Michael Slezak
October 06, 2006 AT 12:00 PM EDT

They’re dropping like flies I tell ya! And by ”they,” of course, I’m referring to the fall crop of freshman series that are being shot down, one by one, by the network execs who treat them like little more than skeet whizzing through the airwaves. It’s enough to make a blogger want to cry. Or at least my colleague Gary Susman and me. Check out our IM conversation/therapy session from this afternoon.

Slezak (4:42:34 PM): So did you hear, it looks like NBC is pulling the plug on Kidnapped and burning off the remaining episodes on Saturday nights. I’m so glad I emotionally disengaged when the pilot episode tanked in the ratings
Susman (4:43:42 PM): I wonder if that’s why so many fall shows, especially serial dramas like Smith and Studio 60, are having trouble: People don’t want to commit, lest they get burned again.
Slezak (4:44:30 PM): Wait, Smith? Smith is in trouble?
Susman (4:44:51 PM): Yeah, CBS is yanking it and airing reruns of CSI and Criminal Minds starting Tuesday.
Slezak (4:45:09 PM): NOOOO! I already gave Smith my heart! DAMMIT!
Susman (4:46:04 PM): You going to be okay?
Slezak (4:46:21 PM): I don’t know. It’s like when you start dating someone really great, and then suddenly they don’t return your calls. Do you think Studio 60 is setting you up to break your heart? It’s been bleeding viewers over its first three weeks.
Susman (4:46:54 PM): I’m worried! I already have such mixed feelings about the show. I can’t decide if I’ll be disappointed that audiences didn’t stick with it, or that Aaron Sorkin didn’t have time to figure out how to make the comedy parts work.
Slezak (4:47:18 PM): I hear you…I’ve watched the first three episodes, and while the show is flawed, it’s 1,000 times better than CSI: Miami.
Susman (4:47:40 PM): Then again, maybe I’ll just be relieved that I can free up my Monday nights. Though I’m having fun writing about it in my TV Watches.
Slezak (4:47:36 PM): That’s the thing, my DVR is so packed, something has to give at some point.
Susman (4:47:55 PM): If only it had been unambiguously good, it might have been a hit.

Slezak (4:48:11 PM): True. And now that the ratings are slipping, Ifeel like people will jump off the sinking ship, even if they’reenjoying it. It’s tempting, especially when you look at shows like lastseason’s Reunion; you know the networks don’t care about pulling it mid-run, and leaving you with tons of unanswered questions.
Susman (4:49:12 PM): Though I hear with Kidnapped, they came up with an alternate plan to resolve the mystery early if they were forced to.
Slezak(4:49:33 PM): You know what I hate, too? The way the networks saythey’re putting stuff ‘on hiatus’ and you know they’ll never bring itback. Like Fox’s Happy Hour. It’s not like I ever watched that, but…
Susman (4:50:15 PM): Actually, Mike, it’s coming back.Once baseball’s over. Not that I’ve missed it.
Slezak (4:50:28 PM): Oh. What do you think is gonna be next on the chopping block? I decided against putting Friday Night Lights on season pass even before its premiere tanked on Tuesday, but I am not giving up on Men In Trees! You can take my Smith, but you can’t take my Sex in the Alaska!
Susman (4:51:24 PM): I don’t know. I was worried for ‘Til Death and Justice (two other Fox shows that have gone back under the triage knife), but it seems they’ll both be back.
Slezak (4:51:47 PM): Yeah, I read Fox picked up some more script orders for Justice.
Susman (4:52:36 PM): Do you think viewers will stick with The Nine or Six Degrees? As a viewer, I’m having trouble imagining how those shows will keep me interested for a whole season or more.
Slezak (4:53:12 PM): Well, Six Degrees didn’t keep me interested for 15 minutes, but I thought The Nine was riveting.
Susman (4:53:47 PM): I’m not sure I was smart enough to count the hostages.
Slezak (4:54:02 PM): But Gary, they’re pretty hostages.
Susman (4:54:03 PM): It took me most of the episode to figure out who the Nine were.
Slezak (4:54:12 PM): And there’s the other nine -– the nine viewers who are going to care that The CW is swapping Runaway to Sunday nights, where it can get clobbered by a new set of shows.
Susman (4:54:27 PM): That one’s really grim.
Slezak (4:55:15 PM): I guess at least the good news is Heroes got a full-season pickup.
Susman (4:55:24 PM): Yay!
Slezak (4:55:45 PM): And Ugly Betty is a hit too.
Susman(4:56:12 PM): For the rest, though, you’re probably right, it may bebest to pull the plug early and emotionally disengage before you gettoo invested in a show.
Slezak (4:56:32 PM): So who’s cord are you cutting first?
Susman (4:57:06 PM): I’ve already cut Justice; next will be Vanished, now that they’ve killed off the main character already. You?
Slezak (4:57:29 PM): I can’t answer that question. I have to accompany Smith to the emergency room.
Susman (4:57:41 PM): I’ll be praying for you both.

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