WISCREPORT.COM (10/2/07) – Wisconsin’s own Bradley Whitford, former regular on West Wing and actor on many television programs and motion pictures, no longer has a regular job, again. If you are one of those viewers who have been looking for Studio 60 to return to your weekly fix, the show, which also starred Matthew Perry from Friends, and many other delightful performers, was canceled by NBC in June of 2007 after Studio 60’s ratings dipped considerably from its debut to the end of the run (or is it on hiatus?).
It is an unfortunate reality in the world of television: you simply cannot rely on being permanently employed, even if the show you are on and the performances and everything about the show are deliciously superior to almost anything else TV has to offer. I would say, just ask the staff of My Mother The Car, starring Jerry Van Dyke, which was canceled after just one episode. But, of course, that was no surprise, because, the only good thing about it was that My Mother The Car has given comedians a good punch line in comedy routines ever since.
You remember Studio 60: It’s the hour long show that was a comedy – drama about a fictional television program that was somewhat like Saturday Night Live. It was not so much about what took place in front of the cameras for the audience the night of the show, as it was about what it takes to put a show like Saturday Night Live together week after week. It was also about the personal lives of the performers, writers, director, and other crew members and how their individual lives were sometimes affected by knowing others who were part of each weekly offering.
Although I was one of the loyal viewers and watched it live every week, in spite of what else was on the schedules at rival networks, there just weren’t enough of us for NBC to see their way clear to continue on into a second season. There were a couple of things that may have contributed to its demise: (1) The network moved it around the schedule, and put some other shows in its place a couple of times, and (2) the writers had some of the actors making occasional comments about the Iraq War and other political sentiments……, And, oh yes, then there was, (3) there was good television on the other channels during the time period that Studio 60 was on, as well.
The bad news was that in December of 2006, some of the people who watched the beginning episodes began to instead watch competing programs around the television dial while Studio 60 was on. However, the good news is that December of 2006 also showed that a large number of those people were recording Studio 60 episodes for later viewing. That way, they could watch other favorites of other members in the household, and watch Studio 60 later. Sort of like, having your cake and eating it too. But, that didn’t save Studio 60.
Things got worse and the audience watching the night of the network airing dwindled to roughly about a third of what it was in the beginning. That, of course, was not enough for the network bosses to want to continue with the show on its schedule. It was a sad day to learn that it is probably not coming back. But, I will keep holding out hope that it will, and, it really has little to do with the fact that Bradley Whitford, who played Studio 60 producer – director Danny Tripp, was born October 10, 1959 in Madison, Wisconsin.
Oh, by the way, Jerry Van Dyke went on to land a formidable role on the Coach comedy series. So, losing My Mother The Car wasn’t a total loss for him, nor for us.
That welcome development for Jerry Van Dyke, and the changes in the political climate and general attitudes about the war these days, makes one feel that anything is possible. And, if that is so, it makes me wonder, will Studio 60 be back? Was it just a hiatus, as they say? – GARY MORGAN
GARY MORGAN is editor and contributing writer for WisconsinReport.com. Prior to becoming involved in the internet, he covered news and sports for newspapers and radio stations in Wisconsin for 30 years. He counts being half of a successful radio news and information show in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, called the Michaels and Morgan Show, as one of the joys of his career. His news reports have been heard on several Wisconsin stations over the years through the Wisconsin News Actuality Network. More about Gary Morgan can be found at Garytalk.com.