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'Studio 60': Still kickin' after all these weeks

Flash! Studio 60 is sucking. But exactly how much is it sucking? This is what everyone’s buzzing about. This and THE CULTURE WARS, of course. Oh, and RACE RELATIONS. (Did I miss anything IMPORTANT? If so, please send suggestions on the back of a Crash DVD.)

Fox News (in the person of less-than-oracular Roger Friedman) preemptively announced the show’s cancellation, and got a pop on the wrist from its old adversary, reality. Kevin Reilly, president of the network, says he’s 100% behind the show – that’s probably not exactly true, either, but he’s sure putting his money where his mouth is: Studio 60’s on every Monday during November sweeps. Meanwhile, as media vultures split hairs and NBC honcho Jeff Zucker decides how many Strindberg references can dance on the pin of his head, YOUR BROTHER IS STANDING IN THE MIDDLE OF AFGHANISTAN.

(Sorry. Sometimes I need to throw in some righteous Red State indignation to show you how very “authentic” this blog is.)

The debate: Studio 60 temporarily ceded its timeslot to the also-struggling Friday Night Lights, which pulled down bigger numbers. However, FNL’s18-49’s didn’t hit Sorkinite heights. So the question is: Do you wantfewer, richer viewers, or more of everybody? Gold plating or a solidfoundation? NBC says Studio 60 has a future as long as it stays above a 3 share. (To put this in perspective: A 3 share is what’s left on the kleenex when NCIS blows its nose.)

Me, I’m hoping NBC’stelling the truth, and the show sticks around for more than 16 eps. Myweek feels empty without it. I’ve come to love watching Aaron Sorkinchew with his mouth open. Sometimes, bad art illuminates more than goodart. With Sorkin and Studio 60, the culture wars aren’t so muchlimned as caricatured, and I see, more clearly than ever, “why theyhate us.” Don’t give up now, NBC: Don’t cancel this show. Not beforeSarah Paulson does her spot-on impression of Aristophanes hosting Larry King Live in the 9th circle of Dante’s Inferno (written by Studio 60’s one black writer, of whom everyone is VERY PROUD).

PS: How hard is Tina Fey trying to contain herself here? Mmmm, barely concealed contempt. In an age of open contempt, it’s a real breath of fresh air.

Originally posted November 1 2006 — 10:54 PM EST

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