Posted by Rabbitears
FX displayed its justifiable bragging rights this morning during their presentation at the summer Television Critics Association (TCA) tour. During the introductory executive session, the network made a strong case for how FX ushered in the new era of top-flight basic cable programming with the launch of The Shield (originally title Rampart) in 2001. They pointed out how shortly afterward, USA began the first of its successful character-driven shows with Monk. The last seven years has also seen the rise of other outstanding original scripted dramas on networks that may once have only shown sports, movies, or reruns of acquired series (now they may only show those 90% of the time, right TNT?). Mad Men. Battlestar Galactica. The Closer. Army Wives. Can FX and The Shield take credit for this explosion in the direction basic cable has taken in the creation of original series? They think so, and to some extent they may be correct. And though The Shield is beginning its final season in September, the show has also inspired FX itself to continue in this direction, with other acclaimed series like Nip/Tuck, Rescue Me, Damages and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The network talked about The Shield and some of these other shows at later sessions, which I’ll talk about in another post.
The network also made a few casting and date announcements at this session.
* Nip/Tuck has finished production on Season 5, which will begin in January 2009. The overall plan is to complete 100 episodes, with the series ending in early 2011. Producer Ryan Murphy, whose association with the show had been in question, will remain with the series through its final episode.
* Rescue Me returns for its fifth season in spring 2009. Michael J. Fox will be guest-starring in a four-episode arc beginning with the season premiere.
* Marcia Gay Harden will join William Hurt and Timothy Olyphant in recurring roles on Damages, and Ted Danson will be back for several more episodes.
* The future is very sunny for It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The plan for the popular comedy (the #1 series on Hulu this past week) is to produce 39 more episodes in addition to the 13 that are already in production for its third season, returning in September
* A new comedy is in the works called Testees (had to make double sure I spelled that correctly!) from Kenny Hotz, a writer on South Park and Kenny vs. Spenny. Thirteen episodes have been ordered for the show, about two friends in their early 30s who work as medical guinea pigs. The show premieres Oct. 9.