Supposedly a reporter called a movie studio president in 1966 and asked what he thought of Ronald Reagan for governor. (The Ronald had announced that day.) The studio chief said, "No, no, Jimmy Stewart for governor! Ronald Reagan as his best friend."
This, I thought, was said by Louis B. Mayer, the last M in MGM. But he died in 1957. So I have a nice story and bad sourcing. Please correct me. The basic story is right. I am at home. The answer is at my office. (Postscript: I'm back at my office. The studio exec was Jack Warner.)
Anyway, I was reminded of the story, in a reverse kind of way, when I was watching the premiere of Shark on CBS Thursday at 10. James Woods is a great actor, but he's not a likeable guy and while that's why he's in the role, I don't think it always works in TV, at least not the kind of TV that gets huge/decent ratings. Movie viewers (and that's mainly where we've seen Woods) will accept a acidic/nasty character for two hours. I don't know if they go for it on a weekly basis for five years.
But it seems like a super show.
The pilot was directed by Spike Lee (though it had no Spike Lee-like look to it. I think producers/CBS bought the name.), and the storyiline is all wrapped up in an hour, something precious few new dramatic series these seasons can seem to do.
Following CSI, it has the grim-attitude continuum. You can go to bed very glum..(Prime time seems to be filled with that. You sort of wish for Hello Dolly interstitials just to cheer you up ).
I do wish there more serious shows on TV that had characters capable of cracking wise, and I don't include Monk, which, the last time I saw it last week had just turned Tony Shalloub's obsessive-compulsive dysfunctional chracter into a catchall for just being an oddball.
Do I digress? Maybe. Because Shark is up against Six Degrees at 10 pm EST on ABC, which follows Grey's Anatomy, which is one fine medical show that by and large has skipped the whole medical part for lots of romance. I think it's hot, not in the 'what a hot show" way, but just hot. People are doin' it.
The first time I saw Six Degrees, I thought, 'OK, what happens next week?' Now I say, watching the same pilot, 'What happens next week!' I want to be there. Six Degees vs. Shark? I watch Six Degrees. It's a lot more intriguing than Shark, but as I said about Shark, at least it seems to sew itself up week by week. Shark should win. ABC should move Six Degrees.
By P.J. Bednarski