses. 🙂

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  8. You have got to be kidding! Studio 60 is rotten! It stinks. The comedy scenes aren’t funny – and the drama is so fake and contrived. I tuned in for my third episode, thinking that it couldn’t be as bad as I thought . . . and it was worse.

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