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ABC Mows Down "Daisies," Fox Presents Bite-Sized Taste of "24"
November 21, 2008  | By David Bianculli
Pushing Daisies, the best new series ABC has presented in two years, has been cut down by the network. Obviously, and stupidly, ABC loves it not...

24_pushingdaisies.jpgThe remaining shows in the 13-episode order will play through January, but the network has decided to punish Pushing Daisies for ABC's own post-strike stupidity. The work stoppage by Hollywood writers may have been strike one -- but for ABC, not returning the show in the spring was strike two, and not promoting the show well enough this fall was strike three.

Three strikes, and Daisies is out!

What a shame. ABC executives, this is a stupid, stupid move.

Over at Fox, meanwhile, the executives are smart, smart, smart. They, too, decided not to return one of their series, 24, after the strike was through -- but with good reason. There was no way to present a full-length season of 24 hours without letting it spill into the summer, so it opted to wait until January 2009 to restart the show.


But because that's such a long time -- only The Sopranos went that long between seasons -- Fox this Sunday (9 p.m. ET) presents a two-hour telemovie, 24: Redemption, to try and give fans something to remember the show by.

Two hours, compared to 24, may not be much, but it's something. Hell, I was grateful for the mini-episodes of Rescue Me served up by FX for a similar reason -- and they were only five minutes long.

24: Redemption, by being so fast-forwarded in nature, points out some of the flaws and crutches of the 24 writing staff, but it's still lots of fun, and Robert Carlyle is a great guest star. For a fuller review, listen to today's (Friday's) Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

The best part of the 24 telemovie is what follows it immediately: a lengthy promo teaser for the January 2009 story arc. It's thrilling to see what's coming, and to know that we've got lots of hours of 24 ahead.

Sadly, though, we're down to our last few hours of Pushing Daisies.

By the way: Is it any surprise, or any coincidence, that Fox is ahead of ABC in the network ratings race?




Patrick said:

Now I have one less reason to watch ABC. Currently, there is 1 reason only (Lost), and to be honest, I no longer watch that show every week. Looks like ABC is trying to drive down their commercial revenue. I know they just drove away one viewer for the foreseeable future: me.

Comment posted on November 21, 2008 2:59 PM

Jim said:

Sorry to hear about "Pushing Daisies" demise. It will take an honored place in the "Brilliant but Cancelled" Hall of Fame. No love to ABC. But no love for Fox either; "Arrested Development" is still cancelled, last time I checked (though a movie is rumored "in the works"). Further proof, if any were needed, that there is no accounting for taste (though Nielsen apparently does a pretty good job accounting for bad taste).

One more grudge to add to the list.

Comment posted on November 21, 2008 3:38 PM

Toby O'B said:

It's time to put the ducks to work, nibbling away at those network executives!

But I accept the inevitable; I have to, or risk agita. I did what I could: wrote about the show, urged my friends to watch, and watched it myself in real time as well as DVR it.

Sometimes I think the ratings system is rigged.....

Now I've got a new desire for the series - the entire series should released in one DVD boxed set, and not split into the two seasons.

We'll see.....

Comment posted on November 22, 2008 12:20 AM

Sherman said:

Another beloved show disappears. It's a painful time to be a fan of scripted shows that are bold in their storytelling. I've loved every minute of Pushing Daisies and other shows that are perpetually on the bubble. The pain comes from being just slightly ahead of the curve: the day will come when viewers like me, who DVR all my non-sports viewing, will actually count towards the ratings.

I've personally persuaded at least half dozen people to start watching Daisies, NBC's Life, and especially AMC's Mad Men (among others), and they've shared the joy with their circle of friends. In these circles not one person is or knows of a Neilsen household.

And I'm so smitten by Mad Men that I bought the first season on iTunes so I could watch on my train commutes, thinking I wouldn't buy the DVDs. Then I had to get the Blu-Ray edition because it's just so gorgeous and immersive. Then I had to buy a standard DVD set to lend to friends. And I didn't switch from my cable provider because they carry AMC in high def, just in time for season 2.

Someday, DVR viewings will count for something.


Comment posted on November 22, 2008 12:25 AM

Sean Dougherty said:

Man, I remember when people would dis Fox's ratings success by saying they were catering to the lowest common denominator (e.g. Married With Children, Cops). Now they are the new Tiffany Network.

I still say Pushing Daises only looked as good as it did because everything else was so much worse.

In any case, Fox is not guilty of what happened to Arrested Development, a favorite show of mine. Fox put it on after The Simpsons, its other brilliant, inventive comedy and I believe the network's top rated show. Between seasons it put AD on in reruns, sometimes in two-hour/four-show blocks so people who hadn't seen it could sample it in large pieces. The network supported it for Emmys. It spent enough to get high profile guest stars like Charlize Theron. It renewed it for a third season when the ratings were still terrible.

You can make an argument that ABC let Pushing Daises sink or swim, not true of Fox and Arrested Development. The problem was the show was too sophisticated for a mass audience. It looks like 30 Rock is going to have the same problem.

Also, the weak point of AD creatively was the opening of season three, right after the emmy win and Fox's all-summer promotion, so anyone who turned in, turned in to the weakest part of the series (Charlize Theron may be a great actress, but she isn't funny and the storyline they gave her was basically a lead weight on the show). That was a shame but it's hardly the network's fault.

Arrested Development spoke to me as a corporate publicist - I've never had a client who built luxury townhouses for Saddam Hussein ("I may have committed some light treason...") but I have had some that come close enough - so I loved it from premise to conclusion but it just didn't speak to a wider audience.

Comment posted on November 22, 2008 3:07 PM

Adam Bomb 1701 said:

Fox has the two best shows on TV these days. Namely "House" and "24". ABC wouldn't know what to do with a quality show if it bit them in the butt. Witness their mistreatment of their wonderful divorce drama "Once and Again" a few years back. ABC moved it around seven times, so no one could find it, then cancelled it without even going for a full third season. Plus, they refuse to release that same third season on DVD. To add insult to injury, the show was an in-house (Touchstone TV) production. (Right on all counts: great show, shabby treatment, incomplete DVD release. -- David B.)

Comment posted on November 24, 2008 9:35 AM

Animax said:

I am an ardent fan of "House" and "24". I just love these two shows.


Comment posted on November 27, 2008 2:16 AM
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