For every season ...
If they launch it, viewers will come. That's the fundamental idea behind the Fox network's announcement to officially move to a year-round programming schedule. Changing the TV season creates a spirited discussion among industry insiders. Some take an "If it ain't broke" attitude, saying viewers are attached to the fall TV season. Others say that the system is broke. Why ride a three-legged horse just because that's the way it's always been done?
The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle, but I lean toward the year-round schedule. It breaks the grind of the traditional fall calendar, meaning that the feeding frenzy for actors, writers, crews, and other labor would be less frantic. In talking about his TV career, director/producer Félix Alcalá, speaking at the 2003 National Association of Latino Independent Producers conference in San Antonio, summed up the traditional process this way: "The best day of your life is when your show gets picked up. The worst day of your life is when your show gets picked up." From the viewer's perspective, I can only hope taking the heat off the pressure cooker will provide breathing room to create better work. Hollywood thrives under pressure, but some room for rumination couldn't hurt.
As for the idea that TV viewers will be lost if the fall TV season evaporates, puhleeese! With TiVo, PVRs, and even the lowly VCR, viewers are perfectly capable of determining what they want to watch, when they want to watch it. If they miss something, there's always repurposing, reruns, and DVD sales and rentals.
Included below are some June series premieres, specials, and other notable events. Consult local listings, as dates and times are subject to change.
June 6: Flops 101 on Trio. The pop culture network's ordinarily on-the-money specials on how Hollywood works falter with this too-coy tutorial on why TV shows fail. Skip this and tune in to the much superior Flops feature on the making of Heaven's Gate, June 13.
The Dead Zone, season two, premieres at 8pm on USA.
If you missed the two-hour series premiere of Summerland on the WB last Tuesday, catch it June 6 at 7pm. Full House alum Lori Loughlin stars as Ava Gregory, a professional single woman who inherits her sister's children.
June 7: 5 Days to Midnight, a five-night mini-thriller on the SciFi network. Timothy Hutton stars as a physics professor who finds a police file detailing his murder five days later.
June 8: The Jury series premiere at 8pm on Fox. A superlative team of directors and writers makes this courtroom drama from the jurors' perspective promising: Barry Levinson (Rain Man), Tom Fontana (Oz), James Yoshimura (Homicide: Life on the Street). Encore on Friday at 8pm.
June 10: The MTV Movie Awards at 8pm.
June 13: Season premiere of Six Feet Under, 8pm on HBO.
June 14: Northshore series premiere, 7pm on Fox. Pretty twentysomethings in Hawaii. Encore on Friday at 7pm.
The Casino series premiere at 8pm on Fox. A new reality series from Mark Burnett set in Las Vegas' Golden Nugget hotel. Encore on Thursday at 8pm.
June 15: Ten "best of" Sex and the City episodes air on TBS through June 19. Edited for a non-HBO audience: What's S&tC without sex? Fans of the series will miss key series-defining moments. Those new to the series won't miss a beat but might wonder what the big deal is. The series airs from the very beginning starting June 22 with two back-to-back episodes. Encores on Wednesday nights.
June 16: Paris Hilton returns to Fox with The Simple Life 2, followed by the series premiere of Quintuplets at 7:30pm. Andy Richter stars as the father of teenage quints. (Another episode of The Simple Life 2 follows. Sigh.)
Method & Red at 8:30pm on Fox. Hip-hop artists Method Man and Redman move into a gated community. Encore on Tuesday at 7:30pm.
June 18: New season of Monk at 7pm on USA.
June 19: Revolution at 8pm on the Sundance Channel. Margaret Cho's newest one-woman show anchors the Sundance Channel's sixth annual Out Loud celebration.
June 20 & 21: Salem's Lot, 8pm on TNT. Rob Lowe stars in this two-night mini of the Stephen King classic.
June 22: The new season of the always-worth-watching POV series premieres on PBS. This year's season examines political issues.
As always, stay tuned.