RIDING ON THEIR COATTAILS: Fox is once again using the May climax of American Idol to set up their summer schedule, according to a story in Wednesday’s Variety. The last two weeks of Idol shows in May will see the return of So You Think You Can Dance on May 24, the night after the final Idol episode, and the network will debut On The Lot, the “Filmmaker Idol” reality competition co-produced by Steven Spielberg and Survivor’s Mark Burnett, on the penultimate Wednesday night Idol episode the week before. June will see the return of Hell’s Kitchen with Gordon Ramsay, and The Loop, Fox’s next best chance to destroy a promising sitcom.
After its premiere, On The Lot will take a week off for Idol’s finale - “which has more or less become an official national holiday” according to Variety – before returning on Monday, May 28 to start its regular run, with “film premieres” playing on Mondays, and elimination shows on Tuesday. It’s a measure of Idol’s monstrous presence in the industry that even Steven Spielberg, the King of Hollywood, has to rely on Idol to give him a decent lead-in.
(P.S. – It wasn’t until I read this article that I realized that I’ll be covering American Idol until the last half of May. I was quiet for a moment, then I cried and cried.)
LIKE THE O.C., BUT WITH SOCCER HOOLIGANS: The flow of most TV ideas seems to cross westward over the Atlantic these days, but MTV has changed the flow with a partnership with the producers of Hollyoaks, a hit British drama about a group of sexed-up youth on their way through school and into the real world.
The show is being described as a UK version of Laguna Beach – The Real Orange County, though the name is being changed for obvious reasons. (I’m sure someone must have suggested Lager Beach, to a scattering of chuckles and a discouraging silence.) According to a story on the Digital Spy website, the show will follow a group of “16 to 18-year-olds from Alderley Edge in Cheshire ... as they organize and attend a Valentine's Day ball.”
The article says that the show will be “the first foray into reality programming” for Lime Pictures, the British producing partners, though the definition of reality TV has been stretched to the point of integral instability with a show like Laguna Beach. One assumes that the MTV producers are relying on the British producers to provide a crew who’ll be able to deal with the inevitable drunken spewing, racist trash-talking (by the girls, mostly), liberal use of profanities and bloody brawling and head-butting (once again, mostly by the girls.)
Is there anyone still alive who remembers when British TV drama involved Maggie Smith and Diana Rigg looking pained in a twin set and pearls while pulling the blackout curtains or worrying about Edward and Mrs. Simpson?