8.07.2006

Word! (Vaguely Mel Gibson related)

From the LA Times's TV Blog:

"Instead, Gibson’s lackluster small-screen adventures point to the liabilities inherent in the TV industry’s lazy and toadying reliance on movie stars, even when those stars don’t seem particularly inclined to do much heavy lifting beyond making sure their name in the title credits appears as big as contractually specified (in TV industry lingo, this is known as “the non-writing producer,” a euphemism that grudgingly acknowledges the writer-creator’s central role in a television show’s destiny). Typically, this is a state of affairs to which no one’s impolitic enough to object, unless there’s a Problem That Can’t Be Ignored.

One season and out
Networks are forever hoping that stars-turned-producers will lend wattage to a series, maybe coaxing those promo-proof folks at home to tune in. That’s why, for instance, to promote its fall drama “Ugly Betty” ABC last month trotted executive producer Salma Hayek before TV critics in Pasadena.

The inconvenient truth, though, is that a star’s involvement behind the camera has little if any bearing on a TV series’ success. (Even with series that exist purely as vehicles for big stars, the results are often discouraging, as bombs like NBC’s “Whoopi” and CBS’ “Bette” proved.) TV is not film. The auteur theory does not apply. What elevates a drama or comedy is week after week of strong storytelling and performances, not the token participation of a celebrity producer or director."


My only quibble is that the auteur theory may apply even more than in film, because you need to have a strong goddamn vision of what your show is or the network will note it into pudding. The difference is that it doesn't have to be one person who has the vision. Also, frankly, the network will probably note it into pudding anyhow.

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