Monthly Archives: April 2011

101 Ways to Kill a TV Show: The Nine Way

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Right now, Channel Nine is currently in the middle of a full frontal military assault.

It’s called Operation Big Bang.

It involves bombarding viewers with as many Big Bang Theory episodes as possible.

And why? You may ask, surely too much of a good thing is, well, too much… But that isn’t the same way programming execs think.

Especially ones at Channel Nine.

You see, Nine are a desperate network. A network desperate to reclaim their number one title off Seven. They don’t have a massive stable of popular shows like Seven do. Seven have their Border Security type shows, which always pull decent ratings, they have a dominant news element- Today Tonight and Sunrise almost always beat their Channel Nine counterparts nationally; they have a hit Australian drama in Packed to the Rafters, and a promising show in Winners and Losers, they also have solid year-round staple shows such as Better Homes and Gardens.

In comparison, Nine has Underbelly, and the closest things it has to a staple show are 60 Minutes (which is usually trounced whenever a show like Dancing With the Star or MasterChef is up against it) and Australia’s Funniest Home Videos (which is given a good run for its money in Melbourne when it is up against Before the Game).

Yes, Nine is struggling, still. So, you might say, who could blame it for scheduling excessive amounts of hit shows? I’m certainly not, but if they want to extract any sort of longevity out of their popular shows, they need to adopt a different method.

And its not as of they haven’t had the chance to learn from their mistakes;

Year of the Ramsay

Back before MasterChef became popular in Australia, there was one AngryChef that took Australia by storm. His name was Gordon Ramsay. In 2008, after Nine had been scheduling episodes of his “Kitchen Nightmares” UK series without much fanfare, it noticed that it was receiving a bit of attention. Before long, it was receiving pretty good ratings, and also had half of Australian radio talk about it.
Nine, sniffing some ratings blood in the water, went in for the kill, and before long had scheduled three hour long Ramsay episodes a week. And luckily for Nine, there was plenty of Ramsay in the tank (he was, by that time, very successful in the UK). Every week from then on, viewers received, from Tuesday to Thursday, Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, Hell’s Kitchen and The F Word. Of the three, Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares remained the most popular. At one stage, he was even interviewed on 60 Minutes.

However, after many weeks of F-bombs, abusive rants and a bit of trouble with ACMA (which may or may not have been related) viewers grew tired of the foul language… Or just Ramsay’s whole “act”, and began switching off.

Eventually, Ramsay was removed from the schedule altogether (though there is the occasional Nightmare on Tuesday nights, possibly in the hope that Ramsay-fever ignites again?).

And as all shows like this follow a pattern, the death knell finally sounded after Gordon Ramsay appeared on A Current Affair in 2009 and was interviewed by Tracey Grimshaw. He subsequently likened her to a pig at a cooking demonstration. He then received a barrage of criticism, which only served to expose him as a bully (for the few who hadn’t realised it yet).

Two and a Half Thousand Men

Channel Nine had acquired Two and a Half Men many years ago, however it was not until 2009 that it started airing episodes by the dozen- well, ten episodes a week. This included the Monday-Friday 7PM slot, where it really gave Home and Away a scare after its 2008 dominance; new episodes in various timeslots; “Adults Only” episodes and repeats aplenty on GO!. However in the latter half of 2010, ratings began to wane, for no particular reason. Well, no reason apparent to Nine execs. It was simply because viewers were sick of it.

Then came 2011. The year of Charlie Sheen, for all the wrong reasons. Without wanting to go into all of the detail (You can go to any other site right now and read about it – ANY other site).

It may have been a combination of Nine’s oversaturation with the world covering Sheen’s “antics” mercilessly that led to it’s demise, but it was a long time coming.

The prophecy once again was fulfilled, with the death knell being Sheen getting the chop from the sitcom.

Nine bizarrely attempted to revive the flagging show’s ratings by advertising the show by playing up how insane Sheen apparently is. They have recently advertised a new episode as being possibly Sheen’s last ever episode (it was the last one filmed before the meltdown and insults thrown at the show’s creator, Chuck Lorre). They were signs of a desperate network, on the brink of losing a former powerhouse.

And the proof that it is dead (or close to it) is no more evident than the fact that its position in the primetime-heading 7PM slot has been stripped from it, to be replaced by The Big Bang Theory.

Top Gear-mania

Top Gear used to be cool. It used to be a little show on SBS that only a few people seemed to know about (even though it was attracting upwards of 600k viewers regularly).

Which was why Nine was so bloody happy with themselves after yanking Top Gear off SBS in 2010, that they decided to play it to death.

And why wouldn’t they, with early figures for Top Gear attracting very healthy figures. However, they started plugging holes all over the schedule with repeat after repeat- initially to great success. At its peak, Nine was airing 1 episode on Sunday on GO!, 1 episode on Tuesday on Nine, 1 on Thursday on GO! and another on Fridays on Nine.

But now, in 2011, somewhat amusingly, now that they finally have been able to show new episodes, absolutely no one has been interested (no one in TV terms = around 600k).

The death knell hasn’t sounded as yet, but it’s coming.

Basically, the lesson is, Nine, don’t make the same mistake with The Big Bang Theory, a show which still has the respect of viewers.

However, Operation BB is already well underway, so brace yourselves.

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Show Preview: Angry Boys


PREMIERES Wednesday 11th May, 9PM ABC1

Chris Lilley’s latest comedy, in which he plays the five central characters, of which Nathan and Daniel Sims are the focus- as Daniel aims to prepare a going-away party for Nathan.

Chris Lilley

Daniel and Nathan Sims

Ruth ‘Gran’ Sims

Japanese mother Jen Okazaki

Blake Oakfield

S.mOUSE


There will be 12 episodes on Angry Boys, each 30 minutes long.

The ratings for the premiere in Australia will be predicted to be around 1.6 million (the premiere for Summer Heights High rated around the same). But due to its timeslot being half an hour earlier, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect 1.7 million, given its broader appeal.

Generally very good, with Lilley’s excellent track-record generating a lot of anticipation. A bit was made over the considerable presence of the word “f-ggot”, as well as Lilley apparently donning a black-face getup to play the role of rapper. S.mOUSE, which we all know got Hey Hey it’s Saturday in trouble in 2009. Time will tell whether it creates a bigger furore, though.

Show Preview: MasterChef Australia: Season 3

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Masterchef Season 3

The story so far…

While Season 1 of MasterChef was a great success, somehow, Season 2 managed to surpass it in terms of ratings. Of course there was the inevitable criticism, such as a small whimper from three or four people that wanted Sarah Wilson back as host (the three judges became hosts as well). There was also a bit of an outcry when favourite to win, Marion, was eliminated because of an inferior satay sauce (it was deemed too thick).
However, the series only became grander in scale, more polished and managed to hold viewers attention for the entirety of the series.

What’s different?

Matt Moran will join as a regular guest judge.

There will be a guest appearance by UK chef, Nigella Lawson, who was recently in Australia.

The first challenge will take place on Cockatoo Island.

What’s the same?

The three judges are the same: Matt Preston, George Calombaris and Gary Mehigan.

Trailer/Preview clips

Predicted Ratings

The first season premiered to 1,428,000 viewers.

The second season premiered to 1,695,000 viewers.

Ten will be hoping for a slight rise, yet viewing figures have been down across the board this year. Given the over-saturation of My Kitchen Rules, there will still be a slight cooking hangover. There will also be competition with a little show called “The Logies” to factor in. I would expect something in the range of

1,400,000 – 1,500,000

Anything over that would be excellent for Ten.

The Buzz

Generally good, but very little as yet.

Good buzz

Nothing much in the Australian press as yet, but it doesn’t hurt to have some glowing compliments paid to it in the UK press in recent times:

“It seems strange, really, that MasterChef Australia, from which the new UK show borrows heavily, can combine many of the same elements and come up trumps. But then it also does everything the British show does, just 50 times bigger. So the judges are more flamboyant, more ridiculous; the contestants live in a house together and vote each other off; they have cook-offs against real chefs; they cater amazing weddings on boats. Against that background, setting the whole thing in a vast, sunlit warehouse feels vaguely reasonable. On BBC1, it doesn’t.”

http://guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/tvandradioblog/2011/apr/14/masterchef-bbc-gregg-wallace?cat=tv-and-radio&type=article

Opinion

Ten would be acutely aware of the fact that viewers have just been watching My Kitchen Rules on Seven. If they want to maintain their dominant position, they also have to make it sufficiently different from the previous two series. They could get away with serving up a fairly similar Season 2 to season 1, as viewers know what they will get. It was also a chance to capture the attention of those that hadn’t seen the first series, with the same winning formula.

However, for Season 3, they will have to straddle the line between the familiar (so as to not to risk tampering with a winning formula) and the new (to keep viewers interested).

One would hope they have spent the break ironing out a few creases (or what I saw as creases);

The amount of bloody crying; I don’t mind a bit of emotion being expressed through the tear glands, but when contestants cry over other contestants leaving, when contestants cry over one bad comment, etc., it just becomes a melodrama. And especially when the producers go to lengths to make contestants cry, such as the “cook something your dead grandmother used to cook so that you will be reminded of her and cry” episode.

But apart from that, Masterchef Season 3 should be another stellar season. And that’s looking at it without the contestants; if there are some fiery/wacky/quirky personalities it will propel it into the stratosphere once again.

FAQs Answered #3: Mike & Molly, Packed to the Rafters, Idol

being erica season 4

Season 4 will be Being Erica’s last.

Hamish and andy america tv show 2011

hamish and andy new york

Hamish and Andy will produce a show entitled Hamish and Andy’s Gap Year, to air later in 2011. It will be based in New York.

australian idol 2012

An interesting one, but its dismal ratings in 2009 wouldn’t make Ten consider reviving it in 2012. At this stage, even Big Brother looks more likely to be resurrected, with a lot of interest being generated by a recent ACA Big Brother reunion.

Especially as long as Ten has Masterchef (and will have for another two years after this one) and the Biggest Loser, there is certainly no need for it. They will be also hoping the Renovators will be a successful replacement for So You Think You Can Dance.

In terms of other channels picking it up, Seven already have their hands full with The X Factor, and Nine just don’t do big live shows, and when they do, you get Torvill and Dean’s Dancing on Ice.

fx tv renewal

This year FX has renewed many of their popular series, including Archer (for a 3rd season), The League (3rd season) and Justified (3rd season).

mike and molly not renewed

Not renewed just yet, yet the general consensus is that it will be picked up for a 2nd Season by CBS. Good ratings combined with average-good press have only helped its cause.

blue bloods renewed?

Signs are looking very good for the CBS show.

Will another station pick up the show “lights out?”

Possibly, but very unlikely. No news so far… Which is bad news. There is also the fact that its former show-runner has left to helm Law and Order: SVU.

sammy rafter packed to the rafters coming back

There are no plans for her to return, yet I’m sure the show would love to have her back, what with Jessica Marais leaving and all.

lights out australia

Yes! On Ten’s soon to be relaunched ONE HD (around May). Unfortunately it has been cancelled after one season, so don’t get too attached.

FAQs Answered #2 12/04: Modern Family new eps, S#*! My Dad Says Cancelled?

“farmer wants a wife 2012”

There will be another series of The Farmer Wants a Wife, as evidenced by Nine’s casting call for season 7 here. As to whether it airs in the later half of 2011 or not, there is a strong chance.

“craig annis safm”

Craig Annis is a Melbourne comedian who has recently joined the SAFM breakfast team (on the Austereo Network). This represents a real success for Craig, who has been producing comedy podcasts with his friend Stefan. Have a listen to them here. They weren’t quite as funny as Hamish and Andy, but for a first effort they were really promising, and they at least demonstrated a willingness to work hard for a laugh (eg. there are some written pieces). Their TV show, Slightly Live also aired on the Melbourne community TV station, Channel 31. Here are the highlights off their site. Check them out! [Especially the “Hughesy Ruined my Life” sketch… Craig’s impression is absolutely spot on. He actually sounds more like Dave Hughes than Dave Hughes himself these days.] They also broadcasted on the Barry digital radio station (Austereo Network), which obviously led to Craig being picked up by SAFM. He know joins Rabbit and Hayley on their show… Hayley, Craig & Rabbit, on air 6-9am weekdays.

“why is modern family off air”

There is no need to panic when it comes to not seeing new episodes of your favourite show. Popular shows such Modern Family, The Office, 30 Rock, Community and Parks and Recreation have been on a long hiatus, with the exception of some new episodes being sporadically shown. It is just the yearly spring sweeps, a technique used to prolong seasons of different shows, until they finish up (only to reboot in September again- well, at least the lucky ones do). It has been a long wait for a new episode, with the new episode of Community, The Office and Community airing on the 24th of March 2011. Fans of Modern Family have had to wait since the 23rd of March 2011. However, new episodes are coming, and viewers will not have to wait long at all, with the next new ModFam ep coming on the 13th of April, and the NBC comedy line-up returns with new eps the day after on the 14th of April. Thankfully, they will all continue a fairly uninterrupted run until the end of their respective seasons. However, the bad news is that there are not many episodes left in the tank (around 4-7 eps of each left).

New eps of Modern Family would be expected to air in Australia soon after they do in the US.

“is s#*! my dad says being cancelled”

That bloody show with the annoying title is one of the more intriguing cases in the Renew/Cancel files… It’s anyone’s guess at this stage. I think it will be renewed, purely out of respect for William Shatner, however, it is definitely the weakest, comedy and ratings wise, out of the new CBS sitcoms (including Mike & Molly)

Here’s the wrap up and the low down of what everyone else thinks;

TVLine says it’s “A safe bet”

TV By the Numbers gives it a “Likely To Be Canceled” (basically a 2/5 chance), and has calculated that it has a Renew/Cancel Index of 0.96 (lower than Mike & Molly, The Mentalist, etc.)

SpoilerTV gives it a 2.47 on the Renew/Cancel Index (In the “Looking Safe” zone).

TVGuide says it’s “Looking Not So Good”

So that’s pretty much a 50:50 spread. However, two of them mention the word “safe” while only one mentions the word “canceled”…

FAQs Answered #1: Breaking Bad, Em Rusciano, Community, Bondi Rescue

Monday 11th April

Here are some quick answers to some regular search queries on this site

COMMUNITY has been renewed for a THIRD SEASON – It will premiere around September 2011.

LIGHTS OUT has been CANCELLED by FX, however there is a slim chance that it could get picked up by another network. A very slim chance.

Veronica Milsom was one of the original cast members of Hungry Beast, and is currently starring in its THIRD SEASON, screening on ABC1 at 9:30pm on Wednesdays.
She also featured briefly on the ill-fated Ben Elton Life From Planet Earth, where she played the roles of a Nigella Lawson-type chef, Lady Gaga (a role she also played on Hungry Beast)

Bondi Rescue hasn’t been officially renewed for 2012, but it’s fairly safe to say that it will be coming back, given it’s one of the mainstays of Ten’s schedule.

In terms of Season 4 spoilers for Breaking Bad, check out this post. However, it terms of solid facts, we know for sure that Bryan Cranston has said that one minor-ish character will die very on in the season. And we know that Bob Odenkirk and Jonathon Banks have been linked to other projects.

Emelia Rusciano

Rose to fame in the 2nd year of Australian Idol in 2004.
Has gone on to host various radio shows on the Austereo network, including “Em and Wippa”.
She has since quit radio and now works on Kerri-Anne and the 7pm Project, where she is a regular “Metro Whipper” as part of the Metro Whip-Around segment.
She often appears in the presence of scantily-clad men- some have suggested it is not a coincidence.
However, she is quite funny, and deserves a bigger role- I’d like to see her fill-in on the Circle (not a euphemism).

The New “Office” Boss: The Contenders + Odds

Well, the battle for Steve Carrell’s replacement seems to be heating up, well at least in viewers’ minds. You would think that the writers have it all mapped out. Assuming this, let’s have a look at who it could be exactly.

At first, I was of the mind that the replacement would come from inside the office, as were a few others, and as such, these suggestions were proffered.

It’s easy to think that the new boss will come in the form of a big name actor from outside, however, could it all just be smoke-and-mirrors? Let’s find out…

Note: Odds are completely and utterly unscientific and unofficial… in every possible way.

Gabe Lewis (Zach Woods) ODDS: 5-1

Why he will be boss: Logical antithesis, change of dynamic, established/proven character, somewhat unexpected

Why he won’t be boss: Not a big-name star, anticlimactic replacement

Introduced at the end of Season 6 in the Sabre story arc, he has been presented as “that” guy that everybody loves to hate, a bit like the Toby character, however, at least Toby has shown that he is at least a fairly normal guy at heart, but has been worn down to a miserable mess by various instances which haven’t gone his way. He has also shown that he can participate in groups such as The Finer Things Club with the only “normal” people in the office, Pam, Oscar and later, Jim.

Gabe is in many ways the antithesis to Steve Carrell’s departing character of Michael Scott.

Gabe is introverted and when he needs to exert himself the situation becomes excruciatingly awkward.

Michael is extroverted and when he needs to restrain himself, the tension is raised accordingly.

Gabe is the guy everyone should like (he goes about his own job, being overly careful not to tread on toes), but everyone can’t help but hate.

Michael is the guy everyone should hate (he “jokes” about people based on their race, weight, size, etc.) but everyone can’t help but love… or at least learn to live with. [If you don’t believe me, why are so many people sad to see him go?]

Michael is the kid causing trouble while Gabe is the parent trying to quell it.

You get the picture. This demonstrates why many thought Gabe would be the logical choice for new boss given his stark differences to Michael. It would also allow more room for the rest of the cast to shine, given Gabe’s ability to slink introverted nature. Some may also argue that the writers have been preparing for a Gabe takeover all along, with his current position of authority being a mechanism to test the waters for the future.

It would certainly add a new dynamic, that’s for sure, with instead of the boss being the one instigating all of the mayhem, it could be instead the boss trying to stop it- but failing, of course. Another possibility could be that the following contenders could be the one’s to assume a Michael Scott-type character, but instead it will be Gabe in the higher position of authority… much in the same way that 30 Rock works, with Liz Lemon trying to apply order to all of the chaos beneath her.

Rule out most of the supporting cast, ie. Oscar, Stanley, Creed, Phyllis, Kevin, Angela, Merideth, Ryan

Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) ODDS: 30-1

Why he will be: Now a well known star

Why he won’t be: Better in small doses

A suggestion that no one has really thrown up all that much. It would definitely be a shock to throw him into that position, for the viewers and for the character himself. It seems logical in terms of Helms’ progression as a star, as since he has joined the Office in Season 3, he was a welcome addition to the show. Since then, he has starred in the Hangover- a smash hit film, and Cedar Rapids- not so much, and the soon to be released Hangover 2. As a result of this, he was promoted to appearing in the main-credits.

It would certainly give more for his character to do, given his top-billing status. So far this season, he has been forced to watch as Erin got together with Gabe, despite his repeated efforts.

He also wouldn’t represent much of a departure from the Michael Scott character, which might or might not be a bad thing, as he isn’t prone to outrageous behaviour. He also isn’t good under pressure- which is a good thing.

However, too much of Andy tends to grate a touch- a bit like the rest of the cast- as viewers likely wouldn’t abide The Office every week if it consisted of an a cappella solo, a funny accent impression, Andy having another crack at Erin, a freak-out and a subsequent wall-punch.

Darryl (Craig Robinson) ODDS: 15-1

When he sauntered up to the Office floor at the end of Season 6, people immediately pegged him as a potential candidate. His cool and calm demeanor , as well as his intense likability would make him a popular, and therefore safe choice for Office boss. However, though it would be somewhat anticlimactic, it would be interesting to see Darryl under pressure, and also at odds with the rest of the Office, as we all know that despite his calm exterior, he harbors strong opinions, and can wither someone with one of his stares. He also possesses an emotional side, and is not afraid to show it.

Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer) ODDS: 90-1

Why she will be: Jim-Pam dynamic change

Why she won’t be: Would make the character unlikeable

Also not mentioned as much, but if I were the writers, I would seriously consider it. Think about the dynamic shift it would cause. Most people are sick of Jim and Pam staring at each other across the desk for almost 2 seasons. The dynamic was changed when Jim became boss, as it shifted him off the lovebird desk and into his own Office. Yes, it wasn’t a success in terms of his character, as it made people dislike Jim, but at least viewers were spared excessive Jim-Pam storylines.

For example, most storylines with Jim and Pam involve a minor fight, or at least disagreement, only to have it resolved too neatly by the end of the episode. For example, when Pam’s ex-boyfriend Danny Cordray (Timothy Olyphant) visited, he was shown as a more handsome, smoother version of Jim. However by the end of the episode, it became known that he dumped Pam because she was too dorky. Hence Jim feels sorry for Pam while loving her even more. Eurgh.

Anyway, I think I’ve shown that moving Pam off the desk would be a good thing. Whether she would make a good boss still remains to be seen, and the writers certainly wouldn’t want to make Pam an unlikable character.

Definitely rule out Kelly Kapoor (Mindy Kaling) because she is leaving the show

Also put a line through Jim’s name (John Krasinski), as he was already co-manager in season 6… and the experiment failed, on-screen and off-screen (ie. critically).

Also draw a tentative line in pencil through Dwight Schrute’s (Rainn Wilson) name, he has already been the boss, if only for a couple of hours, and while it was funny, life under the Schrute regime would become too much to handle for both the characters and the viewers.

Now for the big-names:

Will Ferrell ODDS: 60-1


Why he will be: Has hinted at it (jokingly?)

Why he won’t be: He’s Will Ferrell, FFS; Would inhibit time to make movies (less $$$, obviously)

Now obviously Will Ferrell, who will play D’Angelo Vickers in the show would be the writers dream choice for the role. He would bring bucket-loads of publicity to the show, not to mention his proven comic ability, improvisational skill, similar but different style to Carrell… but then there are the logistical problems…

In case you don’t know Ferrell is making bucket-loads from making movies. Some he has had the chance to write. Basically, the very same thing that Carrell wants to quit the Office for. There would be no striking reason as to why Ferrell would want to give this up to star in 10-15 minutes (?) of a show on a Thursday night to a just above average audience.

It would be about the money, and to a lesser extent, the integrity, and on both counts, a gig on The Office doesn’t stack up at all.

David Brent (Ricky Gervais) ODDS: 500-1

Why he will be: An exorbitant amount of money has been thrown at him (?)

Why he won’t be: Doesn’t need more money, especially not to compromise his integrity

The God of all things comedy (though he might object to me using that word- God, not comedy… and not because he’s modest) has also been floated as a possible replacement.

Obviously his character in the UK version of the Office, David Brent, has surfaced in one episode of the seventh season of the US Office to great critical acclaim. He has since announced that he would film a spot in the season final, in which the boss will likely be decided on-screen. This has set tongues wagging, and the fact that Brent teased audiences by asking Scott “any jobs going” have only intensified it.

But if I know Gervais (and I mean “know” in the most disconnected way possible that someone can “know” a celebrity), he won’t compromise his integrity by taking up a regular role on the show- despite any amount of money that has likely been thrown at him.

On his blog, there has also been an article linked to which has been titled “Ricky’s last day at The Office”. Can’t get much clearer than that.

He has also said on Letterman, he gets “half their wages anyway” (due to his executive producer role, royalties, etc.), so why would he want to get up at “6AM” every morning?

Fred Henry (Will Arnett) ODDS: 30-1

Why he will be: Proven sitcom star, similar shooting schedule to wife (Amy Poehler), Gervais endorsement

Why he won’t be: Acquired taste (?), better in smaller, more eccentric roles (Gob Bluth, Devon Banks, etc), may only be playing the Scranton Strangler, linked to another NBC pilot

Will also guest star in the finale. And has received a glowing endorsement from Gervais himself. Read more about that here.

Merv Bronte (Ray Romano) ODDS: 50-1

Why he will be: Familiar face, popular with viewers

Why he won’t be: Currently starring in Men of a Certain Age (too busy)

Nellie Bertrum (Catherine Tate) ODDS: 3-1

Why she will be: Fantastic comedic actress, relatively unknown (opportunity to start fresh), willing to do anything for the sake a laugh

Why she won’t be: Big risk; unknown factor- no instant connection with viewers

The Office has copped a fair bit of criticism over the past two seasons. Not in terms of it becoming a bad show, just in terms of it being a shadow of its former self, occasional over-focus on Michael Scott, outlandish behaviour by Scott, unsuccessful story-lines (Jim as co-manager)… this could all be alleviated by the addition of a fresh face (for US audiences). And one which is a proven comic performer at that.

In many ways, it is similar to Carrell himself, as he was relatively unknown when the Office premiered.

There is still a chance that if she didn’t join as boss that she would join in a smaller capacity (after all, there will be holes to fill in terms of Kelly’s departure, as well as BJ Novak, who plays Ryan… possibly).

The star of the Catherine Tate Show would certainly maintain the outrageous aspect of the Michael Scott character, yet the fact that she is a woman would definitely change the dynamic.

Robert California (James Spader) ODDS: 8-1 [Shortened from 15-1]

Why he will be: Popular TV actor, little other work on the big screen, can do outrageous/eccentric

Why he won’t be: Possibly may only be playing the role of a lawyer in the Scranton Strangler case- would make sense given his legal TV show background

His odds have recently shortened, with the mail being that Will Arnett is strongly linked with his other mysterious NBC pilot.

However, with a name like Robert California, he surely cannot be in serious contention- that’s a name of a one-off character if I ever saw one.

Note: The name Rhys Darby (Murray from Flight of the Concords) was also mentioned a while back as a possible replacement. Yet things seem to have gone quiet on that front. So unless he will be a real rabbit out of the hat, it is unlikely… unfortunately.


Josh Lawson’s House of Lies picked up by Showtime

Australian actor Josh Lawson has had his new show, House of Lies, picked up by Showtime.

The show also stars A-listers Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell, as well as Ben Schwartz.

There isn’t much information about the show, but it has been described as a dark comedy which centres around Cheadle, who plays a consultant who will stop at nothing to get his clients information. Lawson plays on of his staff.

Regardless, it is great news for Lawson, who made his name in Australia in Home and Away and Blue Heelers. He went on to star in Sea Patrol, but showed his comedy chops on Thank God You’re Here, where he became somewhat of a favourite (and hence, a regular).

He also took part in a bit of radio work, hosting a summer radio show on Nova with his good friend, Ed Kavalee.

After he flew to America to try his luck, he played the part of Ben in the pilot of the US version of Spaced, however, nothing eventuated. He then landed a role in a CBS sitcom, Accidentally on Purpose, also starring Alyssa Milano, his biggest role to date.

Unfortunately, only six episodes were filmed, and only four aired- it was cancelled, basically.

However, this latest role looks to be of a more formidable nature, especially when looking at the big-name cast and meatier subject matter.

Hamish and Andy’s “Gap Year” in NY: Their TV Show Plans Revealed

UPDATE: Turns out the show will be called “Hamish & Andy’s Gap Year”

Today Hamish & Andy held one of their “family meetings”, famous for containing their big announcements. These have included announcing their Caravan of Courage stunts (among other harebrained ideas) and more recently, confirmation of their deal with Channel Nine.

Today, they announced their intentions for their TV show.

They will “set up shop” in New York, where they will film their adventures.

Andy describes it as a Caravan of Courage trip but “longer”.

But don’t worry, fans of the radio show, they will continue their weekly radio show.

First they spoke of having a “6 day weekend”, and all of their extra time.

They have decided to fill this spare time, they will be moving to New York for a couple of months to have a “Gap Year”.

This will take place in the second half of the year.

Their TV show will be based around their adventures living in New York.

The title still remains a mystery, and will Nine air it as a series of specials (“Hamish and Andy’s Gap Year”, “Hamish and Andy Take New York”, that sort of thing) or simply call it “Hamish and Andy”… like their cancelled Seven show?

Who knows, but it sounds like a great idea to me, with their travel specials such as the Caravan of Courage specials (in which they visited America), usually drawing the best ratings for them.

They are also at their best doing stunts, meeting people, etc. rather than reading off an auto-cue, cooped up back in a studio in Melbourne.

They have also spent a week in LA, where they participated in the Rove LA specials, where they broadcasted their radio show.

But it will certainly bring more attention to their show, at least in the beginning. It will also provide easier access to celebrities, which will draw even more publicity.

But if I were Channel Nine, I’d start to get worried about them spending so much time in America… it’s only a matter of time before they hit the big time, isn’t it?

A Third Season for The Ricky Gervais Show

Ricky Gervais himself today mentioned on his blog that the show “starring” himself, Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington had been renewed by HBO for a THIRD SEASON.

“Oh and by the way HBO just told me they are commissioning a 3rd season of The Ricky Gervais Show.”

The show has received mixed reactions, with many fans of the podcasts in which Karl Pilkington rose to fame stating that the show offers nothing new in terms of content, and adding animation is merely a lazy way to milk the podcast and Pilkington for all they are worth.

But its undeniable that people are watching it, and it is a way to enlighten more people of the ways of the Round-headed one. And the podcasts are extremely funny, so consequently the show is, but it is unnecessary viewing for fans.

Gervais has also been making mention of the fact that it will be the first third season of a show he has done, with Extras and The Office only running for two seasons. However, I doubt many will look back and remember it as part of the Gervais/Merchant oeuvre, as it hasn’t had the same meticulous intervention as by the two as Extras and The Office did.

The first season of the show has aired in Australia on SBS ONE, while the second is currently airing in the US.

Check out the updated Renewal and Cancellation Wrap for HBO.