One of the first casualties of the 2008-09 TV season was CBS’ The Ex List. Thought the romantic drama didn’t attract enough viewers for the network’s liking, the TV show did have a devoted group of fans. Would Bella ever have found “the one?”
The Ex List follows the tale of Bella Bloom (Elizabeth Reaser), a young, single woman who has a strange encounter with a psychic (Anne Bedian). Bella’s told that she’s already dated her true love and, if she doesn’t get married within a year, she’ll end up alone. After a freak occurrence proves that the psychic knows her stuff, Bella starts a whirlwind effort to reunite with her past loves. Could it be Elliot (Mark Deklin), her most recent boyfriend? Helping her in her search are her sister Daphne (Rachel Boston), and friends Augie (Adam Rothenberg), Vivian (Alexandra Breckenridge), and Cyrus (Amir Talai).
The TV show first aired on October 3, 2008 and didn’t meet the network’s ratings expectations almost immediately. Ex-List attracted just 6.85 million viewers and a 2/6 rating/share of the 18-49 demographic. A year earlier, Moonlight, had brought in well over a million more viewers. Ex List’s ratings didn’t improve over time and, by week four, they’d dropped to 5.18 million viewers. CBS pulled the series, removed it from their website, and left viewers hanging.
The series’ co-creator and executive producer, Diane Ruggiero, left Ex List after just six episodes had been shot. She was upset over the network’s interference and their insistence that the show be a virtual carbon copy of the Israeli series on which it’d been based, The Mythological X. Executive producer Rick Eid took over the showrunner duties to finish up CBS’ 13-episode order.
Prior to leaving the series, Ruggiero had worked out who “the one” would have been, and the resolution might have surprised the show’s fans. As the writer tells EOnline, Bella’s true love was closer than she imagined. The key, Ruggiero says, is that the psychic’s prophecy said that Bella had to get married within a year, but didn’t say she necessarily had to be married to “the one.” Here’s how it all would have happened…
Around episode 13, Bella would have reunited with an old boyfriend from school. Back in college, he was dating someone else when he met Bella at a party. He broke up with his girlfriend to be with Bella but the relationship only lasted a day. When they reunite, they really hit it off but there’s a catch — he’s already engaged. Bella doesn’t want to wreck his engagement and fears her personal deadline is coloring her judgment. So, she puts the brakes on the rekindled relationship and keeps looking.
In episode 19, he returns, having ended the engagement on his own. In the meantime, Bella’s gotten much closer to Elliott and she’s had a big fight with Augie that all but ends their friendship. With the year deadline almost up, she tells her old college beau about the prophecy and he says that they should get married. They quickly head to Las Vegas. Elliot goes after them to try to stop the nuptials but arrives too late. Just before they’re married, the groom-to-be tells a stranger in the chapel how they met in college, when they were both dating someone else.
Bella flashes back to the party where they first met. She’d arrived with Augie and had seen that an old boyfriend was already there. She doesn’t want to be alone so Bella tells Augie that he’s her boyfriend for the night. Ruggiero relates, “Basically, Bella gets married then moments later realizes that Augie is ‘the one.’ That was the season one plan.”
Unfortunately, Ruggiero left the series and the show was cancelled so we won’t get to see the story play out as she’d envisioned.
On the upside, production on Ex List continued after the series was cancelled by CBS. All 13 episodes were completed with an eye on selling them to international markets and an eventual DVD release. The remaining scripts were rewritten so that the series and fans would have some closure within the 13 episodes.
Series star Reaser recently teased EW, “[Bella] will figure out which ‘ex’ is the one. I do find the guy, and it’s someone we met in an earlier episode.” In this abbreviated version of the series, will Augie still be “the one” or will it be someone else? Stay tuned!
Image courtesy CBS.