Friday, July 22, 2005


'Will & Grace' To Present "Surprise" Live Episode

For the first time since television's infancy, a sitcom will air live on Sept. 29, when Will & Grace airs its season premiere, Daily Variety reported today (Friday). (The trade paper expressed some skepticism about whether the show would actually air live, suggesting that it probably would implement a five-second time delay). The episode in fact will be produced live twice -- once for the Eastern part of the country, then, three hours later, for the Western. While such a scheme was common before tape recording was introduced on radio, two separate live broadcasts of an entertainment program have never aired on television, which in its early days broadcast "kinescope recordings" for the West Coast or aired them live (beginning at 4:30 p.m. in the afternoon). Series co-creator Max Mutchnick said that the purpose of the live broadcast was to include "some very topical material" and to introduce "a surprise element." He did not elaborate.

We'll ignore the Fox sitcom Roc, which, in a desperate, hopeless bid for attention, did a whole season live. They didn't do each episode again for the West Coast.

Even so, whoever writes this is forgetting that the Drew Carey Show did the same thing (performing the show twice, even) at the height of its gimmickry. They used the Whose Line is it Anyway? cast as guest stars and used the live gimmick to turn the episode into a Drew Carey / Whose Line crossover, repeating scenes and turning them into improv games.

Well, good for Will & Grace. Following the gimmicky footsteps of Drew Carey down the path to total irrelevance.

IMDb News, completely wrong again.


C said...

I find that I only like Will & Grace at 11:30pm in syndication. Primary, and reruns on NBC, not so much.

Simon said...

The fourth season premiere of ER (also on NBC) did this.

They shot an hour live for the east coast then an hour live for the west coast.

Heh, I remember watching Roc, though I don't remember it being live. Guess that shows how unsuccessful the stunt was.