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Lone Star: Cancellation Talk from “The Masked Scheduler”

Lone StarThese days, it’s pretty rare to read any straight talk from the execs working at the studios or networks. Understandably, most are worried about burning bridges. After all, the person whose show is cancelled one week, could develop the next big hit in the future.

“The Masked Scheduler” is a TV veteran who worked for NBC in the 1980s and currently works for FOX. He keeps his true identity a secret from his readers and freely shares his experiences and straightforward opinions. He recently blogged about the cancellation of Lone Star and it makes for some very entertaining reading. Here’s an excerpt but you can read the whole post here.

When I started out at NBC scheduling in Burbank, my boss Warren Littlefield gave me the best advise about scheduling ever. Warren said: “You have the ultimate second guess job”. I live by that wisdom. So rather than get all worked up about this stuff, I just chuckle.

Gang, this show was REJECTED. Deal with it…..we have. Rather than pointing fingers or belittling the audience we accept that this show just did not resonate with the viewers but hey we took the shot. We were wrong. Let me let you in on a little secret…..it’s just television…..**** happens. You go online Tuesday after we cancelled LONE STAR and it felt like a ******* wake….gimme a break.

When a show premieres with ratings like this and then drops to a 1.0 in 18-49’s in week two…..it’s not about whether we should have saved the show for later in the season (we actually had that debate in May) or whether there was a better slot for it on the schedule (other shows premiered in tough time periods to better ratings) and I don’t think that there was a marketing campaign that would have significantly pumped up the ratings. I think that we were always between a rock and a hard place with this show.

I don’t read all the analyses of why this show didn’t work (remember I have a second guess job) but here was my fear from the beginning:

We have just suffered through an horrific economic crisis brought on by excess and illusions, we saw the devastating environmental impact of an oil spill and the resulting lack of response and indifference on the part of a large corporation as well as the government. The last thing that every day Americans want to see right now is a good looking con man who is fucking over two innocent young women who have done nothing wrong other than to love him. A con man who eventually will leave these two women and their families in ruins. This is where it has to go….anything else is bullshit and, had we kept it on, would have lead to some major eye rolling by the very people bemoaning its demise. You can’t redeem this guy and everyone around him has to suffer….just ask Rita, Carmela or Betty. Dexter, Don and Tony were family men and that informed their actions…but they never looked for redemption.

If we want to do a cable show then do a ******* cable show but anticipate cable ratings. Sorry critics, LONE STAR was never going to be a “hit”. We took the gamble and we moved on. So it goes. There’s a big country between the coasts. There was no way that enough viewers were going to condone bigamy even if the lead is the offspring of what would happen if George Clooney married George Clooney and they had a kid. The audience was not conned.

We had some big hurdles to overcome and we stumbled right out of the gate.

 

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Pissed off T.V. Viewer October 12, 2010 at 1:08 pm

TWO episodes is an adequate amount of time to determine whether or not a show will be a hit? Really? Yet, Jersey Shore, Real Housewives, and all that other “reality” crap stays on season after season! Yep, American TV viewers are real freaking moral! Snookie getting drunk and getting in a hot-tub is way more entertaining than this. Perhaps, people just had trouble following an actual story-line? Or maybe if it is something DIFFERENT, than a cop drama, a legal drama, or a medical drama it’s not going to fly. I personally am sick of all of those genre’s! Let’s not forget all the repeats of the same shows: CSI, in multiple cities; Law and Order, in multiple spin-offs. I mean, really can we get one show that is different. Apparently not. I don’t even want to start watching new shows when they come out because as soon as I do, they are canceled. Good shows. It doesn’t even matter if they are network or cable, same story. I think I will unplug altogether. Anyone remember Happy Town? Life on Mars (which at least that got through a season)? Life?

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Hank Moody October 12, 2010 at 5:28 am

The guy an idiot? Yeah, right… says who? A few Average Joes vs. a guy who’s been in the business for like 30 years? Yeah, right. You should be grateful they gave Lone Star a chance (two chances actually, as they aired two episodes), instead of labeling him as a douche because you don’t like what he says. BTW, he’s right on everything he says.

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Elisheba October 9, 2010 at 6:14 pm

I liked this show, but it doesn’t surprise me it was canceled. I just wish it wasn’t canceled so quickly. It really wasn’t even given a chance to take off. It was up against some strong competition in that time slot with existing shows and new shows, so maybe it had been moved to a different night it would have had better success. Can’t shows be given a chance any longer?

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mike October 9, 2010 at 1:29 pm

i agree with the masked guy with the point that…

why would i watch a con man fuck two women?

trust me, i watch dexter (show about a serial killer)… and i had doubts about the concept til i actually watched it.. but lonestar? nahhhh. ill pass.

but on network tv its all about initial reaction, right? you cant have a 1 rating and go a whole season hoping people will catch on weeks later.

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Laxer October 8, 2010 at 10:18 am

HBO would be perfect….the show would be more graphic and realistic.

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Ranger October 7, 2010 at 1:30 pm

I was told today from someone who would know that there are some discussions going on about AMC or HBO. But hell… according to the “Masked Scheduler” it won’t work on any network because the American TV audience is so moral!

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Lone Star Fan October 7, 2010 at 11:16 am

This guy sounds like a complete idiot. I can’t believe these are the type of people controlling the fate of a television show. They know nothing about the art nor creative process of creating a series. Overpaid and smug assholes are who they truly are. I really hope this guy gets fired soon.

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Anonymous October 7, 2010 at 11:15 am

This guy sounds like a complete idiot. I can’t believe these are the type of people controlling the fate of a television show. They know nothing about the art nor creative process of creating a series. Overpaid and smug assholes are who they truly are. I really hope this guy gets fired sometime soon.

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puredieselbc October 7, 2010 at 8:11 am

Ditto to all the previous comments above.

What I don’t understand is if Fox knew Lone Star was a cable show, then why in God’s name did they even air it? Surely it would have been better to have aired it on FX or sent Kyle Killen(the show’s creater) to USA or AMC. It sounds to me like they set Lone Star up to fail…and that’s just sad.

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Samantha October 7, 2010 at 7:55 am

the blog dont even exist anymore

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Hugh G Rection October 6, 2010 at 11:45 am

I would like to see AMC pick this show up.They would do a good job with this kind of show.

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Cheryl October 5, 2010 at 8:52 pm

I agree with Richard Golub…The guy is an idiot…send him to MTV reality shows!!

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Richard Golub October 5, 2010 at 6:26 pm

I don’t care who this guy is he sounds like an idiot. How many showst were originally poorly received in years past, but than went onto to be multi-year successes. Nothing he said makes any sense!

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rhino October 5, 2010 at 9:24 am

too bad they dont give shows good timeslots or even a chance

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Leo October 4, 2010 at 8:30 pm

Ha, thats great!

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