Lights, Camera, Not Enough Action


Fox has decided to air new reality show On the Lot as an hour only once a week, rather than an hour show and a half-hour results show as originally planned.

Good move. The network will almost certainly do better with repeats of shows like House and Family Guy, with lot unable to crack a 2 rating lately.

I like On the Lot, actually, which comes with a strong Mark Burnett/Steven Spielberg pedigree, but I think I know why it has not drawn a lot of other viewers.

Although it was set up to be yet another clone of American Idol, talented unknowns competing for a dream start in their dream job, it lacks the performance element of Idol or Dancing With the Stars or So You Think You Can Dance, or America's got Talent or…fill-in-the-blank.

Since all the contestants have already made their films by showtime, the viewers essentially become people watching people watching judges watch their films. Too much watching and not enough action. It;s like a results show without the competition.

I'm not sure how the show could have been configured to add that element of live performance since filmmaking is not a performance but a craft and sometimes an art. Having Spielberg as one of the judges might have helped, but maybe not.

By John Eggerton