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Joss WhedonKevin Smith - About The Whedonverse - Rottentomatoes.com Interview
Wednesday 16 May 2007, by Webmaster
JU: And once you’re in that slot, it’s not the end of the trouble. I love Scrubs and it’s weird to me that it struggles to get renewed every season and when it does get renewed NBC throws it around the timeslots as it sees fit.
KS: They keep moving it around but in defence of NBC they’ve kept it alive. They could have said, "This isn’t performing as well as we had hoped so f*ck it, let’s just get out of here." But they’ve kept supporting it, they just keep trying to find a timeslot for it and it just doesn’t quite attract the audience that the critics feel it should or that the network feels it should. But at least they kind-of stick with it, whereas in something like the case of Firefly, they did something like twelve episodes, you’re talking about a network - Fox - who gave it a shot and it didn’t work within a few episodes and the just pulled the plug altogether.
JU: You can see why it’s soul-destroying to be a show runner on TV.
KS: Never mind the show runners, it’s the creators; people who came up with idea for whom it’s their lifeblood, their passion. They struggle so hard to get to that point and after a few episodes the network throws them in the garbage.
And in Joss’s case, you are talking about a guy, too, who had a successful, syndicated show with Buffy. And Angel spun off. Granted it was never in the top ten, top twenty ratings-wise, I don’t think, but he had the demographics numbers. The audience tuning in to watch was an audience they could sell adverts to. You figure the dude’s got a track record, stick by him. Maybe the show doesn’t take off right away but perhaps by season two it will.
The days of Seinfeld are long gone; Seinfeld started very f*cking slow as a summer series and then within the third or fourth season it really took off and started climbing into the top ten all the time. That was an example of a network sticking by a show they liked even though it was a ratings challenge, and it eventually panned out for them. Very few people are willing to take that risk anymore. Now it’s like, if it’s not working in the first two months f*cking yank it.
JU: There’s no heart involved anymore.
KS: It’s business, man. It’s purely f*cking numbers; dollars and cents and whatnot. And every once in a while something that has something to say or something of quality slips through and winds up earning as well as appeasing some sort of artistic intent.