Why did Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip flop? Recently, star Steven Weber spoke to the AV Club about the cancelled NBC TV series.
Created by Aaron Sorkin, the show followed the behind-the-scenes drama of a live comedy sketch series. The cast included Matthew Perry, Bradley Whitford, Amanda Peet, D.L. Hughley, Sarah Paulson, Nate Corddry, and Timothy Busfield.
In the interview, Weber said the show received unfair criticism when it debuted in 2006:
But to me, something happened with Studio 60. People for some reason, and this happens, had been sharpening their knives for Aaron Sorkin and I don’t know why. It’s like you’re about to give birth and people are standing around and the baby is born and immediately they start saying, “Why is he crying? Why isn’t the baby standing and talking? You’re not a good parent!” And that’s what they did to Studio 60, they immediately leapt on this new creation and immediately compared it to West Wing and any other movie he’d done and attacked the admittedly dramatic dialogue. He loves language, he’s not equipped with low-brow exchanges that pass for a lot of drama. He loves the written word and goddamn it, actors love to hear it, love to say it. It was really enjoyable. There were also things that went wrong because there was not a lot of love for that show. There was network pressure. We suddenly found ourselves in some unlikely and ridiculous competition with 30 Rock.”
He later added that it was also a difficult series to produce:
But I think that technically it was a hard show to produce, because a lot of the episodes were long and dense. They were expensive to shoot because the sets were huge. We had an actual practical TV and movie studio, so that if I was doing a scene with you and the cameras turned to you, behind you were 300 feet of actual working set that has to be lit, populated with background, designed. And that costs… millions of dollars. And after a while, that took a toll. And ultimately, people ganged up on the show. And it may have thrown the writers to a certain extent. They were not getting love. It’s hard to create when people are throwing rocks at your window. And that’s kind of what happened. It definitely deserved another season. Easily. People around the world still love that show; it’s really a great show.”
What do you think? Did you watch Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip? Do you think it should’ve gotten a second season?
Loved this show – love Sorkin and his love of words
“He loves language,” but yet, the writing was SOOO terrible. A character can say something well, but if what they’re saying is moronic the whole thing is unwatchable.
I Loved this show and experienced the full 5 stages of grief when it ended. I am also a huge fan of Sorkin’s work, likely due to the words. Creators, producers and writers that settle for ‘low brow exchanges’ are contributing to the problem and failing their obligation to the human race.