Friday, April 06, 2007
Dump 'Studio 60'? Then what?
At the risk of immersing myself even deeper in flames ...

Most shows I watch for work; a few I watch for enjoyment. I thought "Studio 60" was going to be one of the latter.

I was excited when it was announced. I read the script excerpt in Esquire, watched an advance portion of the debut episode online and made sure I was in front of the TV at 10 p.m. Mondays.

So consider my criticism the disappointment of someone who had his high hopes dashed -- and with continued exposure to "Studio 60" (including tuning back in upon its short-lived return) found disappointment hardening into dislike.

But many of you brought up an excellent point: What would replace "Studio 60"? After all, the show NBC currently has slated for that slot (after canceling "The Black Donnellys") is ... "The Real Wedding Crashers." Which means I'll continue to spend my 10 p.m. hours the way I have when I haven't watched "Studio 60": catching up on movies or reading books. (Hey, there's nothing that says you have to watch TV.)

I like catching up on my reading. But I'd give "Studio 60" yet another shot -- if some changes were made. Here's what I'd like to see:

- Matthew Perry is the best thing in the show. Make his Matt Albie character the center -- perhaps more in the mold of dyspeptic Fred Allen in Allen's memoir, "Treadmill to Oblivion."
- Make the network suits -- yes, including Amanda Peet's Jordan McDeere -- background characters. At best. About the only one who lights up the show (because, perhaps, he doesn't sound so much like Aaron Sorkin) is Ed Asner's corporate chieftain.
- Get rid of Kristin Chenowe -- uh, Harriet Hayes (Sarah Paulson). Paulson is fine, but the character is the show's most flatly written.
- Dump the conceit that the "Studio 60" within "Studio 60" is NBS' flagship show. Maybe in 1955 it would be, perhaps in 1965. Certainly not in 2007.
- And make it FUNNY.
- And Mr. Sorkin, I know you like having final control over the writing. But please try out voices besides your own.

There. I feel better.

Besides pushing me over a cliff, what suggestions would you have for improving "Studio 60," either creatively or promotionally? (Assuming, of course, that you think it requires any changes in either direction.)
That's more like it, Todd. The question is are Sorkin's new shows judged relative to the rest of network TV or to his earlier work? Studio 60 is much better than most everything out there.
Oh I disagree very much with Studio 60 needing inprovement. I love the show.
I would get rid of the Character Harriet Hayes.
The only way to fix "Studio 60" isto can it. I'm sorry, but it only took me two weeks to make that determination. The writing is, in a word, "sucky" at bet.
I honestly think the writing on Studio 60 is better than 30 Rock and was completely surprised when it got its second season. I was excited for 30 Rock as I love Tina Fey, read about it before it aired and was completely disappointed. So if the NBC execs think 30 Rock is good, they might as well keep Studio 60 on. Matthew Perry's character is awesome and I like Amanda Peet however her plot isn't going anywhere, something I am sure she is disappointed about.
Stop making it seem like the characters are actually doing something all that important. It's a TV show, they aren't saving the world! All the characters in the show are pretentious and self absorbed; the only remedy for this show is a swift kick in the butt off the studio lot!!
Show some more of the Hollywood backstabbing. Enough with Alamo mindset of trying to write a show woth only 3 writers. Show the ensemble not being such good friends. Show the frustration of some of the actors not being major players and trying to get skits on the show to raise their profile. Show one of the less well known actors hitting it big with a new breakout character and getting big headed. Keep it real!
I too have had high hopes for the show and have been somewhat disappointed with how it has progressed lately. I consider your suggestions to be good one and mostly agree with them. Here are a few of my own:

1. Drop the "Matt is turning into a drug addict" storyline. It doesn't make sense, especially with the "Fight Club" element of having an imaginary friend from his past be the impetus.

2. Aside from Harriet Hayes, the MOST flatly written character is Jack Rudolph. All we know about him is that he is a bit of a jerk, maybe has some honor, and that's about it. What is his background? Why should we care about him?

3. I hate the idea that the "show within a show" has so many cameo appearances from other NBC shows and yet they are never part of the storyline. There is no interaction with any of the main characters. The one exception I can remember was the rather funny skit with Danny and Howie Mandel. Give the guest stars a bigger role without making them the constant center of attention.

The show still has a real promise if this bad turn in direction can be corrected in time.
I am very disappointed that they're cancelling Studio 60. I have really enjoyed the show, and would continue to be a loyal viewer. I don't understand why they're getting rid of it without giving it a chance. Other shows are given a chance even after low ratings. You can't just do a partial season and make a decision based upon that. Please, bring Studio 60 back! I looked forward to it each week more than any other show.
I love the show but I agree with your ideas. I hope they make some changes and keep it on the air.
While NBC should not shove "Studio 60" over a cliff, unlike others, I do not like the show just the way it is. The show is salvageable. It just needs a new direction. I agree with all of your suggestions except making all of the suits background characters and getting rid of Harriet Hayes. Can we just make Jordan McDeere background and get rid of the cracy Christian aspect of Harriet? Steven Weber is very funny and interesting as Jack Rudolph. He's a keeper. I like Matt and Harriet as a couple. But the writers should avoid all religious and cultural commentary until they reacquaint themselves with the word 'subtle.'
I feel very much the same way you have. Really wanted to love the show and couldn't wait for it...have tried and tried to convince myself that it would get better....

lose the religious theme with Harriet, and for that matter Harriet herself...she isn't particularly funny, nor do I buy that she is the moral superior that she is evidently supposed to make us think she is...her relationship (past, present or future) with Matt is not holding my attention and it has really become a turn-off and not even interesting in how it has been dealt with....lame at best.

Absolutely lose the arrogance. SNL hasn't been that great for a long time and "Studio 60" hasn't even come close to what SNL once was....

thanks for the opportunity to vent!
I love "The Black Donnellys."
I was very excited about STUDIO 60 and my girlfriend and I watched the first stupid 3 minutes when Judge Hirsh went off on a liberal rant. We knew "right" there what the tone of the show would be. Elite idiot liberals telling everyone that they are uninformed and need to look to Sorkin and his media bias for guidance. We can think for ourselves thank you, and we chose to tune out like the rest of America.
I loved Studio 60 and I WANT IT BACK!!!!
cut out the romantic "moonlighting" stuff. Focus on what is important, the running of a weekly show, give the generic, general public a peek behind the curtain, like you did with West Wing. Do your John Belushi/Chris Farley story line, do your beloved host who the cast hates.
Studio is one of the worst shows I've ever seen. It would be a mercy killing. The writing is stilted and the entire premise rings hollow. Making a comedy show is not like running the country and it shouldn't be treated that way. Aaron Sorking should do a show about taking mushrooms and feeling self important. That would ring much more true.
Honestly, I liked the show at first, but it's a show about the production of a "comedy" that isn't funny. That's perplexing to me. We're supposed to laugh at the segments that aren't supposed to be funny (the show) and the parts that are supposed to be funny (the show within the show) are not funny at all. They're lame jokes with canned laughter.
ok you've got to be kidding me. they are dumping this show for yet another "reality" show? Have the viewing public become so brain dead that they can't watch something as mindless as reality shows? I for one am going back to the bookstore. At least I'll have some variety there.
Personally - I LOVE STUDIO 60 and miss it terribly. Am I missing something here? I enjoy the story line and love Matt Perry. My husband and I both watch it and love it!

NBC - KEEP THIS SHOW PLEASE!!!

Dump Trump but keep this.
First, stop making it sound like 'The West Wing.' The tone is almost the same, especially since Bradley Whitford is practically the same character on this show as he was on that one. Preachy. Pretentious. And that whole romance with Amanda Peet is very...pat. No way that happened so fast, and now they're taking parenting classes together. Uh uh. I don't see why everyone fights over Harriet. As a fellow writer, I identify somewhat with the angst of Matt Perry's character, working to come up with material, but it gets a little dry after a while.
While your ideas are valid, Todd, unfortunately nothing can save this deeply flawed, self-important program. Sorkin, in several interviews, has indicated he stands by his creation and feels criticism comes from "moronic bloggers" and "stupid critics." Obviously, it would be an uphill battle to change the show creatively at this point. Also, 30 ROCK at least shows the intestinal fortitude to MAKE FUN of it's parent corporation (NBC/GE/Universal), whereas STUDIO 60 seems to exist in some ether that is supposedly biting towards NBC, feels awkward about directly making fun of it. Come on, Sorkin! Take a pot-shot. We dare you...
I loved Studio 60. It had problems, but NO ONE seems to remember all the problems The West Wing had at first either.
I too loved Sports Night.
Lisa De Moraes of the Washington Post gives the most accurate assessment of the show's demise by stating that NBC dumped Studio 60 and KEPT 30 Rock because NBC produces 30 Rock and Studio 60 is produced by Warner.
Of the two, guess who had the largest rating? It wasn't 30 Rock.
Like you, I will not turn to another NBC show to fill the void. I will simply turn to another channel or turn the tv off.
I recommend that everyone read Lisa de Moraes' column from the WP 4/5/2007. THEN you will understand what dopes the NBC suits are.
So typical of the major broadcast networks. And they wonder why everyone's going to cable/satellite.
How about a little actual CONFLICT on the show? The first episode, where Judd Hirsch lost his mind, had a wonderful Howard Beale quality to it. Now? It's about whether or not Ed Asner is going to close his multi-billion dollar deal overseas. Who CARES? How about shows about censorship, political pressure, protests, FCC fines and a debate about what is "appropriate" for TV?
I can't believe they took "Studio 60" off the air! They never gave it a fair chance to find an audience. These executives are SO short-sighted! It had many moments of incredible brilliance, but at the very least, was always engaging. What could be better? If a person doesn't want to watch one violent or frightening show after another, yet also doesn't want to see utter mindless junk, where are the good dramas? The writing and acting was superb. Word of mouth would bring it a loyal audience; they just need to give it a chance.
I do think it needs retooling, but I don't agree with all of your changes. No one seems to, and that worries me whether it is save-able. But I would get rid of Jordan McDeere before Harriet Hayes. A key component of Matthew Perry's character (the one character everyone seems to like) is his relationship with Harriet, which he can't quite understand. That needs to stay.
Get rid of the creepy stalker-esque relationship between Bradley Whitford's and Amanda Peet's characters.
I wanted to really like this show. But I have to agree with Todd. It needs help. Aaron getting off the soap box would be a start. And I think 30 Rock is actually funny. Which is saying something. I havent found much in a sitcom since early years of "Night Court", or WKRP. Yes, I like twisted humor.
put studio 60 back on the air. It's fine just the way it was
I was a huge fan of Studio 60, but must say that I found The Black Donnelly's much more entertaining. I would vote to bring TBD back way before Studio 60.
As someone who spent years in (and finally grew weary of) the many unintended dramas of life in "The Theatre", I too wanted to love 60. It started out well enough, but soon became endlessly preachy and self-congratulating. The ceaseless aren't-we-smart-and-witty banter that goes on and on like the writers have seen too many Howard Hawks comedies is amusing for a while, but begins to grate. Soon I found myself making fun of a show, that makes fun of a show, that makes fun of an industry that totally desrves to be made fun of . . . only it wasn't any fun anymore.

My suggestions would be:

Have them talk like real adults, not like what pretentious college Theatre Majors think real adults talk like (and I was a pretentious Theatre Major, so I know of what I speaketh).

Stop making creatives quite so noble and the suits so nefariously avaricious and eeeeeeeeeeeville.

Kill Harriet. Real fundies would probably hate her, liberals would just feel sorry for her behind her back. She is one badly written device. A clumsy, preachy, thoroughly unbelievable device.

And yeah, please make it funny again. It was funny sometimes and the humor usually involved Matthew Perry. Yes, more Perry. And that's coming from someone who despised "Friends" for all the same reasons I have grown to despise this mess of self-congratulatory treacle.

Thanks Todd, I feel better too.
NBC, please stop trying to kill this show! Network producers and executives -- it's time to get off your pedestals and listen to what we have to say. America has smart people. We like entertainment. Fix this show.

Oh yeah, how about promoting it –- online ads, leave full episodes to view (or on iTunes), more press (or some would be a start), late shows, Howard Stern, myspace, air balloons, tattoos, shave the logo into Sanjaya’s hair…whatever, just a little bit of effort would be good.

If this show fails, NBC, it’s because you killed it.
I was tired of Ross and Rachael by the end of Friends. Why make Harry and Matt a tired rehash of all that? How many times can they breakup, nearly breakup and fall back into each other's arms? Enough already.
It would be much better to get them in bed and play off the tension of them actually having a relationship.
Leave the soap operas for daytime TV.
I watched the first five shows and was looking forward to it after liking the West Wing and Sports Night. I found the show to be one big rant against religion and conservative ideas. Simpliy a platform for Sorkin. I stopped watching it and am glad it is so unpopular it is getting canned.
Studio 60 was a good show that got lost along the way. The quick pace of both the dialogue and the camera shots were great, until it slowed down with the romance of Matt& Harriet and Danny & Jordan....Although all of these characters individually are awesome to watch, together it just comes crashing to a stop! The interesting thing about the shows premise was the millions of things that go on behind the scenes of a weekly TV show. From the execs all the way down to the stage hands. Words of advise from just a lowly TV viewer: dont forget to use the talent of your whole cast, which you paid good money for, to just focus only on 4 of them.
While Studio 60 was not always consistent, and could use a retooling, I found it entertaining. The snake under the stage situation was hysterical.

Since it was the only "new" show this season that I actually watched for more than the first couple of episodes, I'm getting a lot of sleep in the evenings.
Please kill me first or better, the no chemistry relationships. I switched channels everytime M/H were on, ugh, Harriett Hayes! What a supreme disappointment because Matt Perry & Bradley Whitford had great chemistry, why did they sink to inane, pointless Sam & Diane, Moonlighting shtick imho.
An awful show, simply awful. I worry that so many so-called intelligent viewers continue to defend this mess.

My solution: fire the whole staff, burn down Studio 60 and let Matthew Perry's character reapear in New York as a new writer for 30 Rock. He's the only good thing in the show; he's be a good additon to Fey's comedy.
That's a little better... and I agree that Perry should be the star. And while Paulson's part may be the worst developed character, the solution ISN'T to drop her, but to write for the character better. Corddry and Hughley should also have increased roles.

My biggest issue with Studio 60, is the Peet/Whitford relationship. They have as much chemistry as a goat and a pile of sticks.
I adore Mathew Perry so when the show was announced, I was thrilled. He truly is the best part of the show. I think the show still has potential and would like to see it go one more round before they cut it off. Harriet annoys me...I would like to see her character change from the religious/rightous to a more down to earth character...maybe have a revelation that Christianity has it's place but being all high and mighty doesn't.

It needs to be funnier...there are funny 'moments' but I'd like to see it turn more to a comedy show then on the serious side.

I LOVED Ed Asner coming in and I think Steven Weber is GREAT!

Keep it going...give it another chance. I'm a fan but would like to see some changes.
I am a sucker for Sorkin's writing, and I think the cast does a good job, but I think at the core the show projects too great a sense of importance considering it is, in essence, about a bunch of highly paid executives and highly paid actors and highly paid writers (and poorly paid interns, but working their dreamjob nonetheless) running around creating the same level of drama (or trying to) that the characters on the West Wing did, except in that case the safety of the free world was at stake. I think it would ratchet up up the tension if the landscape focused even more on running the network and the multimedia conglomerate, not just one comedy show. The best moment on the series was Ed Asners decision to challenge the FCC's objection to offensive language in a live newscast, despite the likelihood that the government would react by pressuring the Justice Department to withhold approval of a pending corporate merger. There is still room for, and a need for, the comedy of the detailed behavior of the Studio 60 cast, but I think it is the bigger, melodramatic issues that will hook the audience, and the idea that the characters' actions matter which will give the series legs.
I've enjoyed Studio 60 since its debut. It's a solid show, excellent cast, and the writing is up there-fast paced, eclectic. Here's the real selling point of the show--I like it and I'm a die-hard democrat, and my wife likes it, and she's a you-know-what!
I think "Studio 60" has/had a lot of potential if they stuck to the same principle as West Wing i.e. focus on the jobs and day-to-day, not on the interpersonals. Once they got into the relationships and pregnance etc., it lost its uniqueness. I personally love it and would not like to see it go.
Studio 60 has so much going for it, but every episode felt like those filler episodes LOST seems to run every second or third week. As interested I was in the story, I always felt like there was something more interesting going on elsewhere. Like in the writer's room. Why not use that set of characters to provide a completely random funny moment two or three times an episode to break away from the dueling soap opera love interest storyline?

... and what the hell was that John Goodman cliffhange episode(s)?!
Thank you. Finally, someone other than myself has said it. Harriet Hayes HAS to go. She kills my soul, and I cannot for the life of me understand why Perry's character loves her. Their relationship makes the show ridiculous and pathetic. I cannot sympathize with her character. Perhaps they can kill her off? THAT would be funny...otherwise I like the show.
First, I would happily push you off a cliff. I am so incredibly sick of critics jumping on the bandwagon of bashing this show. I have more respect for the lone critic who didn't like the show before the season started; at least he was listening to his own voice and opinions instead of parroting back whatever someone else said. Critics today have become a group of syncophantic wannabees, who are afraid to stand alone on their opinions. The moment one person expressed disappointment in the show's supposed failures last fall, the rest of the critic community leapt aboard out of fear of being left behind.

No show could have maintained the buzz that this show had at the beginning of the season. With all the hype, down was the only foreseeable direction. That doesn't mean the show is no good. On his very worse day, Aaron Sorkin's writing is better than 99% of the scripted crap we get on television these days, never mind the 'unscripted' shows. It took The West Wing a season and a half to gain the groove that is what we all remember now. This time next year, Studio 60 could be just as beloved if Kevin Reilly would grow some stones and stand up for the show.

I was very happy with the direction of the writing heading into the quite excellent Christmas show, but NBC couldn't handle the internet criticism and forced a change in direction for the new year, and when it didn't pay off, they pulled the rug out from under it. Much of the internet criticism was from a bunch of disgruntled former Sorkin fans that he had publicly smacked around in several plotlines on The West Wing over the years. They couldn't wait to gleefully assist in the downfall of this show.

Studio 60 needs is to be put in a decent timeslot with a more suitable lead-in. No one disputes that Heroes is popular, but it is cotton candy television; It requires no thought and no effort, it is just spoonfed sugar. Those viewers aren't going to stick around for a show with the chops of Studio 60. I am tired of the implication that the only television that can be good is brainless and toothless. I happen to enjoy a show that makes me think, that challenges my opinions and beliefs and that attempts to do more than hypnotize me into watching 20 minutes of commercials each week.

I want more, and Sorkin delivers every time.
I waited anxiously for "Studio 60", butI think the problem was that it came on right after "The West Wing" went off the air. I can't look at Bradley Whitford's character and think of him as "Danny" (especially because "Danny" from TWW is on this show as a different character).

But c'mon - "30 Rock"??? I watched the first episode and thought it was the dumbest show I had ever seen - I couldn't even make it through all 30 minutes. I didn't even laugh once - not even close to smiling at the jokes, which were predictable and, well, not funny.
I agree with your comments. The premise of the show is so great, but it has been very disappointing. They need they need to focus on the show within the show. That's what we're interested in. People want to see what's happening backstage at SNL...and that's why we want to watch Studio 60.

And seriously, the episode when they are stuck on the roof but can't get cell phone reception? That was completely ridiculous! Horrible writing and they should be ashamed.
I like some parts of Studio 60, but I think your criticism is on the money. The introduction of Ed Asner's character and the Japanese businessman and his daughter all strays way too far from the core story of the show.

I also find the red state/blue state politics painful. The police chief or Pahrump does not have a personal beef with the producers of SNL over the political bent of their show.

Sorkin's trademark dialog looks more and more ridiculous coming out of real people as opposed to tv personality or politicians. The show should confine itself to Studio 60 for a while.
The real problem with Studio 60 I believe si authenticity of comedy. The problem is that they spend time showing the creation and the production of comic sketches that are not funny. Never are they funny. I want to like the show, but how am I to believe that these characters are such brilliant producers and writers that deserve my attention and empathy if in the end they don't produce a product that would even come close to making it on Saturday Night Live (which by the way itself is no longer very funny). I am willing to suspend my dis-belief to a degree, after all that is what entertainment is all about, but the show has to meet me half way.
I think "President Bartlett" should do a cameo. Of course Bradley Whitford's character would be screwed in that episode.
I really liked the first few episodes, but for me the thing that killed it was the relationships. Do both male leads REALLY need to be in a screwed up relationships at the EXACT same time? I know some people feel the need to put relationship fluff in shows that don't need it, but to have two on going love storylines? Before the audience has a chance to care about any of the characters is just bad.
I was watching and thinking, I don't care what happens in any of they love lives, just get back to the REALLY story. The it turned out that the relationships might been the real(ly sad) story.
I have an idea, one relationship a season, and the first season, have it at the end of the run.
I liked to see the inner workings of the show and all the corporate back flips everyone has do do just to put on a show.
Corey
Let Studio 60 develop.. period. A good show is like a child.... it has to find it's own way, develop it's own character, adapt, and mature. If we dictated what it should be or become, we've destroyed the whole point of the process.

To cast a show aside because it's not perfect right out of the gate is ludicrous, there would never be anything on TV for more than two or three episodes if that were the case.
I watched studio 60 every week. I really liked how Matt Perry played his character. He always managed to make me laugh. I really liked his relationship with Danny. I really enjoyed the two part episode set in Nevada. It was pretty funny. However most of the other plotlines have been silly or boring.
I enjoy this show and look forward to watching it. I do agree that some changes or "tweaking" are in order. But the real issue, this is another intelligent TV show that is too smart for the average TV viewer.
ARE YOU INSANE OR JUST STUPID? This is one of the only shows on TV that isn't written for a 10 year old or someone with an unhealthy obsession with forensic science. HEY! I've got it! Why don't we have another quiz show that is impossible to watch because the contenstants have the IQ of something growing on the bottom of a shoe!
Studio 60 hadn't quite found it's stride but I defy you to find something else that that doesn't make you WANT to clean grout rather than watch television.
I looked forward to watching the show each week. I enjoyed every one of the characters and it was funny, dry funny. Bring it back in all it's glory. There aren't very many grown up shows that are worth the time.
I think the show could become funny if they turned the Harriet character into a serial killer who slowly kills off the rest of the cast and any guest hosts who offend her.

Each incident would start with a blue state/red state debate and end in homicide.

It would become sort of a detective show. Have Will Arnett play a clueless detective.

I would watch it every week.
Get rid of the soap opera elements. Get back to what Sorkin does best - social commentary. Make Danny's character less pathetic, give him a backbone. Bradley Whitford is wasted here, give him something he can sink his teeth into. It is hard to forgive Danny for not being conflicted, brilliant workaholic Josh Lyman. Make the Studio 60 show within a show more less prominent, and when you do have to use it, make it actually funny. This show just needs some time to find it's footing.
I have watched all episodes of Studio 60. Of course it is not perfect, but everyone is really expecting too much. If it wasn�t written by Aaron Sorkin, the critics would not have been so hard on it. But there is promise!
� The episode with the Alzheimer�s patient was true Sorkin brilliance. You could FEEL it. Same feeling with the Christmas episode.
� It is a drama/comedy. It is a smart comedy. We laugh at our house. Is it too smart? A common problem with Sorkin. Not a bad problem. (I believe Jordan mentions the dumbing down of America more than once�.)
� NBC didn�t really give it a chance. They promo�d it in the beginning but really left it to flounder. They haven�t even tried it on different nights! I�m not sure why you would do that with such an expensive show.
� I think this show should be on Thursday�s in ERs slot. Shove ER off the cliff.
� If you are the network that brought back the medical drama, why wouldn�t you want to be the network that launched the next generation of shows? You have 2 shows that no other network is doing; 30 Rock and Studio 60. Both can be trendsetters.
� Amanda�s pregnancy hurt the show; they probably regret writing it in. If the show gets a chance at a 2nd season, keep the Danny/Jordan relationship � leave the baby out. Make Jordan stronger.
Thanks Todd,

I appreciate you giving us some perspective behind your views. I apologize for blindly lumping you in with the rest of what I referred to as industry pundits whose favorite sport was Sorkin-bashing.

I too was awaiting Studio 60 with baited breath. Unlike you, I have mostly enjoyed the show. I'm used to Sorkins series taking a long time to develop. I enjoy the slow peeling away of layers that leads, step by step, from the surface character we were initially introduced to, to the inner character. Do you remember the beauty of the reveal in Hill Street Blues that Cpt. Furillo was an alcoholic? Dramatic TV, in my opinion, doesn't get much better than that. Which brings me to another trait of Sorkin shows - While they may be primarily a drama or a comedy, they never seem to be locked into one genre or another. His shows, to me, mirror life - elements of both comedy AND drama. It's an element I feel they share with MASH.

I like your first point, and part of your second. I'd rather not see Jordan marginalized, for several reasons. I like the story line she's involved in with Danny [It may be an opportunity for Aaron to *FINALLY* write a functional romance]. If she & Harriet are both devolved to minor characters (as you suggested) there would be no strong female characters left; a real minus in my book. Last, I consider Amanda Peet to be almost as underutilized an actress as Parker Posey. I don't want to lose what little access we have to a actress who is both good AND enjoyable.

Instead of getting rid or Harriet for being flatly written, why not fill out her character? Sarah's another quality actress that I'd hate to see less of.

I'm indifferent to point 4, either way.

Point 5 - I like a mix of comedy & drama. I like poignant and touching. But, you're right, some more humor would be very nice.

Point 6 - AMEN! Aaron Sorkin, along with Alan Ball & David Mamet are my favorite screenwiters. Their ability to write sharp, "human" (natural-feeling?) dialog draws me unerringly to their projects. But Aaron's now in a project so complex that I'm afraid he'll melt down if he tries to do it all himself. It would also help flesh out the "other" voices he's trying to write if he actually had other people helping him. He's got a pretty high-quality stable of actors - maybe he should try giving some of them a framework for a story arc, some essential dialog, and let them flesh the rest out from the perspective of their character. It works for Christopher Guest.

My big request for him? Write some romantic relationships that don't feel like they're 80% angst!

My big request for the network? Three-fold - after 1)some serious promotion 2)restart the show in 3)a better timeslot. If they really have courage (and deep pockets) order a full second season in advance.

Thanks again,

George
I think they should make up their minds whether "Studio 60" is a drama or a comedy.
Why does the idea of dumping Studio 60 keep coming up? I find the show clever, entertaining and well acted. It's one of the best shows on TV. I enjoy the show and watch it whenever I can. It's becoming more and more rare to find intelligent programming. Not everyone enjoys reality shows. I find it odd that the shows that the Baby Boomers enjoy are fading away when we pay for most of the products the sponsors are trying to sell. What happens to the sponsors when our adult children still living with us are cut off and they have to pay for their own stuff??
I agree with all of your proposed changes. The fact is I still don't see it working. I love the cast, especially Perry and Whitford together. But I feel that the premise of the show is all wrong. The show should have centered around a network, not a failing sketch-comedy show. I think it should be about censorship, fighting to get quality shows on the air (keeping off crappy ones), the inner-workings of a network, ratings, competition, tactics to gain viewership, etc. I still hate to see it go, but they should just rewrite the show about the network and pretend this season didn't happen. Give all the characters different jobs (executives, censors, producers, directors). They need to make it more like the West Wing without the whole government angle.
Sarah Paulson is probably the most talented (and wasted) actor on the show - still I'd have her go off and do her movie thing - bring in a new character totally new who skyrockets ala Eddie Murphy and have the show deal with that arc, how dynamics change etc. Plus, I have a hard time believing all of the writers and cast find each skit "brilliant." Watching SNL it is clear that some ideas are just tossed off to fill time.
I was excited for Studio 60 and for 30 Rock. The one that stuck with me is Studio 60. It's fast. It's smart. It's funny, but not schticky. I agree with the comments on Harriet Hayes- although her impresstions/impersonations are great. I couldn't wait week to week for the show. I'll be sad when it's cut. Guess now I'll only have Heroes, 24, Prison Break and CSI Miami on Mondays to watch... :)
I LIKE Studio 60 a lot. I miss West Wing terribly, though, so maybe I just like Aaron Sorkin's voice. But I found Studio 60 to be a very good program and, like Mr. Leopold, I'll probably just read a good book at 10:00 Monday nights if it's cancelled.
In my opinion Studio 60 and Boston Legal are the only shows worth watching any more. They are funny, quick and entertaining. Heaven forbid, we get another "Law and Order- the executioners" or "CSI - Auburn". I mean there ok shows, but enough already
It is nice to have a few shows that are intelligent and just fun to watch.
I certainly agree about Kristin Chenowe -- the character is a yawn. Matthew Perry is brilliant, however, and I hate to see the show canned. I thought it had great potential. More books and movies for me, too...the LAST thing network television needs is MORE REALITY TV!!!!
D.L. Hughley is weak sauce. Not smart or funny. The fat white guy has a better developed character.
Just a note for all who watch NBC:

Don't forget this is the network that cancelled "American Dreams" and stuck in reruns of "Fear Factor". They also had a wonderful summer series called "Windfall" that they just let fall away.

They deserve to lose viewers.
Other than cutting out the on again/off again romance between the characters Matt Albie and Harriet Hayes (didn't we get enough of this with Ross and Rachel on Friends?), I wouldn't change anything. I don't care if this show reeks of Sorkin (don't understand your problem with that Todd ), its an amazing show. And I refuse to watch any piece of crap NBC schedules on Monday at 10. As far as comparisons to 30 Rock go, these two shows are not even in the same league. 30 Rock is a pathetic attempt at painfully obvious jokes (the only two things that make is bearable are Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin). Whereas Studio 60 is actually a witty social commentary. Maybe you'd like another Reality show that our mindless existence has become so accustomed to.
Dear NBC:

Our favorite new show of the season i STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP. We enjoy it's humor and intelligent writing. Some of our favorite things about this show are what it is NOT! No violence, no staged contests, no "reality" situations, no overt sexuality; just quality and well-written entertainment.

However, this Monday, March 12, 2007 will make the third week in a row that the show has not been aired. Instead, we are offered something new. Something way too violent and offensive to appeal to the taste of a STUDIO 60 viewer.

How can NBC choose to air a "summer replacement" show beginning in Feburary, and in place of something which has not yet aired a full season? It has been a long time since we have chosen a TV show that we faithfully watch. If NBC chooses to cancel STUDIO 60, we will no longer be NBC viewers.

Please seriously consider continuing the season with STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP. This is a show worth taping every Monday night!!

Thank you.
I thought this show was going to my answer to redeeming television. It brought two of my favorite all time shows - Friends and West Wing - together. Was slightly disappointed but still watched religiously until it mysteriously disappeared and was replaced by the thankfully cancelled Black Donnelly's. I really liked watching the inner workings of a tv show and enjoyed the fast banter that helped make West Wing so great. I really love the Amanda Peet character but can't stand actually watching Amanda Peet. Would love to see more of the actual "studio 60" show as opposed to all the skits that never make it.
Understand this: network TV faces the same blackhole music has fallen into. The oblivion that comes when originality and creativity are swallowed by comercialism and capitalism. Aaron Sorkin is the rope that keeps us tv viewers from falling in or worse, being pulled in, by flim flam. Perhaps thats why ratings are taking such a hit. Style can always be argued about, but the fact is, our light in the dark is anything Aaron Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme do. It may not always be gold but it sure won't be insulting.
DO NOT take Studio 60 off the air. I love the whole dynamic of the show. In no way were they given enough time to acquire a solid following. It's intelligent, fast-paced and not always predictable. It's so much better than those depressing crime shows. I do agree with you on adding more humor. Bring STUDIO 60 back NOW!!!! =)
Saw it twice.
Pretentious. Not funny.
Both times.
That was enough.
Although Studio 60, like 99.9% of all the shows on network television today, can certainly be improved, I think it is one of the best three shows on television today.
I loved this show, and attempted to love it even when it turned south. The last straw was the "stuck on the roof" bit, followed by a, "Harriet and Matt fall in love episode". I didn't even watch the latter. I would love to see this show be given another shot. Go back to the quick witted, smart writing and leave the romatic drivel out of it.
I could not agree with Todd more! I love the show, the concept, and Matt Perry and Brad Whitford. But please - let them do what they do best - act and emote and suffer angst. Stop making them bookends for the pretty girls!
I enjoy Studio 60. I hope it comes back.
Ah! Common sense! I absolutely loathe this show. It's far too smug and as you say every character speaks in the same voice. But the worst part is the fact that shows like Heroes and Lost are far more believable then this show yet in 'reality'. Watching Sorken write Studio 60 makes me think of Stanley Kubrick and Eyes Wide Shut. Kubrick was just out of our time, it was something from another era, but he didn't realize it. Sorken is also out of the times. He's stuck in the late 90's/early 2000's. He thinks Christianity in the media is a hot button issue (he must, or why else would he hammer it into our heads five times a show?) Either get new writers and retool it to bring it into this decade, or can it. I'm in favor of canning it.
i whole heartly agree!!! Well, with most of it. Studio 60 is a great show. We already have so much crap with violence and greed and backstabbing and stupid reality shows. Hell, a comedy like Studio 60 is exactly what we needed. It is funny and although I agree that Harriet needs to go away, i think Jordan (and Amanda Peet) are great! I love the character and Amanda delivers it perfectly. The only change that NBC needs to make is to bring back NBS and Studio 60. They lost a lot of my and my wife's respect by taking it off in the first place and tried replacing that show with something like The Black Donnelys...PLEASE!
I don't think it's justifiable to 'write' our people's shows for them. If you were a TV writer, then you'd be writing TV. If we tune in to watch where Sorkin et al will take the characters, then we have to let them do that and go along for the ride.

The problem isn't Sorkin, or the writing, it's the networks! Studio 60 was set up for a big fall from the start I'm afraid. By originally putting it on Thursdays, NBC was able to charge top-dollar for advertising. In this way they set expectations with the advertisers much too high - how is a 1st run series supposed to instantaneously justify what NBC was charging their advertisers?

Then, guess what...Studio 60 doesn't make the viewing #s which match those advertising rates, and it's all downhill from there.

Come on NBC! Support your series! You're the ones who put it in this deep pit (too high expectations with your advertisers, messing around with the time slot, ultra-messing around with the on-again, off-again, nature of running the series for a few weeks and then taking it off without any decent announcement)...so, why not give it half a chance and sign it up for a full new series --- quality TV doesn't come cheap, but eventually wins out (just look at ER).

And...fans ... leave Sorkin alone to steer the characters and show as he sees fit --- don't forget that he's getting messed around by the studio as much as we are.

-Andrew
For all the fans of Studio 60, if you want to see what good a GREAT TV drama actually looks like, tune in to Friday Night Lights. It's easily the best show out there.
Studio 60 is the most entertaining show on TV right now. I love how it is written and the character interaction. Love the show and would hate to see it cancelled.
COULD "Studio 60" be fixed? Sure. The cast is incredibly talented and does the best it can with what it's got. WILL it be fixed? No. Because Aaron Sorkin is famous for not listening to others, working with other writers, etc. So the show is bottled-in, mired in its own conceits.

To address a couple of specific points:

"Shows need time to find their way" -- yes. They get a few weeks. But any show that hasn't found its footing after an entire season is unlikely to ever do so. This is particularly true with a show being run by an experienced writer.

"This is one of the only smart programs on the air" -- completely false. Never before have so many strongly written dramas been on television at the same time. Aaron Sorkin TALKS like TV is a brain-dead wasteland, but he is writing for some universe in which "Lost," "The Wire," The Sopranos," "Deadwood," etc. do not exist. All these shows operate at a much higher level of intelligence, polish and originality than "Studio 60."

"Put Matthew Perry on 30 Rock" -- You know, I'd love that. "30 Rock" started slow but has become hilarious. The fact is that the writers of "30 Rock" know how a sketch comedy show is put together and use that knowledge for laughs. "Studio 60" doesn't seem to have a clue.

I honestly like Aaron Sorkin and all the actors; this is why I hope the show dies. They are all capable of doing better than this. Best to cut their losses and find other projects, and let Aaron Sorkin develop another show more suited to his talents.
Definitely kill Kristin Chenowe -- uh, Harriet Hayes. She's weak and her story line with Matt is *boring*.
I really hope that Studio 60 is not cancelled. I too looked forward to its premiere and bought in to all the hype, I wasn't dissappointed! The timeslot was bad for me, staying up until 11 to watch TV is a bit much but I purchased a DVR specifically for this show! Nevermind my husband has wanted one for years, I did it for Studio 60. Yes, Matt needs more attention and Harriett's character is totally flat (how can she have possibly been the love of Matt's life, she is completely boring and not hot). Anyway, it shouldn't be taken off the air, it's a smart show and I agree, I can't imagine them putting anything else in the slot that will do better.
Don't put the show on Monday Nights competing against Monday Night Football and CSI Miami (prob the worst show on television). Put it in a time slot where people will enjoy the show as others have so far.

It was doomed as a new show in that time slot from the beginning. People never gave it a shot because they had things to watch at 10 on Mondays.
I can't believe the inanity of critics complaining that Studio 60 should be "funnier"! Just because it's set in a comedy show doesn't mean it has to be a comedy itself, any more so than West Wing was about governance. This was the best written show of the season, and I wish it was back!
I couldn't watch more than the first 7 or 8 episodes. I think they should move Law and Order back to a better night. Not that it is as great a show as it once was, but Friday is such a bad timeslot and NBC doesnt have anything better.
more romance
You make a great point that Matthew Perry is the best part of the show. Matt Albie is from the same Sorkin mold as Josh Lyman (The West Wing) or Casey McCall (Sports Night).

Jack, Steven Weber's character, is a definite bright spot that's being overlooked. He stands out in every scene, and he's critically underused.

Oh, and if you don't like the show's politics, there's plenty of other programming you can watch. Don't bother those of us who love it.
The show needs to be funny- it just isn't. And it is impossible to believe that if the show they are producing is funny that they would be so not funny off set. I'd like to see a storyline involving the guest host- the idea about a host the public loves but is truly an a** hole is a good idea.
"Studio 60" is at it's most biting when it's ABOUT THE SHOW. The nonsense with Amanda Peet's pregnancy being written into the show is a real blow and horribly awkward. Danny Tripp walking around with a fake baby to show he can be a daddy? Did they borrow that from "Full House" or something? God, how awful.

Again, when it's ALL ABOUT THE SHOW and how the characters write it, produce it, live for it, etc., the show is TV freak's wet dream. But try to work in some romance or really care what they are doing outside the studio is a big stinking BORE.

Next stop, HBO?
Studio 60 is a good show. Its like the "serious" counterpart to 30 Rock, much in the same way ER is the drama version of Scrubs. People think 30 Rock is good, maybe 60 can ride its coat tails until it gets moving?
I think they need to let the show go on and develope its direction. Sometimes it takes a while for a show to find itself. Yes, I agree, Black Donnellys sucked..but Studio 60 has a chance to be one of the most funny and smart shows on the air. Yes, Mr Sorkin needs to quit making every character sound like him,and a little more humor would be appreciated, but overall the show IS good, and I look forward to watching it again.
Studio 60 was the new show of the season that I was most interested in watching. It combines wit with drama. The Christmas show's conclusion with the New Orleans musicians playing were the most evocative minutes of the television season. The focusing on the relationships between the characters has made the program a bit stale, but a renewal of focus on the behind the scenes machinations of the network and the writers/cast would make for another of the string of successes for Mr. Sorkin.
Todd,
I think you make some very valid points but I'm not sure why you don't like Sarah Paulson. Let's be honest, this targets the "Friends" demographic and this on again off again romance is what keeps bringing me back. It's also the same thing that drives my husband and most men like him, far...far... away from shows like this.
The show has a good basic foundation... Matt and Danny save the world. Great, and so are the actors. I like that they're flawed. But the show needs to be pruned.

Kristin Chenowe must go, I'd agree. But another real problem is Amanda Peet. She's a fine actress, easy on the eyes, but hardly believable as a network executive. She's simply too young and naive. I certainly can't blame Brad Whitford for trying to score with her, but she should not have the job. Let's get rid of Steven Webber, while we're at it. Fine actor, loved "Wings," but this isn't your vehicle.

The biggest problem with the show is that the skits (what little we've seen) haven't been funny. SNL hasn't been funny for twenty years. Studio 60 hasn't had a funny skit yet. That's a real problem! When the show does a cutaway to someone who's laughing at a joke that isn't funny, you're not fooling us. The show needs better writing.

D.L. Hughley needs to be the one cast member you hear from more often. If there's anyone with the potential to liven the show up, he's a good start. But let him improv a bit more. He feels starched sometimes. Ed Asner is fine, in what little we've seen of him.

But let's prune the stuff that doesn't work, and write funnier material. If you're the only one who's laughing at your own jokes, you have a problem.
I am with you! I had high hopes for the show and it started out well.

I hated the stalker love afaire with Jordan. And the pregnancy out of the blue is a mistake that unfortunatly we will have to live with. I think harriet could be way more interesting. Don't make her all about god. How two dimnsional can she get. I think she has more in her than that one note. Bong Bong Bong.

I think that it's a show with really good bones that just needs to grow into its roll.

Unfortunatly, it seems that networks these days are so hot for that next over the top hit that they are closing down production on many programs with potential that just need a bit of time to mature.

I think there is a lot of historical amnesia.

After all, were Friends or Raymond or Law and Order or CSI or House or ER or Gray's Anatomy (insert your favorite here) a hit right out of the box?

Not that I remember.
Studio 60 was one of the only shows with good, intelligent writing. It was fast-paced and covered some major topics. Their dedication number to the Katrina survivors trying to make a living in LA was breathtaking. And Harriet breaks up the liberal tones with conservative ideas. It looked like they were trying to find a balance or at least get most everyone's opinion heard.
Besides 30 Rock is crap. I saw one episode and had to walk away. I felt dumber from having seen it.
I guess the cancelling of Studio 60 shows that there are fewer intelligent people making up the ratings systems. What a shame...
While I agree the show needs some fine tuning, I have appreciated the tenor of the show. Some finetuning - otherwise leave it where it is. NBC needs to give it some time to develop!
I really like the show and think that some of the issues it raises are really important, given the political situation in this country. The Ed Asner/Jack Rudolph dynamic and the fight with the FCC over their news delay is a storyline that I would like to see them continue. However, some things really don't work. The Harriet/Matt romance? In what world would these two characters get together? The Matt as drug addict story line is also problematic as there is nothing to support it. I like the Matt/Danny friendship as well as the bits of the show we do see. Some parts of Studio 60 are much funnier than the SNL. I really like the show and hope that NBC does not cancel it--it has a lot of potential and could be extremely watchable.
Love the show, best on TV, bring it back
I love both shows! 30 Rock makes me laugh every week! We can't get through it without replaying it because we were laughing so hard. Studio 60 is wonderful, I love cast and I think the show is really needed. No need for another reality show!
Yea...thats how should be unloaded....I tried watching it but besides Matt Perrys performance, the rest is simply abject mediocrity.
Change the name of the show....I agree with that
Re - engineer the plot - agree with that too
Introduce characters that ACTUALLY matter and understand the script - my opinion
Alani
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I really like the show but I do agree with most of your points. The one thing I don't agree with is making it funny. I like the non-slapstick approach and that is one of the primary reasons I watch it. If networks are going to keep running lean and cheap with reality television, then they can afford to invest in quality shows that can build an audience.
I agree that the show is salvageable and should be saved. First, we�ll need the inevitable transition show. Unfortunately, Jordan�s going to have to lose the baby to free up Danny to be Matt�s sidekick again. Then Jordan needs to take a job in NY to help her get over the loss (Bye, Jordan.) Matt�s going to have to go into rehab to kill the drug addiction story line (maybe the loss of the baby is the kick in the pants to go to rehab?). Harriet � let her run off with the Director and write both of them off the show. Rest of the cast? Ditch the NBS suits. No one cares about the infighting between the suits and the creative ones. Now�.what�s left?

I concur with another writer. The show needs to be about the process of writing the weekly sketches. And it needs to add some humor. And involve the cameos more in the story lines. Let Matt have a one-week stand with the musical guest. Add more writers to the staff. Let the show be the storyboard and let the stories be about the personal relationships. It doesn�t matter what the backdrop is � be it a fake SNL or Sports Night or a CNN takeoff � the key to Sorkin�s appeal is the dialogue between the characters and it always has been. I loved West Wing. And I�m a Republican. Maybe Sorkin was pushing his politics (yeah, maybe) but what I enjoyed was the dialogue. The same thing that drew me to Studio 60 and kept me watching (TiVo�ing) every episode.
Anyone that wants this show off the air obviously has been BRAINWASHED by all of the crap on TV today (Idol, Lost, Survivor etc...)
this show needed some adjustments and focus on humor more than drama would be nice but it did have a nice flow and deserves to be on TV.......
I enjoy the witty and intelligent dialogue and interplay between the "key" characters - severely lacking in most non-reality tv programs. This show is crafted, as opposed to slammed together for a brutal assault on one's senses. Apparently the lack of ratings shows the general lack of intelligence in the American viewing audience. If it's not staged reality or a fat, stupid and obnoxious husband coupled with an inappropriately pretty, longsuffering wife, then "it must not be worth watching 'cos I have to think". Bring back Studio 60 and let it have a chance to find its stride. It would be a shame to abort a potential classic.
Although there are problems with Studio 60 (name one show out there that doesn't have issues) it is one of the few on network television written above a fifth-grade level. It was a breath of fresh air in an otherwise stale, juvenile programming grid. I'll gladly take Studio 60 with its character faults over having yet another reality TV show or a "comedy" with a fat husband who always screws up but manages to have a gorgeous wife.
End the talking-over non stop diialogue. It's very annoying and sounds so scripted. Focus more on the fictional show, NOT the boring behind the scenes love lives of the characters. Please DUMP the Harriet character, along with Jordin. Ughh. The show started out interesting, then quickly became a snore-fest.
Studio 60 was the only show on TV worth watching. Intelligent vs dull witted, fast paced dialog, fun to watch, the characters and actors are great. No wonder it will go away. Back to books for me...again!
Bring Back My Studio 60!

I loved to watch this show and for the life of me, I couldn't explain why. I just enjoyed it. I'd Tivo it and set the priority to #5 of the 20+ shows I season pass.

Bring the show back!
I love Studio 60. And I really enjoy Amanda Peet and Bradley Whitford's relationship. And the interplay between Harriet Hayes and Matt Albie.

But I agree with everything that Mr. Leopold said, even the parts I would appear to disagree with.
Once again I don't understand network logic - Studio 60 is a good show and yes it can use some tweaking - but good grief 30 Rock over that - give me a break.
When was the "short-lived return" you speak of? The last episode my TiVo saw was "4 AM Miracle" - which was one of my favorites in a long while - and I haven't seen any new eps pop up in my iTunes download queue, where I have a so-called "Season Pass" and am supposed to receive the entire series automatically.

Have I missed something?
Personally, I LOVE studio 60. I too was very excited for 30 rock, and hugely disappointed when I saw the first episode. My impression of Tina Fey fell from a 95/100 to a 23 in the span of 30 minutes. I do agree that some minor tweaks could be made, and hope NBC keeps the show around long enough for changes to be made.

NBC...DON'T DUMP STUDIO 60 YET!
I actually really like Studio 60. I liked it more before they brought it back after its short break, tried to put more drama and conflict in it and made "Matt" a drug adict.

I actually like the sense of humor in the show too. By the commets above of "...make it FUNNY", My wife and I thought it WAS funny. The thing that I thought was refreshing about it is that it was a different type of funny than any of the 30-minute sit-coms. My wife and I already have too many sit-coms. Turn Studio 60 into one, and for me, it looses what made the show great. That would amost upset me as much as it does that the show has been (pretty much?) canceled.
Brendan, I was referring to the show's return after holiday reruns and specials, and with the determination to pump up the romance. But perhaps *I* missed something -- after all, I'd given up on it.
Honestly, my husband loved it! We enjoyed the quick whit and sophistication of the show. My husband hardly ever watches TV, but he would drop everything at 10 to see what was going to happen next at Studio 60.
Now NBC thinks we need another stupid sitcom, where people act really childish and uneducated . . . and we have no reason to watch those shows.
My husband and I LOVED Studio 60. We enjoyed the whit and sophistication that other televisions show obviously don't present to the public. My husband rarely watches TV, except he would drop everything at 10 to watch what was going to happen next at Studio 60.
if matthew perry had a funny assistant on the show it would makethe show more interesting and funnier
NBC - Bring Studio 60 back. Give it a chance. It has potential. Matthew Perry is wonderful. Please no more reality shows. I cannot take it. This show was great to watch, but probably needs a little fine tuning to make it really great.
I love the show- miss the show-where's the show!!! I don't watch anything else in that time slot-just my little rebellion. Drop the Harriet movie thing--drop the pills for Matthew. I love actually having to pay attention, to listen--quick witted-- BRING IT BACK
I enjoyed (and miss) "Studio 60". even if a story line was weak, it was still smart t.v. and I'm not sure there is anything on a non-cable station (the only t.v. I get) that can match it.
That is better. Scrapping it altogether was just too harsh. Yes, get rid of Harriett Hayes. That is about all I can criticize at this point. I like the writing and love the other characters.
Another crappy 'reality' show is the last thing we need. Ugh, and the Black Donnely's? WTF?
I really liked Studio 60, although I agree with most of the changes you suggested. I hope they bring it back.
Studio 60 was my favorite show, especially during the fall. I feel they tried to dumb it down in the Spring, but I still enjoyed it. Doesn't anyone appreciate the irony that an intelligent show about how audiences really need intelligent shows is failing? Does this mean America truly is brain dead?

Please keep the show.
It would be sad if Studio 60 was cancelled. However, I would laugh if ABC picked it up, put it on Thursday's after Grey's, and swept Thursday nights for the next 5 years. Ha!
What the FuHell? They cancelled "The Black Donnellys"? With decisions like this, is NBC really puzzled as to why they aren't that popular any more? They moved Raines to deathbed known as Friday night, and it's a good show also. I wasn't expecting much from Raines, but have been very pleasantly surprised.

As for Studio 60, I could be on either side of the argument. The deciding factor for me wanting to keep it, is the fact that they are replacing it with "Reality" TV.

I am still puzzled over the cancellation of The Black Donnellys!
i think Sorkin tried to make studio 60 too much like west wing (which i miss), some of the same actors, same timing in the dialog, serious but funny, making political statements, same type of film/acamera work... i did however still like the show. i think it had potential, it needed better charecter developement, and it was starting to get there with Matthew Perry's charecter...
Oh My - The show is a train wreck! Rapid fire dialoge, un-interesting characters, chemistery-lacking romances. Mr. Sorkin, you are very arrogant in thinking America would take this show seriously. People DO NOT talk and act like that in real life. I was actually looking forward to the show during promos. What a disappointment.
I love Studio 60!
Change the timeslot!!! Monday night at 10pm is the worst. The show would have a better chance of increasing viewership if it moved to a better night. Many of us miss the intellegent writing from the West Wing. Studio 60 has the potential to fill that void, as there is certainly nothing else worth watching.
I agree that it needs to be funnier and Matthew Perry should be the center. There was no mention of is "right hand man" Danny on the show. The West Wing silver tongue isn't being used properly. He could easily make Matthew shine. It would playdown his character, but he should be a support player (for the good of the show).
I disagree that Harriet Hayes should go. I like her aloof character, constantly trying to define her bond to Matthew. Keep her there and keep them complex, but again--funnier!
I enjoy the show, but don't enjoy seeing it take itself so seriously.
P.S.
I still can't come to terms with the fact that Sports Night was taking off the air. That is STILL one of the best shows ever--I watch it on DVD every summer.
I am STILL rooting for Studio 60...although it is such a huge disappointmet. Definately needs more humor. These characters should be at least as funny as the people I work with. Also, keep the monologues and the soapbox dial to a minimum and stop preaching. No ferrets or snakes.
Thank you Todd for this second post. I am a huge fan of this show but I did agree with you that it took a turn for the dumb with all the romance stuff. But I think they only did that because they wanted to write in Amanda Peet's pregnancy and thought it was a good idea.

I agree that Matthew Perry is the star of the show but I really enjoyed Bradley Whitford (Danny Tripp) before he got engrossed and completely boring with Amanda Peet's character (Jordan). The dialogue between Matthew and Bradley is one of my favorite parts.

I agree that Harriet Hayes is abnoxious and maybe they should send her packing. Maybe she should just run off with her director friend.

What made this show great was showing the backstage 'antics' of an SNL type show and they need to get back to that.
Not sure I agree Matt Albie is the best part of the show - maybe when he's actually funny. And Jack Rudolf becomes more appealing as Danny, Matt, and their romantic leads become less. Personally, I think Nate Cordry is shining as Tom.

But narrow the scope. Make me feel these people are friends, care about each other, like other Sorkin shows.

Make it brighter - the show is shot dark, with morose themes. Not every show has to beat Sorkin's lesson of the week into your head - what happened to witty banter?

Please someone convince Sorkin we love his dialogue when it fits the characters, not when it's contrived to shove his lesson of the week down our throat.

And, of course... make it funny!!!
As soon as I saw that he was ripping off "Network", I thought, Sorkin's at the wrong channel. He needs to be working with HBO or Showtime, places where low ratings and unhappy advertisers aren't the make-or-break aspect of the show. So I hope that NBC does cancel the show and that it's picked up on premium cable for a second season. If nothing else, the air in a writers' room is blue with curses, and you can't bleeping say any of that bleep on network television.

But I think Sorkin's main problem is continuity - there was none. Every fourth episode was genius, and all the rest were meandering filler, with new ideas that came out of nowhere because Sorkin didn't use a story bible and didn't plant any seeds. I could have bought the Danny/Jordan romance if there had been any signals between them in the first few episodes. But that thread just came out of nowhere, and neither character was believable.

Casting changes: please get rid of Amanda Peet, because she can't act nearly well enough to portray the complexity of someone like Jordan McDeere. This is a network president, someone who's walked through fire to obtain the power she wields - and Peet plays her like a kittenish little girl. Sarah Paulson is all right, but her character has no there there. She's just the mouthpiece for whatever Sorkin disagrees with at the moment, be it pro-life or chastity before marriage or posing for a men's magazine. When he discovered that he couldn't write sketch comedy, Sorkin hired one of the best comedic writers on the continent to help him out. Why couldn't he have actually talked to people who believe what Harriet believes? Then there would have been some authenticity to her character. But since there isn't, let her go and have her movie career with Luke.

Other suggestions: please, more network schmoozing (love Jack) and a cast that isn't all Happy Families. Show business is cut-throat on a good day, but according to Aaron, the only reason two people on the same show wouldn't get along is because they're no longer sleeping together. Kill the romances, the baby talk, the idiotic idea of a 90-minute show being written by one man and two interns. And give more screentime to the best couple on the show - Matt and Danny. Even though their relationship is platonic, it has more chemistry, conflict, and emotional range than any other pairing. The main reason I'll watch the last 4 episodes (this summer, this fall or on DVD) is so I can see Danny confront Matt on his drug usage.
Loved it when it started, but the shift to make it more romantic really turned me off and I tuned out. I just don't understand why people think that the entertainment aspect is "too inside". The "West Wing" was very inside about politics and people hardly vote in this country!!
Elminate the two increasingly sappy romance stories. They're patronizing and stupid. Go back to the socio-political satire of the earlier episodes: censorship, blacklisted writers, conniving execs, black vs. white comedy writers. That's what the writers do best. Show more of the ascerbic Jack Randolph and less of the doe-eyed Harriet. I couldn't dislike that character more. I didn't start watching this show because I LIKE soap operas, but just the opposite. I will not tune in every week just to see if anyone finally gets together. I COULD NOT CARE LESS! I want to see this show succeed, but as it was the first week, not as it stands now. If that's what they have in store, then by all means, pull the plug.
Wow, it must be nice to watch television for a living instead of creating it. How Mr. Sorkin has made it this far in his career without the benefit of your insightful notes is a mystery. Perhaps you could start a blog on what makes a good show runner also. I'm sure you have plenty of experience and we'd all like to benefit from it.

Please let us all know where we can get a hold of some of your (surely unproduced) scripts so that we may glean more shrewd writing tips on what makes for good drama.

I have a feeling this TV blog thing is just a start for you Todd. We all see big things in your future.
Obviously those that didn't watch Studio 60, and those that won't watch the Black Donnellys are the same people who watch Dick Cheney and George Bush(s) with favor. Thanks for DVRs and Netflix and books and the web.
If you think Studio 60 is the worst show on television you simply are not watching enough television. While it has not achieved the greatness of The West Wing, Studio 60 is always smart and entertaining. I think Aaron Sorkin is working through the rough patches and the show deserves another season to see if it can gain momentum. Plus, I would like Donna from the West Wing to come guest star, so I need more episodes.
Todd, you're exactly right. That said, I do like the Jack Rudolph character and his interactions with the cast. I also like Amanda Peet so I guess the one point I would disagree on with you would be moving these characters. I do hope that they bring it back. I have to say, in my 38 years, this is the first time I have proactively spoken to save a show. That says alot about it. Here's to hoping someone is listening.
I love Studio 60. It has a lot of potential to be an intelligent and funny show. The only problem I've had with it is that they've rushed the Bradley Whitford/Amanda Peet relationship. This shouldn't have happened during the first season.
The only people who didn't like Studio 60 were the people too stupid to understand it. It was the best "new" show out there, Matthew Perry was awesome in it as was Amanda Peet, I agree though that the whole Harriet Hayes character was boring, but so what, get rid of her, not the show. I'm so ticked off with NBC! Give it another chance and maybe we'll give you another chance.
KEEP STUDIO 60! Even my husband enjoys watching it with me. It's the best writing on TV. AND...it's actual writing as opposed to one more reality show. It deserves a second chance.
I love Studio 60 and miss it! Please no more reality tv--we need more solid, scripted dramatic shows.
I have to say my Monday Nights were a lot more entertaining with STUDIO 60 in it. I thought it was brilliant writing and the cast was "top shelf."

And I have to say I am very disappointed in NBC for not even giving it a chance. I mean jimmeny christmas. So much I want to write about this cancellation and the lack of confidence in the show. But why bother. Seriously!

Why it's being canceled...still don't really know the answer to that one. I believe it should be given another chance. By that I mean a real chance.
I love Studio 60. In the world of so many reality shows that make me physically ill to watch, i find Studio 60 relaxing and enjoyable. Yes there could be some changes that would help, but the time slot sucks and that would hold any good show down.
As many people have said, if they gave 30 Rock another season, then Studio 60 definitely deserves another one. I love Tina Fey, but that show is really bad. I wish people would stop trying to copy The Office, and realize it reaches a certain audience, but not everyone. AND it only works because of Steve Carrell.
Please hold onto Studio 60, otherwise i will actually have to go to bed earlier on sunday nights out of boredom.
Matthew Perry has transcended to this drama well. Kill the addiction story. I love the chemistry between him and Sarah Paulson, but her character need some ooomph...
The show needs a jerk to hate, and for Brad Whitfords character to be a bit more gritty. Since he has fallen for Jordan, he has become a sap!
Studio 60 rocks! Some friends and I who live in Denmark download it every week from i-tunes and watch it! Please do not cancel this show. It's warming up and will surely get much hotter! Try a different marketing plan to get the right viwers.
Take 10 steps back. Crank up the
f-stop, forget depth of field.

Matthew Perry is stunning... his acting, his timing, his presence. It's HIS show and the repartee between he and incredible Bradley Whitford should be forefront. Give it some shading... everyone's part is NOT equal. Oh! Get some women who can act! Peet and Paulson are insipid... like cardboard cut-outs. They are not of the same caliber... and you wonder why there's no centrifugal force. Christine Lahti should be a regular...

Tighten it up. Give us a laugh. The rest is the rest... and will take care of itself....... Aaron Sorkin's the best. If you cancel this show you'll have one naked peacock. This is a gold mine that just needs more panning.... and I love it.
I'm sorry, but I don't care about Studio 60. The only time I watched it was when our chancellor from the North Carolina School of the Arts played the conductor, but I turned before I could see him because the show was dry. Why keep this show on the air, when NBC cancelled Third Watch, which was the best show on t.v. Ever since they cancelled it, NBC has had busts, so ha, ha, ha, NBC. You know what they say about karma.
I like the interaction between Matthew Perry's and Bradley Whitford's characters...wouldn't mind losing Amanda Peete, she's boring...as is Sarah Paulson...there are elements to this show that I do enjoy, would hate to see it go.
I loved studio 60 in it's start, and was very happy to have Matt back on TV. They are falling under the Grey's Anatomy trap I think, too many characters and no focus. Maybe take some of them out, make the story lines flow and make sense, and then all should be well. Aaron can do it! I have faith!
I loved this show when it first aired, but once it came back from its little vacation..it was awful.

I think it just needs to be killed.
I have to admit that I was disappointed in the show, but I was still willing to give it a chance until Danny and Jordan hooked up. This was just ludicrous. Why do writers feel the need to have everyone on the show hook up together? First of all, I have no idea how old the actors are in real life but BW LOOKS old enough to be her father. Second, they have absolutly no chemistry. When they kissed for the first time I actually cringed. Get rid of that relationship and stop preaching all the time and then I will give it a chance.
Ultimately fictions rise and fall on the basis of story-telling and characters we care about. It's what made shows like Cheers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Friends, Frasier, and 7th Heaven all succeed. Sure some of them had niche's and smaller target audiences, but ultimately what made them successful was that people love to see and hear stories about other people.

It's what we've been like for thousands of years, and part of the reason why "reality" television is successful. The show is aweful compared to it's lead in "Heroes", which is more character driven despite its inherently gimmicky nature.
REAL SIMPLE..CSI MIAMI. NOTHING WRONG WITH STUDIO 60. VIEWERS STILL LIKE FORENSIC SHOWS.
I agree with your comment. I had high expectation of the show, but it soon became boring and trite. The conversations are too clipped and fast paced....people in offices (whether prodution or other) do not talk like that. Yes, keep it funny....look at Tina Fey...she did a great job and wasn't afraid of pointing out social issues.
"Studio 60" is an excellent show that just has to find its legs. I agree that one key way to do that is to minimize the corporate suits. The Jordan character is laughable. She couldn't run a fast food restaurant let alone a network. So give the cast-within-a-cast more to do, for crying out loud. The team of Perry and Whitford is fantastic, but Sorkin, you gotta make 'em work, or the show's done. Stop being cute and get back to story.
You know, Studio 60's potential failure is not because of the oft-repeated "it's just too smart for the dumb viewers" jive. As has been pointed out, if one includes cable (premium and basic) and a few oddball shows on network tv like Veronica Mars, Lost, and especially Ugly Betty, Sorkin hardly has the monopoly on "smart". Studio 60's problems were multi-fold. It had a sense of self-importance that seemed jarring considering its premise. Sorkin's biting "insights" into modern media seems rooted in the early 90's, and aren't particularly witty or original. The anscillary characters are extremely dull. The show has no real identity or overarching purpose.

And, frankly, Sorkin's barely concealed obsession with Kristin Chenowith in the guise of Harriet Hayes is creepy and uncomfortable to watch. Bashing Christianity is the sign of a hack who has nothing original to say, but Sorkin's virtual "stalking" of a real life performing artist sort of crosses a couple of lines of propriety.
Studio 60 is the stupidest show ever and they could play "snow" (you know what happens when your cable goes out...) and it would be better. Just play snow!!
Personally, I find Matt Perry to be sorta boring in this role. Too sad. Get rid of Harriet, let him be happy again, and then tap into Bradley Whitford in the way that was promised in the pilot - have Danny dark and screwed up. Not Perry. Also, bring back Jerry, the Censor guy, and have Danny and Matt fight with him every week - that is also part of what we expected but didn't get.

The Jordan and Danny storyline is ok but I would rather seem them at odds. Sorkin isn't tapping into the potential his actors have - Whitfords been used as a punching bag, which is criminal - this is an Emmy award winning actor. Use him!
Todd,
Your suggestions are sound. Strange how Sorkin's last show, "West Wing" was funnier than "Studio 60." Go figure. But for mu money, Studio 60 was the best thing going in network television. BRING IT BACK!
I think the show is GREAT and I really hope they keep it.
The show IS the latter. Studio 60 is my absolute favorite show and I've missed it terribly. My only complaint is when the show seems to pander to to viewers that aren't in its demographic with overely dramatic personal relationships. When the show is in its stride it's intelligent, touching and captivating.

And while its audience isn't huge, it's loyal. There aren't very many lukewarm Studio 60-watchers...if you watch it, you love it.
I, too, wanted to love this show BUT there was no real conversation, no real focus...just a lot of "Witty Repartee?" Bottom line, no substance, fraudulent characthers.
Drew from Meadville, PA, asked, "Since when did being ignorant become cool?"

Answer: January 20, 2001
This show really is a gold mine. Unfortunately, the gold is buried, Sorkin thinks he's covered in platinum, and no one is willing to chop some rocks.

This is a TV show about a TV show. Play with the dragon eating its own tail: interstitials using the cast to promote other shows, filming the interestitials on the show (when Heroes' Hiro was on, it was 10 seconds of good TV!). And you're way wrong, it's not the character that's flat, it's Paulson. I have wanted a true Christian character (not right-wing jerk) who faces the dilemna of living in the real world - but watch her on any other show, she sucks the energy off the screen. I like her. She just doesn't "pop."

And it's about a comedy show! All Sorkin has done is show he canNOT write comedy. Many scenes build to what might be an actual sketch, then he chickens out. Plus, since we know the backstage stuff, sketch scenes would teach the "real world" what performance is like - comedy is in front of us and we see it and laugh, but we know what those people are "feeling on the inside" -- or would in this case -- unlike any other show would be able to do.

Sorkin needs a smack-down from some higher-ups, or just a reality check. He's not that brilliant. West Wing had more blathering garbage than it had stellar moments ... but the emporer is stark naked on this show.
I have enjoyed Studio 60 very much. I keep hearing "it's not funny" but I don't think it is supposed to be. It's about a comedy show, it is not a comedy show in itself. I quit watching 30 Rock after the second episode, it was just ridiculous (and I am a big Tina Fey fan). I hope NBC realizes what they have in Studio 60 and give it a chance to develop.
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