Is Every Film Ever Made Becoming a TV Series This Year? Yikes!

Time now for all of us to get up to date so we can properly castigate one of the absolutely dumbest trends in current TV programming:

Devils-Advocate

by Oliver Lyttleton

Network TV is reaching the point of critical mass similar to the one that shook the music industry a few years ago: a crucible of absolute, sheer panic. Ratings plummet every year, very few shows work or connect on a big level, and even the biggest flagship series are watching their ratings matched or superseded by upstarts from cable TV and streaming services. The result is that executives are floundering desperately, and the next development season indicates that extant hysteria, with a slew of projects that aim to translate brand-name movies to TV.

The latest baffling announcement (via The Hollywood Reporter) is a TV series version of Gregory Holbit‘s 2000 sci-fi drama “Frequency” will be developed for some reason.  And with that project being revealed in the last couple of days, we thought it was a good excuse to round up all the similar productions in development; it’s an insanely long list that indicates a desire to take (semi-well-known) name properties that worked on the big screen and mine those ideas for long form narrative storytelling. At first, some of the ideas felt inspired; some of these basic movie ideas could flourish in a setting that can marinate on character and a slow build. But it’s starting to feel like the blind leading the blind, with execs simply trying to mimic what everyone else is doing. The TV process being what it is, it’s likely that a majority of these won’t make it to series (or even to the pilot stage), but it’s a pretty good indication of the creative bankruptcy that’s sinking the networks right now. Take a look below, let us know what you’re most dreading in the comments.

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Love & Money Dept – TV Writing Deals for 11/20/14

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Latest News About Writers Who Are Doing Better Than We Are
by munchman

  • Corinne Brinkerhoff (THE GOOD WIFE) is developing a creepy CBS drama about “a prominent Boston family who…struggles to redefine itself” while under suspicion that one of its members is a murderer. (Wow, the spirit of Shonda Rimes is everywhere, no? Where do they find these clones?)
  • Joe Caren (playwright and TV newbie) is writing a Fox drama series called The SYSTEM, about an ensemble of 20-somethings trying to survive their dealings with the criminal justice system. (Did I ever tell you guys about my close call with the criminal justice system? For reals. I was thisclose to a part as a “funny D.A.’s assistant” on LAW & ORDER back in my even younger youth. But then somebody saw my attempt at stand-up and they knew I was all wrong for the funny part. Sigh….)
  • Ali Wentworth & Jackie Clarke (stand-ups, the both of them) are writing the pilot for a semi-autobiographical comedy series based on Ali (cuz nobody knows Jackie or cares about his life, I reluctantly suppose.)
  • Chris Levinson (LAW & ORDER) has a new overall deal with Fox TV. (Which this particular munchacho figures must be exciting as all hell for her, but man does it bum me out. Cuz Chris hates me, you see, since that time when I…oh, right, TMI. You’ll have to wait for my autobiographical comedy series, gang. Wonder if I can get Jackie Clarke to co-write. I hear he’s hot right now.)

That’s it for now. Write in and tell munchilito what you’ve sold today. TVWriter™ can’t wait to brag to all your friends. (And, more importantly, enemies. Hehehe….)

Love & Money Dept – TV Writing Deals for 11/19/14

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Latest News About Writers Who Are Doing Better Than We Are
by munchman

  • Ingrid Escajeda (JUSTIFIED) is writing an unnamed Fox series pilot about a Texas prosecutor. (Except that in yer munchman’s humble opinion, somebody’s got this all wrong cuz the press release is saying that the aforementioned prosecutor is the good guy? Does nobody in TV keep up with the news?)
  • Glenn Gordon Caron (MEDIUM) is developing DAMN!, a drama about “a reprobate con man who meets his untimely death but gets another chance at life as an angel.” (Did I say “drama?” How can this be anything but funny? And as long as I’m questioning (TV exec) authority, what’s with this sudden run on con men? Are the suits all afraid they’re going to lose their cushy TV jobs so they’re trying to make what they’ve been doing for a living – you know, conning – more socially acceptable to prospective employers? Hmm.)
  • Justin Noble (DADS, but the network is trying to position him as a newbie) has sold his spec comedy, JUSTIN AND ABBY AND OH YEA ZACK TOO, to CBS. (I like the premise, though: “The ensemble comedy centers on platonic best friends Justin and Abby — and Abby’s boyfriend, who feels like a third wheel.” Maybe cuz I’ve – uh-oh – been there.)
  • Paul Ruehl (yer muncher is tired of citing credits from shows he never heard of so I’m leaving this space blank, well, sorta) is writing the pilot for the Fox family comedy LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON, about a dad who’s trying to keep his son from being as screwed up as he is. (Hey, I’m liking that premise too, even though my experience as a Typical Millennial tells me it’ll be impossible for the daddy to succeed.)

That’s it for now. Write in and tell munchilito what you’ve sold today. TVWriter™ can’t wait to brag to all your friends. (And, more importantly, enemies. Hehehe….)

Love & Money Dept – TV Writing Deals for 11/18/14

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Latest News About Writers Who Are Doing Better Than We Are
by munchman

  • Jonathan Nolan (INTERSTELLAR) is developing Isaac Asimov‘s FOUNDATION series of books into a series for HBO. (And yer munchiness is curious as hell re what Asimov, who was all about the word, would think of whatever script Jonny boy comes up with. Anybody want to venture a guess. Give it a go cuz, after all, nobody will ever be able to prove you wrong.)
  • Bryan Cranston & David Shore (if you need to ask who these dudes are there’s no reason for you to read any further here) are co-writing SNEAKY PETE, a CBS drama about a con man who hides his past by taking the name of his cellmate. (Cuz, I gotta assume, the protagonist’s crimes are much worse than the other guys…but what would Isaac Asimov have defined as “worse” anyway?)
  • David Kohan & Max Mutchnick (WILL & GRACE) are co-writing a Fox comedy series about a single mother, her kids, and her grifter (as in con man?) father when they move from New Jersey to L.A. (Whatcha think, Asimov fans? Would the good doctor have gone for this one? Why? Why not? Huh? Huh?)
  • Andrea Newman (CHICAGO FIRE) is writing the pilot for a “supernatural thriller in a realistic tone” for NBC. (Leading yer favorite munchhausen to turn to the late Mr. Asimov and wonder – aloud – “If they want realism, why use a writer from CHICAGO FIRE? Whaddaya think, Isaac?” Uh-oh, Dr. Asimov is frowning. Guess you’d have to be one of the 4 people in the universe who watched CHICAGO FIRE to know what I’m talking about. Oh well….)

That’s it for now. Write in and tell munchilito what you’ve sold today. TVWriter™ can’t wait to brag to all your friends. (And, more importantly, enemies. Hehehe….)

Fall 2014 TV Ratings Scorecard

As creators, future creators, or even past creators, of television series, it behooves all of us to keep in mind the basic rule of TV success:

“It isn’t about creating a series that’s good. It’s about creating a series that works.”
Larry Brody

And by “works,” we mean, “gets high ratings.”

So as we sit there pondering our next concepts, here’s a look at the current trends:

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What’s Working This Fall & What’s Not
by Michael O’Connell

Broadcast TV’s narrative of evolving ratings expectations finally might be translating to longer life expectancies for new series. The 2014-15 season, about to enter its third month, hardly has been the bloodbath many are accustomed to seeing. Even some of the poorest-performing series (sorry, Mulaney) have escaped the hatchet. And it’s not only because several networks boast smaller-than-usual benches. ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and, perhaps to a lesser extent, The CW all have fulfilled the promise of waiting for extensive time-shifting data before deciding series’ fates. Ratings-gazers also have pulled back on snap judgments.

Despite plenty of opportunities to rake fall’s less-than-fresh offerings (especially the comedies) over the proverbial coals, many insiders note that the court of public opinion’s tone is more civilized than during seasons past. “Live-plus-same-day seems to be meaningless,” says one veteran showrunner, seeing his series’ year-over-year losses offset by DVR growth. “No one really knows when to judge the success of a show anymore because the timetable is so odd. People are still assimilating to how big of a change this is going to be.”

But who’s benefiting most in this shifted climate? With the possible exception of ABC and its runaway success How to Get Away With Murder, no network has launched what could be considered a game-changer. NBC’s No. 1 status in the 18-to-49 demographic still comes courtesy of Sunday Night Footballand a somewhat-fatigued The Voice, and CBS’ lifts can be attributed to its recently concluded Thursday NFL games. Fox executives are said to be pleased with Gotham, but the rest of their freshman lot — holdovers from former chairman Kevin Reilly‘s tenure — has the network languishing in fourth place. And The CW, though moving the chains thanks to The Flash, still is running its own race. “In the whole season, there are five shows that are working: The Flash, How to Get Away With Murder, Scorpion,Gotham and possibly Black-ish. … That’s it,” says one top agent. “You can’t presume that anything else that limped to a back order will come back for a season three, five or seven.”

ABC

WHAT’S WORKING
Thanks to the success of How to Get Away With Murder, ABC has done what many thought impossible during the DVR era: thrive by programming an entire night of high-rated scripted entertainment. “For any show to work in such a competitive, fragmented world everything needs to line up,” says ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee. “In broadcast, it takes time to build momentum. It is extremely gratifying to see that pay off.”

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Love & Money Dept – TV Writing Deals for 11/17/14

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Latest News About Writers Who Are Doing Better Than We Are
by munchman

  • Mark Perez (THE COUNTRY BEARS) is writing the pilot for NBC’s cruise ship comedy, PORT OF MIAMI. (Now there’s a title that pretty much says everything that has to be said about the project. Thanks for the respite from thought, NBC P.R. whizzes.)
  • Jeremy Carver (SUPERNATURAL) is writing the pilot for a TV version of the not so thrilling 2000 “sci-fi thriller” FREQUENCY. (Nothing to see there, folks. Move on, move on.)
  • Mike Daniels (SONS OF ANARCHY) has a new overall deal with Universal TV. (And his first act of contrition for making so much moolah is to join the studio’s new FBI drama, SHADES OF BLUE, starring Jennifer Lopez. Yeah, that’ll be fun. Woohoo!)
  • Jim Mickle & Nick Damici (COLD IN JULY) are writing the pilot for HAP AND LEONARD, a miniseries based on a series of books by Joe Lonsdale about “a pair of best friends and martial arts experts who struggle through misadventure in a bid to stay on the right side of the law in 1980 East Texas. (About which yer munchy buddy can only ask, “Why?” Why try to stay on the right side of the law in a place like East Texas where, plainly, the law ain’t ‘agonna reflect what anybody in the audience with a brain thinks it should? Oh, wait, I said “with a brain.” Sorry, my mistake, amigos.)

That’s it for now. Write in and tell munchilito what you’ve sold today. TVWriter™ can’t wait to brag to all your friends. (And, more importantly, enemies. Hehehe….)